Managing the Opening Balance Equity in QuickBooks

Managing the Opening Balance Equity in QuickBooks
Managing the Opening Balance Equity in QuickBooks

Amongst its array of features, the term Opening Balance Equity in QuickBooks often creates some questions among users. In this article, we’ll dive into what it signifies, why it is important, and how to manage it effectively.

Opening Balance Equity in QuickBooks is essentially a nominal account in QuickBooks, usually referred to as OBE, that represents a business’s initial equity. This account is used to document the financial state of a company at its very beginning. This is before any detailed financial transactions have been inputted into the system. Thus, Opening Balance Equity in QuickBooks acts as a starting point in the financial journey. It indicates the funds or assets a business had right from the outset, before any income, expenses, or other transactions were logged.

Understanding why Opening Balance Equity in QuickBooks is a key concept

In the following section, we will try and understand the relevance of the opening balance equity QuickBooks:

Establishing the Financial Base:

OBE is pivotal in accurately reflecting a business’s initial financial position. This is particularly vital during transitions from manual accounting to QuickBooks or when launching a new company. The OBE essentially signifies the beginning of a new financial period. It reflects the initial capital that has been invested in to the company by the ownership, as well as the shareholders.

Ensuring Accurate Reports:

Without an accurate Opening Balance Equity in QuickBooks, financial reports generated by QuickBooks might mislead. It establishes a clear starting point for evaluating the company’s financial performance. The OBE may be used to deliver adjustments to the erstwhile financial records.

Tracking Changes Over Time:

As financial transactions get recorded, the Opening Balance Equity account gradually decreases. This enables easy tracking of how the initial capital is employed and transformed into other assets or liabilities.

Facilitating Reconciliation:

When reconciling accounts, especially bank and credit card accounts, having an accurate Opening Balance Equity ensures a smooth and precise process.

How is Opening Balance Equity in QuickBooks Created?

There are several scenarios to generate Opening Balance Equity in QuickBooks:

Starting a New Company:

When you set up a new company in QuickBooks, you’ll be prompted to input the starting balances, including bank account balances, accounts receivable, accounts payable, and more. QuickBooks will automatically generate an Opening Balance Equity entry to record this information.

Transitioning from Manual Accounting:

If you’re shifting from manual accounting to QuickBooks, you’ll need to enter the starting balances for all your accounts. QuickBooks will create an Opening Balance Equity account to hold these initial balances.

Adjusting Entries:

In certain cases, adjustments may be necessary, such as rectifying errors or making alterations to the initial balances. These adjustments are recorded through journal entries, which may affect the Opening Balance Equity account.

Management of Opening Balance Equity in QuickBooks

Managing Opening Balance Equity in QuickBooks involves several key practices:

Ensuring that the information entered as Opening Balance Equity is precise and accurately reflects the true financial state of the business at its inception is important. Periodically reviewing and reconciling the Opening Balance Equity account helps in identifying discrepancies or errors early on.

Ideally, Opening Balance Equity should not be used for routine transactions. It’s a nominal account primarily intended for initial setup.

In cases of complex scenarios or uncertainty regarding specific transactions related to Opening Balance Equity, seeking advice from a financial professional or consulting QuickBooks support can be immensely helpful.

How to Close Opening Balance Equity in QuickBooks

Closing Opening Balance Equity in QuickBooks is an essential step in maintaining accurate financial records. Opening Balance Equity is a temporary account that is used to record initial account balances when you set up a new company file. Once you’ve entered your starting balances, it’s crucial to close this account to ensure your financial statements are accurate. Here’s how you can do it:

1. Access the Chart of Accounts:

  • Log in to your QuickBooks account.
  • From the main menu, go to “Lists” and select “Chart of Accounts.

2. Locate Opening Balance Equity:

  • Scroll through the list of accounts and find “Opening Balance Equity.” It is usually at the top of the chart of accounts.

3. Review Transactions:

  • Double-click on “Opening Balance Equity” to view the transactions associated with it. This step is crucial as it allows you to ensure that all the opening balances were entered correctly

4. Create a Journal Entry:

  • From the main menu, go to “Company” and select “Make General Journal Entries.”
  • In the “Make General Journal Entries” window, enter the following information:
  • Date: Use the date that you want to close the Opening Balance Equity account. This is typically the start date of your company file.
  • Debit: Enter the amount in the “Opening Balance Equity” account.
  • Credit: Allocate the same amount to an appropriate account(s) based on your business’s needs. This could include revenue or expense account

5. Review and Save:

  • Double-check all the information you entered in the journal entry to ensure accuracy.
  • Click “Save & Close” to record the journal entry.

6. Verify the Chart of Accounts:

  • Go back to the Chart of Accounts and locate the “Opening Balance Equity” account again. It should now have a zero balance.

7. Run Reports:

  • Generate financial reports like the Balance Sheet and Profit and Loss Statement to confirm that the Opening Balance Equity account is no longer showing on these reports.

8. Backup Your Company File:

  • Before making significant changes to your accounts, it’s always a good practice to back up your QuickBooks company file.

By following these steps, you’ll effectively close the Opening Balance Equity account, ensuring that your financial records accurately reflect your company’s financial position. Always consult with a financial advisor or accountant if you have any doubts or specific accounting requirements for your business.


1. How is it possible to enter the equity from the opening balance in QuickBooks?

At the time that you are setting up the business in QuickBooks, the unique account will accept the opening balance equity. This happens after all the other opening balances have been entered.

2. What type of account is the opening balance equity?

The opening balance equity is known as a single use account. It is recommended that you use it only once you are establishing your business. At all other times, it should be kept locked.


In conclusion, Opening Balance Equity serves as the cornerstone of a company’s financial records in QuickBooks. It provides the starting point from which all financial transactions are measured. Understanding its importance and how to manage it effectively ensures that your financial records are accurate, and conducive to informed decision-making.

While Opening Balance Equity may initially appear as a somewhat abstract accounting term, its significance in the realm of financial management cannot be overstated. Taking the time to grasp its nuances will undoubtedly contribute to the overall financial health and success of your business.

Source: Intuit

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