Importing Accounts from QuickBooks Online

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Importing Accounts from QuickBooks Online

It is possible to import a chart of accounts from the program QuickBooks Online 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 Desktop, if that is what you are using.


To import your chart of accounts from QuickBooks Online, you have to first export that information from there. The following instructions apply to QuickBooks Online as of early 2021. Hopefully other releases 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 Online.

2.From the left-hand navigation bar, select Accounting, and then from the popup menu that comes up, select Chart of Accounts.

3.On the screen that comes up, click the Run Report button near the top right.

4.On the report that comes up, first, make sure that at least the ACCOUNT, TYPE and DESCRIPTION columns are showing. (If other columns are shown too, that's fine.) If any of those three columns are missing, use the Gear icon near the top right to add them.

5.Click the Export icon near the top right (which currently looks like a piece of paper with an arrow), then click Export to Excel from the drop-down list.

6.You should be able to open the exported file in your web browser then, and figure out where it was saved to, which you will need to know for the following steps.


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 Online". When you then click OK, you will be prompted to select an exported file.


You can navigate in the window that comes up to whichever directory the file was saved in, and select it from there.


After selecting the file and clicking OK, if the exported file included the ACCOUNTS # field, you will be asked whether you want to omit any accounts that do not have an account number, which the first user we created this import for requested as an option.


QuickBooks Online also has Classes, which might represent what should be equity/fund accounts in ACCOUNTS. However, this import feature does not currently have a way to import them. If you did use classes in QuickBooks Online for that purpose (identifying income and expenses on different funds), you will have to create Fund accounts for them separately, after this import. See Funds and Fund Accounting for more explanation of how that works in ACCOUNTS.


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 Online, 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.


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 Online for Fund Balances


Because QuickBooks Online 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 Online 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 Online.


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 didn't import classes (assuming you were even 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 Online, 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 Online 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.


Unlike QuickBooks Desktop, it is our understanding the QuickBooks Online has no association of accounts with government form lines. So if you are interested in specifying which accounts correspond to which lines on the T3010 form for Canada, or the form 990 or 990-EZ for the U.S.A., you will have to do that manually yourself later. (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.


Note about Importing Transactions from QuickBooks Online


It would be wonderful if ACCOUNTS could also import past transaction details from QuickBooks Online. QuickBooks Online does have a way to export transactions to Excel files. Unfortunately, the concepts and organization in QuickBooks Online are so different from those in ACCOUNTS (particularly because of 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 Online. See the Help on Entering Opening Balances for more details.

This topic was last edited on Mar 23, 2023