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New Data Corruption Problem in QuickBooks Enterprise V12 Cost/Price Update

March 12, 2012 | By | 29 Replies More

Early after QuickBooks Enterprise V12.0 was released there were several bugs associated with the new Auto Cost/Price Update feature, which were reported as being resolved by subsequent updates. However, just recently a new error has started to show up and this error also seems to be associated with the Auto Cost/Price Update feature.

The Auto Cost/Price Update feature was introduced in QuickBooks Enterprise V12.0. It allows you to control how QuickBooks will update the cost, and the sales price, of items that you purchase. One of the early bugs occurred when you changed an item’s sales price or cost – the change could affect another, entirely different  item. This was fixed in the 2012 R3 update. Another problem with the new feature resulted in costs and prices being updated incorrectly. This was fixed in the 2012 R4 update.

Now we are seeing reports of a new error related to this feature. In cases where an item’s established cost (recorded in the Item entry/edit window) is Zero, and the Auto Update feature is enabled, QuickBooks may create an “overflow” error when performing updates to cost and sales price. This type of overflow error in QuickBooks occurs when some numeric field is populated by a value in excess of the maximum value allowed for the field.

The Auto Cost/Price Update feature seems to create the overflow errors when the Automatic Cost and Price Updates company preference is set to “Ask about updating item cost” or “Ask about updating sales price”, and the option to use the “Percent over Cost” markup is selected.

If the user selects Yes for the update cost preference and No for the update price question, the on-screen presentation shows an overflow error for sales price. The error does not seem to be posted to the Item record; however, if the user selects Yes to update cost and Yes to update price, the “overflow” error is then recorded in the Sales Price for that Item. As you can see below, the Edit Item window shows that the Cost has in fact been updated, but the Sales Price now reflects an “overflow” error. (Note that QuickBooks also displays the Markup % as still 0.0 %.)

Item with Sales Price “Overflow” error

This error seems to be due to how QuickBooks is using the markup on a percentage basis when the recorded cost field for the Item is zero prior to the change. QuickBooks apparently computes the markup percentage improperly when a cost is zero and a price for an Item exists.

These “overflow” errors are corrupting data-files; several users have reported that “overflow” errors are precluding them from performing full file verification as part of their normal back-up procedures, as well as while attempting to run the Verify Data Utility. The screen shot below shows the warning message that QuickBooks displays when the Verify routine fails. Even though the message talks about account balances, the actual “overflow” error exists within one or more items in the Item List.

Overflow error displayed when Verify utility fails

Details of the exact data corrupted are not easy to find, because these “overflow” errors don’t appear in the QBWin.log files generated from the failed verification. Only after repeated runs of the internal Rebuild Data utility does the QBWin.log finally report the error and then only as an “Invalid price” for the specific item(s). Here’s an example of the Rebuild portion of a QBWin.log reporting the Item error associated with the same item shown earlier

QBWin.log file reporting an Item with an Invalid price during Rebuild Utility

If there are only a few of these “overflow” errors, they can be manually corrected thru the Edit Item window. However, if there are hundreds, or thousands, of these errors, the task can be much more difficult since the QuickBooks Rebuild Utility does not seem to be able to resolve this issue.

Manually Repairing these “Overflow” Errors

As with any “manual repair” of QuickBooks you should always make a “safety copy”. Since the normal QuickBooks backup procedure fails during the verify routine, you should make a Windows copy of your entire QuickBooks directory in order to preserve your file prior to undertaking the following steps.

Since the Verify Data function generates a somewhat fictitious fault message, and the post-verify QBWin.log file fails to provide any really helpful information about the exact cause of the error, you need to take a different approach if you are going to identify and correct these “overflow” errors.  One method is to simply scan your Item list, reviewing the “Price” column (which corresponds to the Item’s “Sales Price”) for the Items containing the term *overflow* as shown at the bottom of this sample.

Item List sorted by Price showing overflow error at the bottom

The best way to perform this task is to change the display mode of the Items List to “flat view” and then sort the list by the Price column. All of the *overflow* errors should then appear at the bottom of your list. Now that you have identified all of these errors, simply edit the Sales Price for each item.

While you can accomplish the same task from the Add/Edit Multiple List Entries window, you can only review Inventory and Non-Inventory Item-types there. However, if you have a large number of errors, you can use the “copy-down” feature to set the offending item prices to zero in order to “clear” the errors before making actual Price corrections.

After you have either set the Price of all of the offending items to zero, or the actual amount, you should run the Rebuild utility to ensure that any associated index errors are also resolved.

Conclusion

While overflow errors are not something new to QuickBooks, they typically have been in connection with 3rd party applications that ‘import data’ into QuickBooks. This new type of “overflow” error seems much more significant because it can affect any QuickBooks Enterprise V12.0 user under the right situation.

From a historical perspective overflow errors have been know to produce a general fault resulting in an unexpected shutdown of QuickBooks, and in worst case scenarios these errors can even result in data file corruption that prevents normal use of the QuickBooks Company file.

I am personally aware of three QuickBooks users that have had files suffering from this form of data corruption, because I have repaired those files. I can’t begin to say how widespread this problem really is. However, QuickBooks Technical Support apparently has had sufficient reports that they have identified this as a “programming issue” rather than some user, operating environment, or other cause.

Intuit is reportedly working on a resolution of the “overflow” error causing issue. Hopefully they will have it resolved sooner, rather than later.

Updates:

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Category: QuickBooks Tips/Tricks, Technical QuickBooks

About the Author ()

William “Bill” Murphy is an Advanced Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor with over 30 years of financial and teaching experience. His consulting company, RRR, Ltd. has been helping businesses get the most from their Intuit software since 1989. His practice focuses on system set-up, product integration, problem resolution, data file analytics and repair. He holds both Bachelors and Masters Degrees from the University of Central Oklahoma, and is an Adjunct Instructor for Oklahoma City Community College-Corporate Learning. He also served as Technical Editor for Business Analysis with QuickBooks by Wiley Publishing in 2009.

Comments (29)

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  1. William "Bill" Murphy says:

    I just want to say “Thank You” to Charlie, and the Sleeter Group, for allowing me the opportunity to write this blog article concerning what I view as a potentially serious QuickBooks Enterprise-12 problem.

    Thanks again,

    Murph

  2. Karen Magno says:

    Thanks for the heads up on this. Sounds ugly. We will definitely share this with our users as we have quite a few Enterprise 12 users.

  3. MB Raimondi says:

    Thanks Murph – I think I read somewhere else that you said maybe we should change the preferences to Never update for now? I have a few new clients to QBES that might get a little discouraged to get these kind error messages in the QB file.
    Appreciate the help.
    MB

    • William Murphy says:

      MB – Good Point !

      At first I wasn’t telling people to just change their settings unless they had a ‘lot’ of $0.00 cost items that could be corrupted because I thought fixing a few ‘errors’ might be better than not updating ‘sale prices’ needing updates.

      Users simply need to weight what is going to be the best approach for their ‘unique’ file situation; so for some Users it might be better to simply set the feature preferences to the “Never update….” options until Intuit gets this resolved.

      Murph

  4. Debra Tugwell says:

    I have found multiple instances of these **overflow** errors in RSI’s software. I am also experiencing where the balance sheet and inventory valuation summary are off by a large difference. I have not had a chance to open the file in my accountants version to see if I can track where the difference is, but if you have any added suggestions, it would be greatly appreciated!

    • William Murphy says:

      Debra-

      Almost any ‘software’ can have overflow errors (where the information intended for a field exceeds the limits of the field), but the problem outlined in this Blog is unique to the QuickBooks Enterprise-12 auto cost/price update feature.

      It is entirely probable that QuickBooks financial reports could be affected by these errors; especially reports based around Inventory which are driven by Item based data. It is also possible that this type of corruption can result in other related corruptions that could skew your data. The original file I repaired with this problem was reported as an ‘out-of-balance’ Balance Sheet, the ‘overflow’ errors were only discovered as a part of my analysis of that file.

      Murph

      • Debra Tugwell says:

        Murph-

        Please see my comments to Charlie. Is there any extra insight, without having a hands on, you can add here that might help me figure out what is going on and why?

        Now, I will add that since I typed that, I did go and try to, again, change the value on some of the items in question to zero(some of these items have values that are thousands of dollars). And I did find that if I did each item as a separate entry – rather than an entry with multiple items – it will work. But I am not at all comfortable expensing this off. I truly believe the balance sheet amount is correct and that this will be overstating my expenses.

        • William Murphy says:

          Debra – you can look me up on the ‘Find a ProAdvisor’ website at my zip code of 73149, (I don’t think we are supposed to post our emails on this blog) but you can then get my contact information. Go ahead and give me a call and we can discuss your specifics; as Charlie said there simply are too many variables to try to post back-n-forth to cover every possibilty.

          I will be happy to visit with you.

          Murph

          • Murph, you can post your email address in a comment here, no problem if you wish to do that. But I won’t take responsibility for any increases in SPAM you get to that address (once it is posted on a web page like this).

            Also, at the bottom of your article is your “bio”, fi someone clickes the “author profile” link there, that takes you to a place where you can find a link to your own web site. There also is a link to your web site in the bio itself. So people can reach you by clicking on the web site links…

    • Debra, note that there are a number of reasons why the balance sheet and inventory valuation summary can be out of balance, not all of them have to do with bugs or data corruption. See this article that I wrote about this a while ago for some things to look for: http://qbblog.ccrsoftware.info/2009/04/reconciling-quickbooks-inventory-balances/

      • Debra Tugwell says:

        Charlie –

        I have seen your blog (I actually read most of your blogs) and I do verify the valuation summary and balance sheet on a monthly basis. I have found data entry errors that have caused the differences in the past, but this time I am not finding anything – other than a $90K difference in values. I am, however, finding items with zero counts and asset value balances. Some of the balances are negative and some are positive. I tried to adjust the value on those items – saved the adjustment, went to the valuation and nothing changed. Tried to pull the adjustment back up and can’t find it anywhere (Thought maybe I clicked the wrong button and didn’t save it, so I did it again, with the same result).

        The amounts matched when I compared them at the end of January. I am finding that, although my balance sheet has not changed, if I run the valuation and compare it for the end of last year, I come up with the same $90K difference. So…I am still searching to try to figure out what is going on.

        There are just some really strange things going on here.

        • Debra, without hands on the file there isn’t much that I can offer you at this point. There are sometimes reasons why discrepancies show up, but it sounds like you have addressed the major ones at least. There can be file corruption of various sorts that can create issues, and that is harder to work out. You may want to contact Murph about this, as this is an area he specializes in.

  5. Danny Allday says:

    Murph,

    I have a food manufacturing client that just switched to QBES 12. They are very frustrated and thinking about returning it. I think it’s the same issue as you are describing here. They get completely kicked out of QBES whenever they receive items and change the cost on the item receipt screen. They currently have a support case open with the QBES support team. Intuit achnowledged the problem and said they are working on it. I just hope the get a fix done before the client aborts. Thanks for the blog.

    Dan

    • William Murphy says:

      Dan – it sounds like your client has one of the more extreme cases if the problem is causing a ‘general fault’ resulting in a shut-down of QuickBooks.

      It is unfortunate this is happening to a new user; because QuickBooks Enterprise is a very good product that usually meets the needs of most users and works with a minimum of errors.

      Best of luck,

      Murph

    • Dan, on a separate issue, QuickBooks isn’t necessarily the best choice for a “food manufacturing client”, although that does depend on what exactly they are doing. I’ve got several using it, but there also are companies that just can’t get the kind of information that they need.

      However, getting kicked out on receipts is a separate issue from that. As MB Raimondi and Murph talked about in earlier comments, you may want to also consider looking at other options for the update price/cost preferences to see if that makes a difference.

  6. Cliff says:

    I think there may be another variant of Overflow errors.

    I think the Overflow Warning may also be caused by non Overflow errors.

    I have experienced several Overflow errors, as described by slipnslide in this thread.
    http://community.intuit.com/posts/verify-error-message

    With our company file, I think the Overflow error/warning has been a “false positive”, and not truly an overflow.

    Even though we are getting Overflow errors, we never find any overflow errors that need to be corrected.

    We do have the *overflow* word in the markup percent box, but that has always been there and Verify data comes up clean.

    Over than the *overflow* word showing in the markup percent box in the Item List, nothing else points to a true overflow problem.
    >Our Item preference has always been set to “Never update Item Cost”
    >There are no overflow errors in the Price column.
    >There are no overflow errors, or price errors, in the QBwin.log.

    It appears version 2012 has caused non-overflow errors to create Overflow error messages.

    After our second overflow error, Intuit tech support checked our company file and said nothing was wrong. But the file continued to generate Overflow errors. This would support the theory that there may be a second issue with Overflow errors.

    • William Murphy says:

      Cliff – thanks for sharing your file issues. They sound like a variant ‘overflow’ error which could also be associated with the new feature since the markup% reflects the overflow even though you are not using the auto update function.

      Feel free to reach out to me if you would like to discuss it in greater detail.

      Murph

  7. Bonnie says:

    I have a client with that started having overflow errors soon after we upgraded to QBES 2012 in the beginning of January. Doing a double rebuild took care of my overflow error message for now, hoever, I have 34 pages of corrupted invoices, sales orders and purchase orders in the QBWin log. The QB support tech and an article say we have to remove the line containing the referenced item, save the entry and then reenter the line to correct these transactions.

    Haven’t started the process yet, do you think i should wait a little to see if there is an update that just may take care of this issue.

    • William Murphy says:

      Bonnie – thanks for your comment. I am surprised that the QB Rebuild actually resolved the ‘overflow’ error(s) to the extent that the verify completed, especially if you still have all those ‘transactional’ errors.

      Transactional errors like these can be the result of index corruptions originating from the original overflow errors. If you would like to discuss your file in greater detail, feel free to reach out to me directly.

      Murph

  8. Doug Sleeter says:

    Murph,

    Thanks for the heads up on this. It is exactly the type of thing that makes us nervous about these new features they keep adding. They seem great on the surface, but since they don’t seem to be fully tested before release, I’m very hesitant to recommend the upgrades until we all get the time to test them with several different client situations.

    But to be fair, if we use any SaaS accounting product, the updates are applied even without our permission. So when there are bugs, or features we don’t want, we’re pretty much forced to just accept them.

    So although we could say there is no excuse for these types of bugs, at least Intuit does everything they can to fix the bugs within a reasonable timeframe.

    • William Murphy says:

      Doug – while I wrote the article, I guess I should also take part of the blame (as well) since I was a beta-tester for the 2012 product.

      “Who would have thought to test an auto price update feature that marks up sales price from cost, when the cost is set to zero???” Obviously not myself, or apparently any of us who ‘tested’ at one phase or another of pre-release, or the bug shouldn’t have got by us.

      Or could it possibly be just another example of..,”Murphy’s Law”!

      Murph

      • Murph, we can’t go back and look at the beta test product since the license has expired. However, I believe that some of these issues might not have actually existed in some of the beta copies. The production versions are showing issues that I didn’t see before, I’m convinced. But I haven’t been able to go back to that (and I haven’t spent time looking back at the R1 release).

    • Doug, this particular feature seems to have been very poorly crafted, as it has been causing problems from the very beginning. Far more than the other new features.

      And, typically with SaaS accounting product feature updates you get incremental changes, rather than a major slug of new features all at once. One would hope that this means that there is more attention paid to a particular feature prior to release. With the annual update process for QuickBooks Desktop, all the new features hit at one time. And this year there were a LOT of BIG changes all at once.

  9. Janelle Vaughan Vogele says:

    Thanks for making this known and bringing the fix. We are about to upgrade to the 2012 version of Enterprise and you have saved me some headaches. You have also given me a good basis for training people on the error.

    Much as I dislike admitting it, upgrading gives me a headache in advance precisely because of the glitches.

    Janelle

    • William "Bill" Murphy says:

      Janelle –

      Best of luck on your upgrade and ‘headache’too. Advil® can indeed be an upgrader’s best friend.

      (Hum, wonder if Charlie, the Sleeter Group and I can get some advertising revenues from Advil® since I featured them in this reply? Ha ha)

      Murph

    • Janelle, we generally think that by March a new upgrade version of QuickBooks should be safe to work with. This year we may be seeing that it is better to wait a bit more in some cases…

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