Yes. There are 2 kinds of limits: physical and practical. Let’s consider each in turn.
QuickBooks faces these physical limits:
- 2 billion transactions
- 10,000 accounts in the GL chart of accounts
- 14,500 names (customers, vendors, employees, and other names – combined)
- 14,500 items (which include inventory items)
- 10,000 classes
- 100 price levels
The above list highlights the most important physical limits of QuickBooks; it’s not an all-inclusive list. The physical limits of Enterprise Solutions are considerably higher. For details on all of the physical limits of both QuickBooks and Enterprise Solutions, consult this Intuit knowledge base article.
To find out how your own company file stands relative to these limits, press F2 from within QuickBooks to display the Product Information window. On the right side, you’ll see the List Information. In this example, the company file has 134 (out of 10,000) GL accounts, 217 (out of 14,500) total names, and 106 (out of 14,500) Items.
There are important practical considerations as well. According to Intuit, QuickBooks is designed for small businesses with fewer than 20 employees and $2 million in annual revenue. However, those are general guidelines. Bigger firms reliably use QuickBooks. What impacts whether you should use QuickBooks or its more powerful relative, Enterprise Solutions, is the size of your data file today and how that data is expected to grow over the time period for which you want to keep all transaction data in 1 file.
Intuit suggests estimating 2 Kb per transaction and projecting the size of your data file over several years. Keep in mind that a sale paid for with 1 check results in 3 transactions (invoice, payment, and deposit), and each AP transaction results in at least 2 (vendor bill and payment). This estimate does not include the data that list elements themselves (e. g., customers, vendors, or items) will add to overall file size.
In our experience, the performance of QuickBooks can degrade if overall company file size exceeds 100 Mb. Intuit suggests a practical limit of growth of 15 Mb per year (or about 7500 transactions).
As a company grows, QuickBooks includes a utility to remove fully paid and reconciled transactions in a process referred to as “cleaning up.” This process reduces the size of the QuickBooks company file. That’s why it’s important to consider the time period you’ll keep old transaction data in your company file. If you’ll clean up your company file every 18-24 months, the number of transactions you can store without hitting the practical limitations of QuickBooks will be considerably greater.
Some longtime QuickBooks users engage in a process of making a backup copy of a company file and then cleaning it up with a cutoff date. The backup copy preserves history transactions for those rare instances where they may be useful, but the company file for everyday use has been cleaned up and no longer includes stale, fully paid transactions. That results in improved performance.
The guidelines on practical limits we’ve discussed here aren’t unbreakable rules, and the limits are influenced by factors we didn’t mention, most notably the hardware performance of the computer on which you run QuickBooks.