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Converting Sage 50 data to QuickBooks Online

by Intuit Updated 3 months ago

If you are moving your Sage 50 data to your QuickBooks online account, we're here to help. Below, you'll find answers to frequently asked questions as well as steps to start converting your data.

Use the links below to navigate to the desired section:

How does the conversion process work?

The following list details an overview of the conversion process. Each step is described in later sections of this article for more information:

  1. Review the Pre-migration Checklist section in this article.
  2. Prepare your current Sage 50 file for conversion and ensure your QuickBooks Online file is set up correctly.
  3. Fill out a form to gather your consent for the migration of the Sage 50 data to QuickBooks Online.
  4. Select how many years of Sage 50 data you wish to have converted, as well as any optional add-ons, such as Inventory, that you may require.
  5. Upload your Sage 50 file via secure server to the Dataswitcher tool for migration to QuickBooks Online.
  6. Once your data is migrated,  review the results and perform some tasks using the post-conversion checklist.
  7. Once you confirm the results, you can start using your new QuickBooks Online company file.

How long will it take to transfer my data?

The process of converting your data takes, on average, up to 72 hours from the time your data is uploaded in to the Dataswitcher tool.

Contact the QuickBooks Online support team if it has been longer than 72 hours.

How will my business data be protected?

Your business data is protected in the following ways:

  • As long as you use the online form to upload, we will protect your data using industry standard SSL encryption.
  • Your data is governed by Intuit’s Data Stewardship Principles.


The following limitations may occur when you are transferring data from Sage 50 to QuickBooks Online using Dataswitcher:

Cash refunds and cheque refunds

QuickBooks Online does not support refunding a cash payment or cheque from a supplier. These entities will be posted as regular journals with no link back to the customer or supplier.

Reversed journals

Reversed journals will not be posted.

Data Integrity Check issues

If your file fails the Data Integrity Check (Maintenance > Data Integrity Check), you may experience several issues during the conversion, such as:

  • Balances on Customer or Supplier
  • Non-matching trial balances for several years

Some debtor or creditor transactions may not be posted as expected

Dataswitcher may need to use a "dummy" customer or supplier to align your AR and AP history.

Historical migrations of accounts

Sage 50 Canada allows you to transfer balances to new accounts on the close of the year (transferring of opening balances). QuickBooks does not support this, as it does not support fiscal years. As a result, Dataswitcher closes the account off on the start of the fiscal year.

Financial start date

In Sage 50 Canada, it is possible to choose a start date other than the first of the month (for example, January 5th). QuickBooks allows you to choose a month other than January, but the starting date must be the first of the month.

For example, if a fiscal year begins in August the start date must be August 1st.

Check your retained earnings

In Sage 50 Canada, you can set up an opening balance for an account. In some cases, especially when the file is relatively new  or you have never run a close of year before, Dataswitcher cannot reconstruct the account used for creating that opening balance. Dataswitcher will create the opening balance transaction, and will send the net result to the retained earnings account in the destination system. It is necessary to check your retained earnings post-migration to determine if this agrees.

Departments, classes, and locations

If you select classes and locations (paid extra) during the migration, the migration will be done as journal only. Additionally, departments and classes may not align on retained earnings. Since you can purge data from Sage 50 Canada for the old journals, the classes and departments for retained earnings may be inaccurate. Due to QBO API limitations, only departments are converted, not projects.

Forward journals (Next Year) will not be posted

Any next year journals will not be posted to QuickBooks Online. These must be added manually.

Items and Stock

Dataswitcher does not post all of the fields for items and stock. Only code, stock code, location, name and description are posted. Current stock and purchase and sales price are also posted. Income and asset account are not posted to QuickBooks. Dataswitcher is able to deliver a set of files (the database tables from Sage 50 Canada) which you can import manually into QuickBooks Online.

Positions for COA numbers

QuickBooks does not support chart of account numbers that exceed the length of seven numerals. The migration will fail if any accounts in your chart of accounts are seven numerals or longer.

Renaming of Sage 50 system accounts

Dataswitcher can support renaming of normal balance sheet accounts, but renaming the system accounts (for example, Retained Earnings, Accounts Receivable, Accounts Payable, etc.) can cause issues after the conversion. Revert any renaming of system accounts back to the original settings before attempting to migrate.

Sage 50 data that will not be transferred

The following data types cannot be transferred at this time:

  • Budgets
  • Multicurrency
  • Memorized transactions
  • Invoice template and other templates
  • Sales orders
  • Payroll records
  • Projects
  • Attachments
  • Non-posting entries (estimates)

Pre-migration checklist

These steps are required prior to uploading your file for migration:

  • If you have an existing QuickBooks Online Company file that you have used in any way, it is necessary to cancel your subscription and start a new account. Data cannot be migrated into a QuickBooks Online Company file that has existing data contained within it.
  • Create a backup of your Sage 50 file. Save the backup file in a location that is easy to locate, as it will be used for upload in a later step.
  • Reconcile all your bank and/or credit card accounts to the most recent statement possible. After reconciling, make a note of the balances on your bank account, as it will be used when preparing the post conversion reconciliation in your QuickBooks Online company file.
  • File your quarterly Sales Tax return for the remaining quarter. If you use Cash-based accounting, it is advised to migrate directly after the close (and reconciliation) of a tax period. Otherwise, the post-conversion work in QuickBooks Online can be significant (considering partial paid invoices).

To start this process:

  1. Go to Reports (Take me there).
  2. Choose the Tax Return option.
  3. Select View under Looking to see VAT/GST Transactions for your own date range?
  4. Select the data range. This is the start of the quarter until the current date (i.e., the conversion date).
  5. Select Display.
  6. Export the report to PDF.

After the conversion, this information will be used to make a full report. This is done by adding the amounts in the boxes together in the old and new software.

Extract the following reports to check your data after the conversion:

  • Profit and loss until conversion date
  • Trial balance until conversion date
  • Balances on your bank accounts
  • Print a list of outstanding invoices of your customers and suppliers per conversion date

Extract the following data for auditing purposes:

  • Sales Tax report
  • Purchase Tax report
  • Account Transactions

Check your file:

  • Check your Sage 50 file via Maintenance > Check Data Integrity. If there are any inconsistencies, these need to be resolved before posting the file to Dataswitcher.

Requirements for Receivable and Payable accounts:

It’s possible to set up multiple AR and AP accounts within Sage 50. However, QuickBooks Online uses only a single AR/AP account. This causes an error if there are no linked AR and AP accounts in your file. It’s recommended that you check your settings before submission. In Sage 50, go to Setup > Wizards > Linked Accounts.

If you have more than one in your Sage 50 file, these accounts will be merged in your QuickBooks Online file during the conversion process.

It's also recommended that you run an Integrity Summary check on the file.

Take note of any AR/AP accounts versus unpaid receivables/payables, as such items will generate an exception during conversion.

If there are manual journals using the AR and AP accounts, these transactions will be displayed to suspense Customer/ Supplier accounts.

Get started converting your data to QuickBooks Online

You can visit our migration wizard to get started.

Review your migration

Following the migration, you’ll find a report inside of your QuickBooks Online file that provides details on the success of your migration. The report compares the Balance Sheets, Profit and Loss, and AR and AP Aging summary reports for both your source file and QuickBooks Online. It includes a detailed account list for all accounts in the file along with their balance in the source file and QuickBooks Online. It also has information about any discrepancies that occurred during the migration that you may want to manually edit.

This report is located within the Expenses tab under a supplier called Dataswitcher. Select the gear icon, then select Attachments to find the Report.pdf attachment.

Start using QuickBooks Online

Once you’ve performed the tasks described in this document, you can start using QuickBooks Online.

If you have questions about any of these tasks, contact the QuickBooks Online support team.

Post-migration checklist

Although we try to make the data conversion as comprehensive as possible, there are still a few tasks you'll need to perform before you start using QuickBooks Online. It's best to complete these as soon as possible before you make any changes to the data or enter new transactions.

Step 1: Enter company information

  1. Select the Gear icon then choose Account and Settings.
  2. On the Company tab, enter your company and contact information.
  3. Update or verify the email addresses to ensure billing communications and customer communications are handled correctly.
  4. Enter the email address in the Company email box where you would like to receive the monthly invoices from Intuit for your QuickBooks Online subscription.
  5. If you do not want to use the Company email address for your customers to contact you, enter the email address in the Customer-facing email box that you want your customers to associate with your business.
  6. Select Save.

Step 2: Set fiscal start month

  1. Select the Advanced Tab.
  2. In the Accounting section in the drop-down menu to the right of First month of fiscal year select the first month of your fiscal year.
  3. Select Save in that section, then select Done at the bottom right.

Step 3: Check your data by comparing reports

We suggest you compare the below reports in QuickBooks Online and in Sage 50 to ensure that your data was transferred correctly. To verify your reports, run the reports by "This Fiscal Year or This Year" in QuickBooks Online:

  •  Balance Sheet Report - select This Fiscal Year or This Year
  • Trial Balance – select This Fiscal Year or This Year
  • A/R Aging Summary - select This Fiscal Year or This Year
  • A/P Aging Summary - select This Fiscal Year or This Year
  • Profit and Loss - select This Fiscal Year or This Year

Step 4: Turn on sales tax

It’s important that Sales Tax be turned on in QuickBooks Online and is set up with the correct CRA Business Number and filing frequency before you start using it. You can skip these steps if your business isn’t registered for Sales Tax:

  1. In QuickBooks Online, select Sales Tax in the left-hand navigation menu.
  2. Follow the prompts to turn on the Sales Tax for your province.
    Note: correctly select your home province as this cannot be correct after the fact.
  3. Enter your CRA Business number and Filing frequency.
    Note: ensure your Accounting method is set to Accrual unless your accountant has told you otherwise.

Step 5: Consolidate sales tax into the default QuickBooks Online sales tax account

Sage 50 Canada uses two accounts (four in Québec) to track Sales Tax and post-migration steps to consolidate sales tax into the single GST/HST Payable account in QuickBooks are required.

Follow the steps given in the video below to consolidate your tax accounts.

Reconcile discrepancies to your Accounts Receivable (Customers) and Accounts Payable (Suppliers) that may exist after the conversion.

Step 6: Reconcile your bank accounts and credit card accounts

Note: It is critical that you complete this step before connecting your bank or credit card accounts to online banking.

Since you have not yet performed a bank reconciliation in QuickBooks Online, QuickBooks Online assumes that no bank transactions have been reconciled.

You need to tell QuickBooks Online to mark all transactions up to the conversion date as reconciled, so that it only considers future transactions for reconciliation:

  1. Select the Gear icon, then select Reconcile.
  2. Choose the relevant bank account from the drop-down, then select Reconcile Now.
  3. A Start Reconciling box opens. Enter your last reconciliation date in Statement ending date and put cleared Balance as it was on your last reconciliation in the Ending Balance field.
  4. Leave the rest of the form blank and select OK.
  5. You will see a list of transactions. Select the top checkmark boxes to select all transactions in the list. If the data is in two columns, make sure you’ve selected all transactions in both columns. Then find and uncheck transactions that are still uncleared. When the difference is Zero that means you have completed these steps successfully.
  6. Select Finish Now.

Note: It is important to repeat this process for all bank and credit card accounts in QuickBooks Online.

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