Condense File - Accounting Software Secrets
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Condense File

Condense File

QuickBooks Tips and Tricks – Condensing the Data File

Ask the Expert

Q. At this time of year, some accountants like to encourage clients to condense the QuickBooks file. What are the pros and cons of this procedure?

A. It is the opinion of this author that this option does not need to be done every year. The “condense data” option will reduce the QuickBooks data file size by deleting cleared, completed, and reconciled transactions up to a specific date and replacing them with one journal entry for the month. This means that all of the customer:job, vendor, audit trail, and class information is removed with only the general ledger account and the summary amount remaining. Any transaction that has not been completed (i.e. an invoice which has not been paid in full, a bill payment which has a partial amount still due on a bill, etc.) will not be condensed. It is recommended that several years not be condensed to make comparative detail reports easier. For many QuickBooks files with limited transactions it may not be necessary to use this feature for many years. To calculate how quickly a QuickBooks file will grow without condensing, see the archive newsletter article Outgrowing QuickBooks.

The first step is to make sure that all the data has been reviewed to ensure that there are not any small amounts still remaining that need to be corrected. An example would be a customer that short-paid an invoice by a penny. A credit memo was entered to clear the amount due, but the two transactions were not linked together. By not completing this final step, all of the deposit from the receive payment for that invoice will not be condensed, for that reason the receive payments for all of the transaction on that deposit will not be condensed, and therefore, none of the effected invoices will be condensed. It is easy to see how this little penny could be a big problem.

This option was changed with version 2002. In the past, the condense option was File > Utilities > Condense data. Now with 2002 there are two choices, the condense option as was available in the older versions and a new choice, remove all transactions. The later choice preserves the lists, preferences, and subscriptions in the file but eliminates all the transactions. On the older versions, the most efficient way to create a new file without any transactions was to export the lists, import them into the new file, set the preferences again, and work with Intuit to transfer the subscriptions to the new file.

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