Back-dating transactions in QuickBooks

Somebody asked me about back-dating transactions in QuickBooks.

Hi Jennifer,

I am not a trained accountant and am a little worried about using QuickBooks. I would like to know how to add bills to QuickBooks but use the dates that they came in. I have started accounting for a company with no accounting system and I have to back date everything for two years. Is this possible?

My answer:

Yes, in principle you can enter any date you want for any transaction in QuickBooks. Back-dating is an option. There is only one potential problem with this, and it has to do with making sure the financial statements in QuickBooks are in alignment with the tax returns. They won’t match dollar-for-dollar. But usually for small businesses, the CPA or tax preparer uses financial statements from QuickBooks as the basis for preparing the tax return.

Have the tax returns been filed for this company? You stated that there is no accounting system, but that seems strange to me IF tax returns have been filed. But perhaps the tax returns have not been filed yet; if so then this works in our favor. Just enter the transactions as of whatever date they occurred, and the tax returns can be prepared based on the financial statements from QuickBooks.

If the tax returns have already been filed, then I don’t understand how the financial data was obtained to prepare them, since you state that the company has no accounting system. As I mentioned, the new reports that will be created in QuickBooks needs to correspond in a rough way to the tax returns.

I don’t have all of the details, obviously. Since you are concerned about making sure the entries are done correctly, see if your company will pay for you to get some bookkeeping training. This will go a long way to help the company get the financial information they need. As I have explained elsewhere, bookkeeping is not merely data entry because QuickBooks is not merely a database.


Yes, you can back-date transactions in QuickBooks. However, this situation concerns me because I don’t know if the tax returns have been filed.

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