Converting to QuickBooks Online

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About the Author

Author.png


Esther Friedberg Karp, MBA, President, EFK CompuBooks Inc. Esther Friedberg Karp is an internationally-renowned trainer, writer, business consultant, and speaker. Although she is based in Toronto, Canada, Esther has the unique distinction of holding ProAdvisor certifications in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. She has authored materials and delivered educational and certification courses for Intuit in all those countries as well as Australia, where she conducted live QBO training. She has spoken at QuickBooks conferences as well as those of various accounting and professional organizations, and written countless articles for Intuit Global. Esther counts among her clients companies from around the world, as well as accounting professionals who seek her out on behalf of their own clients for her expertise in various countries’ editions of QuickBooks Desktop and Online, and for her talent in customizing QuickBooks usage for different industries. Esther holds a BSc from the University of Toronto in Actuarial Science and Mathematics, and an MBA in Marketing in Finance from York University’s Schulich School of Business.


About this Course

You’ve no doubt seen or received training on all the great functions available in QuickBooks Online, and perhaps you’re offering training to your clients on how to use QBO. For clients who have been QuickBooks Desktop customers for years, however, a major challenge is convincing them that they will be able to preserve their historical transactions and balances in QuickBooks Online should they make the leap to the cloud. You will want to be able to convert your Desktop clients’ companies to QuickBooks Online so that you and they can “hit the ground running” and proceed with entering transactions and running accurate real-time reports in QBO without missing a beat.

This course will give you the information you need to convert your existing and prospective clients’ company files to QBO, so that you can add data conversion to your service offerings with confidence. Please note that this course covers training material for converting QuickBooks Desktop (US) to QuickBooks Online (US); other countries’ editions of QuickBooks Desktop Online either have different instructions or at this point do not have conversion utilities.

What Files Can & Cannot Be Converted to QBO?

When reviewing a prospective conversion client, it’s important to know what can and cannot be converted to QuickBooks Online.

Yes, you can convert these QuickBooks Desktop company files:

The following QuickBooks Desktop company files are eligible for conversion to QBO within the first 60 days of the creation of the QBO company:

  • All QuickBooks for Windows companies:
    • Using QuickBooks US
    • Up to 350,000 targets
    • QuickBooks Simple Start, Pro or Premier companies version years 2008 and later
    • Without multiple currencies
  • All QuickBooks for Mac companies version 2012 and later up to 350,000 targets

Nope! Sorry; you can’t convert these company files:

There are, however, some types of company files that cannot be converted directly into QBO:

  • QuickBooks Enterprise companies: can be done but only with ActiveX
  • QuickBooks files over 350,000 targets (check by selecting F2 or Control+1 with company open)
  • QuickBooks files in which multiple currencies are used
  • QuickBooks Desktop companies using international versions (e.g. Canada, UK)
  • Any company files more than 60 days after the creation of the QBO company
  • QBO companies using international versions of QBO
  • Non-Intuit accounting software company accounting files
  • Spreadsheet files

For these types of companies, you can, if you want to save time and effort, import lists (Customers, Vendors, the Chart of Accounts, and Products & Services) into a new QBO file and manually set up opening balances, etc. for these types of companies. This is done by selecting Import Data in the Tools section of the Company menu.

Importing Lists.png


IMPORTING LISTS FOR COMPANIES THAT CANNOT BE CONVERTED DIRECTLY INTO QUICKBOOKS ONLINE

In addition, you may wish to explore integrated applications that import information into QBO, such as Baystate Consulting’s 01 Transaction Pro Importer (www.baystateconsulting.com).

Should I Convert: Is QBO Right for My Client?

Is QuickBooks Online right for every client?

Every client is unique, even within the same industry. No matter how good an accounting software package is, there are likely some end users who are not a good match with the features. No solution is the universal answer for all needs. You might find that converting to QBO is a great move for your client, based on features they can retain from Desktop and new features available only in QBO. On the other hand, you might find that there are Desktop-only features that they cannot afford to lose.

QBO features that are unavailable in Desktop

You may want to convert your clients to QuickBooks Online in order to provide them with the following features which they cannot obtain in Desktop:

  • Automatic invoice / sales receipts (created & emailed)
  • Automatic emailing of reports
  • Audit Log (more robust than the Audit Trail)
  • Multiple Accounts Receivable and/or Accounts Payable lines in one journal entry
  • Multiple budgets
  • Service dates
  • Delayed Charges
  • Location tracking (in addition to Class tracking)
  • Downloaded Transactions: superior to Desktop’s Online Banking, as you can see up to 300 transactions at a time, and clicking on one tab will display the already-accepted transactions and fix mis-postings easily in one screen
  • Up to 5 named users plus 2 Accountant Users (that’s more than Premier)
  • Unlimited Time Tracking and/or Reports Only users in QBO Plus (they don’t count toward the

subscription limit)

  • The option to have up to 25 named users and 2 Accountant users in QBO Plus, in addition to Unlimited Time Tracking and/or Reports Only users
  • Anywhere, anytime access
  • Mobile access
  • No need for Accountant copy or sending journal entries
  • Open two or more companies at once using Chrome sign-in; allows for better intercompany account reconciliation and tracking time & invoicing clients for your own time as you work
  • View different functions of same company on two monitors
  • Security encryption of data
  • No need to back up data
  • No need to upgrade version
  • No need for client to purchase pricey network

Desktop features QBO does not support:

Before you convert a company to QBO, be aware of the transaction types and list names that cannot be used going forward in a QBO company:

  • Discounts for early payment calculated automatically
  • Multiple Currencies (in the US version of QBO; international QBO versions do support multiple

currencies)

  • Sales orders and the Sales Order Fulfillment Worksheet
  • Progress Invoices
  • Robust Inventory Requirements:
    • Barcode scanning
    • Multiple locations
    • Groups or Assemblies, Bills of Material
    • Units of Measure
    • Reorder points
  • Attachments to list names, such as Customers
  • Online Bill Payments
  • Finance Charges
  • Pending Sales
  • Change Orders on Estimates
  • Convert Estimate to a Purchase Order or Sales Order
  • Receive Partially Against a Purchase Order
  • Collections Center
  • Customer Snapshot
  • Fixed Asset Manager
  • Mileage Tracking
  • Multiple Ship to Addresses for Vendors
  • Price Levels
  • Billing Rate Levels
  • Batch Timesheets
  • Only basic job costing can be achieved in QBO (cannot allocate labor / payroll to jobs)
  • Premier / Industry-Specific reports
  • Printing checks other than non-single voucher checks
  • Sales reps (unless you use a custom field in a sales transaction the way they were used for converted sales transactions involving sales reps from Desktop)
  • Shipping Manager
  • Customer Types
  • Vendor Types
  • Other Names list
  • Custom Fields (for vendors, customers, employees and items)
  • Forecasting
  • Write letters
  • Mailing Labels
  • Lead Center
  • QuickBooks Calendar
  • Multiple templates and more elaborate customization of templates
  • Print sales forms on pre-printed forms

Import Limitations

For company files that can be imported directly into QBO (per the list in the previous section), there are some import limitations to be considered as the Desktop and Online versions of QuickBooks are not feature-for-feature matches.

Remember that when a QuickBooks Desktop company file is converted into QBO, it must be within the first 60 days that the QBO company exists. The conversion is a complete over-write of any information that was in the QBO company beforehand; previously entered or imported information will be wiped out and replaced by any subsequent conversions within the 60-day period. If desired, you can purge the QBO company within the first 60 days before re-importing.

QuickBooks Desktop company files are untouched by the conversion, and can be used after any data conversion. This is a good piece of information to know; perhaps your client wants to use a trial of QBO and see if the company is a good fit for QBO, and would like to continue using Desktop for day-to-day transactions during the trial. If he or she decides that QBO is a good fit and they want to convert the Desktop data again (as many times as they want during the 60 days) for a final conversion, you can help them do this.

Lists that Import

The following lists of names are imported directly from QuickBooks Desktop into QuickBooks Online, but be wary of some fields that may not be directly imported by reviewing the article, such as those marked by an X:

  • Accounts:
    • Most information does import regarding general ledger accounts, but be aware of some information that does not import, such as:
X Detail type in QBO (an additional level of detail in QBO, which will import correctly if the detail level is obvious; otherwise a generic Detail type is assigned)
X Bank or credit card account numbers
X Account notes
X Non-posting accounts
X Inactive accounts with balances convert as active accounts (but inactive accounts with no balance convert as inactive (deleted))
  • Classes: import
  • Closing Date: import
  • Payment Methods: import
  • Customers & Jobs (the Jobs become “sub-customers” in QBO):
    • Most information does import regarding Customers and Jobs, but be aware of some information that does not import, such as:
X Inactive Customers or Jobs with balances convert as active names (but inactive Customers or Jobs with no balance convert as inactive (deleted))
X Contact
X Alt. Contact
X Customer Type
X Rep X Price Level
X Custom Fields X Account
X Credit Limit
  • Items: converted as Products and Services with some changes:
    • Most information does import regarding Service, Non-Inventory, Other Charge, Payment and Discount Items, but be aware of some item information that does not import, such as:
X Inactive Items convert as inactive (deleted), even if they have balances
X Alerts for inventory levels
X Group items (Each component item of a group appears in the imported transactions with zero amount rows at the beginning for the group name and the end for the group description so you can see which items were part of a group)
X Inventory Items QOH [Inventory items do import as two-sided items (not three-sided items, which inventory items should be) without tracking quantity on hand in QBO, with sub-items for COGS and Inventory Asset, which appear in all converted inventory purchase transactions from Desktop].
X Assembly Item bill of material and Quantity on Hand information
X See section on Vendor-based transactions for limitations on what is imported in the transactions using items
  • Employees:
    • Some information does import regarding Employees, but be aware of some information that does not import, such as:
X Inactive employees, even those with transactions, will convert as inactive names X Payroll transactions details:
X Transactions and payroll accounts are converted so your books will balance, but details behind the transactions (such as payroll item breakdown) are not converted.
X Paychecks and liability payments are converted as regular checks.
X Liability refunds, adjustment transactions, and opening balance transactions that affect accounts are converted to journal entries.
  • See the section on Employee-related transactions for more information on how to set up payroll after conversion.
  • Other Names: import (Other Names do not exist in QBO so are imported as Vendors)
  • Vendors:
    • Most information does import regarding Vendors, but be aware of some information that does not import, such as:
X Inactive Vendors with balances convert as active names (inactive Vendors with no balance convert as inactive (deleted)
X Contact
X Alt. Contact
X Note
X Inactive status (name is converted, but as active, not inactive)
X Vendor Type
X Credit Limit
X 1099 (gets imported, but there is no preference in QBO to change this feature)
X Custom Fields
X Alt. Contact
  • Terms:
    • Most information does import regarding Terms, but be aware of some information that does not import for automatic calculation on future transactions in QBO, such as:
X Discounts for early payment
X Finance charges

Inactive List Names

If you have accounts, customers, or vendors marked as inactive in your QuickBooks Desktop company file with a balance tied to them, they are converted to QuickBooks Online as active elements. If the names have no balance, the inactive elements convert as inactive. Inactive items (products & services) and Employees convert as inactive, regardless. If you need to remove elements from a list in QuickBooks Online, you can delete them with the option of restoring them at a later date. All deleted list elements can be restored.

Lists that Do Not Import into QBO at all

The following lists in QuickBooks Desktop are not imported into QBO:

X Attached documents
X Budgets (exist in QBO Plus but do not import from Desktop)
X Custom fields on lists (customers, vendors, employees, items)
X Customer messages from sales forms (they do appear in converted transactions, but do not populate a pre-defined list)
X Discounts in Terms definitions (don’t exist in QBO)
X Finance charges in Terms definitions (don’t exist in QBO)
X Some Payroll items
X Price levels (don’t exist in QBO)
X Memorized Transactions
X Memorized Reports
X Merchant account services (does not convert but QBO has its own Merchant account service)
X Online banking (setup does not convert but you can set up Downloaded Transactions in QBO)
X Preferences
X Sales reps (import in sales transaction as custom field)
X Templates
X To Do List
X Users, permissions and passwords

Transactions

The following transaction types do get imported directly from QuickBooks Desktop into QuickBooks Online, unless marked by an X:

  • Vendor-related transactions:
    • Bills & Bill Credits (become Bills and Vendor Credits)
X Excludes Inventory Item information: on Bills and Bill Credits involving Inventory Items, just the correct general ledger accounts are affected in the Account Details section, with details of the item and quantities involved in the Description field.
  • Item Receipts (but they are imported as Bills)
X Excludes Inventory Item information: on these transactions involving Inventory Items, just the correct general ledger accounts are affected in the Account Details section, with details of the item and quantities involved in the Description field.
  • Receive Item & Enter Bill (but they are imported as Bills)
X Excludes Inventory Item information: on these transactions involving Inventory Items, just the correct general ledger accounts are affected in the Account Details section, with details of the item and quantities involved in the Description field.
  • Enter Bill for Received Items (but they are imported as Bills)
X Excludes Inventory Item information: on these transactions involving Inventory Items, just the correct general ledger accounts are affected in the Account Details section, with details of the item and quantities involved in the Description field.
  • Purchase Orders
X Excludes Inventory Item information: on Purchase Orders involving Inventory Items, just the correct general ledger accounts are affected in the Account Details section, with details of the item and quantities involved in the Description field.
X Closed PO’s, while imported, are not linked to their corresponding Bill.
Bill Using.png


BILL USING ITEMS CONVERTED FROM QUICKBOOKS DESKTOP TO QBO FROM DESKTOP
  • Bill Payments including by Credit Card (Discount Date and Address on Checks not converted)
  • Online Bill Payments (although this service does not exist in QBO for future payments)
  • Discounts for early payment (converted as Vendor Credits, applied to Vendor Balance)
  • The following Vendor-related transactions are not imported completely:
X Inventory – purchase transactions involving inventory are imported, but only to the extent that the general ledger accounts are affected in the Account Details Section of the transaction, with information on the items and quantities in the Description field; quantities and setting an item up as a Product / Service in QBO for which quantity on hand is tracked are not converted.
  • Customer-related transactions:
    • Most Customer-related transactions do import, but be aware that some transactions do not import at all, or import differently:
X Invoices, Credit Memos and Sales Receipts
X They import, but certain components do not survive the conversion, such as the Long Text Disclaimer and the template. Other components import differently. QBO has a maximum of three Custom Fields available for use in sales forms; the PO No. in an imported invoice is translated to Custom Field 1, and Sales Rep initials are translated to Custom Field 2.
X Reimbursable expenses are converted as “billable” (with the default markup percentage corresponding to the preference for markup in Desktop), but the details from Desktop convert into QBO as “Billable Expense.”
X Sales transactions involving inventory items in QuickBooks Desktop come across differently as shown in the chart below. On converted invoices, sales receipts, credit memos and on some bills, checks and credit card transactions that contained inventory items, in QuickBooks Online you'll see two new detail lines after each inventory line that represent the inventory asset and COGS amounts. For each inventory item used on a transaction, we created sub-items: "Inventory Asset" and "COGS;" the additional lines will use these items. These items contain the same description as their parent item, but have the inventory asset account and COGS account associated with them, respectively.
How Converting.png

HOW CONVERTING TO QBO FROM DESKTOP DEALS WITH SALES TRANSACTIONS WITH INVENTORY ITEMS

X Finance Charges (do not exist in QBO, so are converted as Invoices)
X Sales Orders (do not exist in QBO)
X Pending Sales (do not exist in QBO)
X Progress Invoices (do not exist in QBO, so are converted as regular Invoices in QBO, leaving out Estimate and Previously Invoiced information)
XStatement Charges (do exist in QBO, but Desktop-generated ones come across as regular invoices)
  • Banking-related transactions:
    • Most Banking-related transactions do import, but be aware that some information for some transactions does not import or imports differently, such as:
X Credit Card Charges (imported but as Expense transactions in QBO; Credit Card Credits are imported as Credit Card Credits in QBO)
X Excludes Inventory Item information: on Credit Card Charges and Credits involving Inventory Items, just the correct general ledger accounts are affected in the Account Details section, with details of the item and quantities involved in the Description field.
X Checks
X Excludes Inventory Item information: on Checks involving Inventory Items, just the correct general ledger accounts are affected in the Account Details section, with details of the item and quantities involved in the Description field.
X Past bank and credit card reconciliations do not get imported into QBO, although all cleared transactions will have an “R" in the cleared column in the register
  • Employee-related transactions:
    • Most Employee-related transactions do import, but be aware that some transactions do not import at all, or import differently:
X Transactions and payroll accounts are converted so your books will balance, but details behind the transactions (such as payroll item breakdown) are not converted. Therefore, calendar YTD balances by employee do not import, and W-2’s and future paychecks cannot be generated out of QBO unless payroll is further set up after the initial conversion.
X Paychecks and liability payments are converted as checks. X Liability refunds, adjustment transactions, and opening balance transactions that affect accounts are converted to journal entries.
  • For a “how to” video on how to set up payroll after converting to QBO, click here: http://www.screencast.com/t/kzyQ1zQr. Don't set up QuickBooks Online Payroll until after you convert your desktop data to QuickBooks Online. You'll need to fill out an interview to set up employee deductions, tax information, and so on before you'll be ready to create paychecks.
  • If you're currently using another QuickBooks payroll service (such as QuickBooks Assisted Payroll, QuickBooks Enhanced Payroll Plus, or QuickBooks Standard Payroll), you can switch to the QuickBooks Online Payroll service to manage your payroll.

Reports

QuickBooks Desktop’s Audit Trail details do not get imported into QBO, although QBO’s Audit Log does keep track of each list name and transaction that gets imported, as if everything was created at the moment of import into QBO.

QuickBooks Desktop’s Closing Date Exception Report details do not get imported into QBO. Any reconciliation reports from QuickBooks Desktop do not get imported into QBO because each banking transaction’s reconciliation status does not get imported.

Memorized Reports from QuickBooks Desktop do not migrate to QBO; instead, reports can be displayed, customized, and the customizations saved in QBO.

Create Reports.png

CREATE REPORTS IN QBO, CUSTOMIZE AND SAVE THE CUSTOMIZATIONS TO REPLACE MEMORIZED REPORTS IN DESKTOP

Required Browsers for Conversion

QuickBooks Pro or Premier 2008 or Later

Company data files in the latest versions of QuickBooks for Windows can be converted to QuickBooks Online using any browser supported by QBO. For the new QuickBooks Online (sometimes referred to as “Harmony,”), the supported browsers are:

  • Internet Explorer version 10 or higher (32 bit only)
  • Mozilla Firefox, version 21 or higher
  • Google Chrome (current release, as well as 1 release back and 2 releases back)
  • Safari for Windows 6.1 or higher

QuickBooks for Mac

Company data files in QuickBooks for Mac can be converted to the new QuickBooks Online using the only supported browser for Mac OS X:

  • Safari 6.1 or higher

Operating system OS X version requirements for converting from older versions of QuickBooks Mac directly to QBO are discussed in the section “Converting the Data.”

Prepare Your Desktop Data

After assessing the suitability of your client to QuickBooks Online, understanding what will and will not be imported directly, and ensuring that you have an appropriate browser if necessary, you will want to prepare your QuickBooks Desktop data for the conversion.

Preparing Desktop Data: Best Practices

The best practices for preparing your Desktop Data to avoid any issues are as follows:

name right; you cannot change the QBO company’s name later*

  • Sign out of QuickBooks Online*
  • Now do some work in QuickBooks Desktop:
    • Create a copy of the live QuickBooks Desktop data (the *.QBW or working file) on your local drive.
    • Open that local copy of the data as the Admin user and be in single-user mode.
    • Create a portable copy of that data (a *.QBM file) and save it on your local drive.
    • Restore the portable copy and overwrite the copy of the working file (*.QBW) on your local drive.
    • Review the names list and, if necessary, merge names.
    • Verify the data; rebuild and verify again if there are data integrity issues.
    • Hit Control+1 or F2 to see the Product Info window and see data file size, targets.
    • If the data file exceeds 350,000 targets, condense the data (archiving original data first). If condensed data still exceeds the 350K limit, you will have to resort to importing lists only into QuickBooks Online and entering Starting Date balances manually (see the “Import Lists Only” section of the chapter on Converting the Data).

Converting the Data

When converting from QuickBooks Desktop to QuickBooks Online, consideration must be given to the type of Desktop data you have to convert. There are different procedures for Windows and Mac versions, for example, and within each operating system there are different procedures depending on the version year.

Assuming that you have the right type of browser, that you have already established that the company file you wish to convert is not listed under “Nope, you can’t convert these files,” and that you are aware of what types of transactions and features from Desktop are not available in QBO, go ahead and convert your data.

You may wish to convert the data as an experiment. After all, the original Desktop data is not affected in the least by converting to QBO. Keep in mind that converting data may be done as many times as you wish (overwriting the online data previously imported or entered) within the first 60 days of the creation of a QBO company, after which importing cannot be done.

Note: Convert QuickBooks Desktop companies to the lowest QuickBooks Online subscription you can, because you cannot downgrade. You can always upgrade.

Converting from QuickBooks Pro or Premier

There are different sets of instructions for converting to QuickBooks Online from Windows versions of QuickBooks, depending on the version year, and assuming that the company file is no larger than 350,000 targets. Remember that it is not possible to convert to QuickBooks Online from QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions.

The instructions to follow depend on which version year of QuickBooks for Windows is being used.

Converting from QuickBooks Pro or Premier 2008 or later

If the QuickBooks company data file is in QuickBooks Pro or Premier, 2008 or later, follow these instructions:

1. If you have a QBO account, make sure that you are logged out.
2. Open the company file in QuickBooks for Windows.
3. Check for and install release updates to that year’s version of QuickBooks (if any) by selecting Help > Update QuickBooks.
Updating QuickBooks.png

UPDATING QUICKBOOKS PRO OR PREMIER TO MOST RECENT RELEASE FOR VERSION YEAR

4. Restart QuickBooks
5. Click on Company > Export Company File to QuickBooks Online.
Company Menu.png

COMPANY MENU: EXPORT COMPANY FILE TO QUICKBOOKS ONLINE

6. Read the special conditions, and select Continue.
7. Sign into QuickBooks Online with your existing Intuit User ID when prompted, along with checking that you have read the Terms of Service and select Submit. If you do not yet have an Intuit User ID, you can click on Create a new account. You can create it on the spot.
Sign In.png

SIGN IN TO QUICKBOOKS ONLINE OR SIGN UP FOR A NEW INTUIT USER ID

8. If you had a pre-existing Intuit User ID and signed in, you will see a list of existing QBO files associated with that Intuit User ID. If the QBO company exists already and you are within the 60 days, you can select it, knowing that any information in this company file will be overwritten. If the QBO company does not yet exist, you can click on Create a new company. Select Continue.
Choose An.png

CHOOSE AN EXISTING QUICKBOOKS ONLINE COMPANY FOR IMPORT OR CREATE A NEW ONE

9. Then if asked, confirm that you want to replace all the data in the QBO company with the newly-converted QuickBooks Desktop company file.
10. You receive an email within a few minutes when the company data is completely converted into QBO.
11. Sign in to your Intuit User ID account and open your newly-converted QBO company.

Converting from QuickBooks for Mac

There are two sets of instructions for converting to QuickBooks Online from QuickBooks for Mac, assuming that the company file is no larger than 350,000 targets.

The instructions to follow depend on which version year of QuickBooks for Mac is being used.

Converting from QuickBooks for Mac 2013 and later

  • If you have a QuickBooks Online account, ensure that you are signed out before starting the export process
  • If you use QuickBooks for Mac over a network, move the company file to a local hard drive
  • Update QuickBooks for Mac to the latest release for this version
  • After the update finishes, restart QuickBooks and open the company file on your local drive
  • Select File > Export > To QuickBooks Online
Export Data.png

EXPORT DATA FROM QUICKBOOKS FOR MAC TO QUICKBOOKS ONLINE

  • Follow the onscreen instructions.
  • Once your data is successfully copied and imported into QuickBooks Online, you’ll receive an email.
  • From there, sign in to see your data.

Converting from QuickBooks for Mac 2012

  • If you have a QuickBooks Online account, ensure that you are signed out before starting the export process.
  • If you use QuickBooks for Mac over a network, move the company file to a local hard drive.
  • If you don’t have QuickBooks for Mac 2015, you will want to use the trial version. In order to download the QuickBooks for Mac 2015 Trial, you’ll need Mac OS X v10.7 (Lion) or v10.8 (Mountain Lion)
  • If you have an older version of Mac OS X, you’ll need to upgrade to v10.8 to continue at http://www.apple.com/osx/.
  • Download and install the QuickBooks for Mac 2015 Trial from http://httpdownload.intuit.com/http.intuit/Downloads/2015/Latest/QuickBooksProMac2015Trial.dmg. This version will install alongside your existing version of QuickBooks for Mac.
  • Launch QuickBooks for Mac 2015, go to File > Open Company, then locate and open the QuickBooks company file on your local drive. Click the Upgrade button when prompted.
  • Wait for the Backup and Converting File steps to complete.
  • Update QuickBooks for Mac to the latest release: choose QuickBooks > Check for QuickBooks Updates and update to the latest release for QuickBooks for Mac 2015.
  • After the update finishes, restart QuickBooks.
  • Select File > Export > To QuickBooks Online.
  • Follow the onscreen instructions.
  • Once your data is successfully copied and imported into QuickBooks Online, you’ll receive an email.
  • From there, sign in to see your data.

Another option: Mac -> Windows -> QBO

Depending on the number of years of transactions in the company file, you may want to consider another option for converting QuickBooks for Mac company files to QBO. This option is described in the article “Into the Cloud: A QuickBooks for Mac Case Study,” which can be found at https://blog.accountants.intuit.com/from-the-experts/conversion-case-study-quickbooks-for-mac-to­quickbooks-online/?dysig_tid=fe1b4fa88022472f86ade7765e349115. The author, Shelly Robbins, described in Step 4 of her case study that she had a choice between exporting directly from QuickBooks for Mac to QBO and converting first to QuickBooks for Windows (part of a process known as “Round Tripping,” which is described more at http://support.quickbooks.intuit.com/support/Articles/HOW12998,) and then converting from QuickBooks for Windows to QBO. Shelly covers a variety of resources as well as best practices for preparing QuickBooks for Mac data if required.

Import Lists Only

If, due to the size of the QuickBooks Desktop file (or if the original accounting records are not in QuickBooks but spreadsheet or CSV soft copies of lists exist), you will want to import whatever lists you can harvest and import them into QuickBooks Online. You will then want to enter the Start Date balances in the new QBO company file.

  • Click on Gear > Import Data
Import Data.png

IMPORT DATA FUNCTION IF IMPORTING LISTS ONLY

  • One by one, select a list to import:
    • Customers
    • Vendors
    • Chart of Accounts (ensure that the Detail Type by account is correct)
    • Products / Services List
    • (Bank Transactions can be imported later, after the other lists are imported)
Import Data Function.png

IMPORT DATA FUNCTION IF IMPORTING LISTS ONLY

  • For each list in turn, browse to the location of CSV or Excel file for importing that list’s names and click Continue.
Browse to.png

BROWSE TO IMPORT A CSV OR EXCEL FILE FOR EACH LIST

  • Review the mapping offered for importing and make any changes as needed. Select Continue.
Mapping.png

MAPPING OF COLUMNS TO FIELDS FOR IMPORT

  • Review the spreadsheet import preview, un-check anything you don’t want, and then elect to Import the number of selected records.
Review.png

REVIEW THE SPREADSHEET FOR RECORDS TO IMPORT

  • Then proceed with continuing to set up the QBO company, with starting balances and “After the Initial Conversion” details listed in that chapter.

If You Want to Purge Data

There will be situations in which a company that has been converted to QBO should be wiped out. There are two different types of situations: within the first 60 days and after the 60 days.

Within the First 60 Days

A new customer (within the first 60 days of setting up an account) may wish to wipe out all the data, and possibly start from scratch. (One reason would be that they’d started working in a QuickBooks Online file without converting from QuickBooks Desktop; perhaps they’d entered a lot of transactions or uploaded bank transactions and wish to start over.) This works for Online Essentials and Plus only. Follow these steps:

1. Sign in to the QuickBooks Online company you wish to purge.
2. From the Home Page, edit the address bar and change the URL from this: https://qbo.intuit.com.../app/homepage ...
3. ...to this: https://qbo.intuit.com.../app/purgecompany.

(In other words, overwrite the section of the URL with the text “homepage” to “purgecompany” and select Enter.)

4. Review the summary of the items to delete.
Are You Sure.png

ARE YOU SURE YOU WANT TO WIPE OUT YOUR QUICKBOOKS COMPANY?

5. To confirm that you understand the data will be deleted, type Yes.
6. Click OK.
7. Make your selections based on how you want your Chart of Accounts set up. If the industry you want to select is different than the one you see, change it and mark whether you want to create accounts based on your industry type or start with an empty chart of accounts.
8. Click Wipe Data. The Home Page reappears after the deletion is completed.

After 60 Days

If your account has been established for more than 60 days you'll have to cancel your current company and create a new company in order to start from scratch.

Potential Import Errors

Because every QuickBooks Desktop company file is different, as is the computer environment, there are errors that can occur, but they can be overcome and corrected so that the import to QuickBooks Online can succeed. The causes and solutions vary as widely as the company files: perhaps the company is in a network folder with restricted access, or perhaps the Desktop company file needs rebuilding. There are too many permutations to list in this course.

The most common errors seen during conversion from QuickBooks Desktop to QuickBooks Online and their solutions can be found here: https://qboe.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/2351.

  • Error: Data from a newer version
  • Error: Unable to open (file name)
  • A database error was encountered while trying to read your QuickBooks desktop edition file
  • QuickBooks error messages: -14008, -6151, and -1006
  • Your backup file was saved on more than one disk*Please insert disk one
  • The administrator password you entered is not correct
  • Unable to install ActiveX Convert Control
  • Error: Cannot create Archive file
  • Error-QuickBooks Mac & QuickBooks Online do not support multicurrency feature........*
  • Error -6073,-816: QuickBooks is unable to open this company file
  • Unrecoverable Error XXXXX XXXXX QuickBooks has encountered a problem and needs to close
  • Unable to create an Archive file, Cannot create archive
  • Unknown Error 13 or -1
  • Error: Unable to open for output 13

Note: if you encounter an Error 500 when importing from Desktop to QBO, then QuickBooks Desktop was in multi-user mode when you clicked on Export, and you were working on the file over a network. You must be using a copy of the Desktop file on your local drive, you must be in single user mode in Desktop when creating the export file, and you must ensure that there are no data integrity issues. You can verify and rebuild the data, then verify again, or you can try creating a portable file and restoring the local copy of the file from the portable copy. Be aware that the verify and rebuild functions do not necessarily resolve all data integrity issues; you may have to contact Desktop support to clean up the data before trying the Export function again.

After the Initial Conversion

Once the initial conversion has been conducted from QuickBooks Desktop, there are other tasks that must be completed in order for the conversion to be complete so that QBO will be truly ready to use and its reports will be accurate.

Payroll

If you're currently using a QuickBooks Desktop payroll service (such as QuickBooks Assisted Payroll, QuickBooks Enhanced Payroll Plus, or QuickBooks Standard Payroll), you can switch to the QuickBooks Online Payroll service to manage your payroll.

Don't set up QuickBooks Online Payroll until after you convert your desktop data to QuickBooks Online. You'll need to fill out an interview to set up employee deductions, tax information, and so on before you'll be ready to create paychecks.

This video will guide you through setting up payroll: http://www.screencast.com/t/kzyQ1zQr

Inventory

Purchase transactions involving inventory items are imported, but only to the extent that the general ledger accounts are affected just the correct general ledger accounts are affected in the Account Details section, with details of the item and quantities involved in the Description field. Sales transactions are imported using the items; however, quantities and setting an item up as a Product / Service in QBO for which quantity on hand is tracked are not converted.

To complete setting up inventory after the initial conversion from Desktop to QBO, check out this video: http://www.screencast.com/t/0hgpGl2MJJwf .

Sales Tax

After the conversion, there will be at least two sales tax payable accounts on the Chart of Accounts: one for each old Sales Tax Payable account from QuickBooks Desktop and one for each Sales Tax Agency Payable QBO account (set up automatically for each jurisdiction during the conversion). The Sales Tax Payable account(s) from QuickBooks Desktop is/are the sub-accounts(s), which you can then make inactive. Use the new Sales Tax Agency Payable account(s) in QuickBooks Online going forward.

Multiple Sales Tax.png

MULTIPLE SALES TAX PAYABLE ACCOUNTS IN QBO AFTER CONVERSION

Run reports to compare Desktop and QBO

Although your Accrual Basis reports will match in both products, your Cash Basis reports may not match. This is because cash basis calculations are somewhat subjective, and there are several differences in how the two products calculate what is considered paid.

Run the following reports on an Accrual basis for All Dates in both QuickBooks Desktop and Online for comparison purposes to ensure that the conversion is accurate. Even if you generally use cash basis for your accounting, when comparing these reports, it's necessary that you use accrual basis for each report in which it is possible to select a reporting basis.

  • Profit & Loss (Profit & Loss Standard in QuickBooks Desktop) for All Dates, Accrual Basis
  • Balance Sheet (Balance Sheet Standard in QuickBooks Desktop) for All Dates, Accrual Basis
  • Inventory Valuation Summary (if applicable) for All Dates
  • Last bank reconciliation report
  • Open Invoices
  • Unpaid Bills
  • Transaction Detail for Payments into Undeposited Funds
  • Sales Tax Liability
  • Payroll Tax Liabilities

Recreate in QuickBooks Online

After all the numbers have been confirmed to match between the Desktop and Online versions of the same company, you will want to continue to set up QuickBooks Online so that it works best for this client going forward. The following features of QuickBooks Online should be set up:

  • Users and permissions
    • The access permissions in QuickBooks Online are similar to QuickBooks desktop edition, but they don't allow you to control activity at the level of transactions. Set up Accountant users as well.
  • Company Settings:
    • Turn on account numbers, custom transaction numbers on sales transactions, etc.
  • Inactive list elements:
    • Those list elements that were inactive in QuickBooks desktop can now be made inactive (deleted) in QBO. Any deleted list names can be reactivated at a later time.
  • Templates:
    • Create new sales templates in QuickBooks Online
  • Non-posting transactions:
    • Recreate/edit Purchase Orders with products for which quantity is tracked (i.e. inventory) to reflect these items as required.
  • Reconcile accounts:
    • Re-reconcile any accounts such as Bank and Credit Card Accounts; although the registers list an R beside each reconciled transaction, the reconciliation process must be done again. If there are too many months to reconcile quickly, refer to the last Reconciliation Detail Report for each account from Desktop and create one huge reconciliation period up to that statement’s end date, leaving the same uncleared items in Desktop uncleared in QuickBooks Online.
  • Attachments:
    • Attach any documents to transactions; documents cannot be attached to list names.
  • Memorized Transactions:
    • Memorized Transactions from QuickBooks Desktop can be set up again as Recurring Transactions in QuickBooks Online.
  • Memorized Reports:
    • Customize the reports you want in QuickBooks Online and save the customizations.
  • Downloaded Transactions / Online Banking:
    • If you wish to use Online Banking in QuickBooks Online, select the Transactions tab in the Left Navigation Bar and then select Banking. There, you can select Add account and proceed with linking up various QuickBooks Online bank and credit card accounts with their real-life counterparts using Downloaded Transactions.
Add Bank.png

ADD A BANK OR CREDIT CARD ACCOUNT TO DOWNLOADED TRANSACTIONS

  • Closing Date Password:
    • If a closing date and password were set in QuickBooks Desktop, the closing date will have imported to QuickBooks Online; however, the password would have to be recreated. Review and change the date and password as necessary.
  • Integrated Applications:
    • Once the conversion to QuickBooks Online is complete, you may want to expand the power and usefulness of QBO using one or more cloud-based apps that integrate with it seamlessly. These apps are available from the Apps tab on the left-hand Navigation Bar in QBO. Here, you can peruse the apps, see other users’ ratings of the products, get more details, and even try them out for free. These products include:
      • ScanWriter
      • Concur
      • Avalara
      • TSheets
      • Bill.com
      • ScanWriter
      • Method CRM
Apps.png

APPS TAB IN QUICKBOOKS ONLINE FOR PERUSING, TRYING OUT, AND PURCHASING INTEGRATED APPLICATIONS

Conclusion

Now you have a game plan and guidelines for converting new and existing clients’ QuickBooks Desktop company files to QuickBooks Online.

You learned what features are available in the Cloud vs. Desktop, and you can assess which clients are good candidates for conversion.

You also learned what the steps are necessary to prepare your client’s Desktop data for conversion, as well as the steps to take in the QuickBooks Online company after converting.

You can now offer end-to-end services in the Cloud…see you up there!