In fact, if your QuickBooks data file is like many I have seen over the years, it is chock full of duplicate listings. This is especially true if you are a heavy user of online banking in QuickBooks and download your transactions.
Keep in mind that the more duplicates you have in these lists, the more you have to sort through them when scrolling to find the desired customer or vendor for a transaction.Every extra scroll you have to make adds up over the course of a year - more scrolling equals less vacation time for you!
A little housekeeping may be in order to tidy up your lists and make them more user-friendly. Let me explain how to make the duplicates disappear:
- Your first choice in this situation would be to try and delete the unwanted customer or vendor directly from the list. If there is no activity associated with their account, QuickBooks will quickly and easily let you delete the duplicate entry. No harm done in that case.
But what if you can't delete the entry?
- You could certainly consider the idea of making the customer or vendor inactive. Simply choose the targeted listing, right click on it, and select "Make Inactive". However, keep in mind that even inactive names count toward your list limits in QuickBooks.
A Better Solution - Merge Them
Under the assumption that the duplicate names are really the same entity, QuickBooks has the ability to "merge" the names together.
Here is an example:
Let's say that I have a customer in my customer list called A B C Co. and also a customer called ABC Company. In reviewing the details of both accounts, I see that they are indeed the same entity. I don't know why two listings were created for them, but that doesn't matter at this stage.
I prefer to have the customer ABC Company remain in my list after the merge is done (although I could just as easily choose A B C Co. as the name to remain in the list).
So, here's what I do:
- I go to the account that I want to remove/merge out of - in this case, the account called A B C Co and right click on it. I then choose Edit Customer: Job
- I then go to the top box in the customer account, remove what is there leaving everything else below it, and then type in ABC Company. You must type the exact listing in this box of the name of the account you are merging into - in this case, I have chosen to merge into the ABC Company account.
- Once I click on OK, I then get the following notice from QuickBooks - if you don't see this box, it means you have not typed in the name EXACTLY as it appears in the account you are merging into (including spaces, dots, dashes, etc.):
- At this stage, I would click on Yes, meaning I want to merge them together. Once that process is done, I will only have one listing in my customer list called ABC Company!
- The merge process can NOT be undone. Once it is completed, the histories of both accounts will merge together into the "surviving" account. The only way to undo this is to restore from a backup file, so be sure this is an action you want to take.
- The merge process must be done in single user mode.
- You have to merge one account at a time. There is no capability to do a "mass merge" within QuickBooks.
This process is really easy once you have done it once. It is a great tool to have available to keep your lists free of duplicate names.
QuickBooks making you crazy?
Scott Gregory is a specialist with QuickBooks Pro, Premier and Enterprise. Connect with Scott at Bottom Line Accounting Solutions today!