When you’re setting up your QuickBooks general ledger, it’s a good idea to enter an opening balance for GL accounts. However, be careful not to enter opening balances for financial activity that occurred after your QuickBooks start date. To enter an opening balance, simply click the Enter Opening Balance button, which appears on both the Add New Account and Edit Account windows. Screen shots of both of these windows appear below.
Once you click the Enter Opening Balance button, you’ll see the Enter Opening Balance window:
If you’ve already created the account, clicking the Enter Opening Balance button will open the account register, where you’ll be able to change an opening balance you previously entered.
The QuickBooks 2009 Add New Account window:
The QuickBooks 2009 Edit Account window:
The opening balance you enter should be the balance before your QuickBooks start date, which is the date you started using QuickBooks to track financial transactions. For bank and credit card accounts, you should enter an opening balance, which should be the ending balance on the last statement before you started using QuickBooks. As a general rule, if an account’s balance is the result of financial activity after your QuickBooks start date, you should use a transaction to change the account balance.
Some prefer to record an account’s opening balance by recording a general journal entry. One side of the general journal entry would set the account’s balance (either debit or credit), and the offsetting entry would be made to an equity account, such as the QuickBooks default Opening Balance Equity.