A reader, we will call her ‘Virginia’ (as in the ‘Is there a Santa Clause story’), wrote in to ask how she can start her QuickBooks Online file over:
"About 6 weeks ago I signed-up for QuickBooks Online, I must admit that I wasn’t sure exactly what I was doing as I had never used accounting software before. I selected one of the industry options and QBO set up all these accounts. I thought I knew what to record as income and expense but I had no idea about those balance sheet entries except for the bank accounts. Yesterday a friend of mine looked at my data and said that I had recorded things as expenses that should either be costs or assets, rather than try to go in and change my entries, I think I just want to ‘start over’, is there a way to do that without creating a whole new subscription?"
Well Virginia, if your timing is correct, you are in luck. When a QuickBooks Online subscription is within 60 days of activation it is pretty easy for you to start over from scratch, so long as you are using either QuickBooks Online Essentials or QuickBooks Online Plus. If you are using QuickBooks Online Simple Start and wish to start over, you must actually cancel your current subscription and then start over with an entirely a new subscription.
So let’s examine the steps to purge all of your current data from QuickBooks Online (Essentials or Plus) so that you start-over from scratch. Please note that I just used the word ‘purge’ because that is exactly what this process does. It will purge, delete completely, all of your data that has been entered into your QuickBooks Online subscription. Once you have purged this data, the deleted data cannot be restored, nor can this process be reversed once you have confirmed that you want your data deleted (see the confirmation step below)
Steps to Purge your QuickBooks Online Data:
Step 1 - Log in to your QuickBooks Online Company normally and make certain you are on the homepage.
Step 2 - Change the URL that your browser is pointing to by deleting the /homepage at the end, and then adding: /purgecompany
- Example of URL before change: https://qbo.intuit.com/c28/app/homepage
- Example of changed URL: https://qbo.intuit.com/c28/app/purgecompany
Step 3 - The next screen (shown below) will provide a summary of the items being deleted, review the information before proceeding.
Purge QBO Data
Step 4 - Confirm that you understand your data will be deleted by typing in the word Yes and then click OK at the bottom right of the page.
Wipe QuickBooks Online Data
Step 5 - On the above screen you will select your type of business and choose either the option to have QuickBooks Online create accounts based upon that type of business (industry), or create an empty chart of accounts.
Since you mentioned that you thought some of the accounts QBO set-up the first time might not be right for your actual business, you have the option on this screen to select a different industry type you think is more appropriate for your business. If you don't want QBO to create any accounts based on the new industry selection, you have the option to start over with an empty chart of accounts so that you can then create accounts as you need them.
Step 6 - Once you have made your selections, click the blue Wipe Data button. When the deletion is complete you will be re-routed to your new QuickBooks Online home page.
That pretty well is it, you can start over and hopefully this time you can get your accounts and data set-up just the way that is right for you. Best of luck,
Editor's Note: These steps are for QuickBooks Online accounts only, they are NOT appropriate if you are using QuickBooks Online Accountant and are trying to rid yourself of the 'Your Books' data. Purging a QBOA account in this way can have serious side-effects like un-linking your QBOA account from your various client companies.