How to Delete Fiscal Years in Quickbooks

By Sharon Platz

It is never recommended to delete prior fiscal years in common accounting practice. Deleting data not only causes reconciliation problems within your books, it also removes important records you may one day need in the event of an audit or restructure. As such, QuickBooks itself does not actually allow you to delete an entire fiscal year; you would need to remove each transaction within the year in question individually. Instead, QuickBooks offers two operations that close out and clean up prior fiscal years, backing their data up to a separate read-only archived file.

Close Books at Year-End

Step 1

Click on "Edit" from the menus along the top of your screen and select "Preferences."

Step 2

Choose the "Accounting" option and click on the "Company Preferences" tab.

Step 3

Enter the closing date of the prior fiscal year in the appropriate field.

Step 4

Decide on and enter a password by clicking "Set Password," and typing it into both the "New Password" and "Confirm New Password" fields. This will protect your data from compromise by other users.

Step 5

Click "Ok" to complete closing your prior fiscal year books.

Clean Up Data

Step 1

Go to "File," "Utilities" and "Clean Up Company Data."

Step 2

Select the cleaning type from your two choices: "Remove All Transactions" to clear out the entire register, or "Remove Transactions as of a Specific Date" to select a date range. The latter would be the choice to "delete" a fiscal year.

Step 3

Choose the types of register items to remove during clean up and click "Begin Cleanup" to be taken to the backup screen.

Step 4

Create a backup of your data prior to removing it by ensuring that QuickBooks has automatically selected the correct name and location for your back up file and clicking "Ok." If you want your backup saved somewhere other than the QuickBooks default, change the name and file location prior to clicking "Ok."

Step 5

Select "Create Back Up" to complete the backup process and remove the selected files from your QuickBooks register.

Tips & Warnings

  • Make sure to have your backup disks already formatted and in the appropriate drives ready to go prior to starting the clean up process.
  • Depending on your register size, the clean up process may take quite some time.
  • Revisions cannot be made to archived register entries; once you have cleaned the entries out, you cannot change them. Do not clean up your register until after you have reconciled and are sure there will be no modifications to the data required.