Choosing/Changing Your Start Date
The start date you choose is not necessarily today's date, but rather the date on which you want to begin tracking information in QuickBooks. When you set up a company in QuickBooks, you need to enter all transactions that have occurred in the company from the start date until today.
The best start date is actually the day before the first day of a complete period; that period can be a year, a month, or a quarter. In other words, if you plan to start entering transactions for your company on January 1, you can set December 31 as your start date. That way, all the ending balances for the previous period (in this case, the previous year) are in place as your beginning balances. Alternatively, if the business you are setting up in QuickBooks is a new business that didn't get started until sometime after January 1, your start date will be the first day that you started doing business.
If you start entering transactions on the first day of the year (or the first day that the company had any activity), the reports and financial statements you produce include information for the entire year. Having this information is particularly important when you're gathering information at the end of the year for tax return preparation.
If your business was in operation all year but you chose as a start date some date after the year has begun, the statements you produce will cover only part of this year. Next year and in future years, of course, your statements will cover the entire year. The advantage of choosing a start date that falls sometime during the yearrather than going back to the first day of the yearis that you won't have as many transactions to enter at setup.
If it's close to the end of the year (November or December, for example) and you don't have a lot of spare time on your hands for tediously entering checks and deposits for the entire year, you might wait until the year ends and then enter your ending balances for the year and start entering your company transactions in QuickBooks as of January 1.
If you entered a start date during setup and now want to change your start date to an earlier date, you need to go to the registers for each account where you have entered beginning balances, and change the start date and the beginning balance entry manually. To change the start date and the beginning balance entry manually, follow these steps: