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  • Writer's picturelancebwilkins

How to Manage Duplicate Names in QuickBooks

t happens. Baker, Chris has been a customer for a long time. But so has Christine Baker. And they’re the same person.

If you have used QuickBooks long enough, you know that if you try to delete one of those customers, QuickBooks won’t allow you to do it. At least, not if transactions have been recorded under both names.

You could go back and change the customer name on every transaction, leaving one of those duplicate entries with no activity in your QuickBooks company file. Then you could delete it. But there’s an easier way.

Above is our customer center. You can clearly see the duplicate customers. Both names have a balance due. Both have transactions.

To fix this, we first need to decide which version of the customer name we want to keep. Christine Baker? Okay, let’s do that.

Either click on the Baker, Chris name and choose the Edit icon, or right click on the name and choose Edit from the popup menu.

This is how that edit window appears now:

The very first field of this window is what QuickBooks sees as the customer name. That is Baker, Chris. Edit that to read Christine Baker. Then click okay and if you’ve spelled the new name right, you should get this warning message.

QuickBooks gives you a chance to reconsider since this is a permanent change. There’s no going back. Once you say yes to this message, QuickBooks has no way of recovering the old information.

In this case, it’s a simple change and we know we want to do it, so we’ll choose Yes. As soon as we do, our new customer list looks like this:

There is only one Chris or Christine Baker now. The two customer balances are now one. All transactions in the QuickBooks company file that used to show Baker, Chris as the customer name now show Christine Baker as the customer name.

This works with other lists as well. You can re-vamp your chart of accounts by editing and merging account names. Vendors, classes, items, etc. Just use care and think through your change before implementing it.

If there is some question about the impact on your company file, create a backup, make your change, and see how it works for you. If some surprising result pops up that makes you wish you hadn’t made the change, restore the backup and you’re back to your original company file.

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