If you are considering starting a new QBO file or migrating to QBO from another system, consider the size of your customer list, particularly how many of those customers you are doing recurring business with. If you do business with a lot of customers but your customer relationships are short-term in nature, you may be fine with QBO - you will just need to be sure to tighten up your customer list from time to time to keep that active customer list small. But if you have more than 500 or 1,000 repeat customers that you are invoicing, you might consider another software until QBO is becomes better at handling it.
I recently moved a client's QuickBooks Enterprise company file to QuickBooks Online. Upon completion of the conversion, the QBO Customer Center was extremely slow and I had to find out why. QBO was not going to work for them if I couldn't resolve the issue. Accounting staff were sometimes waiting several minutes for sales and customer menus to load. They were very unhappy with the software change, understandably so.
Intuit recommends that your lists should not exceed 10,000 list items. List items include customers, vendors, items, classes, etc. My client's total number of list items was only about 65% of the 10,000 that Intuit recommends for optimal QBO performance. About 5,000 of those list items were customers, most of which were old customers who would likely never do business with my client again, due to the nature of the industry. The Vendor Center and every other module of QBO worked fine - there were no speed issues in any area but the Customer Center. My hunch was that the extremely long scrolling customer list having to load every time the Customer Center was opened and re-load every time that anything was done in the Center was seriously bogging the system down. It seemed to me that if I were to delete (also known in QBO as inactivate) all of the old customers, the Customer Center would work as it ought to. Before I started the process of deleting nearly 5,000 customers I reached out to Intuit's QBO tech support and asked them some questions. The agent read word-for-word to me their official Intuit document about QBO company file guidelines, which I had already read, and told me that the active/inactive status of a customer or vendor would not make a difference in the speed and functionality of the program. That didn't ring true to me. The options were to accept defeat and go back to the client's old system or to trust my gut and do some nerd work.
It would take me or someone else several weeks to inactivate 5,000 customers on-by-one inside of QBO. And considering that the QBO Customer Center was freezing up for a full minute, and sometimes even two minutes, when trying to open up a customer's profile in order to inactivate it, that job may have even taken months. So I called upon one of my very favorite 3rd party QBO tools - QODBC - to do the tedious dirty work for me. QODBC is an ODBC driver that allows you to pull a QBO file's back end data tables into a database program like Microsoft Access. You can then edit customers, accounts, and transactions in a spreadsheet-like environment. This can be an incredible time saver. It is quite difficult to set up, and even more so if you run a 64-bit operating system (QODBC is a 32-bit application). But once it is configured, and if you know your way around MS Access, you can do incredible things with QODBC. I am happy to report that in a day I inactivated about 4800 old customers and the Customer Center is running beautifully - no freezing or waiting for menus and lists to load anymore. So YES, inactivating customers does in fact improve speed problems in the Customer Center of QBO. YES, a long list of active customers will bog your QBO Customer Center down. I started seeing improvement when the number of active customers dropped below 1,500. And once we were down below 500 the system ran beautifully.
If you have a LOT of something to do to existing customers, vendors, or transactions in QBO, such as inactivating customers or vendors, or moving hundreds of transactions from one bank account to another, I would love to help you with that project. Contact me for more information and pricing.