👻 The Haunting of QuickBooks
How do you kill something that doesn't exist?!
Enjoy today’s Halloween special, Gigglers!
For the last two years, I’ve been haunted by a slew of questionable items in my business QuickBooks account. They exist as ghosts within the system, only revealing themselves to me in the reconciliations tab. These unaccounted-for transactions started as nothing too worrisome—the first few showed up as $0.00 and didn’t affect my reconciliations balance-- so I chose not to tamper with them. No harm, no foul. (Plus, I only know enough about QuickBooks to appear like a savvy entrepreneur, but I didn’t trust myself to go tampering with things unsupervised.)
My inactivity must have provoked the technology spirits, for the longer I ignored these transaction ghosts, the more of them appeared! Before long, they added up to quite a sizeable amount. Though QuickBooks never calculated them as part of my account reconciliation, the fact they existed at all was deeply bothersome to me.
Over time, I came to dread my monthly QuickBooks reconciliation, and not just because it involved math. A ghastly cold feeling of despair would take hold of me each month as I prepared to face my QuickBooks ghosts. Will there be more of them this time? I always wondered, reluctantly clicking the “start reconciling” button and holding my breath.
Inevitably, one or two more ghost transactions would appear in my account.
“What are you?!” I’d scream at my computer, utterly confounded.
What was I doing wrong? Where were these transactions coming from? Would this put me on the IRS’s most-wanted list?!
I searched within the system for some kind of origin to these mysterious line items, but these transactions weren’t linked to anything. They existed without reason! They really were ghosts…
I looked for help online, but apparently, not a single troubleshooting expert on any of the online forums (not even for QuickBooks!) knew how to exterminate ghost transactions. That, or they were too afraid to acknowledge their existence in the first place.
If the actual QuickBooks employees couldn’t help me, then there was only one person left to turn to for help—my friend Leila, AKA Mrs. QuickBooks Whiz.
After numerous over-the-phone troubleshooting sessions (during which Leila drilled it into me that we do not under any circumstances delete things, lest all hell break loose), we ultimately made no progress. Leila then suggested she come over in person to deal with these pesky ghosts herself. (She couldn’t stand an unresolved issue and probably assumed I was either failing to execute her careful instructions, misunderstanding the issue altogether, or just being an imbecile. I didn’t blame her. After all, would you believe someone who claimed QuickBooks was haunting them?)
She arrived on the scene eager to help me solve my issue once and for all. The only problem was Leila had a crippling fear of unsolvable quandaries and a terrible case of OCD (her superpower and her greatest weakness). The moment she saw for herself my screen full of nonsensical ghost transactions, Leila was out the door and halfway done bathing in sage before my eardrums even registered her blood-curdling scream.
It looked like I was on my own.
I stared at the ghosts on my screen, wondering how so many of them could exist without any trace of how they got here. A diabolical idea began percolating in my brain despite Leila’s grave warnings…
Why not delete them? If there’s no record of these transactions anywhere else in the system, then what could go wrong?
Well, obviously, that’s the worst question to ask in any situation involving ghosts, hauntings, or QuickBooks. Especially when Mrs. QuickBooks Whiz explicitly told me not to do precisely what I was considering, but I figured she was just being dramatic. Plus, I was desperate to solve this unsolvable mystery and prove I wasn’t insane.
I pressed “delete” and held my breath.
The ghost transactions vanished, but everything else on my reconciliation page remained the same.
Huh. Well, that wasn’t so bad.
I finished reconciling with no hiccups and proceeded to return to my regular home screen. A relieved breath escaped my lips. And here I was, expecting for all hell to—
DEAR GOD, NO!
Where my home screen usually sported green check marks of approval to reflect perfectly balanced accounts, there were now orange exclamation points screaming at me that something was very wrong. With the way my blood instantly ran cold, you’d think I had just stumbled across a family member’s murder scene!
“Undo, undo, undo, undo,” I whispered to myself, frantically searching for a SAVE ME button on the QuickBooks dashboard.
My heart rate hiked to a rhythm that matched my energizer bunny brain’s erratic prancing. I saw my life flash before my eyes and imagined my accountant’s disappointed face and the IRS breaking down my door and dragging me to accounting jail.
Why didn’t I listen to Leila?!
After thirty seconds of panicked hyperventilating, I noticed something I hadn’t before. The account balances tab was now listing the very ghost transactions I had deleted on the reconciliation page.
“No,” I said sternly, both to myself and to QuickBooks. I couldn’t let these ghosts win. They wanted me to panic. They wanted me afraid! “Do not be afraid!”
That’s when another crazy idea struck me on my descent from sanity.
If deleting those transactions over on that other page got me into this mess, perhaps deleting them here would get me out of it.
I tried to ignore the pounding in my ears as my shaky hand reached for my mouse once again. I selected each of the problematic transactions on my screen, one by one. Sweat pooled in my underarms and peppered my temples as images of my business account digitally corrupting filled my mind. I was petrified of losing my banking history. (Is this why businesses fail? Because of QuickBooks ghosts?!)
Before I could hit “delete,” the ghost transactions vanished, and my green checkmarks were back.
It took me about forty dumbstruck eye blinks to register the calm, perfectly normal home screen before me.
I refreshed the page, logged out and back in, and clicked around a whole bunch, but lo and behold… my account looked as if it had been perfectly balanced and reconciled by a pro.
“Ha…hahaha…hahaHAHAHhahahaHA!” I laughed maniacally to myself, dancing and prancing around my office. I felt light as a ghost without the weight of those mystery transactions haunting me anymore.
For two years of my life, I lived in fear of those things… and now they were suddenly gone. Did I imagine the entire situation? It’s hard to convince myself those ghost transactions were real, seeing as there’s no proof within QuickBooks or according to Leila. (To this day, she refuses to speak of the haunting of QuickBooks.) Even so, I still have nightmares of that screen, full of ghost transactions with no origin, no history, and yet so much power to wreak havoc within my business account…
--Alexa (AKA The Giggler)
*based on a true story
P.S. My Gamora costume turned out FANTASTIC, and our Guardians of the Galaxy group cosplay was a hit! (Groot definitely takes the cake for best dressed!)