Thousands of small-business owners rely on Intuit’s QuickBooks desktop software to track sales and expenses, create invoices, send purchase orders, and get organized at tax time. Many also want the flexibility of accessing their information anywhere and anytime — hence the appeal of QuickBooks Online.
Questions about how to transfer data from QuickBooks to QuickBooks Online are among the most frequently asked by customers who call the free QuickBooks help line in Tucson, Ariz. Curious how sales and support consultants answer these queries? The Intuit Small Business Blog asked Dustin Bowers and Marie Francis-Moullier, who each field up to 30 calls a day, to share their top tips for switching from QuickBooks to QuickBooks Online.
How to Migrate Data
“Sometimes migrating all your information from desktop to online can seem intimidating,” Bowers says. “To keep it simple, I like to break it up into three manageable steps. You have the option of transferring All Data or just your Lists.”
- Create a copy of the data you want to transfer to QuickBooks Online by clicking on File > Utilities > Copy Company File for QuickBooks Online and then Save that to your Desktop. Be sure to give the file a name that you can recognize easily.
- Login to QuickBooks Online using Internet Explorer and go to the Company Tab > More > Import QuickBooks Desktop Data. Follow the easy instructions that appear onscreen.
- Click the Browse button and choose the file that you saved to your desktop. You will receive an email when the data is ready to view. (This usually takes an hour or two.)
Francis-Moullier, who works with Bowers covering the QuickBooks Online social media channel, offers some additional advice.
Know What Transfers
Customers may import lists, all posting accounting transactions, and the chart of accounts, as well as invoices, payments, checks, credit card transactions, and bills to a new QuickBooks Online account. However, non-posting transactions, such as estimates and purchase orders, do not transfer.
If they need that data, they should be converted to posting transactions before migrating, or you can manually re-enter them into QuickBooks Online. Similarly, any customized form templates will need to be set up again online. Learn more about importing here.
Use Internet Explorer
For the transfer to succeed, customers must use version 7 or 8 of the Internet Explorer browser (if you’re using IE9, read this) when you upload your data. (In tech speak, this is because an ActiveX control required for the transfer only works in IE.)
“For QuickBooks for Mac users, this can be a pain point,” says Francis-Moullier. “If a customer can’t get access to a Windows PC, even temporarily, there are some workarounds that our support team may be able to provide to them which they can use to convert their file to the correct format for upload.”
Know Your Limit
Customers who want to transfer all of their information, including transactions, should note that the file created for uploading has some size restrictions. If it’s over that limit, you may only import your lists (customer list, vendor list, chart of accounts, etc.) and not your transactions. It’s not common, but if you are over your limit, Intuit can send instructions on how to shrink your files, or its full-service import team can assist.
Payroll Pain Points
“Questions about payroll are tricky because the boundaries between QBO issues and payroll issues are not always clear,” says Francis-Moullier. “We have a lot of success with conference calls between our support department and payroll support, which also provides phone and chat assistance.”
“For more complicated issues we have agents who are cross-trained to support QBO and payroll,” she adds, noting how satisfying it is to help small-business owners get back to work. “It’s personally meaningful to me, because my mother has been a small-business owner for 25 years, and I’ve seen firsthand the way that time is such a valuable resource to her. That’s why it’s great to be part of a team where everyone is focused on solving customers’ problems.”