If your QuickBooks company file gets flippin’ big, it can start to slow you down. Invoices take a while to save. Reports take minutes to generate. Maybe QuickBooks randomly crashes.

What can you do? One classic approach is to recreate your file. A recreated file is started from scratch. Then you add in to it as much data as you need for it to be current and usable. Some companies do this as a regular procedure every three to five years.

RELATED: My QuickBooks File Is HUGE! What Can I Do?

How do you do it? First, you have to decide on a cutoff date for your new file.

The cutoff date represents the point in time at which you want to bring transactions and balances from your old file into your new file. The cutoff date is usually the end of a fiscal year.

Here are the general steps to recreate a company file:

  1. Create a new company file in QuickBooks
  2. Export from the old company, and import into the new company, all of your chart of accounts, customers, vendors, employees, inventory items and any other list items. If you want to clean up your lists, you can do so in Excel in between the export and import steps.
  3. Edit customers and complete their credit card number. QuickBooks only transfers the last 4 digits.
  4. In the new company, bring over all the open or pending accounts receivable and accounts payable transactions as of the cutoff date. The transactions you add in to your new company can be manually entered, or you can buy and use 3rd party utilities that can export and import certain kinds of transactions.
  5. Input all the outstanding checks and deposits for all your bank accounts
  6. Input all balance sheet and profit & loss year-end figures as of the cutoff date and verify that they are the same as in old set of books; make needed adjustments
  7. Input all outstanding sales orders, purchase orders and estimates
  8. Input all transactions entered after the cutoff date: invoices, credit memos, sales receipts, credit card receipts, bills, bill payment checks, checks, transfers, receive payments, deposits, and vendor credits
  9. Recreate all payroll checks
  10. Recreate all employees’ personal data — assign their earnings, taxes and deductions
  11. Set up each  employee’s year-to-date earnings, tax deductions, loan repayments
  12. Reset all government tax forms and sales tax payments
  13. Set up beginning balance inventory figures
  14. Adjust and re-reconcile all inventory after all data is imported
  15. Remove any inactive customers, vendors, chart of accounts, items
  16. Re-link credits, vendor credits and payments
  17. Re-reconcile all bank accounts and credit card accounts
  18. Re-reconcile all income accounts, expense accounts, asset accounts and liability accounts
  19. Re-reconcile A/P and A/R
  20. Recreate memorized reports
  21. Recreate memorized transactions
  22. Recreate templates
  23. Make sure everything balances to the last balance sheet from the old file and make any necessary adjusting entries
  24. Set up users and privileges
  25. Verify and rebuild the file; make sure there are no errors

Complicated? A bit. Time-consuming? Yep. But sometimes you don’t have a choice — you have to take action — things can’t go on as they have.

It’s better to plan and execute a company recreate before it’s an emergency.

Have you ever recreated your file? How did it go?

Did you just get yourself a shiny new computer? Or maybe you need to get QuickBooks onto your laptop so you can get caught up on your bookkeeping?

If you need to get QuickBooks from one computer to another, it’s not a big deal. Here’s what you do:

1. Computer #2: Install QuickBooks (you’ll need your original install disk or downloaded install file, plus your installation codes that came with the software.)

2. Computer #2: Update QuickBooks: Run QuickBooks and click on Help / Update QuickBooks. That way, you’ll have the same QuickBooks updates on computer #2 that are on computer #1.

3. Computer #1: Backup your company data. You can back it up to any medium that will be accessible to computer #2. That would normally include CDs, USB/flash drives, external hard drives, or online storage services (like Global DataVault.)

The smallest backup you can make is a Portable file. This kind of backup is only about 20-25% the size of your regular QBW company file, yet it contains all your data. (The backup excludes the internal indexing in the file – that’s why it’s both smaller and takes longer to make and restore.)

4. If you made a backup to a physical backup drive, take it to computer #2 and plug it in or insert it. If your backup is online somewhere, download it to computer #2’s hard drive or desktop.

5. Computer #2: Run QuickBooks, and at the opening dialog box select “Open or restore an existing company”, and then “Restore a portable file” (or “Restore a backup copy” if you are bringing over a regular backup copy from computer #1.)

6. Computer #2: Navigate to the drive and folder where your backup is, and select the backup file.

7. Computer #2: Specify where you want the file to be restored to. You can accept the default that QuickBooks suggests, or point to a particular folder that makes sense to you. My Documents is not a bad choice.

8. Computer #2: Finish the restore.

Once your data is restored, everything should be set up for you to work in QuickBooks on your new computer. If you need to take your company file back to computer #1, simply reverse the process for steps #3-8.

What’s your favorite way to move QuickBooks data between computers?

Emma Woodhouse: “If he seems sad, I’ll know that John has advised him against it. I love John! Or he may seem sad because he fears telling me he will marry my friend. How can John let him do that? I hate John!

I think of Jane Austen’s Emma sometimes when I read what people say about QuickBooks. “I love QuickBooks! … I hate QuickBooks!

How can people respond with such extremes to a computer program? Emotional tweets in the last 48 hours:

• Things we’re #thankful for: All the great people I work with. And #Quickbooks.
• Quickbooks time! Yay!
• We really like Quickbooks for Mac. Took a bit to get used to but smooth now.
• I’m having fun extracting data from QuickBooks with QODBC!!

And on a darker note…

• Oh. QuickBooks won’t run in Firefox on Linux either. **** YOU!
• I was all set to leave the office early today… until QuickBooks decided to be a b****
• I want to burn my computer on a daily basis because of quickbooks.
• Ugh… I’m going to kill quickbooks. That was not quick at all. SO AAAANGRY!.

It seems to me that there are somewhat more negative emotional statements about QuickBooks on Twitter than positive ones. But I think that’s because for a lot of people, it’s more satisfying to rant than rave.

Do you believe that generally people like what they’re good at, and hate what they struggle with? I do.

I think that generally speaking, the people that express their love, affection, and devotion to QuickBooks are people who are well-trained in bookkeeping and are competent in DIY IT.

And conversely, a lot (but not all) of the people who express fear and loathing of QuickBooks are not bookkeepers. They are people who are very good at something, but not accounting. And they get stuck trying to do tasks in QuickBooks that they aren’t trained to do. And they get mad. Makes sense. Kinda like why I often get mad when I work on my own car.

If you regularly get frustrated with QuickBooks, may I offer a suggestion? Consider taking a new step up the learning curve. There are some great books about QuickBooks. And there are some great QuickBooks trainers and consultants out there. Cozy up to one or the other for a couple of weeks. It might make for a happier New Year for you.

What do you think? Have I oversimplified here?

I’ve talked to a lot of QuickBooks users who have told me their QuickBooks file is too big.

According to several Pro and Premier end users, they were told by different support resources that you should upgrade to QuickBooks Enterprise Edition if your company file size exceeds 150MB.

Whoa, hold on pardner!

Although Enterprise is designed to handle larger database sizes, it’s also several times more expensive than Pro or Premier, both for initial purchase and for annual upgrades. And the support plans cost much more.

I’m not sure where this perceived 150MB limit came from. The underlying database QuickBooks uses has not changed much since the 2006 version; the technical capacity of the database hasn’t changed recently. And most QuickBooks Pro and Premier users we talk to have file sizes of over 150MB.

Nonetheless, there is a point at which your file size gets too big and you notice slowdowns in QuickBooks. Or QuickBooks starts to crash. Whether that point is at 150MB, 300MB or 700MB…you tell me! Is QuickBooks working great for you, or are you starting to experience problems?

If your QBW file is getting too big to perform well, you do have options other than upgrading to Enterprise:

1. Condense/Cleanup your file. There is a built-in utility in QuickBooks that will reduce the file size to some extent. In many (most?) cases, however, the file size change resulting from this method is relatively small, or the command crashes or freezes.

2. Supercondense your file. This process removes old, closed transactions from your file. Optionally, old unused customers and/or items can be removed too. File sizes are typically reduced by 50-80%.

CASE STUDY/INTERVIEW: User with a Big, Slow QuickBooks File

The goal of these methods is to save money by avoiding software upgrades, but at the same time making QuickBooks perform better and with more stability.

By the way, you can check on the size of your company data file by pressing the F2 key in QuickBooks when you have your company open.

How big is your QuickBooks company file? Are you noticing any performance issues?

QuickBooks 2011 was released about a month ago, and there have been some great articles written since then highlighting specific features in the new version. Here are some of the best of them, by feature:

Attached Documents (Document Management)

Average Days to Pay

Balance Sheet by Class

Batch Invoicing

Closing Date Lock Changes

Collections Center

Customer Snapshop Feature

File Manager

Inventory Adjustment

Miscellaneous Smaller Changes

Multiple Instances

Multiuser (5) Capability (Mac version)

Multiuser Limit

On-Screen History

PDF Printing

Purchase Order Reporting

Quick Start Center Feature

Reporting Enhancements


Ship-To Address

Webmail Support

Overview of Changes

Another Overview of Changes

Overview of Changes for MAC version