Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Created with Sketch. Need help updating to Desktop 2022? Visit our updates page to get started.
Level 1

Converting from Desktop to QBO

If you have Quickbooks Desktop and convert to Quickbooks Online would you:

A) Be able to transfer back to Quickbooks Desktop?


B) What occurs to your data if say you close the business - is there a way to save the data?

7 Comments 7
QuickBooks Team

Converting from Desktop to QBO

Hi there, 


You've come to the right place for help. I'll be happy to answer your questions so you can get back to doing what you love. 


Once you've migrated your data over the QuickBooks Online, you'll have to manually transfer your data back to Desktop using .CSV files. Let me know if you need further assistance with this. If you decide to close your business/cancel  your QBO account, you'll have Read-Only access to your account for one year. After the year is up, all the data will be deleted. 


If you need more info, don't hesitate to reach back to me. I got your back. 


Not applicable

Converting from Desktop to QBO

hi @mcbbsinc ,

It is still challenging to switch back your data from QBO Non-US version to QB Desktop. You may need a 3rd party data migration tools. If you are using QuiciBooks Desktop now and need to access your file by internet, you may consider hosting it on your own premise with a 3rd party solution. 

Level 1

Converting from Desktop to QBO

I posted data into QBO in the trial version and i need it to be  converted to the subscribed company account on online account. Can this be done?

Not applicable

Converting from Desktop to QBO

@Rahim2 ,

Utilize the trial period of a 3rd party backup tool and use the Copy feature to migrate the data between your accounts.


Hope it helps.

Level 1

Converting from Desktop to QBO

I need to convert old quickbooks desktop 2012 Pro to quickbooks online I have signed up for online and was told to just phone and someone would convert the files for me as I no longer have that program. I have phoebe and the message says the office is closed . But it is not yet 5pm standard time. Can someone call me to start the conversion my current phone number is [removed]

Fiat Lux - ASIA
Level 15

Converting from Desktop to QBO

Utilize the free conversion service


But afaik, you have to self-prepare your data file in supporting year version (2017-2020). Try convert your data file on trial license of 2020 version.

You may also purchase a 3rd party conversion service to get a QBW in 2020 version.


Lord Sloth
Level 2

Converting from Desktop to QBO

Think carefully before switching from Desktop to QBO.


We switched from Desktop Premier four years ago, to Quickbooks Online Plus Version, as there was few apps that sync between Shopify and Quickbooks desktops (especially the Canadian Version), and it was the biggest mistake we ever made.

At the time, QBO Plus was relatively new, and we figured that features would be added to bring it up to the level of Quickbooks Premier. This has not happened. Yes they have added features, and sometimes they add the feature to the US edition, and years go by and it's never added to the Canadian Edition.

For us the major disadvantage of Quickbooks Online were the following:

1) No ability to make a duplicate copy of your site for testing purposes

2) Quickbooks Online can be very slow at time, as you are at the mercy of Quickbooks IT infrastructure.

3) No Assemblies (and bundles are useless, as you can't set a discount price for the bundle)

4) Very Basic report features, compared to the desktop version of Quickbooks.

5) No Price levels (at least in the Canadian edition), and the US edition is weak on this feature compared to desktop.

6) It is difficult to switch back to Quickbooks Desktop. The American Version of Quickbooks does have a feature to move back to desktop, but it is not seamless, and is full of bugs. The Canadian Version has no ability to switch to desktop.. If you need to switch back, the best scenario is to wrap up your year end with QBO, and start over fresh with year end balances, outstanding AR, AP and customer, vendors and other lists. This is a fair amount of work. Despite third party apps, it's a very difficult task to convert several years worth of data to Quickbooks Desktop, due to several bugs. Since QBO only keeps your data for 12 months after you cancel your subscription, you need to signup for QBO every 11 months and then cancel again. You need to do this for the next 6 to 7 years, so the data will be available if the IRS or CRA does an audit.


7) Quickbooks Desktop versions are actually cheaper if you buy the Desktop version outright. Don't buy the subscription. The Desktop version does not provide support, but there is plenty of support information on the web. Quickbooks will continue to provide patches to fix bugs regardless if you but the subscription or the standalone desktop version. Sure you will miss out on any new features that are added, but frankly not much change year to year. Since the break even point between Quickbooks online and standalone desktop is less than a year, you can always buy again if they add a feature that is critical (auto build assemblies in premier edition) comes to mind.


8) The online feature of Quickbooks, can be done with the standalone desktop version of Quickbooks. If you don't have the IT expertise in house, there are plenty of companies that will host it for you. QBO does this. QBO does have an advantage of allowing 3 users in essential and 5 in the plus edition, compared with 2 in the desktop version. You pay more for extra licenses, however if you are cheap, it may consider shift work, to keep the license concurrency to 2.


9) More companies are developing apps for Quickbooks Desktop, as application designers now realize that Quickbooks desktop is not going away, and to fulfill the need for cross platform functionality.


In summary, QBO does have it's purposes. It's mainly for Mon and Pop operations, with only a few employees, and smaller service based businesses. If your business is growing or you are expecting growth, o are running multiple companies,I would start off with a Desktop version of Quickbooks, and avoid the headache and costs of moving from QBO to the Desktop Version. Remember you can always host the desktop version, either in house or via an authorized Intuit hosting provider.

Need to get in touch?

Contact us