How to Convert from QuickBooks Desktop to Online

How to Convert from QuickBooks Desktop to Online

If you need to access your data away from the office or want to give users outside of your company access, it’s time to convert to a small business accounting software like QuickBooks Online. The good news is converting from QuickBooks desktop to online is so easy, you can do it yourself; if you get stuck, you can contact QuickBooks support for free!

Before we get started, the process included in this article is for small businesses that currently use the Windows Pro/Premier version of QuickBooks Desktop. Click here to get started for free with QuickBooks Online so you can follow along with the step-by-step instructions below.

If you use QuickBooks Mac, follow these instructions for QuickBooks Mac, and if you use QuickBooks Enterprise, here are instructions for QuickBooks Enterprise.

Check the File Requirements

You can only import your data to QuickBooks Online within the first 60 days of the subscription start date. If you have had your QBO subscription for more than 60 days, then you have two options:

Find a QuickBooks ProAdvisor who can convert files within the first 180 days of their subscription start date; OR

Set up a new QuickBooks Online subscription and use a different email address.

Verify the total target count in QuickBooks Desktop. To do this, open your QuickBooks Desktop file and press F2. Total targets cannot exceed 350,000 for the import to work. In the example below, the total number of targets is 25,642. Note: If your file exceeds 350,00 targets, you will get an option to import lists for customers, vendors and products and services along with account balances only.

Call us at Quickbooks Pro Switch Online Number

+1(855)548 3394

Prepare Your QuickBooks Desktop Data for Export

Follow the steps below as a checklist to ensure your data is ready for export:

Update your data – This is your opportunity to clean up your data. For example, if you have customers or vendors whose contact information needs to be added or changed, this is the time to take care of that.

Complete outstanding tasks – Ideally, you should convert your data at the end of a month, quarter or year. With that said, make sure that all bank accounts have been reconciled, payroll has been processed and all inventory adjustments have been made prior to conversion.

Backup your data – Before you take the steps to import your data into QuickBooks Online, make a backup of the data file. To create a backup copy in QuickBooks Desktop, go to: File>Back Up Company>Create Local Backup, as indicated in the screenshot below:

Create a QuickBooks Online Account

In the next screen, you will enter basic contact information like email address, name and mobile number and password to get your QuickBooks Online account set up. As mentioned previously, if you have an existing QBO account, it has to be less than 60 days old in order for you to convert your data. If your account is more than 60 days old, you will need to create a new one.

Log Out of Your QBO Account

Click on the Gear icon (upper right corner) and select Sign Out, as indicated in the screenshot below.

Open QuickBooks Desktop

Log in to the QuickBooks Desktop account you are converting from. You’ll need to export your data out of this account and into QuickBooks Online.

From the Company menu, select “Export Company File to QuickBooks Online”

If you don’t see the “export company file to QuickBooks Online” option, you need to download the most recent update. From the Help menu, select Update QuickBooks, as indicated in the screenshot below. Once the update has completed, close out of QuickBooks altogether and then log back in. Return to Step 2 above.

Call us at Quickbooks Pro Switch Online Number

+1(855)548 3394

Sign Back into Your QBO Account

Enter your user ID and password, as indicated in the screenshot below.

Indicate Whether You Want to Bring Over Inventory

If you are managing your inventory in QuickBooks Desktop, it is currently valued using the average cost method. However, if you decide to bring the existing inventory into QuickBooks Online, it will be valued using the FIFO method, which may have a significant effect on the value of your inventory. Be sure to consult with your accountant before you bring over your inventory, because you will need to report a change in inventory method on your tax return.

If you say “yes” to the above question, the value of each inventory item will be recalculated using the FIFO method as of the start date that you select in the above screen. As noted above: Be sure to consult with your accountant before you do this because they will have to report a change in inventory methods on your tax return.

If you don’t have an accountant and you are in a hurry to convert to QuickBooks Online, say NO to the above question. You can always import your inventory from an Excel spreadsheet once you have a chance to consult with an accountant.

Select Your QBO Company

Select the QBO company that you want the data to import to from the drop-down list. If you forgot to set up your account, click on the “create new QuickBooks Online company” link and follow the on-screen instructions.

Data File Copy

You should see a notification similar to the one below once the process has begun. The length of time this process takes is dependent on how large your file is. If you don’t have a lot of data, this could take just a few minutes but if you do have a large file, it could take several hours.

What’s Not Imported When You Move from QuickBooks Desktop to QuickBooks Online?.

While most of your data will import when switching from QuickBooks Desktop to Online, there are a few items that will not convert to QuickBooks Online.

The items that will not import from QuickBooks Desktop to QuickBooks Online and what you can do about them are:

Bank/Credit Card Account Reconciliation Reports:
Once you convert to QBO, you will need to start your reconciliations from where you last ended them. If you need access to prior reconciliation reports, you can still get them from your desktop version as long as you don’t delete it.
Recurring Credit Card Charges:
You’ll need to cancel your existing recurring credit card transactions in the Merchant Center. Once that’s done, you’ll need to rebuild them in QBO. This is done by building them as a recurring sales receipt.
Audit Trail:
There is nothing you can do about your audit trail from the past other than to retain a copy of your desktop version and the information contained in it. You will, however, get an improved audit trail with QBO on a go-forward basis.
Inventory from QuickBooks for Mac:
While you can’t transfer your inventory from a Mac computer, if you have access to a computer running Windows, you can make the transfer there.
QBO contains a variety of reports that can replace many of those you’ve been using in the desktop version. The best solution is to find a new QBO report and begin using it.

How Do I Upload a Company File to QuickBooks Online?

The steps outlined in this article essentially allow you to upload your company file to QBO. However, the QBO support team must take the data and put it in a readable format before you can use it, which is why it is not immediately available once you complete the final step.

Bottom Line on Switching from QuickBooks Desktop to Online

Congratulations on successfully converting from QuickBooks Desktop to QuickBooks Online! Once you’ve had a chance to check out a few of our video tutorials, please let us know what you think! We would love to hear from you.

Switching to QuickBooks Online From Desktop? Be Prepared for Conversion Headaches

Is switching to QuickBooks online a focus for your business? QuickBooks Desktop version isn’t going away anytime soon. But it seems that Intuit, the program’s developer, wants every desktop user to transition to the online version eventually.

Furthermore, Intuit seems poised to give desktop holdouts an incentive for switching to QuickBooks online. The transition to the online version will bolster Intuit’s revenue streams from the hit accounting program.

As Charlie Russell notes in The Sleeter Report: “[We] can see that the majority of Intuit’s efforts have been focused on QuickBooks Online. Certainly from the marketing and research standpoint. While Intuit is still selling a lot of units of QuickBooks desktop, is the writing on the wall? Is the desktop going to wither away?”

Intuit seems to have shown its hand during its fourth quarter 2014 report to investors. Company executives noted that QuickBooks Online generates more than $800 in annual revenue per customer, which is a $300 increase over QuickBooks Desktop. Also, QuickBooks Online is a global platform, meaning the company can target a much larger market in terms of geographical size. Finally, the QuickBooks online platform allows for the easy purchase of additional service solutions for things like payroll.

Another thing to consider is the general trend toward a cloud-based business model.

The online version of QuickBooks is an attractive option. There’s not much attractive about the conversion process, however. So the actual breakdown of tasks required to transition from the software to the online version may not be as simple or cost effective as many business users would like.

The key issue doesn’t involve the basic conversion to QuickBooks Online itself. Rather, problems arise from the migration process in terms of QuickBooks-related applications. These are the programs that facilitate billing, merchant service, payroll and other financial applications, all of which play a role in each Quickbooks transaction..

Thinking of Moving from QuickBooks Desktop into QuickBooks Online

If your business is considering a move from one of the desktop versions of QuickBooks (that would be Pro, Premier or Enterprise) into QuickBooks Online (QBO), it is critical that you

Moving Your First Client From QuickBooks Desktop to Online

The move to the cloud is in full swing! Many accounting professionals and small businesses are moving to QuickBooks® Online. This is the first in a series of articles to help you create an action plan for moving your clients to QuickBooks Online; this one focuses on identifying which clients to convert first.

I’m a long-time QuickBooks Desktop user, and I knew it inside and out. In fact, I started teaching QuickBooks seminars in 1999, written books, presented numerous training courses and co-authored the Advanced Certification. I was apprehensive about QuickBooks Online, initially. However, after learning more about QuickBooks Online, navigating tips and more, I now love and prefer QuickBooks Online over desktop.

In fact, now the thought of working with desktop clients seems painful. The wasted time sending files back and forth, worrying about compatibility between versions of QuickBooks, data file problems and more are all a thing of the past if you use QuickBooks Online.

If you haven’t checked out QuickBooks Online within the last year or so, you really need to do it! Start by joining the QuickBooks ProAdvisor® Program that has a free membership level for QuickBooks Online. Next, I really encourage you to become a Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor for QuickBooks Online. The training and certification is included (all free) and you can do it all online. Plus, there are other training resources provided by Intuit’s Accountant University to help accounting professionals learn more about QuickBooks Online, converting and more. Intuit® invests a lot to help accounting professionals enhance our knowledge and skills so that we can confidently support our clients and help them move to QuickBooks Online.

Call us at Quickbooks Pro Switch Online Number

+1(855)548 3394

Which Clients to Convert First?

How do you start converting desktop clients to QuickBooks Online? First, start by converting your own firm. This will help you gain confidence and familiarity with the process. When you sign up for QuickBooks Online Accountant (free for accounting professionals), you get a free QuickBooks Online Plus subscription for you to use for your firm’s books.

Next – and this is really important – realize that you don’t have to convert all of your clients at once. You can do a few at a time to help ease the transition. I recommend you choose the easiest ones first and save the challenges for a later time, after you have more experience converting the easiest clients from desktop to QuickBooks Online.

How do you determine which clients to convert first? Consider clients who:

you need/want to share the data with the client;
have owners or workers in various locations and need to share the data;
are tech savvy and perhaps asking to move to the cloud;
are tech challenged or don’t want to manage their own server or IT;
have workers in the field who would benefit from entering invoices, receiving payments, entering expenses and more from a mobile device;
are a service based businesses – they are easier to convert; and
may not require a third-party app.

Perform a Needs Assessment

Next, you’ll want to ensure QuickBooks Online will be right for your clients and if there are any third-party apps to consider to help enhance QuickBooks Online. A needs assessment helps identify specific requirements, as well as identify opportunities to streamline and automate their processes. Have conversations with your clients and/or their employees to gain an understanding of how they operate in all areas: sales and receivables, purchase and payables, operations and inventory, payroll, other special needs of their business, and more. I discussed performing a needs assessment and determining which QuickBooks is right for your clients in a recent QB Power Hour webinar, and I encourage you to watch it for more details.

Differences Between QuickBooks Desktop and QuickBooks Online

While QuickBooks Online (alone or with third-party apps) may meet the needs of most of your clients, keep in mind that it is not the same as QuickBooks Desktop. There are some features in desktop that are not available in QuickBooks Online at this time (there are monthly updates to QuickBooks Online, so this may change in the future). If you have a client who needs these features, then you’ll need to use a third-party app. There are hundreds available in the App Center.

A few key features to be aware of include:

Robust Inventory – QuickBooks Online has basic FIFO inventory (vs. average cost in desktop) and no groups, assemblies, or units of measure.
Robust Job Costing – QuickBooks Online Plus allows you to do basic job costing, reimbursable expenses, customizing of a profit & loss by customer/job, income by customer, summary, and more. However, you cannot allocate payroll to the customer/job without doing it manually, doing progress invoicing (without a cumbersome workaround that I don’t recommend), or getting many of the desired reports.

Sales Order – In QuickBooks Online, you can enter an Estimate, but you cannot create a Purchase Order from an Estimate. In QuickBooks Premier and QuickBooks Enterprise, you can create a Purchase Order from a Sales Order.
Price Levels – Not available without a third-party app.
I recommend using the QuickBooks Online Test Drive for testing to determine if it will meet the needs of your clients. Here, you can enter sample transactions and run reports, for example. Nothing is saved and the system resets every time you open it. Tip: Share the link for the test drive with your clients for them to practice with QuickBooks Online, too.

In addition, QuickBooks Desktop users may prefer to use the QuickBooks Online app for Windows or Mac. This desktop app provides a “special browser” to access QuickBooks Online without going through Explorer, Chrome, Safari, Firefox or any other browser. The app also allows you to have multiple windows opened (similar to tabbed browsing in Chrome or Firefox), but it auto refreshes the windows, which is helpful. The app also supports keyboard shortcuts and has a menu bar with drop-down menus like the ones found in the desktop version of QuickBooks. This may ease the transition to QuickBooks Online for long-time desktop users, especially clients on a Mac who are seasoned desktop app users.

Converting a Desktop File to QuickBooks Online

Most of the time, the actual conversion process is really quick and easy. First, you’ll want to set up the subscription for QuickBooks Online from your QuickBooks Online Accountant dashboard (free for accounting professionals). Next, in the QuickBooks Desktop file, click on Company > Export Company File to QuickBooks Online and follow the conversion wizard prompts. Finally, you will receive an email confirmation notifying you the data was converted.

That’s the basic, easy conversion process. I encourage you to take the first step – convert your own company or your first client to QuickBooks Online today!

Action Steps you may need to take

Join the ProAdvisor Program – FREE and start getting Certified (FREE)
Sign up for QuickBooks Online Accountant – FREE
Download the three-part Accountant’s Guide to Moving Clients Online
Watch Firm of the Future: Parts 1 & 2 – Get on the Cloud recordings here
Convert your firm or your first client to QuickBooks Online

In future articles, we’ll discuss more details about converting to QuickBooks Online and refer to it for more information and details.