How to Convert (export data to ) QuickBooks Online to QuickBooks Desktop

Errors Problem Solutions Quickbooks Errors Solution

QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Desktop are widely used versions of the same small business accounting software and are registered trademarks of Intuit. While they both help small businesses meet their accounting needs, they differ from each other in both form and functionality. While QuickBooks Desktop is installed on servers and individual machines, QuickBooks Online is a cloud-based version of the accounting software that is accessible through the internet. The accessibility of QuickBooks comes at the cost of features. Convert QuickBooks Online to Desktop with the procedure we describe in the following section. Also learn why QuickBooks Desktop hosting is a better alternative for small and medium businesses with its distinct advantages.

Why Businesses Purchase QuickBooks Desktop?

Although QuickBooks Online was rolled out much later than QuickBooks Desktop and doesn’t have to rely on annual feature updates in major releases like the Desktop version, it misses out on some key components that are available on QuickBooks Desktop. In general, QuickBooks Desktop is more suitable when there is a higher volume of data to be processed and there is a requirement for a greater degree of specialization in terms of the accounting operations. With additional features in areas like data entry, job costing, reporting, inventory management, and accounting, QuickBooks Desktop has a clear edge over QuickBooks Online.

Advantages of QuickBooks Desktop over QuickBooks Online

QuickBooks Desktop is a better option for conglomerates and accounting services that require to maintain multiple company books. It is also a better option for product-based companies that need to keep track of inventories particularly the ones that are operational in one of the industry categories available in QuickBooks. Below is a summary of the major advantages of QuickBooks Desktop over QuickBooks Online.

  • Advanced inventory managementWhile QuickBooks Online provides only the first in first out (FIFO) method for inventory management, and that too only on select versions, there are two methods for tracking inventory with QuickBooks Desktop. The addition average cost method is available with the Advanced Inventory add-on module.
  • Industry-specific customizationsQuickBooks Desktop includes customizations for businesses in certain industries like manufacturing and wholesale, contracting, retail, nonprofit, professional services, and general business.
  • Batch invoicing methodIt is possible to issue invoices in batches with QuickBooks Desktop which simplifies client servicing when there are multiple businesses involved.
  • Manage multiple accountsA single QuickBooks Desktop installation supports multiple company files. This is, however, not true for QuickBooks Online which can handle only one company file per subscription.

Points to note while converting from QuickBooks Desktop to QuickBooks Online

QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Desktop have several variations that could cause compatibility issues.

  • It is ideal to use the latest version of QuickBooks desktop to minimize compatibility issues.
  • Avoid exporting multicurrency data from QuickBooks Online to QuickBooks Desktop as it might not be displayed correctly.
  • The conversion is to be done with Internet Explorer.
  • Some records like audit logs and estimates may not be available on QuickBooks Desktop. These records can be exported as PDF.
  • There are restrictions on the number of items like customers, vendors, and employees for different QuickBooks Desktop versions. You might have to upgrade when the limits exceed the permissible numbers.

Apart from these factors, certain records from QuickBooks Online will be converted to their QuickBooks Desktop equivalent and some fields will assume default values in QuickBooks Desktop. Make sure that you familiarize yourself with the changes before migrating.

How to export your QuickBooks Online data to QuickBooks Desktop?

Intuit deprecated the ability to export data from QuickBooks Online to QuickBooks Desktop effective December 18, 2020. Here are the alternate methods of importing data into QuickBooks Desktop from QuickBooks Online.

Moving List Data from QuickBooks Online to QuickBooks Desktop

List items such as vendors, customers, products, and services, and accounts can be moved from QuickBooks Online to QuickBooks Desktop. Below are the general steps for the process.

  • Export the report for the appropriate list item into Excel in the prescribed format.
  • Make changes to the data, and map the fields with those in QuickBooks Desktop.
  • Import the data into the respective field in QuickBooks Desktop after setting up the application.

Note that you will only be able to export the list items and the current open balances with this method. The transactions will not get exported automatically. Similarly, if you are moving products and services, you will first have to set up inventory tracking before importing.

Exporting Transactional Data from QuickBooks Online to QuickBooks Desktop

There is no longer a built-in method for exporting transactional data from QuickBooks Online to QuickBooks Desktop. While users who recently switched from QuickBooks Desktop to QuickBooks Online might still be able to re-open the imported files and add the missing transactions manually, others may have to use third-party tools in the QuickBooks Apps for converting their data.

Using Data Backup

The most reliable method for importing data from QuickBooks Online to QuickBooks Desktop is by using backups. While QuickBooks Online Advanced users can create online backups of their company files, and save their accounting data to DropBox or Google Drive, and restore it in QuickBooks Desktop.

The Online Backup and Restore app is not available for other QuickBooks Online users, who will have to use third-party apps for backing up and restoring data.

How Can QuickBooks Desktop Hosting Help?

If there was a technique to overcome the primary disadvantage of QuickBooks Desktop vis-a-vis QuickBooks Online, that is, the ability to access it using any device using the internet, it would surely give the former the upper hand for most businesses. Hosted QuickBooks Desktop is that solution. With hosted QuickBooks Desktop, the software is installed on a networked server of a third-party service provider through which the software can be accessed using any device with a web browser. Such a host can provide the required QuickBooks Desktop version including QuickBooks Desktop Pro, QuickBooks Desktop Premier, QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise Solutions, and others using Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP).

Apart from accessing any version of QuickBooks without capital investments, QuickBooks hosting service overcomes many of the shortcomings of both QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Desktop.

These include

  • Simultaneous access to multiple users to a data file on QuickBooks Desktop.
  • Simplified file sharing capabilities with a real-time tracking facility.
  • Better resource management.
  • Reduced spending on infrastructure and management costs.
  • Reliable security and data backup.

The Apps4Rent Advantage

There are many benefits when you convert QuickBooks Online to Desktop. The benefits increase manifolds when QuickBooks Desktop is made available through the service of a hosting service provider. Not only do you get assistance with hosting setup and installation but also a range of other benefits like technical assistance with troubleshooting various issues. The host can even provide the required licenses for QuickBooks. Apps4Rent is among the few Intuit-Authorized Commercial Hosting Providers for various QuickBooks Desktop versions. We provide 24/7 assistance via phone, chat, and email for all QuickBooks related technical issues along with guaranteed uptime. Contact our sales to know how Apps4Rent can assist your business with a hosted QuickBooks Desktop.

How to Convert QuickBooks Desktop to Online in 7 Steps

If you’d like anywhere-access to your QuickBooks software, it’s time to switch to QuickBooks Online. The good news is converting from QuickBooks Desktop to Online is easy and you shouldn’t lose any of your past data. If you get stuck, you can contact QuickBooks support for free.

This guide will help you convert from QuickBooks Desktop Pro or Premier to any version of QuickBooks Online, except Self-Employed. If you don’t have a QuickBooks Online account yet, you can choose between 50% off for three months or a 30-day free trial.

Things to Consider Before You Convert QuickBooks Desktop to Online

The conversion from QuickBooks Desktop to Online is helpful for many business owners, but there are a few things you need to consider before making the switch. Although we rated QuickBooks Online as the best small business accounting software, there are a few distinct advantages to QuickBooks Desktop over QuickBooks Online. QuickBooks Desktop is usually faster for experienced bookkeepers, has more options available for dealing with inventory, and can report estimated vs actual job costs. You can read QuickBooks Online vs Desktop if you’re unsure of whether the switch to QuickBooks Online is right for your company.

Most information from QuickBooks Desktop will automatically transfer to QuickBooks Online, although some features in Online are named differently and might not work exactly the same. QuickBooks provides a list of Desktop features and a description of how those features will transfer to QuickBooks Online.

The steps discussed in this article are for converting a QuickBooks Desktop file to QuickBooks Online from QuickBooks Desktop Pro, Premier, and Accountant. For QuickBooks Mac, you can follow Intuit’s conversion instructions for QuickBooks Mac. If you use QuickBooks Enterprise, Intuit also has conversion instructions for QuickBooks Enterprise.

The following are the seven steps to convert QuickBooks Desktop to QuickBooks Online.

1. Check the File Size Requirements

Open your QuickBooks Desktop file and press F2 to determine the total target count. If your file exceeds the maximum 350,000 targets, you can try to reduce the targets by condensing your QuickBooks file. If condensing doesn’t work, you’ll have to settle for transferring lists (explained later) instead of doing a conversion.

Screenshot of QuickBooks Desktop Product information screen

Product information screen in QuickBooks Desktop

2. Prepare Your QuickBooks Desktop Data for Export to QuickBooks Online

It’s best to update your QuickBooks file as much as possible prior to your conversion so that your bookkeeping is not behind as you’re trying to learn the new processes of QuickBooks Online. Make sure to reconcile all bank accounts, process payroll, and adjust inventory before getting started.

It’s also a good idea to back up your company file in case anything goes wrong. You can make a backup of the data file by going to File, then Back Up Company, and then click on Create Local Backup, as shown below:Screenshot of QuickBooks Desktop backup company file

Follow these steps to save a backup company file in QuickBooks Desktop.

Tip: QuickBooks recommends your company file be located on a local drive before converting to QuickBooks Online. If you normally access the company file from a network drive, restore the backup file you just created onto your local drive and use that file for your QuickBooks Online conversion.

3. Create a QuickBooks Online Account

If you don’t have your QuickBooks Online account yet, then you need to create one. You must visit QuickBooks Online and subscribe to your preferred version of QuickBooks Online prior to starting the conversion process. If you’re not sure which version is best for your business, read our QuickBooks Online comparison. You can either sign up for a 30-day free trial or get a 50% discount for the first three months.

Provide Basic Company Information

When setting up your QuickBooks Online account, you will be required to input your company’s name and description, as shown below:

Screenshot of QuickBooks Desktop Provide company information

Provide company information to set up a QuickBooks Online account

4. Export Company File to QuickBooks Online

Go back to your QuickBooks Desktop program and sign in to the company you are converting to QuickBooks Online. Within your QuickBooks Desktop company, click on Company in the top menu bar and select Export Company File to QuickBooks Online, as shown below:Screenshot of QuickBooks Desktop export your company file from QuickBooks Desktop

How to export your company file from QuickBooks Desktop to QuickBooks Online.

If you don’t see the Export Company File to QuickBooks Online option, you need to download the most recent QuickBooks Desktop update. Select Update QuickBooks from the Help menu and follow the instructions. Once the update is complete, export the company file as shown above. You may need to close and reopen QuickBooks Desktop for the update to take effect.

Tip: QuickBooks stops supporting desktop programs after three years, so you may not be able to update older programs. One workaround is to get a free 30-day trial subscription to the latest QuickBooks Desktop Pro. You should be able to export your company file to QuickBooks Online after you open it in the new program.

5. Sign Into Your QuickBooks Online Account Through the Desktop Program

After selecting the data to export to QuickBooks Online, your QuickBooks Desktop program will ask you whether to proceed to migrate your file or try it first. Click Move Now since you’re already created your QuickBooks Online company:

Screenshot of QuickBooks Desktop Preparing to Move Your Data

Preparing to Move Your Data to QuickBooks Online

Indicate Whether You Want to Import Inventory Into QuickBooks Online

If you currently track inventory, QuickBooks will ask whether or not you want to import inventory into QuickBooks Online. If you say yes to this, your inventory will be recalculated in QuickBooks Online using the first in first out (FIFO) inventory method from the start date provided. If you’re unsure of whether you want to import your inventory, click no. You can import your inventory later from an excel spreadsheet.Screenshot of QuickBooks Desktop Import Inventory

Identify Whether to Import Inventory to QuickBooks Online

Tip: Changing your inventory method from average cost to FIFO must be reported to the IRS on Form 3115. For that reason, I recommend consulting a tax professional before bringing over your inventory to QuickBooks Online.

After identifying whether you want to import inventory to QuickBooks Online, QuickBooks will then ask you if you have a QuickBooks Online account. Since you already set up a QuickBooks Online account, select Yes, sign Me In:

Screenshot of QuickBooks Desktop Connect QuickBooks Online Account

Connect QuickBooks Online Account to QuickBooks Desktop

After selecting Yes, sign me in, a log-in screen for your QuickBooks Online account will appear on your QuickBooks Desktop account, as shown below:Screenshot of QuickBooks Desktop QuickBooks Online Sign-in Screen

QuickBooks Online Sign-in Screen in QuickBooks Desktop

Verify Your Identity

When signing into your QuickBooks Online account through QuickBooks Desktop, there will be a prompt to verify your identity. Check your phone or email and then enter the code to proceed:Screenshot of QuickBooks Desktop Identity Verification

Identity Verification in QuickBooks Desktop

6. Select Your Company in QuickBooks Online

After successfully logging in to your QuickBooks Account, select the QuickBooks Online company that you want the data to import to from the drop-down list. If you have multiple companies, be careful to select the correct one as the conversion will replace any existing data.Screenshot of QuickBooks Desktop Select the QBO Account to Import

Select the QuickBooks Online Account to Import QuickBooks Desktop Data

7. Copy Data File

After you select your company, QuickBooks will work for a few minutes and then give you a confirmation screen similar to this:Screenshot of QuickBooks Data File Transfer Confirmation

QuickBooks Data File Transfer Confirmation

QuickBooks emails you when your QuickBooks Online company is ready but this could take several hours for a large file. Once you receive your email, similar to the one below, click on the Complete your setup button to log into QuickBooks Online and review your data:Screenshot of QuickBooks Desktop Email notification

Email notification that QuickBooks Desktop data is available in QuickBooks Online

Transferring Lists Instead of Converting a QuickBooks Desktop File

Tip: Exporting lists from Desktop and importing them into Online is only necessary if you were unable to convert your Desktop file using the seven steps above. For instance, this may happen if you have over 350,000 targets or your desktop file is corrupt. If your conversion was successful, you’re done.

An alternative to converting your Desktop file to an Online company is to export important lists from your QuickBooks Desktop company and import them into your QuickBooks Online company. This will transfer your chart of accounts, customers, vendors, products, and services. However, you can’t transfer past transactions in this manner so you’ll need to input beginning balances.

Transferring lists from QuickBooks Desktop to QuickBooks Online is a two-step process. First, export the lists from Desktop as an Excel spreadsheet. Second, import the Excel spreadsheet into your QuickBooks Online company.

How to Export Lists From QuickBooks Desktop

By exporting the following lists from QuickBooks Desktop to Excel Spreadsheets you can save hours of data entry in your new QuickBooks Online company:

  • Chart of accounts
  • Customers
  • Vendors
  • Products and services

Tip: When importing Excel workbooks, QuickBooks Online only imports the first worksheet within a workbook. After exporting Excel workbooks from QuickBooks Desktop, be sure your data is in the first worksheet, or tab, at the bottom of the Excel screen.Screenshot of QuickBooks Desktop First Excel Worksheet will Import

First Excel Worksheet will Import into QuickBooks Online

Exporting the Chart of Accounts From QuickBooks Desktop

1. Navigate to your chart of accounts by clicking on Company from the top menu bar and then selecting Chart of Accounts:Screenshot of QuickBooks Desktop Navigate to Chart of Accounts

Navigate to Chart of Accounts in QuickBooks Desktop

2. Display a list of your accounts by clicking on Reports at the bottom of the screen and selecting Account Listing:Screenshot of QuickBooks Desktop Display Account Listing

Display Account Listing

3. Export the Account Listing report as an Excel spreadsheet by selecting Excel then Create New Worksheet and following the prompts to save the worksheet to your computer:Screenshot of QuickBooks Desktop Export Account Listing

Export Account Listing

You’ve now exported your chart of accounts to an Excel spreadsheet. Make a note of where you saved the spreadsheet so you can import it into QuickBooks Online later.

Exporting Customers From QuickBooks Desktop

1. Navigate to the Customer Center by selecting Customers from the top menu bar and then clicking on Customer Center:Screenshot of QuickBooks Desktop Navigate to the Customer Center

Navigate to the Customer Center

2. From the top toolbar of the Customer Center, select Excel and then click on Export Customer List:Screenshot of QuickBooks Desktop Export Customer List

Export Customer List

3. Follow the prompts to save the new worksheet on your computer so you can import it into your QuickBooks Online company later.

Exporting Vendors From QuickBooks Desktop

1. Navigate to the Vendor Center by clicking on Vendors in the top menu bar and selecting Vendor Center:Screenshot of QuickBooks Desktop Navigate to the Vendor Center

Navigate to the Vendor Center

2. From the top toolbar in the Vendor Center, select Excel and Export Vendor List:Screenshot of QuickBooks Desktop Export Vendor List

Export Vendor List

3. Follow the on-screen prompts to save the worksheet so you can import it into QuickBooks Online Later.

Exporting Products & Services From QuickBooks Desktop

1. Go to the Item List screen by selecting Customers from the top menu bar and then clicking on Item List:Screenshot of QuickBooks Desktop Navigate to Item List

Navigate to Item List

2. At the bottom of the Item Lists screen, click on Excel and then Export All Items:Screenshot of QuickBooks Desktop Export All Items

Export All Items

3. Follow the on-screen prompts to save the items as an Excel worksheet.

4. QuickBooks Online will only import the item types Inventory Part, Non-inventory Part, and Service, because other item types are part of workflows that differ slightly between Desktop and Online. Open the Excel workbook you created in the prior step and delete all line entries for items other than the three that will be imported into QuickBooks Online

Tip: Sort your Excel worksheet by the Type column to group your items by type and make deleting lines faster.

How to Import Lists Into QuickBooks Online

Fit Small Business has an online tutorial to help you learn how to use QuickBooks Online efficiently to manage your business. The three lessons below will teach you how to import the worksheets you created above as well as how to input items manually into your QuickBooks Online company:

Get Up to Speed With QuickBooks Online

Fit Small Business has also created a free QuickBooks Online course that includes 46 video tutorials and written step-by-step instructions. The good news is that you’ll be able to skip a few of the lessons because you’ve already imported much of your company’s data from QuickBooks Desktop!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Switching From QuickBooks Desktop to Online

Can you use both QuickBooks Desktop and QuickBooks Online?

You cannot use QuickBooks Desktop and QuickBooks Online for the same company. QuickBooks Desktop and QuickBooks Online are two separate platforms that are not compatible with one another.

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, including:

  • Bank and credit card account reconciliation reports: Once you convert to QuickBooks Online, 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 the files.
  • Recurring credit card charges: You’ll need to cancel your existing recurring credit card transactions in the Merchant Center. Once that’s done, rebuild them in QuickBooks Online by creating recurring sales receipts.
  • Audit trail: There is nothing you can do about your past audit trail 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 QuickBooks Online going forward.
  • 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.
  • Reports: QuickBooks Online 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 QuickBooks Online report and begin using it.

Migrating from QuickBooks Desktop to QuickBooks Online

We’re living in a digital age! One look around us and it’s clear that we live a tech-powered lifestyle. If you’re an accountant or small-business owner, you’ll agree that the days of staying late at the office, sifting through bundles of accounting files are over. Moreover, software like QuickBooks has made the job a whole lot less complicated.

To make things even more simple, migrating data from QuickBooks Desktop to QuickBooks Online is the new standard. Top magazines and experts predict that most enterprise workloads will be on a cloud service, this makes data migration the future.

In case you’re wondering how data migration helps your business, we have the answer right here. Read on and see the Why and How you can make the move from quickbooks desktop to online migration

Migrating data from QuickBooks Desktop to Online can secure your company/business, enhance productivity, thereby, take your business to the next level. It even gives you around the clock access: With QuickBooks Online, you can work from anywhere, plus, you or your accounting firms can access secure data at a time and place of convenience. Secondly, it leaves you with Reduced manual data entry, as it automatically categorizes bank and credit card transactions, reducing clerical errors while boosting productivity. This brings us to:

Differences Between QuickBooks Desktop and QuickBooks Online

If you’re using or planning to use QuickBooks Desktop you’re probably wondering what’s the difference with the online version. Here are some key differences:

Add-ons: One of the differences is that there are 100s of cloud-based applications available and more being developed all the time for QuickBooks Online. A benefit that’s limited with the QuickBooks Desktop.

Security: With QuickBooks Online, your data will be hosted on high-grade servers in protected environments instead of on your local network or drives.

More users: QuickBooks Online allows you to sign up as many as five users, whereas QuickBooks Desktop allows only one user.

Hosting: You will not need to cover the cost of hosting, as QuickBooks Online will be stored securely on Intuit’s servers. That means, there’s no need to backup quickbooks online data, as you need to do with the Desktop version.

Easy Access: With a QuickBooks Online account, you have your data at your fingertips wherever you go, eliminating the need for you to cut-short your holiday or rush to the office computer when need be. It also works with any PC, Mac, smartphone, or tablet.

The list goes on, but by now you get the picture when it comes to the importance of QuickBooks data migration. So, let’s talk about:

Converting a Desktop File to QuickBooks Online

Most of the time, the conversion process is quick and easy. You’ll need to set up the subscription for QuickBooks Online from your QuickBooks Online Accountant dashboard. Then, in the QuickBooks Desktop file, click on Company > Export Company File to QuickBooks Online and follow the conversion wizard. Finally, you will receive a confirmation email notifying you that the data was converted.

Prior to your migration, it’s best to update QuickBooks Desktop so that you’re bookkeeping is not behind as you’re trying to learn the new processes of QuickBooks Online. You also need to reconcile all bank accounts, process payroll, and adjust inventory before getting started.

It’s good to back up your company file in case something goes wrong at any time. You can make a backup of the data file by clicking on File> Backup Company>Create Local Backup. 

It’s good to create your QuickBooks Online subscription so that you are ready for the QuickBooks migration process. Go through the list of options to select the appropriate plan, and review the system requirements before you start. Do this to make sure you have what you need for the best QuickBooks Online experience.

Get your desktop file ready

Before the QuickBooks migration process begins, make sure your QuickBooks is up-to-date. Then follow these steps:

Depending on where you’re from you need to ensure that your Total Targets is less than 350,000, (or 500,000 in some countries) press Ctrl + 1 on your keyboard. If it exceeds, send your file to the QuickBooks Data Migration team so they can help convert your file.

  • Get a printed copy of your Sales Tax Liability report. You’ll need it to enter adjustment entries after the migration.
  • Then, look for the Reports menu, select Suppliers & Payables, and select Sales Tax Liability.
  • Move to Dates dropdown, select All.
  • On the top, from the Print dropdown, select Save as PDF.
  • Choose the folder you want to save it in, name the file, and select Save.

Once you have done that, you’re ready to migrate data from QuickBooks desktop to online. Next:

Import your desktop file to QuickBooks Online

  • Create a QuickBooks Online Account. You must visit QuickBooks Online and subscribe to your preferred version of QuickBooks Online prior to starting the migration process. If you’re not sure which version is best for your business, read the QuickBooks Online comparison available on their website.
  • Provide Basic Company Information

On this screen, enter your company’s name and description. Then, click the box indicating that you want to bring in your data from QuickBooks Desktop.

  • Log Out of Your QuickBooks Online Account

Once you have signed up for QuickBooks Online, you will be taken to your company’s dashboard. Click on the gear icon and select Sign Out.

  •  Export Company File to QuickBooks Online

Open your QuickBooks Desktop and sign in to the company you are converting to QuickBooks Online. In your QuickBooks Desktop company, click on Company in the menu bar and select Export Company File to QuickBooks Online.

  • If you don’t find the Export Company File to QuickBooks Online option, you must download the most recent QuickBooks Desktop update as mentioned earlier. Click Update QuickBooks from the Help menu and follow the instructions. Once the update is complete, you can export the company file. You may need to close and reopen QuickBooks Desktop for the update to take complete effect.
  • Sign in to the QuickBooks Online Account through the Desktop Program

After selecting the data that needs to be exported to QuickBooks Online, your QuickBooks Desktop program will verify whether the company is ready for the export. It will then ask you to sign in using your QuickBooks Online email and password (so keep it handy).

  • Choose whether you want to import inventory into QuickBooks Online

QuickBooks Desktop decides the cost of inventory using the average cost method. Whereas QuickBooks Online uses the first-in, first-out (FIFO) inventory method, this may have a significant impact on the book value of your inventory. If you’re not sure whether you want to import your inventory, click ‘No’. You can import your inventory later via an Excel spreadsheet.

  • Select Your Company in QuickBooks Online

Select the QuickBooks Online company that you want, from the drop-down list. If you have multiple companies, take a close look to ensure that you select the correct one as the migration will replace any existing data.

  • Copy Data File

After you select your company, QuickBooks will take a few minutes and then bring you to a confirmation screen

QuickBooks send you an email when your QuickBooks Online company is ready, but this could even take a few hours for a large file. Once you receive your email, click on the Complete your setup button to log into QuickBooks Online and there you’ll have your data.

How to Convert Data from QuickBooks Online to QuickBooks Enterprise

We often get asked about how to move from QuickBooks Online to various other QuickBooks platforms. Probably the most common question is how to convert data from QuickBooks Online to QuickBooks Enterprise.  The key motivator for moving to Enterprise is that QuickBooks Online, although a good system, usually runs into limitations, and Enterprise being as robust as it is, becomes the next logical step. 

There are a few options when it comes to converting data across QuickBooks tools. We suggest you start by watching this video to get a better overview of the process. Or, you might consider working with a third-party platform such as exportmybooks. They provide a secure, fast, and easy solution for transitioning from QuickBooks Online to QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise. They connect directly to your QuickBooks Online company, convert the information, and create a new version as a .qbb backup file, keeping all of your original data intact. All you need to do is download your new file, open it in QuickBooks Enterprise, and pick up right where you left off. That being said, many people want to know how to complete the process themselves so that they can do it on a one-off basis, or as much as needed, without having to wait. 

DIY: Converting Data from QuickBooks Online to QuickBooks Enterprise

If you want to transition the data yourself without investing in a third party, you can. There are a few things to know before getting started though. According to QuickBooks support: 

  • Exporting into QuickBooks Desktop is only available in the US version of QuickBooks Online.
  • To use the export feature, you must be a Master Administrator, Company Administrator, or invited accountant.
  • You’ll need to use a PC with Internet Explorer 10 or higher.
  • You must have a supported version of QuickBooks Desktop for Windows installed on the PC in which you are performing the export.

First: Export Data

If you’ve reviewed those points and are ready to export data, follow these steps: 

  1. Copy and paste this URL: Note: Internet Explorer and older versions of Safari are no longer supported.
  2. Click the blue “Get Started” button at the bottom of the page.
  3. Select the blue “Download Tool” button under “Step 1: Prepare to Export”. 
  4. You will need to install the migration tool. Follow the online instructions to complete this process. You may need to agree to some terms and conditions. 
  5. Select the data you want to convert and then click “Next” and then “Continue to Download”. 
  6. When you’re done, click “Finish”. 

If you’ve made it this far, your next step is to prepare the file for export and then select your data in QuickBooks Online. 

  1. Go back to QuickBooks Online where you should still be on the “Step 1: Prepare to export” window. Select Continue.
  2. Find the data you want to export and select “continue”. 
  3. Select “Learn about the limitations of converting data for QuickBooks Desktop” to learn about things that can impact your migration and select “Continue”.
  4. You will need a migration certificate. Enter the name and email that you want that certificate email to go to. 
  5. On the email confirmation screen, click “Close” and go back to your QBO file. Then, wait for the email confirmation (it may take some time depending on how much data you’re migrating). 
  6. Now, you’ll need to get back to the export screen in QuickBooks Online. When you get there, click “Get Started”. 
  7. On the “Prepare to export” page, click “Continue”.
  8. When you get to the “Select your data” page, select the same option you chose before and then click “Continue”.
  9. On the “Exporting from QuickBooks Online” page, you’ll have a message that says you already have a file to download. Click “Continue to Download”.
  10.  Select “Download QBXML file”. QuickBooks may prompt you to save the file. If so, choose a location that’s easy to find (like your desktop) and select “Continue”.
  11. At this point, you should make sure you’re on the “No Company Open” screen. If you have a company open, go to “File” and select “Close company”.  View your reports to compare your data before and after the export.

If you’ve done this, you’ve essentially exported your data successfully. Now it’s time to run the actual QuickBooks Migration Tool. 

  1. Start by making sure that QuickBooks Desktop is open to the “No Company Open” screen.
  2. Launch the QuickBooks Desktop migration tool app that was previously downloaded in step 4.
  3. Enter (or navigate to) the path to the downloaded QBXML file and choose “Import”. Choose a location and name for the new QuickBooks Desktop file. 
  4. You need to find your QuickBooks – Application Certificate.  Sometimes it gets hidden behind other screens if QuickBooks Desktop is in the background. Select the read/modify rights and if you want to allow personal data access. Click “Continue” and “Done” on the confirmation screen.
  5. Once the data has been imported successfully, click “Done”. 

Some Things to Keep in Mind…

It’s important to remember that this process can take some time. Make sure you’re allowing yourself enough time to complete this task once you start. Additionally, just because the export looks frozen doesn’t mean that it’s failed. Watch the progress bar and make sure it’s moving every few minutes. Unsure? Give it a few more minutes! If the status bar still doesn’t move, we suggest checking QuickBooks Desktop for an Application Certificate again. To do that, follow these steps: 

  1. In your Windows Taskbar, select the QuickBooks desktop icon to open it. The Application Certificate will appear.
  2. In the Application Certificate, choose the “Yes”, prompt each time. 
  3. Select “Continue” and “Done” on the confirmation screen.

Have Questions? Need Help?

If you have more questions on converting your data or need to get set up with QuickBooks Enterprise, don’t hesitate to reach out to our experts .  Our consultation and assistance for QuickBooks Enterprise is always free and we can help you to make the most of your QuickBooks functionality so that you can focus on your business. 

How To Convert QuickBooks Desktop To Online

Spend any time on the Intuit website and you may begin to wonder whether QuickBooks Desktop is being phased out. After all, the website immediately defaults to QuickBooks Online (also referred to as QBO) purchasing options, even if you’ve been looking at QuickBooks Desktop applications.

The good news is no, QuickBooks Desktop is not being phased out, at least not yet. That hasn’t stopped Intuit from doing everything in its power to convince you to purchase QuickBooks Online instead. And though Intuit may want you to believe that the desktop and online version of QuickBooks are similar, they are not.

The truth is that while QuickBooks Online can be a suitable replacement accounting software for small or mid-sized businesses bookkeeping needs, its lack of advanced inventory management and reporting options makes it a less than ideal replacement application for larger businesses or current QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise users.

Should you migrate to QuickBooks Online?

For current QuickBooks Desktop users, perhaps you’ve been wondering if making the switch to QuickBooks online is a good idea. There’s a lot of reasons why you may want to consider switching to QuickBooks Online. Perhaps you’re interested in a cloud-based solution that can provide easy access from any location. Another reason may be the ability to integrate with additional third-party apps. If you’re not sure, we’ll provide you with some additional information about both applications, and what you’d be gaining (or losing) by making the switch.

For example, QuickBooks Enterprise users that typically have complex product inventory and a more extensive company history may find that the desktop version is a better solution for their needs, while smaller businesses with less complicated needs may find a move to QuickBooks Online to be beneficial in terms of cloud accessibility and ease of use.

Whatever the reason for the potential switch, it’s important to take a look at the features availability chart below to see if the features you need are available in QuickBooks Online.

FeatureAvailable in QuickBooks DesktopAvailable in QuickBooks Online
Allows multiple system usersAll editionsOnly available in Essentials and Plus
Manage multiple companiesAll editionsOnly with an additional subscription
InvoicingAll editionsAll editions
Progress invoicingAll editionsOnly available in Plus
Multiple currencyAll editionsOnly available in Essentials and Plus
Project trackingAll editionsOnly available in Plus
Manage billsAll editionsOnly available in Essentials and Plus
Batch invoicingAll editionsNot available
Prevent sales customers with a past due balanceOnly available in EnterpriseNot available
Undue previous bank reconciliationsAll editionsOnly available in QuickBooks Online Accountant and must be done by an accountant
Track billable hoursAll editionsOnly available in Essentials and Plus
Online bankingAll editionsAll editions
Average costing inventory managementAll editionsNot available
FIFO inventory managementOnly available in EnterpriseOnly available in Plus
Forecasting income and expensesOnly available in Premier and EnterpriseOnly available in Plus
Custom reporting with Intuit Statement WriterOnly available in EnterpriseNot available 
Advanced reportingOnly available in EnterpriseNot available

If you currently use these features in QuickBooks Desktop and plan to use them in the future, be sure to check and see if they’re available in QuickBooks Online. If they’re not, you may want to reconsider making the switch from QuickBooks Desktop to QuickBooks Online. And remember, if online access is important, you can also choose to have your QuickBooks Desktop application hosted on the cloud for easy access from any location.

The good news is no, QuickBooks Desktop is not being phased out, at least not yet. While that hasn’t stopped Intuit from doing everything in its power to convince you to purchase QuickBooks Online instead you don’t need to move.

How to convert to QuickBooks Online

If you’ve made the decision to convert your QuickBooks Desktop application to QuickBooks Online, we can guide you through the entire conversion process with these easy steps.

Step 1: Back up your data file

Before migrating to QuickBooks Online, it’s important to back up your company files just in case something goes wrong and you need to restore your QuickBooks Desktop data files. In order to start the back-up process, you’ll need to switch to single-user mode. Once you’re in single-user mode, click on the File drop-down menu. Select the Back Up Company option and then the Create Local Backup option. Once in the local backup option, you’ll want to choose where to save the QuickBooks Desktop company backup file. The system will automatically generate a test backup to ensure that the process is working correctly.


The QuickBooks Desktop Backup option allows you to verify data before saving the file.

Before starting the conversion process, you’ll also want to make sure that your QuickBooks Desktop application is completely up to date. This can be done by going to the Help option, then clicking on the Update QuickBooks Desktop option. This will download any current updates to ensure that you have the most complete version prior to starting the migration process.

Step 2: Check targets

QuickBooks Desktop targets include all line items for every transaction recorded. For example, if you have a sales order with 4 lines, that would be 4 targets. Before you can migrate to QuickBooks Online, you need to check the number of total targets in the application. To do this you need to press Ctrl+1 to access the information window.

You need to check the number of targets used in your desktop edition prior to migration.

The total targets are located on the left side of the screen. In order to convert QuickBooks Desktop files to QuickBooks Online, your total number of targets must be 350,000 or less. If the total number of targets displayed is more than 350,000, you have a couple of options. First, you can attempt to condense the number of targets, which will remove all closed targets, which helps to reduce the total number of targets. If this doesn’t work, you’ll only be able to do a partial conversion to QuickBooks Online by transferring lists instead of entire files.

Step 3: Save your tax liability report

You’ll also have to save your current tax liability report before starting the migration process. Since the details of the report will not be exported during the migration process, you’ll have to enter adjusting entries once the you’ve completed the migration process.

Step 4: Create a QuickBooks Online Account

If you don’t already have a QuickBooks Online account, you’ll need to create one now. Just visit the QuickBooks Online page to see the list of plans available and sign up for the plan that best suits your needs.

Step 5: Start the migration process

With the above steps completed, you’re ready to start the migration process. The process will be different depending on the QuickBooks Desktop version you are using.

If you are using QuickBooks Desktop Pro or QuickBooks Desktop Premier, first you’ll have to open QuickBooks Desktop as the administrator. Once in the system, you’ll select the Company menu from the main menu, and select Export Company File to QuickBooks Online option.

Start the migration process by clicking on the Export Company File to QuickBooks Online option.

The process is a little different if you’re migrating from QuickBooks Enterprise to QuickBooks Online. First, you’ll need to hit Ctrl+1 to access the product information window. Next, you’ll need to click Ctrl+B+Q, then click on OK. Finally, click on the Start your Export option.

The screen above will be displayed once the migration process starts.

If you currently track inventory, you’ll be given an option to migrate your inventory total. However, keep in mind that if you currently use advanced reporting and advanced inventory, you will not be able to convert your current data to QuickBooks Online.

Step 6: Move your lists

If you exported lists separately, you’ll need to import them into your QuickBooks Online company. These lists include:

  • Chart of accounts
  • Products and services
  • Customers
  • Suppliers

In most cases, the lists will be automatically imported during the migration process.

After the migration

Though the hard part is over, there are still a few things you’ll need to do to get QuickBooks Online up and running properly.

Set up inventory: If you have inventory, you’ll need to turn on inventory tracking. QuickBooks Online uses First-In-First-Out (FIFO) inventory tracking method. If you don’t have inventory or don’t want to track it, you can turn inventory tracking off.

Check your imported data: Once the migration process is over, it’s important to check your data. This can be done by comparing reports in QuickBooks Desktop and QuickBooks Online. Be sure to check the following reports:

  • Balance sheet
  • Trial balance
  • Customer balance summary
  • Supplier balance summary
  • Sales tax summary

You can also check any other reports that may be important to you.

Confirm company information: Company information is not carried over during the migration process, so you’ll want to head over to Account and Settings to update your information on the under the Company tab. If you pay sales tax, you should also configure your sales tax information as well.

Connect bank and credit card accounts: For security purposes, banking and credit card information is not transferred over to your new QuickBooks Online account. In order to have transactions automatically imported from your bank accounts and credit card statements, be sure to set up this feature prior to going live with the system.

A few other things you will need to address will be to update bank reconciliations to ensure that they are up to date with current transactions processed. You’ll also want to link payments and credits to any open accounts to ensure that aging reports are accurate. Finally, if you’re using QuickBooks Online Payroll, you’ll also have to complete the payroll setup process prior to using the application.

Once these steps are completed, just add any additional system users and you’re ready to go! It should be possible to complete this by yourself, but if you are not comfortable proceeding with these steps you can contact the QuickBooks support team or your ProAdvisor for help.

Frequently asked questions

We know that you probably have a ton of questions about QuickBooks Desktop, QuickBooks Online, and the entire migration process. Here, we’ll attempt to answer a few of them.

Is Intuit planning on getting rid of QuickBooks Desktop?

As of today, Intuit does not plan to stop selling QuickBooks Desktop. In fact, their 2021 edition of the application offers multiple purchasing options, allowing you to purchase a license outright or subscribe to the application with an annual renewal.

Is one product better suited for my business than the other?

If you’re a small business with limited inventory, it’s likely that a migration to QuickBooks Online will not cause any issues. But for those currently using QuickBooks Enterprise, the move could be counterintuitive. If you’re a QuickBooks Enterprise user and needs to have online access, consider having the application hosted.

Does QuickBooks Online offer the same features as QuickBooks Desktop?

In many cases yes, but there are some features available in QuickBooks Desktop, particularly the Enterprise edition that are not available in QuickBooks Online. That’s why it’s important to do some initial research to ensure that the features you desire are available on QuickBooks Online prior to migrating.

Do I need an I.T. professional to handle the QuickBooks migration process?

That would depend on your level of comfort on your computer. If you’re comfortable using QuickBooks Desktop but rarely venture into areas such as system backups, importing and exporting files, and setting up company data, you may be more comfortable having an I.T. professional handle the migration. However, Intuit does offer step-by-step instructions for handling the entire process, so chances are you would be completely fine doing the migration yourself.

What are the benefits of migrating to QuickBooks Online?

There are two major benefits of migrating to QuickBooks Online. First, you’ll have anytime/anywhere access to your entire system, as will all of your users. Second, you’ll also gain access to the more than 650 apps that QuickBooks Online integrates with.

Will I need to be trained in QuickBooks Online?

System navigation in QuickBooks Online is completely different from QuickBooks Desktop, so you’ll probably have to spend some time learning the system. There is a Getting Started with QuickBooks Online training guide available that can help you through the entire process from initial product setup to how to customize invoices.

QuickBooks Desktop Vs. QuickBooks Online

While both QuickBooks Desktop and QuickBooks Online offer solid financial management capability, there advantages and disadvantages associated with each application. Debates over Quickbooks Desktop vs. Quickbooks Online will continue as long as QuickBooks Desktop remains available. And it’s important to note that QuickBooks Online is a completely different product from QuickBooks Desktop; an important consideration when considering whether to convert.

Effortlessly Convert from QuickBooks Online to Desktop Hosting

Have you decided that QuickBooks Online is no longer the right fit for you or your clients’ business needs? Converting QuickBooks Online to Desktop is a decision that you likely did not come to overnight or lightly. There is a lot that goes into any technology migration, and just thinking about all the steps and unknowns of switching tools may be enough to make you reconsider. But should you sacrifice the software your business, accounting firm, or clients need because of all the potential issues of converting QuickBooks Online to the QuickBooks Desktop version of your choice? The answer, of course, is no.  

Why Convert from QuickBooks Online to QuickBooks Desktop? 

The answer depends on what features and functionality your business needs from QuickBooks. For many businesses, QuickBooks Online is a strong choice. As a software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution, it gives businesses access to QuickBooks in the cloud and there are several different versions with different features available at each level.  

However even though QuickBooks Online has continued to evolve over the years, QuickBooks Desktop is more feature-rich and robust. For example, QuickBooks Desktop allows you to undo bulk transactions, revert to prior versions of a company file, complete batch invoicing, and use advanced reporting.  

Depending on the size and complexity of your business and QuickBooks data and files — and the level of customization you prefer —QuickBooks Desktop is likely to be the stronger choice. If that’s the case, the good news is you don’t have to lose the benefits of the cloud when transferring to a hosted desktop version. You can easily host your QuickBooks Desktop software in the cloud to continue to have anytime, anywhere access as well as real-time collaboration. 

QuickBooks offers a helpful comparison of what can be done in QuickBooks Online versus QuickBooks Desktop here. 

Put Your QuickBooks Hosting Provider to Work 

Once you have made the decision, you are ready to start the QuickBooks hosting migration process. What does that process entail? 

  • Clean up all your QuickBooks files and data. 
  • Create backups of your company files. 
  • Buy or lease your QuickBooks Desktop software plus hosting subscription from an Intuit Authorized Hosting Provider you trust. 
  • Use a conversion tool to start the conversion process and make sure the files to convert are compatible with the tool. 
  • After migrating your data, compare reports between the old and new files, check through customer data, check settings and configurations, connect bank, credit card accounts, and payments and invoicing. 
  • Connect any of your third-party apps. 

If that list is making you sweat, never fear. Rather than taking hours of your own time to make the switch (hours that would be much better spent elsewhere!), rely on a hosting partner who will take on the migration process and ensure an effortless transition. That means you do not have to worry about managing these steps… sounds good, right?  

Many issues can arise when converting from QuickBooks Online, and your hosting provider should have the capability to manage them. Not every provider includes this service, so confirm your hosting partner will undertake the migration process before choosing. Your hosting provider should also perform transition of all your licensed third-party applications. The process is relatively fast – QuickBooks migration to hosted desktop is done the same day. Instead of spending hours yourself, the right hosting provider takes on the challenges, so there is one less headache for you or your clients.  

The switch from QuickBooks Online to a hosted desktop version is a smart move and easy to do with the right partner. Improved functionality, enterprise-grade security, and 24/7 hosting support far outweigh concerns about transition hassles. If you have been on the fence, equip yourself with a trusted hosting provider and take the plunge. 

Also Read :: Fix QuickBooks Error Code 80040408 | QB QuickBooks Error Code 80040408

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