Starting Balances Tab Not Showing up in Settings

Hello Forum Members,
I can not find ‘Starting Balances’ or ‘opening balances’ tab in my manager Settings (Desktop Edition) . Here is a screenshot:

It was Working fine before. I want to know if it is a bug or i have messed up with my settings.

  • Start Date is Set Already

  • Lock date is not set

The method for entering starting balances was updated. In essence, you will find/enter them in their tabs or subledgers, though some will be entered in “Chart of Accounts.” This is the applicable guide;

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This is not true. Under the new scheme, only the start date itself is set there. All starting balances are entered elsewhere.

My mistake; I meant to refer to “Chart of Accounts” (it was late…). I’ve updated my post accordingly.

That seems like a huge downgrade. The previous method was much better, now it’s a pain. I wonder if @lubos might consider bringing the old starting balance workflow.

I think that if you actually try the new scheme, you will find it’s much easier than the old one. Much less jumping around, and no drilling down. Now, everything you need to know or do as you set up an account, an asset, or an employee is on the same form/page. And pre-start-date invoices for customers and suppliers don’t have to be entered differently from regular invoices. They are entered in the regular tabs and just get dates before the start date. Remember also, you only do it once. So there is no reason to be going back to the Starting Balances page in Settings.

Interestingly, since the change was introduced 3 weeks ago, there have been no questions on the forum about how to use it. There have only been a couple about how to find starting balances since that heading disappeared from Settings. There were routinely questions under the old system.


That’s a huge plus in my book, however, starting balances used to be a process controlled and monitored by the Starting Balances screen, and now it’s up to the user to do more to ensure that he doesn’t make a mistake, and that’s why I said it was a downgrade.

I am all for not making starting balances “special” in any sense, but what if we kept the old starting balance entry screen and gave the user links to other tabs and settings where he can do his job and come back to the starting balance screen to see his progress; what he did, what he missed.

The Starting Balances report accomplishes what you suggest and is fully clickable.

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Thank you for all the help!
@p4unger @tut

I had to revisit the starting balances for one of my businesses. I found that the guide for the new starting balance configuration was totally inadequate in regards to equity. I was only able to figure it out by using a test database.

There is only one sentence in the guide about setting up starting balances for equity and the wording is somewhat confusing. There is nothing about needing to set up either capital accounts or a chart account for equity to enter the starting capital balance(s) which defaults to retained earnings account if this is not done.

Also, the wording for the options when entering a starting balance in the capital accounts tab is confusing. The options are “Paid in advance” or :“Amount to pay”. I couldn’t work out from these terms which was for positive or negative equity without performing trial and error test

There are several reasons:

  • Entering starting balances for equity accounts is not different from entering starting balances for asset or liability accounts. You will notice there are also no instructions specifically for those. The differences on how you enter starting balances have only to do with whether the starting balances relate to ordinary accounts, subsidiary ledgers, or pending transactions. This is stated near the beginning of the Guide under the heading, Enter starting balances. The rest of the Guide is organized to match those three options.
  • You do not need to set up either capital accounts or any other form of equity account. As you correctly observed, any imbalance will be taken up in Retained earnings. This is because, if you have entered your other starting balances correctly, it cannot be otherwise. (See the point below.) It is possible to have a business entity with no form of equity account except Retained earnings.
  • When it comes to entering starting balances, you should be matching your prior accounting system. If you had a closing balance in a capital account, you need to mirror that structure in the new business in order to have a place to entering the corresponding starting balance. If you had a closing balance in some other equity account, you should mirror that.

Thanks @tut everything you say is correct. I think that some of the terminology used could be changed to make it clearer and some reference be made as to how retained earnings brought from another system is set up as it is not possible to enter a starting balance for Retained earnings directly.

It wasn’t that difficult for me to figure it out, but I was trying to put myself in a less experienced persons shoes and I felt that it could be a bit confusing.

Good suggestion, @AJD. I initiated a change to the relevant Guide explaining how the starting balance for Retained earnings works.

I can testify that for purposes of entering starting balances the starting balance report is absolutely useless.

As a start, it gives you no clue on what you should do.

We have to jump around everywhere without any fixed place. If you spend just a little bit too long in one tab you will definitely forget what you were working on.

Dear @lubos, please do something here, entering opening balances now feels like juggling balls while balancing on a ball, to me this is a big downgrade. Could you at least provide some clue on why you think that having a linked lead sheet for entering starting balances is not a good idea. It’s very puzzling to me.

In my opinion, @Ealfardan, you are looking at the Starting Balances report the wrong way. Its purpose is not to provide a place to enter starting balances, but to see in one place what has been entered. If there are any starting balances, everything is clickable. So it can be useful for troubleshooting. But if you enter starting balances correctly, you may never need to look at it.

I find the current entry scheme reduces jumping around. You set the starting balance when you create an account or a subsidiary ledger. You enter starting payables or receivables and pending transactions the same way as for any other transaction of the type except that the date is before the start date. You never have to go to the Settings tab (once the start date itself has been set). There is no need to drill down through multiple levels to get to the right input screen. Most important, there are no longer multiple places to enter transactions of the same type based on whether they are pre- or post-start-date.

That is great, and this is a very welcome change, but that shouldn’t mean we can’t have a “lead sheet” for starting balances. I just need starting balance page which is just a front showing all chart of account entries, their starting balances and linkage to where you can enter the balances.

This is helpful because the breadcrumbs will tell me that I was working on opening balances and will get me back there. It may not be so important to you, but I can’t rely on memory because my memory is so bad. That’s why I need:

  1. A place to give me a list of what needs to be done for starting balances.
  2. A visual cue to what I was doing especially if it took me a while to enter say fixed assets, I want to be able to look at the breadcrumbs and figure out that I am working on starting balances and not fixed assets.

The previous setup was perfect for me. However, I am absolutely fine with the new report, provided the links are there for all chart of account entries regardless of whether it has a starting balance or not.

That is the way it used to be. And that is what previously led to multi-level drill-downs and all the jumping around you say you do not like.

That makes little sense to me. Why should there be links in a starting balances report for all chart of account entries? The links that are there take you to starting balances.

I don’t believe anyone can reasonably argue that it’s better to have less control over a process.

The point is, the previous method, gave us a centralized control over the process of entering starting balances which is gone with the new method. We had a home page, a lead sheet, a starting place, a foothold, a pivot or whatever; I don’t know what it should be called but you can call whatever you like.

I know that. I have used the previous method and it was very efficient. To you it may not be an issue because it’s a one time exercise, but I run an accounting practice and we do starting balances on a regular basis, so I noticed how the new method is prone to errors and not as efficient as it could be.

How is this bad? Drilling down means you have breadcrumbs to get you back to where you have been as opposed to opening a new browser tab or even worse leaving where you were.

No, I never said the previous method involved any jumping around. Just to remind you of what you described as jumping around:

Customer and supplier credits were entered from the Customers and Suppliers tabs, respectively. For everything else, you used Settings >> Starting Balances. Total: 2 tabs and 1 setting page (3 places)

You have to visit each and every tab available in manager as well as the starting balance report. How is this less jumping around? :thinking:

To me, it looks like the solution to having to go to 2 additional tabs is to include them as links in the setting tab, which would have lessened the “jumping around.” But instead, the setting page was dropped and now it’s all tabs instead of two. That does not make any sense.

Because you are missing the point and so does @lubos. Bear with me for a second:

  1. Starting balances is the starting balance sheet (nothing special) just your opening financial position. You go to any public accountant and ask them for “Starting Balances” and they will give you a balance sheet. But that’s not how works. Everything needs to be special.
  2. defies convention (as always) and goes against everything that everybody knows and does, and as a result
  3. You can never see starting balances in your starting balance sheet, therefore
  4. @lubos had to create a starting balance report to compensate for the fact that you cannot ever have a starting balance sheet.

Up to this point it is all fine and dandy, I can totally live with that. What I cannot live with is replacing a single comprehensive exercise that really held the user’s hand at every step of the way, until the starting balances are all entered with a new “go-find-it-yourself” approach which is not that useful.

In Summary
It may an overkill at this point but just to bring my point back home here is the summary:
Previously Settings >> Starting Balances vs Now Report >> Starting Balances:

  • Previously we had a starting place listing all the things that needed to be entered. Now, that’s not possible, either rely on your memory or use an excel sheet.
  • Previously, we could use breadcrumbs to return to starting balances home screen where you can see what has to be entered next. Now, we have to manually navigate to the next starting balance entry (that is if you can remember what that would be, or even whether you were working on starting balances to begin with)
  • Previously, the starting balances screen will always show updated figures (that is if you use your breadcrumbs). Now you have to first have another browser tab open with the starting balance report which you will have to remember to manually refresh it to get the up to date figures. If you cannot remember, you will likely do duplicate work which you will have to find and undo later.
  • Previously, creating master records (i.e. customers, assets … etc) was separated from starting balances (in that back-end the are not, but what I am concerned with is what the user sees, and they were separate). Now, you need to have access to chart of accounts to enter opening balances.
  • Previously, the Starting Balance setting page held the user’s hand at every step of the way until the starting balances are entered and the user could use that same page to make sure that the balances match the previous year’s audited figures. Now, it is: good luck, you are on your own.

I don’t need a report to tell me what has been entered after the fact. What I need is a process to guide me through the starting balance process and reduce the chances of mistakes, nothing new, nothing fancy, just like what it used to be.

No, you do not. I cannot figure out why you would say this. You need to visit only the tabs you must already visit to establish accounts and subsidiary ledgers (customers, suppliers, employees, etc.). Thus, setting starting balances is part of establishing your chart of accounts and subsidiary ledgers instead of a separate process with separate locations. And if there are pending invoices or bank transactions, you enter them in the same place as regular transactions rather than an extra place.

I agree. But since you have to set up your accounts and subsidiary ledgers to create that balance sheet, why have a totally separate process to navigate after you have done it? Why not enter the starting balances as you create the elements of the balance sheet? Fewer places to go, fewer mistakes to make, and a more intuitive place to look for a problem with any specific element after the fact.

Contrary to what you keep saying, the old approach did not produce an initial balance sheet. You had to create the balance sheet first. Then, in a completely separate process, you had to separately plod through entering starting balances.

Yes, you can. At any stage, you can look at the Summary or the Balance Sheet report, or the Starting Balances report. The fact is, the Starting Balances report is actually unnecessary, because you could always create an ordinary Balance Sheet for your start date. The Starting Balances report is only insurance against the possibility of regular transactions being entered on that date that would affect the balance sheet.

Why do you care? It is already done and you didn’t have to do it. And a simple report replaces an entire module under the Settings tab.

No, you did not. Nothing in the program told you what needed to be entered. You previously had to start with and ending balance sheet (or equivalent) from the old accounting system. You relied on an external document or your memory then, and you will do the same now.

There is no point navigating back to an unnecessary process (that has been eliminated). Besides, the screen you navigated back to in the previous system did not tell you what had to be entered next. You had to rely on the old accounting method’s final balance sheet.

No, you will not. Even if you insist on creating your balance sheet first, then go back to fill in starting balances, you cannot possibly duplicate anything, because if you entered a starting balance, it will be staring you in the face.

Frankly, I think you may be victimized by wanting to keep doing things in the same order as you always have: create the chart of accounts and only then enter the starting balances, as though that were mandatory. Look at the situation from another viewpoint: starting balances in any account or subsidiary ledger are part of defining the account or subsidiary ledger. Do them all at once with fewer processes to go through.

Tried that, the balance sheet report doesn’t work.

@Tut there’s no point of arguing on my own past experiences. When setting up each client, I would look at their previous accounts and create their chart of accounts based on that (exactly like anyone does, including yourself). All of these entries will appear in the Starting Balance setting with 0 value. That’s my starting point and that’s what needed to be entered.

Please don’t just argue for the sake of argument, these are facts and you can’t dismiss them just to prove me wrong.

Yes, thank you @tut. Finally we are getting somewhere with this. That’s exactly what I need but not for the reasons you mentioned, instead it’s because it’s way more efficient and orderly. I already told you that I do starting balances regularly, that’s why I need it to be more methodical with this exactly like you just described (a process where you first do A and then B) and not as you implicitly suggested: create as you go. That would not work for me.