Switching Gears: How to Seamlessly Convert QuickBooks Desktop to Online?

Considering moving from QuickBooks Desktop to QuickBooks Online (QBO)? This shift offers numerous advantages, including easy access, enhanced collaboration, and automatic software updates. Transitioning your important financial data to a cloud-based system may seem challenging, but there’s no need for concern.

This guide provides a straightforward introduction to the process of migrating to QBO. We’ll outline the essential steps, and important considerations, and address potential hurdles to ensure a smooth and successful transition.

With a clear understanding of the reasons for the move and the steps involved, you can confidently proceed with your QBO migration. This guide serves as your starting point, aiming to facilitate a move towards a more streamlined and flexible financial management system for your business.

Additionally, Focus CPA offers various services to support your financial growth, including tax planning services, wealth management services, estate and trust planning services, and family office services.

Why convert Quickbooks desktop to online?

Considering the transition from QuickBooks Desktop to Online? Here are key benefits that highlight why this change could be advantageous for your business operations:

  1. Easy to access anywhere: One of the biggest pluses of moving to QBO is getting your financial information anytime and anywhere when you have internet access. This is great for businesses that operate remotely or if you’re always on the move and need to check your finances.
  2. Work together better: With QBO, more than one person can look at the financial data simultaneously. This means your team can work together more efficiently, make decisions faster, and keep everyone updated. It’s like having everyone in the same room, even if they’re miles apart.
  3. No worries about updates or losing data: Another cool thing about QBO is that it updates itself without you having to do anything. Plus, all your data is backed up in the cloud. This means less time spent on maintenance and no panic about losing important information if your computer crashes.
  4. Grows with your business: As your business grows, QBO can easily keep up. You won’t have to worry about outgrowing your accounting software or investing in more expensive systems. QBO adapts to your business size, making it a smart choice for small startups and growing companies.

Preparing for the Conversion

Before initiating the transition from QuickBooks Desktop to QuickBooks Online, ensure everything is in order:

  1. Back-up your data: In QuickBooks Desktop, switch to Single-User Mode and back up your company file. This step is crucial to preventing data loss.
  2. Update your software: Ensure your QuickBooks Desktop version is fully updated to facilitate a smoother migration process.
  3. Evaluate your data size: Use Ctrl+1 to open the Product Information window in QuickBooks Desktop and check the Total Targets count to ensure compatibility with QuickBooks Online.
  4. Clean up data: If applicable, manage your suppliers, especially if operating outside of Quebec, by adjusting relevant settings.
  5. Deactivate payroll features: Turn off payroll settings in QuickBooks Desktop to avoid complications post-migration.
  6. Secure financial reports: Save crucial reports, like the Sales Tax Liability report, for future reference and verification post-migration.
  7. Register for QuickBooks Online: Set up your QuickBooks Online account, but refrain from populating data until the migration is complete.

Step-by-Step Guide: How to Switch from Quickbooks Desktop to Online!

Once you have completed the preliminary steps, proceed with the actual migration:

  1. Initiate data transfer: Log into QuickBooks Desktop as an admin and use the Company menu to export your file to QuickBooks Online.
  2. Prepare for inventory and payroll transfers: Ensure your data complies with the format required by QuickBooks Online, focusing on inventory and payroll details.
  3. Finalize the migration: Follow the on-screen prompts to complete the data export. You will receive an email once the migration is completed.
  4. Configure QuickBooks Online: Post-migration, set up your new QuickBooks Online environment by importing any necessary lists and adjusting settings to match your business operations.
  5. Verify data accuracy: Compare critical reports between the two platforms to ensure all data was correctly transferred and make any necessary adjustments.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Encountering challenges during migration is normal. Below are common issues and solutions to ensure a smooth transition:

  1. Data discrepancies: After migration, it’s not uncommon to encounter differences in data between QuickBooks Desktop and Online versions. Prepare for possible discrepancies by having a detailed checklist to compare pre-migration and post-migration reports.
  2. Feature and report differences: The functionalities and reporting features between the two platforms may not always align perfectly. Understanding these differences ahead of time can help manage expectations and plan for adjustments in reporting or operational processes.
  3. Support resources: Leveraging QuickBooks’ extensive support resources can be invaluable in addressing any challenges encountered during the migration. These resources offer solutions and guidance for a wide range of potential issues.
  4. Process adjustments: Some processes or reports may need to be modified in QBO to match the new system’s capabilities and limitations. Being flexible and prepared to make these adjustments will facilitate a smoother transition.

Exploring QuickBooks Online Features

QuickBooks Online (QBO) provides several key features to enhance your accounting experience. Here’s a closer look at what makes QBO an effective tool for managing your finances:

  1. Data Cleanup and Optimization: Optimizing your financial data before transitioning to QuickBooks Online (QBO) is crucial. It ensures accuracy and efficiency in your migrated data. QBO’s user-friendly interface supports easy data review and adjustments, facilitating a smooth transition.
  2. Training and Support Resources: QuickBooks Online offers many support resources, including tutorials, webinars, and a community forum. These tools are designed to help users understand and make the most of QBO’s features, providing comprehensive support for any issues encountered.
  3. Customization and Integration Options: QBO stands out for its customization and integration capabilities with third-party apps and services. This allows businesses to tailor the platform to their needs, enhancing QBO’s core accounting features with additional functionality for a more streamlined financial management process.

Post Data Verification after Converting from Quickbooks Desktop to Online

After successfully converting from QuickBooks Desktop to Online, it’s important to validate the transferred data to ensure accuracy and completeness. Follow these essential steps for effective post-migration verification:

  1. Account Balances Check: One of the first steps post-migration is to verify that all account balances in QuickBooks Online accurately reflect those from the desktop version. This direct comparison ensures that the financial standing remains unchanged through the migration.
  2. Profit and Loss Statement Comparison: Analyzing and comparing profit and loss statements from both versions of QuickBooks is essential for verifying the accuracy of the migrated data. Any discrepancies should be investigated and resolved to maintain accurate financial reporting.
  3. Customer and Vendor Information Verification: Ensuring that all customer and vendor information has been completely and accurately transferred to QBO is crucial. This includes checking for completeness of contact information, outstanding balances, and transaction histories.
  4. Final Data Review: Conduct a comprehensive review of all financial data in QuickBooks Online after the migration. This final step is akin to a detailed inspection, confirming that every piece of information has been successfully transferred and is accurately represented in the new system.

Final Words!

Moving to QuickBooks Online (QBO) unlocks cloud-based advantages like anytime access, teamwork, and automatic updates. This guide provided clear steps, considerations, and solutions to ensure a smooth transition.
Remember, careful planning and data verification are key. Embrace the post-migration period to refine data, explore advanced features, and customize QBO. Use resources and support for any hurdles.
By taking a methodical approach and understanding the benefits, you can confidently shift gears and unlock QBO’s potential for a more efficient and dynamic financial future.
Alongside our migration support, Focus CPA provides a variety of services to address your financial needs. These include business financials, accounting, business valuations, and specialized CPA support for small businesses. Contact Focus CPA today for expert advice and to improve your financial planning.


Mr. Amit Chandel

Amit Chandel is a “Certified Tax Planner/Coach”, and “Certified Tax Resolution Specialist”. He has extensive experience in Tax Planning and Tax Problem Resolutions – helping his clients proactively plan and implement tax strategies that can rescue thousands of dollars in wasted tax.