I talk to people almost every day who report that a bunch of paid vendor bills or paid customer invoices have spontaneously become unpaid. This throws off balances for AR and/or AP, and it makes vendor or customer balances and agings incorrect.

The payments are still in the file, but they are no longer being correctly applied to the original transactions.

This problem is tough because it is usually not easily fixable. There are two solutions:

  1. Restore the last good backup that was made before the paid transactions became unpaid. Then run the Verify Data command on the company. If it verifies OK, then rekey from there to get caught up. If verify fails, then get your data repaired, and then rekey transactions to get caught up.
  2. For each bill or invoice that has gotten unpaid, edit each of the associated payments. Uncheck the bill or invoice that the payment is being applied to and save. Then edit the payment again and check the bill or invoice. Save. See if the bill or invoice shows as paid. If not, then delete the payment and reenter it from scratch. This technique can be effective if there are not too many transactions to fix.

CAUSE: This problem is caused when there is link damage in the file. But then the problem gets worse — paid transactions get unpaid — when the Rebuild Data command is run.  It also happens sometimes when people upgrade a damaged QuickBooks file to a newer version.

ACTION POINT: When you upgrade to a new version, or if you have to run the Rebuild Data command on your company, make sure you look at a before-and-after version of your AR and AP aging reports. Make sure they are the same before and after. That’s the easiest way I know to detect when paid transactions incorrectly become unpaid.

If the problem occurs during a version upgrade or during Rebuild Data, contact us to see if the file can be repaired. Note: We can only repair a pre-rebuilt copy of the file. Once the Rebuild Data command has further corrupted the file, we can no longer repair it.

Have you ever seen this problem? How did you recover from it?

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14 thoughts on “Help! Some Paid Bills and Invoices Have Gotten Unpaid!

  1. This solution is ok if you are using Quickbooks Desktop which I use to have before migrating to Quickbooks Online. One of the major worries about QB Online is there is no option for a backup. It would be useful to be able to back up onto my local hard disk just in case there is an outage online, or to provide such a restore should the need arise.

    • Hi David,

      Yes, the whole thing is different in QB Online. The problem that my blog post describes shouldn’t ever happen in QB Online — the coding is all different and there is not much association between problems in Desktop and Online. In a sense, your data in QB Online is always being backed up. That is transparent to the user. The downside (to me, anyway) is that you can’t roll back to a prior version of your data. All you’ve got is your current stuff.

      Thanks for your comment.

  2. David and Shannon, the lack of backup, or rollback, as Shannon called it, is one of my pet peeves with QBO. I brought this up a few times with Intuit and their big supporters, and they never seemed to understand what my issue was. However, I believe that there is a third party app now that can give you this capacity.

  3. Pingback: YES: Verify Often. NO: Rebuild Often « QuickBooks and Your Business

  4. Makes me wonder about the future of QB if the files are so easily corrupted, and so difficult to repair!

  5. We are considering QBO. What exactly does “can’t roll back” mean? How much of your previous data can you actually access?

  6. Hi Heather,

    “Roll back” refers only to backups…you can’t revert your data back to the way it was a week ago, for instance. You are able to access all your previous data — that’s a different thing. Hope that helps clarify. Thanks for your question.

    • Hi Bill,

      That’s true. The point some of us were making, though, is that if you need to revert back a few days or weeks, there’s no restore point available with QBO. Thanks for your comment.

  7. Hello Shannon,
    I think I have an A/R problem similar to what you’ve discussed here. I create statements every month which include all billings and payments made during the month. Suddenly, this month the balance forward that its picking up is incorrect ( and are off by amounts that don’t make sense), the running balances are incorrect, but the total balance due on the statement is correct. I’m running QB Pro 11 desktop and of course have no support from Intuit. I should upgrade, but am now nervous about bringing these problems with me to the newer version. Any ideas?

    • Hi Mary,

      If you look at your AR aging report, you’ll probably see that the old aging buckets are way too high. That’s probably because old invoices have gotten unpaid.

      So you’d either have to fix those transactions manually, or restore your last good backup that was made before this problem got started in your data. Sorry no magic bullet!

      Thanks for your question.


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