Enter starting balances

Starting balances are used when migrating accounting for an entity to Manager from a prior accounting system. They can be set only for balance sheet accounts or, when appropriate, for their subsidiary ledgers. (See information below.) They are not used for new businesses just beginning operation. Starting balances on the start date for Manager should equal ending balances for equivalent accounts in the old accounting system.

Starting balances cannot be set for accounts on the profit and loss statement, because balances of such accounts depend only on transactions during the current financial period.

Set a start date

Starting balances cannot be entered unless a start date is set. To set a start date, following procedures in this Guide.

Enter starting balances

To enter starting balances, go to the Settings tab and select Starting Balances:

A list of current balance sheet accounts will appear.

Sample Consulting, a sole trader, switches its accounting to Manager at the beginning of calendar year 2018. It sets its start date accordingly, and its balance sheet accounts are listed. All starting balances are initially zero:

Starting balances are initially listed in Debit or Credit columns according to account types. For more information about whether an account is a debit or credit account, see this Guide. If a balance later changes to the other category, Manager will move it to the opposite column.

Once the list appears, there are two methods for entering starting balances, depending on the nature of the account:

  • By clicking Edit for ordinary accounts
  • By clicking on the blue starting balance figure for control or special accounts

Manager allows only one method for any account, so you cannot choose incorrectly. A few automatically created contra accounts, such as Fixed assets - accumulated depreciation, allow neither option. This is because starting balances for these accounts are entered on the same screen as their corresponding ordinary accounts. (See the second Example below.)

Starting balances for ordinary accounts

For accounts with an Edit button, click the button. Select whether the starting balance is a debit or credit from the dropdown list, enter the balance (always as a positive number), and click Update:

On its start date, Sample Consulting has a liability in its Tax payable account for VAT collected from customers but not yet paid to the tax authority. So it enters a starting balance credit:

Starting balances for control or special accounts

For accounts with a blue starting balance link, click the link. A list of subsidiary ledgers or accounts will appear. Accounts of this type include:

  • Accounts receivable and Accounts payable
  • Cash at bank and Cash on hand
  • Fixed assets and Intangible assets
  • Inventory on hand
  • Employee clearing account
  • Capital accounts
  • Custom control accounts
  • Special accounts

Depending on the exact nature of the subsidiary ledgers, they may offer either Edit buttons, additional blue links, or both. Steps for entering starting balances should be intuitive. Always remember to click Update when finished.

Sample Consulting has one fixed asset, its office computer. So two companion accounts are included on its balance sheet, Fixed assets and Fixed assets - accumulated depreciation. Fixed assets all have their own subsidiary ledgers, so no Edit button appears for either account:

When the balance for Fixed assets is clicked, the computer asset is listed:

When the Edit button is clicked, Sample Consulting enters the original purchase cost of the computer from its old accounting system:

Returning to the Starting Balances list, Sample clicks the balance for Fixed assets, accumulated depreciation, then Edit for the computer, and enters the accumulated depreciation to date from the old accounting system:

After Update is clicked, all three modified accounts show their correct starting balances:

Pending invoices and bank transactions

Some starting balances in the second category above (control and special accounts) require additional steps. A simple, summary balance at the subsidiary ledger level would not be sufficient, because future transactions or events (after the start date) may be linked to prior ones (before the start date). Therefore, the prior transactions must be entered, with transaction dates before the start date.

Manager uses these pre-start-date transactions only to establish starting balances. It ignores them for reporting during the current financial period. Such transactions include:

  • Unpaid sales and purchase invoices
  • Pending bank transactions

Unpaid invoices

Unpaid sales and purchase invoices are entered after first clicking the blue balance of Accounts receivable or Accounts payable, respectively, then clicking on the Unpaid invoices balance:

Buttons appear for creating new invoices:


The invoices are created exactly as usual, but with dates before the start date, as they were entered in the prior accounting system.

On its start date, Sample Consulting has an overdue sales invoice issued to Brilliant Industries last year. It enters the invoice using the process described. The unpaid invoice shows in the Unpaid invoices starting balance ledger for Brilliant Industries:

The starting balance for the Accounts receivable control account also reflects the change:

More information about starting balances for customers is here. More information on suppliers is here.

Pending bank transactions

Pending bank transactions are entered after first clicking the blue balance of Cash at bank (or the relevant control account if bank accounts have been set up under different reporting accounts), then clicking on the blue balances for Pending deposits or Pending withdrawals:

Buttons appear for creating new bank transactions:


Again, transactions are entered as usual, with dates from before the start date.

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