QuickBooks disasters come in at least three flavors.

Scenario #1: System failure: A QuickBooks user has some kind of system catastrophe. A fire, a computer theft, a flood, a server hard drive crash and trash. The computer goes down and takes QuickBooks with it.

That is the time when current, reliable backups are more than handy — they are the lifeline to restoring your normal accounting and/or business operations. It’s true that my company can repair damaged QuickBooks files, but the cost is not insignificant. The best thing is just to have a good backup from, say, yesterday. How to avoid a QuickBooks disaster? Backup.

Scenario #2: Human failure: Your brother-in-law is pretty good with computers, you say. So he got on your computer, and trying to clean things up, ended up deleting your Quickbooks files. Or your just-fired bookkeeper sends you a message: he/she reformats your computer before he/she walks out the door. How to avoid a QuickBooks disaster? Backup. IT pros can maybe recover your files intact, or maybe not. Best thing is to have good current backups.

Note: Making backups seems to be one of my big themes; I hope you don’t tire of it. The reason I talk about it so much is because I have conversations almost every day with QuickBooks users who find themselves wishing they had more or better backups than they have. The fact that they don’t have them is good for my support business, but not much fun for my clients. FYI.

Scenario #3: Accounting control failure: QuickBooks has the reputation of being pretty easy for non-accountants to use. That’s a double-edged sword: it gives people in small business the power to do their own books, but in the wrong hands, it also gives an avenue to embezzle money. This is especially true in businesses where one individual is responsible for everything related to the books.

A lady in my town was convicted a couple of years ago of defrauding the construction company she worked for out of several tens of thousands of dollars, and that was their scenario. How to avoid a QuickBooks disaster? Have more than one person involved in the bookkeeping, and have your books audited. There is a lot more to say about this; consult your local CPA.

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9 thoughts on “Three QuickBooks failures, and how to avoid them

  1. New to QB forum, i had a system crash, i loaded QB Pro 2009 on new computer and tried to re-create company on new pc using my backup. the info comes up ok but i can’t save it to the hard drive. trying to find forum to solve this problem. Also QB says i have 11 days left to register my program. can i just re-register online?

  2. You’d think people who has used QB for YEARS would finally learn or know to make backups!

    That’s often NOT the case and there’s almost nothing that you can do!
    IF you have an older QB file, you may ‘salvage’ something.
    If not, just start over and tell those clients to buy an external drive and make [daily] backups!
    Yes, LECTURE those clients, even the OLD clients!
    Lecture, lecture, LECTURE… MAKE BACKUPS!

  3. What’s missing here is the fourth (and only true) disaster – using Quickbooks Online and Quickbooks Online being down when payroll liabilities are due.

    Quickbooks Online was down for quite some time i. e. yesterday, October 28, 2015.

    Is there anything that can be done in such a case but waiting?

  4. Everyone should note also, that you should BACKUP to another source OTHER than your computer!! ie, USB drive and keep it in a secure, fireproof location. if your computer goes south, your backup goes south along with it if your backup is kept on the computer!!!

    • Ricky,

      I totally agree, although I would suggest that the backup be made to the local hard drive (C:), and then the backup copied through Windows to the USB drive. Or maybe better yet, backup to your local drive and configure a cloud-based backup to automatically upload those backups to your cloud backup account. Sometimes when people backup directly to the USB drive, the backup doesn’t get made properly, presumably because the data transfer speed to the USB stick isn’t fast enough.

      But yes, you’ve gotta get that backup off your computer to be safe! Thanks for the comment.


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