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Does QuickBooks Bug You?

While QuickBooks is a widely used and popular program that has been around for quite awhile, there are a number of “issues” that cause people problems. “Bugs”, if you will.  I would like to try something here. Leave a comment that briefly describes a bug that is causing you problems. Let’s see if there are some big ones that affect a lot of people, and maybe we can draw some attention to them at Intuit.

I hate to use the word “bugs”, because that is so generic (besides, I’m a programmer, I hate “bugs”). Sticky points, annoyances, hear-tearers, design flaws, shortcomings. In one prior company I owned we called them “floobies” rather than say that we had bugs. No matter what you call them, they hurt your business and we all want to see them go away.

At this time I’m focusing on things that don’t work the way they should. That leaves out “design flaws” for example. Do you need LIFO inventory accounting? That isn’t a bug, it is a design flaw. The program works the way they designed it. If there is interest, maybe later I’ll run a survey on that kind of thing. But, even it if is a “design flaw” where QB does something on purpose, if it is something that really interferes with your business flow, go ahead and add that.

So, what is bugging you about QuickBooks?

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  • The only true bug I know about is that the Inventory Valuation Summary report will eventually crash QB if you use a date range other than “All”. Intuit’s said they hope to fix that in future releases.

    Design flaws that bug me? Don’t get me start. Oh, I already started here

    It’s hard to pick just one, but:

    “I want to export to CSV and have it appear in Excel automatically and unsaved just like when I export directly to Excel. The CSV will not have the formatting and blank columns.”

    Would probably impact me the most.

  • I have come across this bug in Client Data Review. In the Undeposited Funds section of Clients Data Review, it shows six customer accounts that each have a deposit the is unapplied. There is nothing on the right side of that page to apply the deposit to. Yet in the COA the Undeposited Funds account has a zero balance and, it so happens, that each of those customers also have zero balances when you call up their accounts in the customer center. Doubled checked and all dates for invoices and payments are within the reporting period I am reviewing. Tech support at Intuit connected to my file and verified what I just listed. At this time this “bug” has been escalated up at Intuit.

  • Ahhh Charlie you should not have opened that bag of worms.
    1. Sales Tax Group have a rounding error on some transactions.
    2. Chart of accounts – Credit card is not a liability, bank account is not an asset (cannot be listed under those accounts)
    3. Report generator is so basic as to be funny.
    4. You cannot link accumulated depreciation to the fixed asset it applies to.
    5. When you sell a fixed asset it is not removed from the fixed asset list.
    6. There should be a one button or menu choice to roll up equity at EOY.
    7. Graphs share the basic functionality of the report generator.
    8. No control over what accounts are displayed in the account list open on the home page.
    9. There should be an option to flag an invoice as being a recurring transaction.

  • In the 2010 Pro version, on the customize icon bar, the user license icon shows up. I’ve deleted it, I’ve moved it to the bottom, and the next time I open the program, there it is. I should be able to have my program how I want it – especially the customize icon bar.

  • Would you also be interested in “bugs” in the Aus version of QB? The guys down under inherit the limitations of the US version of QB.

  • I just discovered the ability to export reports in CSV format. Has that feature been there all along?

  • 1) The written support is not helpful. Not even the book I bought by Kathy Ivens for QB 2009.
    2) When I imported Quicken data into QB a year ago, the banking records were so messed up, I ended up using Quicken for our banking.
    3) So what I use QB Pro for is to track our monthly customer bills. I set it up a year ago so the 2 bills we send, Water and Homeowners Dues, were co-mingled. Then it became hard to look at a customer and figure out just what they owed for one or the other account.
    4) So as of Jan 1 2010 I wanted to start a new “company”, import all the customers, and have 2 separate companies for Water and Homeowners. But try as I might, I could not get a new company to import my customer list so I stayed with the old system, with the 2 separate companies comingled.
    It is all very frustrating. But on the positive side, the program does the one big job I need it to, which is to generate the bills for Water and Homeowners and to print them all out in the form I need for an envelope with a window.

  • Ah are a BRAVE man….We have over 4000 inventory items that we need to look up frequently, change the cost on just about every shipment we receive, etc…..BUT, if I want to look up an inventory item (ex. LS00765), the best I get is the first letter (ex.L) and then have to scroll till you find it. One semi-helpful, but quirky “feature” is that if you type the first TWO digits REALLY, REALLY fast, it will jump to the first two digits (ex. LS), and then you have to scroll…I haven’t been fast enough to type in THREE digits really fast ;-(.

    Short version, the item list should be able to be accessed directly by typing in the item number (predictive typing).

    #2 To change inventory count, you must go into “Adjust Inventory” where you can ONLY adjust qty (and thereby Valuation) but not cost; to adjust cost, you must Edit the item record, but you CANNOT adjust the quantity in EDIT.

    Overall, I find QB not very user friendly…yes, I can eventually accomplish MOST of what I need to do, but at a cost of 3 to 10 times the effort(and help from the Community)

    Now the Payroll is a shining star in this mess…it WORKS, gives me what I need, reports, tracks liability..I LOVE the Payroll module!!!! Thx Charlie!!!

  • I wish there was a way to track Loans Receivable and book interest on them automatically. The Loan manager module for loans payable is difficult to set up and use.

  • When I import a list to a new company, I always “lose” a few items or customers, etc. Where did they go?

    Most reports automatically come up with “amount” and “balance”. Most accounting type people would rather see “debit” “credit” and “balance”. I understand that Intuit cannot please everyone, but I assume that it is mostly bookkeeper and accounting type folks that use QB.

  • It would be nice to have some more date controls — like locking down just accounts payable or accounts receivable.

    A better 3 way match would be nice to. One that didn’t push all of your transactions to the bill date, but kept the date of the receipt separate.

  • Wow, where to begin?

    One major problem I am having is every month we close out the prior month with our accountant, what we are discovering is that within a months time, the Balance Sheet is out of balance. The first time I discovered this, back in February, the general consensus was to rebuild your data. So far, this has worked every time. But I would like to know why it is happening at all.

    I would really like to be able to archive prior years to minimize the size of our active data but have yet to get that “Feature” to work. I have data back to 2004 and my company file is over 300 meg (which is probably part of the reason for the balance sheet problem)

    Some type of SQL feature in the reporting area so that I can pull reports with Where Product LIKE ‘1f%’ and Product Not LIKE ‘%-3000’ (so basically, list all parts starting with 1f but do not have the -3000 suffix) without having to go through the multiple selection screen and hunt them down.
    If it wasn’t for the export to excel feature, this entire area of quickbooks would be useless.

    Better address handling for pulling reports based on location. No matter how much I’ve tried, there are certain countries that I just can’t get quickbooks to find in a report. I currently went around this problem with a custom field.

    Give us an area on the home screen that we can put favorites in. Instead, Quickbooks decides to move icons off the home screen (build assemblies for one) and ad their advertisements for features I don’t want. Give us an area where a user can put their icons for easy access to what they do daily.

    I’m going to stop now, I could fill up the internet on the subject of Quickbooks Annoyances.

  • One “bug” that I have encountered with QuickBooks Enterprise 10.0 is when using the online banking feature, for some reason, not all of our transactions out of Bank of America gets received. It seems to happen completely randomly, it can happen to any transaction from large to small amounts; no certain payee is more prone to their transactions not getting received. I would say about 6% of 7% of my transactions do not get received, and I have no clue as to why?

  • What fun!
    1. As someone else has pointed out–reports and account registers should use debit/credit wording, not increase/decrease etc. I get confused!
    2. Many of my clients want to use customer numbers.
    3. I’d like to be able to have the bank rec report default to detail. I never want to print both.
    4. Joe Woodard (QB guru) once pointed out that QB should have an extra day or a ‘non day’ at year end to be able to view a clean close of the prior period (might be a design flaw, sorry).

  • @Sherry Williams: Have you tried simply setting up 2 separate A/R accounts — one for homeowners and one for water? When doing this, QB adds an A/R drop-down to invoice forms and payment forms, so you can keep different types of transactions separate and perform a collections report (for example) for only one of the A/R accounts. Probably a better solution than 2 companies.

    @Gourdfather & Charlie May: I would also find the ability to do “predictive typing” in the item list (although I CAN type fast enough to get 3-5 letters in!) — and ESPECIALLY the ability to do exclusions & partial matches from finds & filters. I can’t tell you how often, for example, that I want to do a report of items with “xyz” “somewhere in the part number” or find all of something EXCEPT those that match “xyz”.

    Something not mentioned yet: in Enterprise 7, the “Sales Order Fulfillment Worksheet” *would* be a wonderful tool, except is absolutely useless because of the lack of a “INVOICE SELECTED” button — instead they only let us print the selected sales orders. What good is that??? Why would I select open sales orders for fulfillment if I wasn’t going to fulfill them? If they have fixed this oversight, they’ve never mentioned it in their sales copy.

    Finally, let me add/remove “centers” from the Navigation Icon Bar. I don’t want the whole bar turned off, but why do other employees need the Employee Center? And I always pull reports from the report menu, so I ONLY want Customer & Vendor Center buttons visible to save space!

  • There’s currently no issues driving me nuts in QB, but QBPOS: We installed POS in Jan 2007. In March (after many long conversations with India) we had a problem no one has been able to fix. Two transactions got tangled up with each other, one payment was lost, and the other was unlinked. No matter what upgrades or patches have been applied, that error still shows up on my daily crossload to QB.

    What do you know?

  • The way QB does not include invoices that have been entirely paid with credit memos on the bill payment stubs makes it difficult for vendors to know that you are paying these invoices with credits even if there are other invoices being paid with the same ck. It would be nice if there was a report that would show which ck or credit memo paid each invoice.

  • Depending on the way I build a report, I have been having trouble getting Assets to equal Liabilities+Equity. The Inventory account is consistenly wrong if I run the report for a period, as in Jan 1 to Dec 31. If I change the parameter to ‘Yearly’ or Quarterly’ A=L+E will be in balance.

    That is with no adjustmets entered. It is always the inventory account that throughs it off.

  • 1. Cannot input “piece work” in “Time Sheet” mode
    2. Estimating thru job creation is cumbersome and poorly documented.
    3. There is a issue with creating an “Accountants copy” over a network.

  • I know I could come up with dozens, Charlie, but 2 stand out that bug me when I am doing extensive clean-ups for clients:

    1. The need to undo bank reconciliations all the way back to the month when I make a change to a transcation and then re-reconcile all over again. I HATE this!

    2. Limitations on what I can do in an Accountant’s Copy, especially inability to enter/edit banking transfers and inability to use some of the Client Review cleanup tools and have the transactions post to the client’s company file.

    And while I’m on Client review, I like the new reclassifiaction tool, but what about allowing reclasses from expense accounts to balance sheet accounts (for example when client has incorrectly recorded a loan payment as an expense).

  • Does QuickBooks bug me? No, not really. But Intuit sure does 🙂

    Forcing developers from the SDK to Flex on “the cloud” through the strong-arm tactic of freezing the SDK is [insert your favorite explicative here] frustrating.

  • I wish we could E-file 1099’s. In the meantime I wish the 1099’s would print the 2nd form on each page correctly instead of printing too low so it doesn’t fit in the window correctly. I did buy some other software 2 years ago to file electroncally but it was a hassle. This 1099 “fix” is not even on the Intuit radar. Dang. Otherwise, I love QuickBooks!

  • I’m with Cheryl on wanting to enter more than one A/P or A/R account on a transaction (Gen Journal, Bill, Check, etc). Usually its not because I actually need to split an entry into multiple AR/AP accounts, but rather need to split an entry among several customers or vendors (ie entering the appropriate amount for each customer as its own line item on a single transaction). Happens frequently!

    @Renee: have you ruled out a corrupt data file by rebuilding? Personally, I’ve experienced the same types of issues periodically and they’ve always fixed themselves via a rebuild.

  • When modifying reports, there are many options that show up as possible columns, that don’t pull any information. Wouldn’t it be nice if they would only list RELEVANT columns?

  • For whatever reason….When I try to email the invoice from the send invoice, QB either takes forever to go thru or shuts down. Any suggestions?????

    • Sorry, Diahann, that isn’t enough info to help. But even if I had all the detailed info, there are many different reasons for this. Hard to say what is going on without seeing the actual system. If it is a 64 bit system and a current (2009 or 2010) release, you may have PDF driver problems. Other than that, a long list of possibilities.

  • I am using 2009 Pro – 3 user –
    One of the users’ QB program shuts down after about 30 minutes if not used. The main one does not and the other secondary neither. All three computers are the same. Vista 64.
    Where is the bug???

    • Gabriel, I’ve seen reports of that happening, but I’ve never seen a solution (and I have never had it happen to me, so I don’t have first hand experience).

  • Hi Charlie, I just wanted to express my interest in your idea of discussing design flaws. I think my problem might fall under that category more than a ‘bug’ but I think it is a major shortcoming that you can not customize customer statments. I ended up creating on on Excel because the QB one is so unadaptable. Thank you, Robin

  • Hi Charlie,

    Interesting post as always.

    A simple quirk I wish Intuit would address; In the customer address field it automatically inserts a comma between the city and state. The postal service specifically recommends to no longer include commas or .periods for that matter, when sending correspondence.


  • Just ran across a “bug” that I haven’t seen anyone discussing maybe it’s just me. When I use the company data review in Accountants Edition 2010 and try to apply unapplied customer payments, QB shuts down with a fatal error as soon as I click Save or Save & Close. Anyone else have this problem or know what might be happening? I have rebuilt company file, etc, but it keeps happening.

  • Just took a shot at this on my other computer running Windows XP and it worked I guess chalk this up to ANOTHER Vista 64-bit issue? If I had Vista 32-bit I would try it there as well.

  • We have QB2009 and have recently installed QB POS 9 (upgrade from a previous version.) We have a new issue with cash sales. When cash sales are sent to QB2009, the cash sales are showing up in the “Cash in Drawer” account, labeled as “Undeposited Funds.” But when we create a bank deposit, these funds do not show up. We have to do a journal entry to correct this, every day. This is new since our upgrade to QB POS 9.0. Any suggestions?

    • Eugene, I would have to have a lot more information to be able to say anything about that. Hard to answer without having hands on the system and seeing how you are entering cash sales, how your preferences are set up, and so forth.

  • @Deb – I’m with you on applying credit memos to bills. The credit memos being applied to the bills you are paying need to be shown on the payment stub.

    The main issue I have with QuickBooks is posting dates. I think someone already brought this up. If you have a bill that is dated in December and you post it in January, it posts to December, which screws up your financial statements. You should be able to post a transaction in the current period (month, year, etc.) for a prior period so you don’t change financial statements that have already been submitted.

  • I’d handle the inventory/COGS transaction by factoring the dollar amount of sales. E.g. sales price ($100) / 1.667 (40% margin) giving $59.99 transferred from inventory to COGS. It’s that simple. I could do it manually if I could disable the averaging.

  • I am new to the 2009 contractor edition, so far my biggest frustation has to do with the Invoice for Time & Expenses Screen.
    1st – The only way to get this onto paper is to hit the print screen button & paste into Microsoft Photo Editor… Continuing this process of copy & paste until all customers have been copied
    2nd – In single user mode – I can see Time, Mileage and Expenses – in multiple user mode it shows only the Time & Expenses.

  • If Intuit would make it easier to make forms! If I could just make a custom forms for entering data (with drop down menus and radio buttons, which allow me to enter custom options). Then allow me to put those customer items onto a printed invoice.
    Inventory. Make is easier to import data into inventory from multiple vendor formats. Give me a template that I can always import data with fields that we can modify to meet our needs.
    FYI Very good web site. Thanks for the support on Quickbooks! Please keep this site current and updated!

  • Oh yes it bugs me – almost every day – but I still think its a great value. It enables me as a non-accountant/non-bookkeeper to handle 99% of our accounting/bookkeeping work in house.

    Probably the thing that bugs me the most is the inability to do line item level tracking for payments and discounts against invoices. I would love to be able to apply partial payments against specific items in an invoice, and I would love to be able to apply discounts/credits to specific items in an invoice. From the report generation side if a discount/credit is recorded along with a payment on an invoice, an item detail report will actually show two items for every actual item sold. One item for the sales amount minus the discount and then the same item again with the item discount amount. For the reporting that we do for royalties to our vendors and commissions to our account managers, we have export to excel and then manually go through and clean up all of these instances.

  • we are running windows 7, having moved up from vista. have managed to install quickbooks (running 07-08 quickbooks pro) via the program compatability on win 7. however i cant email from QB as my email on win 7 is windows live mail. went into preferences/send forms in QB to change the pref to the quickbooks email, but there is NO email option in the send forms tab to change. Can anyone please help?

    • Pam, the Australian versions of QuickBooks may run differently than what I talk about here – I focus on the US editions. With the US edition you would be out of luck, as it won’t support Windows Live Mail. Only Outlook or the Intuit email server (not sure if your version would have that) – and some years of product support some other variations of Microsoft products, but never Windows Live Mail.

  • Leigh,

    Tip on emailing forms. If your using the QB send forms, the company preferences has a bcc field you can set for sending forms. In the company preferences, enter your email address into the bcc field for any form you wish to get a copy of. Then when you email the form a copy will automatically be sent to you. I have a filter set up in my email client that automatically puts these in there own folder. Then whenever a question comes up I can go directly to that folder and find out what was sent.


  • No matter how often I set the preference so that I don’t have to save an invoice before printing, it still pops up the box to save before printing. It’s driving everyone in the office nuts, because we print LOTS of invoices every day.

    QB Premier 2010

  • WHere I work we make assemblies involving different sub-components. When I build assemblies in quickbooks it seems like the subcomponents are not being pulled from inventory.

    That is to say I can build 300 pieces of “Assembly A”, but 300 pieces of components 1 and 2 are still in inventory in quickbooks.

    Does anyone have any idea why?

    • Andy, what QB year/edition/nationality are you using? Are you actully issuing a “build” transaction, as oppossed to just selling the item?

  • hi charlie i’m using QB PRO2010,
    the 1st problem i have id adding inventory items less then $10, lets say i have an item that costs $2 then i get a error saying its more than the maximum allowed,how can this be possible.
    Secondly another problem is when exchanging data with POS 8.0 I get errors on all transactions & customers. The common error is that there is an invalid character & the amount is invalid. I have tried to import the inventory to QBooks but then i get that error I mentioned as the 1st problem……PLS HELP I AM GOING INSANE….THX

    • Chrissie, I can’t debug that kind of thing in a blog comment, but it might have something to do with the multiple currency feature IF you are using that. And I can’t help with POS, I don’t work with that.

  • I’d like to see a LARGER view of the document I’m typing. Seeing only 2″ on the screen of the Estimate or Invoice is soooo frustrating. I know I can see the entire document in’Print Preview’, but I cannot edit.

  • Regarding credit memos. I wish that a credit memo could be applied to a customer and then applied across various jobs under that customer, the way a payment can.

  • QB 2010 Sales Tax Liability report – cash basis is using invoice dates. Cash basis should be using payment dates. I proved it to QB support last week. Finally got them convinced to escalate it to software development…but no guarantee they will fix it. So I’ve been reporting my sales tax wrong from the beginning. And since I get partial, and early and late payments all the time for invoices (brides are fickle), it’s a stinker to do sales tax manually since I can’t rely on the integrity of that report. Hate to think what it’s going to take when my business really takes off.

  • QBPRO2010 Export Customer Data to Excel. I need to clean up misconfigured billing and shipping addresses and want to do this in Excel, but without having to edit each individual cell. Can I export customer data as as space-delimited file so that it separates each word into a separate cell?

  • I downloaded R4 PATCH for my quickbooks enterprise v. 11 yesterday and it affected my company file.and i called quickbooks tech support and ive learned that there was a glitch in the patch can i resolve the issue?

  • I also am having problems with sales tax in cash basis. Quickbooks should be reporting on payment date. Not invoice date. As a work around I change the invoice date to match payment date.

    When will Quickbooks ever get this simple mess fixed??

    • I totally agree with Tim – QB should report sales tax on the invoice date, not the paid date. I think they assume that on a cash basis, the income would not be reported until paid so in a way it makes sense but is a pain.

  • i am trying to exchange data from qbpos2009 with qb pr2008. when the update is finished, the balances on my customers are negative. this is a problem because i need to write letters of demand to customers who are owing but can not because qp gives incorrect balances.

    when i checked the activity log i realised that all the receipts could not be sent to quickbooks because the is an ‘INVALID QUICK BOOKS TAX ELEMENT “”. I have tried to follow the instructions on how to correct this but i can not.
    please help…. urgently

  • I’m currently in a real mess. I waited until R6 was out before upgrading to Ver 11. As per experience, I made sure I did a solid verify and rebuild before upgrading. All went well for about a month, when we discovered that numerous customers accounts were getting trashed after entering in payments. The payment transaction INCREASED (!!) the amount of some invoices, and left huge credits on the customers account. Verify turned up thousands of errors, all identified as, according to Intuit tech support, missing links and orphaned transactions. The solution: do a rebuild. Problem: numerous attempts to rebuild have all failed. The routine crashes out each time at around 65%.

    After numerous tech support sessions, it was concluded that we need to send the file to Intuit to handle the rebuild. I did this Friday. As the file was being uploaded, the tech informed me there would be a $750 fee for the ‘expedited’ service. I have a real problem with this, because after doing some searching around I’ve found our problems symptoms were being experienced by many other users.

    So to my question – are you aware of any significant problems that Intuit is simply unwilling to acknowledge along these lines? If so, how do they have the gall to try and charge me to fix this carnage caused by programing flaws? I’ve been a QuickBooks user for close to twenty years, and this is really throwing me for a loop. Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

    • Richard, I’m not aware of this as being a problem, which doesn’t mean that there isn’t one there. I’ve not seen this, other than in files that had some damage prior to the upgrade. There are a number of things that are very sensitive, and a lot of people have older files that may be damaged.

      Yes, if you send your file to Intuit Data Services, there is a charge. That is the way they work.

      I generally recommend that people deal with QBorNotQB ( when trying to clean up damaged data. They are usually faster and more accurate, and often cheaper. But again, there is a fee for that service.

  • Here is one that drives us nuts… When creating an estimate if you enter a cost and a mark up, then change the qty the total does not match the each price (times) the qty. It is normally off by just a few pennies. It’s so annoying on large quotes to have to go through and double check everything with a calculator. Intuit claims it’s the way it should be, but I can’t see how anyone would want it this way…

  • How can i get a supplier bill entry page to allow me to have an option for invoice date AND posting date? Am i missing something as i cannot find an option to enable it anywhere:-

    • A “Bill” in QuickBooks is a single transaction, and all transactions like this have one effective date. That is a significant issue in QB in this case, if you are receiving items you want the date to be the date of receipt so that you can use the items. Don’t change the date to the invoice date later on because that can cause problems.

      QuickBooks Enterprise has “Enhanced Inventory Receiving” that splits the transaction into a receipt and a bill, two transactions, but that has many flaws. See