Importing Accounts from QuickBooks Desktop

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Importing Accounts from QuickBooks Desktop

It is possible to import a chart of accounts (including your classes, if you use them for funds) from the program QuickBooks Desktop from Intuit, when you are setting up a new database for a new organization in ACCOUNTS.


There is a separate Help topic on importing from QuickBooks Online, if that is what you are using.


To import your chart of accounts from QuickBooks Desktop (which will mostly just be called "QuickBooks" for the remainder of this Help topic), you have to first export that information from there. The following instructions apply to QuickBooks Premier Edition 2010. Hopefully other editions or years will follow similar steps - if yours is significantly different, please carefully write down the exact steps you had to use (in a format similar to what we have below) and email that to us, and we will incorporate it into these instructions.


1.Log in to QuickBooks Desktop with a QuickBooks Administrator password.

2.Use its menu option File Utilities Export Lists to IIF Files.

3.On the window that comes up, check the checkbox for "Chart of Accounts".

4.Also check the checkbox for "Class List", if you use Classes to represent your funds in QuickBooks.

5.Click OK.

6.In the Export window that comes up (a normal Save As dialog box) either note what directory it is saving the file to, or navigate to a desired directory, give the file an appropriate name (like ACCOUNTS.IIF), and click Save. (It may be convenient to save it in the ACCOUNTS program's Data Directory.)

7.You should then get a message saying "Your data has been exported successfully."


Having done this, you can use your exported file when you are on the ACCOUNTS program's Startup Accounts window, by checking the radio button options for "Import a Chart of Accounts exported from", and "QuickBooks Desktop". When you then click OK, you will be prompted to select an exported file.


The window for selecting that file will start out displaying whatever is in the program's Data Directory, which is why it would be convenient to export your QuickBooks file to there. However, you can navigate to any other directory where you saved the file, and select it from there.


After selecting the file and clicking OK, you will be asked whether you want to import exported QuickBooks Classes as equity/fund accounts. If you used classes in QuickBooks for that purpose (identifying income and expenses on different funds), and exported the Class List, answer Yes to that question.


Next, just follow the prompts. After the import, you will be shown a text file containing messages about all of the issues that arose when importing your chart of accounts from QuickBooks, because of differing allowable field lengths, different concepts and capabilities in the two programs, etc. You will want to print that file out, and carefully work through each issue mentioned in it, in the Chart of Accounts window that will be displayed for you next in ACCOUNTS.


Accounts marked as Inactive in QuickBooks will not be imported (and this will have been noted, for each such account, in the text file of messages).


If you fail to print out that text file of messages, and need to get back to it, it is named ImportNotes.txt, and can be found in the program's Temp Directory by using the Tools Explore Temp Directory menu option on the main window. (In the window that comes up, just find that file and double-click on it to view it.)


Accounts used in QuickBooks for Fund Balances


Because QuickBooks isn't really designed for fund accounting, it has no standard way to track fund balances. Some users set up sub-accounts of bank accounts for that purpose, and others use things like "Other Income" accounts to store their fund balances.


After importing the chart of accounts from QuickBooks into ACCOUNTS, you have to be sure to eliminate those extra accounts you were using in it to track fund balances, and set up real fund accounts in ACCOUNTS for them instead. Please see Funds and Fund Accounting in the Help topic on Accounting Concepts if you need to understand this better.


When you are then setting up your Opening Balances in ACCOUNTS, you need to make sure you give those fund accounts the right balances, that were stored elsewhere in your QuickBooks.


Helpful Reports


There are two reports that may be particularly helpful when reviewing and finalizing the imported chart of accounts.


The first is Reports Listing Revenue and Expense Accounts by Fund. This shows which Revenue and Expense accounts you have associated with which fund. Because the import cannot know which classes you used with which accounts (assuming you were using classes to represent funds), all imported Revenue and Expense accounts will initially be associated with a Fund / Equity accounts named "General Fund". So you will want to re-assign your desired funds to the accounts they belong with.


Note, however, that in QuickBooks, you can use the same Revenue or Expense account with different classes at different times, thus implying that those revenues or expenses belong to different funds. In ACCOUNTS, to make things simpler and clearer, each Revenue or Expense account is associated with only one fund. So, you may need to split out any Revenue or Expense accounts that you used with multiple classes in QuickBooks into multiple accounts in ACCOUNTS, and associate each one with a different fund.


You can also use the Maintenance Funds for Accounts menu option to associate funds with all Revenue and Expense accounts at once.


The second helpful report is Reports Listing Chart of Accounts with Government Form Lines. It shows which accounts have which government form lines associated with them. You may have to do some editing in the Chart of Accounts window to clarify things after reviewing this, particularly to specify which accounts correspond to which lines on the T3010 form for Canada, or the form 990 or 990-EZ for the U.S.A. (Those are the forms that include financial statements that most registered charities in each country must submit annually.) See Maintaining Government Form Lines for details.


Because the ACCOUNTS and QuickBooks ways of storing the government form lines are different, the importing of those lines particularly for the U.S.A. tends to be not entirely helpful, because only the first 10 characters of the description of each line gets imported. (For Canada, for lines in the form T3010, they are numbered, so it is quite accurate.) We have also noticed that even for charts of accounts set up in QuickBooks for charities, not all of the accounts may have been associated with lines on the forms for charities, so that is another thing for you to review. (However, in ACCOUNTS, unlike QuickBooks, one account can be associated with multiple lines on multiple forms, if that is helpful to you.)


Note about Importing Transactions from QuickBooks


It would be wonderful if ACCOUNTS could also import past transaction details from QuickBooks. QuickBooks does have a way to export transactions to Excel files. Unfortunately, the concepts and organization in QuickBooks are so different from those in ACCOUNTS (particularly because of the use of classes in QuickBooks, and the fund accounting features in ACCOUNTS) that it would be almost impossible to match up and convert the transactions properly into ACCOUNTS.


Instead, what is recommended is to enter an Opening Balances transaction in ACCOUNTS, based on a Trial Balance report (with some appropriate adjustments) from QuickBooks. See the Help on Entering Opening Balances for more details.

This topic was last edited on Mar 23, 2023