In Nonprofit Finance, Quickbooks

Purging a Company File: Why you might do it, and what to watch out for

I often find that when nonprofits come to me for help converting to QuickBooks Online, it makes more sense to draw a line in the sand and start over with clean beginning balances and a fresh, carefully designed structure. Once I might have created that structure in QuickBooks Desktop, but now I prefer to work natively in QuickBooks Online whenever I can. But this means I am dealing with the default accounts that QBO creates to help me. I want those OUT OF THERE!

I’ve been using “PurgeCompany” since I first found out about it, and you can find out all about it here, but this week when I read through to remind myself of the details, I noticed this very cryptic warning. I could swear it wasn’t there last time.


Oh gees! Can we all say “EEECK!” together??

I immediately reached out to one of my favorite groups of QuickBooks geniuses, by posting a message in the QB Power User Community. By Michelle Long and Hector Garcia on Facebook.

The answers were not encouraging. Ellen Allen and Christine Galli both mentioned a horror story that happened to Heather Satterly when she purged a file, and which she had just recounted in an episode of the QB Appy Hour featuring Chronobooks.(This part starts about 20 minutes in to the video.)  Hector Garcia chimed in that it would mess up the customer list in QBOA. When the heavy hitters start pulling out horror stories, it really throws me into a panic. Luckily Dan DeLong popped in to calm some of my fears. Most of the issues occurred when accountants were using the Your Books feature in QuickBooks Online Accountant to manage their own books. For reasons too boring to go into, I have my firm set up on a regular QBO Plus subscription. WHEW! I thought I had dodged a bullet.

And then I remembered something. I had noticed that not all of my connected companies were showing information in the Banking column of the YOUR PRACTICE Clients dashboard.

Could there be a connection? All of these were companies I had set up directly in QBO, while logged in as an Accountant User. I reached out to Dan, and we put on our Investigator Hats.

Everything looked fine in the Client Company, the only issue for me appeared to be that unmatched banking transactions weren’t listed. Dan suggested removing myself as an Accountant User, and then adding myself again.

I logged in to the Client Company and invited myself as a Company Admin. Matthew Fulton had recently taught me that, if your emails are through Google, you can add “+word” before the @domain in your email signature, and it will be recognized as unique by apps like QuickBooks, but still flow through to your own email address. I’ve created megan+test@mydomainname just for things like this.

Once I had accepted the invite with my +test username, I deleted myself as an Accountant user, and logged out. Then I logged back in, added myself as an Accountant User, and logged out. 

I accepted THAT invitation, and when I logged back in….VOILA!! 

Oh Happy  Day!! Unmatched transactions again showed up on my dashboard! The final steps were to delete the Test user from the User list, and give access to the team members who needed it again. 

I have another 5 or so companies to do this with, and while it will be tedious, at least it is POSSIBLE.


  • Before you purge a company file:
    • Connect to Chronobooks, and back up, just in case
    • Create a separate user that you can invite as a Company Admin
    • Use that user to Purge the company
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