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QuickBooks Tips Blog

Look Under QuickBooks' Hood Now, Don't Go Nuts Later

Posted by Joe Mazur on Nov 14, 2014 7:00:00 AM

Performing some routine maintenance on your QuickBooks company file might save some major time and loads of money down the road.  Ignoring pesky corrupt file warnings and incomplete rebuild errors might mean there is a deep rooted issue that can really screw you at any given time.  QuickBooks has been around for 20 years now and dozens of versions, releases, updates, etc. have been rolled out.  A QuickBooks Enterprise technician told me that it's like taking care of your car.  Routine maintenance is great, but every 100,000 miles a few extra steps are needed for keeping the car healthy, and this is the same for QuickBooks.

Don't Ignore Error Messages

quickbooks errors v2I've seen some long time users of QuickBooks run in to some odd situations caused by upgrades or updates they may have done several years ago in a different type of QuickBooks from what they run now.  A client from a few years ago ignored an Incomplete Rebuild message for several months and then was hit by a major bug in QB where 300 of their inventory items were rebuilt as Services and could not be changed back.  This screwed up a lot of their data for the prior 16 years.  The first proposal to fix this from a QB recommended company was around $10,500.  The solution ended up being hiring a data entry expert and having them work off hours so the office could still function during normal business hours.  Not fun for anyone.  

For example, almost any error that has a -6000 could mean trouble is on the horizon.  Ever see 'Error -6000, -83' and different languages start popping up in QB?  Trust me, you don't want to.  How about 'Error -600,-304'?  That means your computer is pretty close to locking up until your delete stuff in safe mode.  Really sucks.

If the Incomplete Rebuild error message was handled right away, the time, money, and stress all would have been saved.  Moral of the story is to the stop everything if an error occurs and perform a routine Verify and Rebuild of the data.  

Get Professional Help

There are several QB forums on error messages.  Either read up on your errors or contact some like us, a Pro Advisor, that has access to several QuickBooks resources that most users don't.

QuickBooks Pro Advisors have the ability to talk to high level QuickBooks technicians in a matter of minutes.  Having two experts diagnose and solve your error messages should happen quickly and accurately otherwise the problem could only get worse.  Also, make sure to have the most recent QuickBooks Diagnostic Tool downloaded.  This tool could be the answer to your problems if minor enough.  

Since the scenarios for errors within QuickBooks is in the hundreds or thousands, it sometimes takes some head scratching to find out the best solution for your company so make sure all ideas are heard and discussed.  Sometimes the time spent initially on the problem solving can save major time and money once it is all fixed.

Make It A Good Habit

Each quarter set a reminder on your calendar to do both a Verify and Rebuild.  I prefer to do both even though it's a little redundant. You can't ever be too safe with this stuff.  Follow these steps in QuickBooks:

File>Utilities>Verify Data and File>Utilities>Rebuild Data

Another client caught an error early on in a customer's credit card info and saved the file from becoming severely damaged all because they acted on it as soon as the verify error message occurred.


Lastly, backup QB as much as you can possibly tolerate. This solves two problems. One, if you backup QuickBooks in single user mode it automatically verifies the data for you if you leave the option on. Secondly, you have a starting point if you do run into an unrecoverable error. Not backing up and getting destroyed by an error really sucks when you have to revert to a super old back up and retrace your steps.   Backups should be happening almost daily and being backed up to somewhere in the cloud, thumb drive, remote server, etc.  

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Topics: QuickBooks Versions, QuickBooks Best Practices, Small Business Consulting