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Before You Start - The QuickBooks Guide to Converting QuickBooks Desktop to QuickBooks Online


The QuickBooks Guide to Converting QuickBooks Desktop to QuickBooks Online is for anyone converting from QuickBooks Desktop (Pro or Premier) to QuickBooks Online. The full guide can be downloaded from the link above.


Before we begin, let's go over a few important stipulations and requirements you'll need to consider. 






Should I convert from QuickBooks Desktop?

Converting from QuickBooks Desktop to QuickBooks Online may mean significant changes to your workflow - we’re here to help you prepare!


If you need any of the features listed below for your business, check our Quick Conversion Reference to decide if converting to QuickBooks Online is right for you:


  • Advanced Inventory

  • Average cost for Inventory

  • Batch Transaction Processing

  • Complex Sales Ordering

  • Advanced Reporting features only available in QuickBooks Desktop



    (These features are not supported in QuickBooks Online)



Technical considerations

  • The entire conversion process can be done in as little as an hour. However, it depends on the size of your company file and how much preparation is required to complete outstanding tasks, such as payroll. If your file is complicated or has lots of moving pieces, plan ahead for more time. Though uncommon, the conversion can take up to 24 hours for extremely large

  • Time is a factor - you can only convert QuickBooks Desktop data within the first 60 days of your QuickBooks Online company start date. If you’re beyond 60 days, you will need to cancel your existing QuickBooks Online account and start a new subscription (learn more).

  • Don’t know the size of your current file? With your QuickBooks Desktop company file open, press F2 to check how many targets (i.e. various data points such as transactions, inventory items, and attachments) are in your file. If you are over 350,000 targets, you will need to trim down your file. To learn more, see “Condense your QuickBooks Desktop file.”

  • Account names, item descriptions, and memos (among other data points) have strict character limits (see the complete list). You may need to make a few adjustments prior to your conversion.



QBDT Convert 1.png


Business-specific situations to consider

  • Do you currently handle multiple company files? In QuickBooks Desktop, you can create and manage multiple company files. In QuickBooks Online, each company requires a separate subscription. If you need to run accounts for eight different companies in QuickBooks Online, you will need eight subscriptions. You will be able to manage all of these files from the same login. 

  • How do you currently manage your inventory? QuickBooks Desktop uses the average cost method to calculate your QuickBooks Online uses the “First-in-first-out (FIFO)inventory management method. If you’re unsure whether this will work for your, reach out to your accountant.

  • Do you plan to use Revel Point of Sale to track your inventory? If so, you’ll need to complete a few additional steps to ensure everything is connected (learn more).

  • If you already turned on Payroll in QuickBooks Online before converting, do not attempt to convert your Desktop file on your own - please contact us! We’ll need to follow a special workflow to ensure your Payroll is set up



For a complete list of supported QuickBooks Online features, see Import Limitations – QuickBooks Desktop to QuickBooks Online and What’s not imported when you move from QuickBooks Desktop to QuickBooks Online





  < QuickBooks Guide to Converting QuickBooks Desktop to QuickBooks Online (Home)     



    The Conversion Process >  




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  • Getting Started with QuickBooks Desktop

I am currently using Quickbooks Pro.  I would like to get some things "cleaned up" and start using Quickbooks in a more efficient way.  I would like to download bank information, and hopefully shave off a lot of time inputting information.  Please give me some adive.  Would I be better to begin at the new year?   Also, would everything be secure during the online process?  How could I protect that information better?  Thanks in advance!

Hello Jano53,


Thanks for your question. Currently, there are two types of online banking connections available for QuickBooks Pro:


  1. Direct Connect (only applicable to US):  Allows QuickBooks to send information to your Financial Institution and download data directly from it. This method requires the use of a bank-provided PIN or password. After you set up the account, you can securely download electronic statements to your Bank Feeds within QuickBooks. You can also use other types of online services (online vendor payment, online transfer between accounts, and others) supported by your bank.
  2. Web Connect: Only allows receiving of data through a downloaded file via your bank website. You will then import that file into QuickBooks Pro so that they are available in your Bank Feeds Center within QuickBooks.
Your bank will let you know what type is available to use as well as address any security questions you may have.



Set up your account for Bank Feeds

  1. From the QuickBooks Banking menu, select Bank Feeds > Set Up Bank Feeds for an Account.
  2. In the Enter your Bank’s name field, enter the name of your bank. Note that as you type, QuickBooks displays possible matches.

For more information on setting up Online Banking for QuickBooks, click and read the following article:

Get started with Bank Feeds for QuickBooks Desktop



Thank you so much!