Importing Accounts from Simply Accounting / Sage 50 Canada

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Importing Accounts from Simply Accounting / Sage 50 Canada

It is possible to import a chart of accounts (including your Projects, if you use them to represent funds) from the program Simply Accounting from Sage, when you are setting up a new database for a new organization in ACCOUNTS.


Note: As of October 2012, new versions of Simply Accounting are being renamed to Sage 50 Canadian Edition. However, this help page will refer to it as Simply Accounting.


To import your chart of accounts from Simply Accounting into ACCOUNTS, you have to first export that information from Simply Accounting. The following instructions apply to Simply Accounting Pro 2012. 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.Use the Simply Accounting menu options File Import/Export Export Records.

2.On the window that comes up, make sure the radio button for "Export records to a Sage Simply Accounting import file format" is selected, then click Next.

3.On the next window that comes up, make sure the radio button for "Accounts" is selected, fill in a name for the export file (it seems to default to "Ledger Record") and type in the location (i.e. directory) in which to store the exported file. You can also use the Browse button to navigate to your desired directory. (It may be convenient to save it in the ACCOUNTS program's Data Directory.)

4.Click Next.

5.In the next window that comes up, first check "Include inactive accounts" if you want to do that. (Most likely you don't.)

6.Then click Select All, which will put checkmarks beside all accounts, then click Next.

7.A window will come up showing exporting progress, and finally it says "Exporting accounts completed". Click OK to dismiss that window, then Finish on the next window.


Some users of Simply Accounting use its Projects feature to track fund income and expenses. You can actually give that feature in Simply Accounting your own name, like "Funds". If you want to export the Projects (or whatever you have renamed it to) and import them as Fund (Equity) accounts into ACCOUNTS, you need to follow the above steps a 2nd time. However, in step 3 above, select "Projects" (or whatever you have renamed it to) instead of "Account", and be sure to specify a different export file name from the one you used for the Accounts. Everything else is basically the same.


Having done this, you can use your exported file(s) 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 "Simply Accounting / Sage 50 Canadian Edition". 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 Simply Accounting file to there. However, you can navigate to any other directory where you saved the file, and select it from there.


After selecting the main exported Accounts file and clicking OK, you will be asked whether you want to import exported Simply Accounting Projects as equity/fund accounts. If you used Projects (which you could have renamed to "Funds") in Simply Accounting for that purpose (identifying income and expenses on different funds), and exported the Projects, answer Yes to that question. If you do answer Yes, you will be shown another window, in which you can select the file into which you exported the Projects.


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 Simply Accounting, because of differing 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.)


Significant Importing Issues


One major problem that tends to come up when importing Simply Accounting accounts into ACCOUNTS is that it handles grouping of accounts differently. In ACCOUNTS, there are top-level accounts, sub-accounts, and sub-sub-accounts. Accounts at any of those levels that have no sub-accounts can have transactions recorded against them.


There are no subtotal or grand total accounts in ACCOUNTS as in Simply Accounting. (Reports just automatically subtotal as required.) So in the import, grand total accounts (type "T") are ignored, and subtotal accounts (type "S") are moved up to be a parent account above the type "A" accounts that they are the subtotal of, with an earlier account number.


Another related problem deals with subtypes of accounts, such as "Bank" versus "Cash". Both ACCOUNTS and Simply Accounting assign a subtype to each account. However, in ACCOUNTS, an account and any of its sub-accounts (and sub-sub-accounts) must all be of the same subtype. That is not the case in the Simply Accounting hierarchy.


So for instance in a typical sample chart of accounts in Simply Accounting, there are both "Bank" and "Cash" accounts adding up to the same sub-total account "Total Cash". Because that will not work in ACCOUNTS, the import routine arbitrarily picks the subtype of the first of the "A" accounts before its subtotal "S" account, and assigns that to all "A" accounts in that group. As a result, in the case of this example, your bank accounts will all come out under the subtype heading "Cash".


To fix this, you will have to go into each bank account, and change it to be of type "Bank" instead of "Cash", and also probably change it from being a sub-account (it can no longer be a sub-account of "Cash", since that's a different type) to a top-level account. That is done in the Chart of Accounts maintenance window that you are shown after the import has completed.


One other point is that after examining some Simply Accounting charts of accounts, it appeared that the "H" header accounts for Asset, Liability, and Fund/Equity accounts were not really doing anything, as they mostly corresponded to the subtypes in ACCOUNTS. So they are also not imported. The "H" header accounts used to group Revenue and Expense accounts are imported.


Accounts used in Simply Accounting for Fund Balances


Because Simply Accounting isn't really designed for fund accounting, it has no standard way to track fund balances. We would guess that some users might set up sub-accounts of bank accounts for that purpose, and others might use some other types of asset or liability accounts to store their fund balances.


After importing the chart of accounts from Simply Accounting 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 Simply Accounting.


Helpful Reports


There is a report that may be particularly helpful when reviewing and finalizing the imported chart of accounts.


It 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 Projects you used with which accounts (assuming you were using Projects 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 Simply Accounting, you can use the same Revenue or Expense account with different Projects 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 Simply Accounting 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.


Note about Importing Transactions from Simply Accounting


It would be wonderful if ACCOUNTS could also import past transaction details from Simply Accounting. Unfortunately, Simply Accounting does not offer a way to export such information, so this is not possible.


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

This topic was last edited on Mar 6, 2021