I just started working with someone that had not entered anything for 2012. I have been charged with getting everything up to date. I am sure that there is a suggested method for getting the historical transactions into the system to avoid missing anything. Can you tell me how to proceed?
Enter historical transactions in sequential order. For example, QuickBooks won't know how to credit a customer payment unless you've previously recorded the invoice.
Enter bank account transactions last, because your accounts payable and accounts receivable affect your bank account balances. By the time you finish entering all of your historical transactions, your check register should be nearly up to date.
If you don't have time to enter all your historical transactions right away, don't worry. You don't have to enter all your past transactions before you start using QuickBooks for your current transactions. Start entering current transactions as they occur, so you don't get behind. Then catch up with historical transactions when you can. If current and historical transactions are related, enter the earlier one first. For example, if you receive a payment today for an invoice you have not yet entered, enter the invoice first and then use QuickBooks to record the payment. That way, QuickBooks correctly links your transactions to each other.
Remember, though, that your account balances will be incorrect (and your reports may be wrong) until you've entered all the past transactions.
The proper order for entry is as follows:
1. Sales and accounts receivable transactions. (invoices, statement charges, sales receipts, returns, payments, deposits, sales tax payments)
2. Vendor and accounts payable transactions. (bills, credits from vendors, payments)
3. Summarize payroll amounts for this year to date.
4. Enter historical bank and credit card transactions. (checks, deposits, fees, transfers)
5. Reconcile your bank account. (after entering historical transactions)