Does your QuickBooks™ seem to be slowing down? Does it take a long time to log in, search data or run reports? Over time, the QuickBooks™ file will get bigger as it will contain more and more data, and the bigger the file, the longer it will take to perform any operation. A large file may also have some data inconsistencies. Thankfully, QuickBooks™ does offer some relief. There are utilities to Rebuild and Condense the file. The result can be a tremendous improvement in performance.

How to Rebuild and Condense the QuickBooks™ file in 6 steps

While any user with administrative rights can run these utilities, it is important to approach the exercise with caution. Here are the 6 steps we recommend:

Step #1: Plan 

No one will be able to access QuickBooks™ when the utilities are running. Depending on the file size and transaction volume, this can take hours. In rare cases, this can take days. Plan to perform during a slow time for QuickBooks™ usage.

Step #2: Verify Data 

The Verify utility is a litmus test for your data. It may indicate an issue that cannot be resolved by another utility and may need to be escalated to a QuickBooks™ professional.

Step #3: Verify Environment 

In order to run the utilities, you may need a large amount of disk space. The utilities will create data file backups and temporary files during the process. Confirm there are no server time-outs or scheduled reboots that might interrupt the utilities.

Step #4: Export Reports 

Run the Profit & Loss, Balance Sheet, Open Invoices and Unpaid Bills reports. These provided a baseline for validating data after the utility has run.

Step #5: Rebuild & Condense 

Run utilities for rebuilding and condensing the data file. The condense utility will summarize data for a period of time specified. For example, if you have been using QuickBooks™ since 2010, choose to summarize the first 5 years of data or the first 7 years. For a large file, it may be best to run the utility multiple times, summarizing a few years of data with each pass.

Step #6: Validate 

Export the same reports you exported in step #4 and compare. The reports should match, and you are ready to resume operations. If there are discrepancies, restore the backup and consult a QuickBooks™ professional.

Final thoughts

Hopefully your Rebuild and Condense was successful, and your QuickBooks™ is running better than ever. You may even consider adding this process to a regular maintenance schedule. By running this utility annually or semi-annually, you can keep your QuickBooks™ file in good health and minimize the scheduling impact of running the utility.

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Shelly Bitter is a Software Consulting Manager in Moore Colson’s Corporate Accounting Practice. She provides support to our clients wherever software expertise is required. Typical projects include system requirements analysis, software and vendor selection assistance, project management and report design.

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