MUST READ – QuickBooks Backups – a Primer and Disaster Story

Posted on March 15, 2020 by Rick Daigle

I was recently contacted by the office manager of a property management company. They had recently experienced a disk drive crash on the computer used by the office manager. This drive also contained the active QuickBooks Company file. Their IT people had a backup process in place so initially there was no major concern.

It was only after the IT folks repaired the PC and restored data from backup media did they discover there was a problem with the QuickBooks company file. That’s when I was called in to help. What I found was a situation I routinely find when I first visit a new client or potential client. The IT people treat the QuickBooks company file as any other file when it comes to their backup methodology. Meaning, they simply include a Windows file copy of the QuickBooks company file onto the backup media.

THAT IS NOT SUFFICIENT and can result in data loss if the backup has to be restored!

Why is that? Because the QuickBooks data file is very much like a relational database (in the case of Enterprise it actually is a SQL Server) and has internal links and relationships which must have “referential integrity”. I won’t go into definition of that term but trust me when I tell you it is important!

These internal links and relationships can sometimes get broken over the course of time if there is an unstable IT environment. PC crashes, network disconnections, power failures, etc., are events which can cause a problem with referential integrity of the QuickBooks data.

So, how would you know if something caused an internal QuickBooks data problem? Simple! QuickBooks has its own Backup utility which will do a data verification every time the company file is backed up. In the event a data corruption occurs an error will appear and prompts you to Rebuild the data. At that time the Rebuild utility will run through the entire QuickBooks company file and repair any problems.

When the QuickBooks Backup utility is not used internal data corruption can continue to degrade the viability of the accounting data until the company file cannot be opened. Having the IT people restore a company file backed up with the Windows backup utility will only restore a corrupt company file. At that point you will experience data loss because the IT people will have to keep going back in time to find a viable backup file which QuickBooks can open.

In the case of the Property Management firm that called me in September, they had lost all 2009 data. As a last resort I sent the company file to Intuits Data Recovery team. The data was unrecoverable even by this team of experts.

A message to all B2B CFO Partners whose clients are using QuickBooks . . . . . please make sure they are regularly backing up their QuickBooks company file with the QuickBooks Backup utility. Do NOT take the word of the IT people that they are backing up the data. Make them show you!

If there are any doubt that the QuickBooks company file is properly protected feel free to call me at 404-787-5835.

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