Customer Balance Message
Case Study: A client called saying, "I keep getting a message telling me that a customer should have an open invoice but I can't find the invoice or the customer in QuickBooks." While this may not be the typical case, it is a good example of another form of 'list damage' that has plagued QuickBooks for a long time.
There are at least three reasons you may see this message.
- You have more than one Accounts Receivable account and the customer has had an open invoice posted to an A/R account other than the one you are viewing. This may occur if you created several different A/R accounts (trade receivables, intercompany receivables, due from employees, due from shareholders, etc.). I have seen instances of where an A/R account has been made ‘inactive’ even when there are outstanding receivables against it, then when someone attempts to ‘receive payments’ they can’t find the outstanding invoice.
- If you have selected a job when attempting to record a payment for the customer, the invoice maybe listed under a different job (sub—customer). You must always insure that you are applying invoices and payments under both the appropriate customer:job record and the appropriate A/R account.
- While number 1 and 2 above are the most common cause for the display of this message there is another cause, “data corruption". One typical symptom of corrupted data occurs when not all of your records can be found or retrieved, in other words you have missing transactions. Sometimes invoices (or other transactions) just seem to be ‘missing’ from your data. An example of this is when an Open Invoice does not show up in the receive payments window. You are absolutely certain that you entered a specific invoice, but when you look, you cannot find it. It may or may not appear in the Customer’s balance, or on some reports, but at the same time it is included in other reports. Only when the problem seems to grow to a significant extent might you get this QuickBooks message.
- While this message is intended for Users who have more than one Accounts Receivable account, and properly displays when they do, if you do not, and have never had, more than a single Accounts Receivable account, it is a clear indicator that you have data corruption, perhaps to the extent that your file can not be successfully recovered. What is worse, if like many QuickBooks Users, who routinely go about their business by checking the “Do not display this message in the future” when this message first appears, and simply re-enter an otherwise missing invoice, the problem may not be encountered until there has been significant duplication of data, which remains hidden from view due to corruption, and further compounds the compromise of overall data-file integrity.
Data Corruption Repair steps:
One common form of data corruption that produces these results is a ‘rebuilt name’. Sometimes QuickBooks will ‘misplace’ the type of name and its associated list type if data corruption associated with the name can be resolved by the Rebuild Utility. Even though Rebuild will resolve some forms of damage, in these cases the association of the name is lost during the repair process.
If you are absolutely certain that invoices should exist for a customer but the customer isn’t in the customer list, look for the customer in the ‘Other Names’ list. Don’t be alarmed if they are still not listed in that list either.
- Access the Master Names list and resort it, if you are unclear on how to do this see our article QuickBooks List Damage – Part 2.
- Close and then reopen QuickBooks.
- Now check for any names that have been rebuilt, you may now find them listed under the ‘Other Names’ list. Looks for a number (rather than a name) followed by [Rebuilt].
- Open and examine the details of this rebuilt name checking for ‘matching data’ that is associated with your missing customer. When there is only one missing customer this usually will be easily ‘matched’ to the specific customer using the address, telephone or other contact information; however, if you have several missing customer records it can be more complicated.
- Once you are certain that the ‘rebuilt name’ is your missing customer, you can move the name to the ‘Customer list’, to do so:
- In the other names list, double-click the name you want to change; this will be the [rebuilt] name.
- In the Edit Name window, click Change type.
- Select Customer
- Click OK
- Click OK again to confirm that you want to make this change.
Now that your rebuilt name is back in the customer list, you can edit the name to actually identify your customer. Your restored Customer name should now ‘match-up’ to the prior history; however in the event it does not, run the Rebuild Utility (do not skip the ‘back-up’ at the start of Rebuild).
In many cases these steps will resolve this form of data corruption, if it fails to do so, you may need to seek either professional file repair services or restore a recent back-up before the data corruption and re-enter transactions since the date of that back-up.