What Does the Clean Up Company Data Utility Do?

The Clean Up Company Data… utility performs 2 functions:

  1. selectively summarizes closed transactions by creating new general journal entries by month and deletes the summarized transactions
  2. selectively removes unused list items, including accounts, items, customers, vendors, other names, and To Do notes

The Clean Up utility can accomplish several important goals:

  • improve performance by reducing the size of the company file
  • improve efficiency by removing stale list items
  • reduce recording errors by reducing the chance of assigning a transaction to the wrong list item

It can be used to remove transactions as of a specific date or to remove all transactions.

QuickBooks will not remove a closed transaction if it has 1 of the following attributes:

  1. it is an uncleared bank or credit card transaction
  2. it is marked To be printed
  3. it is an invoice or estimate and marked To be sent
  4. it contains unbilled costs

By default in the clean up process, closed transactions that meet any 1 of these 4 criteria will not be summarized and deleted, but these defaults can be changed. We don’t recommend changing these defaults, with the possible exception of transactions excluded because of the To be printed or To be sent flags.

Unused list items can be removed from 1 or more of some important QuickBooks lists as part of the clean up:

The Clean Up utility will complete 4 steps:

  1. Make a backup
  2. Verify the company file (.qbw)
  3. Create an archive copy of the company file (.qbw)
  4. Clean up data

Just before starting the clean up, QuickBooks will describe what it is about to do and ask you to proceed with the clean up:

During the clean up process itself, you’ll see the following messages, indicating that processing is being performed:

Once the clean up process has successfully completed, you’ll see this information window:

Running the Clean Up utility has a significant impact on your company file. See our related article on the effects of running the Clean Up utility.

For more information on the Clean Up utility, consult this Intuit knowledge base article.

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  1. ANNA SEAGO says

    When I run the company cleanup for all transactions on or before 12/31/2013, it removes all transaction up to 8/8/2013 and leaves the rest. ?? Any input on what the problem could be?

    • Chief Mechanic says

      What is removed is heavily dependent on the settings you choose during cleanup. If transactions are linked and not closed, even if they are after your cut-off date, they won’t be cleaned up. In QB 2013 and beyond, the cleanup utility improved, but prior to that, it was less predictable. You didn’t say what version of QB you’re running, but if it is an older one, unexpected results are not infrequent.

  2. Hi,
    Is it possible to clean up data in Quickbooks Pro 2010? I think I have the UK version,


    • Chief Mechanic says

      Wassim – The articles on our site relate to US versions of QB, so the answer may be different since you’re using a UK version. Under the US version, there is a clean up tool, but that tool underwent major improvements after QB 2010 was released. The version that is included with QB 2010 claims to clean up a QB data file, but doesn’t actually condense many transactions, so the results don’t satisfy most users. The clean up tools in QB 2012 and QB 2013 are much improved. If UK QB is anything like QB in the US, you’ll have to upgrade in the not-to-distant future. That alone might be reason enough to upgrade to QB 2013. Good luck.