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What should I think about when choosing a start date?

Your start date is the date you want to begin tracking your business in QuickBooks. That means you can choose any start date that you want.

Help me decide

First, you need to determine which is more important to you: having complete information about your business as far back as possible, or minimizing your data entry. You can choose one extreme or the other, or you can compromise and choose a more recent start date.

In order to have complete information about your business in QuickBooks, you'll need to enter historical transactions. You'll need to have detailed records of these transactions so you can recreate them in QuickBooks.

Here are some common options people use for a start date:

Start date

What to consider

The date your company began

If you started your company recently, this may be a good choice for you. But if your company is more than a year old, entering historical transactions may be more time consuming than it's worth. You will get a very clear financial picture—but unless you've had very thorough record-keeping, you run the risk of leaving out important information.

The beginning of the calendar year

This is a great option early in the year. Once you enter historical transactions and continue to use QuickBooks for your day-to-day business activities, you'll have a very clear picture of the state of your business. And at tax time you'll have all of the information you need for tax preparation. However, if the year is more than a few months old it may be too time consuming to enter all the historical transactions into QuickBooks. If this is the case, you may want to consider a more recent start date.

The beginning of your fiscal year

This is a great option if it's close to the beginning of your fiscal year. Once you enter historical transactions and continue to use QuickBooks for your day-to-day business activities, you'll have a very clear picture of the state of your business. However, if you're more than a few months into your fiscal year it may be too time consuming to enter all the historical transactions into QuickBooks. If this is the case, you may want to consider a more recent start date.

Today's date

This is the least time consuming option. All you need to do is enter your opening balances—that is the balance of your accounts as of yesterday. But you won't be able to track your business before today's date, and may need to search for information come tax time.

Remember, you can choose any date you'd like as your start date. You can select one of the options above, or you can enter any date you choose.

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