Converting QuickBooks Desktop to Online Step-by-Step Guide


If you're considering converting your QuickBooks Desktop to QuickBooks Online, you may be wondering where to start. This guide will walk you through the process step-by-step, so you can make the switch with ease and confidence. Learn about the benefits of QuickBooks Online, how to prepare your data for conversion, and what to expect during and after the conversion process.

Back up your QuickBooks Desktop data.

Before you begin the process of converting QuickBooks Desktop to Online, it's important to back up your data. This will ensure that you have a copy of your important financial information in case anything goes wrong during the conversion process. To back up your data, open QuickBooks Desktop and go to the File menu. Select Backup Company, then Create Local Backup. Follow the prompts to save the backup file to a safe location, such as an external hard drive or cloud storage service. Once your data is backed up, you can proceed with the conversion process.

Set up your QuickBooks Online account.

The first step in converting QuickBooks Desktop to Online is to set up your QuickBooks Online account. If you don't already have an account, you'll need to create one. Go to the QuickBooks Online website and click the Sign Up button. Follow the prompts to enter your information and set up your account. Once your account is set up, you'll be ready to start the conversion process.

Create a new QuickBooks Online subscription

    1. QuickBooks Online Accountant > Quick Create > Client
    2. Follow prompts
    3. Choose subscription & who will pay the subscription fees

Sign out of QuickBooks Online Accountant

Confirm QuickBooks Desktop file will convert:

  1. Open desktop file and run some utilities
  2. File > Utilities > Verify Data
  3. File > Utilities > Rebuild Data
  4. Tap [F2] to verify number of targets is below 350,000 5. Create a backup for pre-conversion archive

NOTE: For MAC conversions please refer to page 7 of The Accountant’s Guide to Moving Clients Online – Part 2 []


Open the conversion tool and begin conversion

  1. Open QuickBooks Desktop
  2. Company > Export Company File to QuickBooks Online Payroll set up

NOTE: if you do not see this option, please refer to page 5 of The Accountant’s  Guide to Moving Clients Online – Part 2 []

  1. Click Continue to start the interview
  2. Enter your QuickBooks Online Accountant login info and agree to  Terms of Service
  3. Choose the QuickBooks Online company you created then Continue
  4. Intuit will confirm the conversion has started then click OK
  5. Intuit will email you when conversion is finished


Verify and reconcile your data in QuickBooks Online.

Once you have successfully imported your data into QuickBooks Online, it's important to verify and reconcile it to ensure accuracy. This involves reviewing your accounts, transactions, and balances to make sure everything matches up with your records. You can use the reconciliation feature in QuickBooks Online to compare your bank statements with your transactions and make any necessary adjustments. It's also a good idea to run reports to check for any discrepancies or errors. By verifying and reconciling your data, you can ensure that your financial records are up-to-date and accurate.

Compare reports

For each of the following reports, open in QuickBooks Online and  QuickBooks Desktop and check for differences:

.NOTE: The first three reports in the list below will not match if you are importing  inventory due to recalculations to FIFO

  1. Run Balance Sheet, all dates, accrual basis
  2. Run Profit & Loss, all dates, accrual basis
  3. Inventory Valuation Summary, all dates (if applicable)
  4. Open Invoices
  5. Unpaid Bills
  6. Undeposited Funds transaction detail report
  7. Sales Tax Liability
  8. Payroll Tax Liability
  9. Last Reconciliation report
  10. Open in QuickBooks Desktop
  11. Use to create initial reconciliation in QuickBooks Online

Sales tax payments

  1. Taxes > Sales Tax > Record Tax Payment
  2. Pre-reconciliation, reissue and replace converted sales tax payments

Payroll set up

  1. Employees on left navigation bar
  2. Verify “Paid In”. All employees paid in current year are marked YES
  3. Click Complete payroll set up
  4. Continue through prompts to complete set up

Check inventory conversion (if applicable)

  1. Converted to FIFO
  2. Conversion tool will send error notifications (if any)

NOTE: Complete and file IRS 3115 if client’s costing method will change

Setup users and permissions

  1. Gear > Your Company > Manage Users

Company information

  1. Gear > Your Company > Account and Settings > Company

Reconcile accounts

  1. Gear > Tools > Reconcile
  2. Perform initial reconciliation in QuickBooks Online based on final  reconciliation in Desktop

Add attachments

  1. Customer list
  2. Vendor list
  3. Individual transactions
  4. Attachment center located in Gear > Lists > Attachments


  1. Make unwanted list items Inactive
  2. Merge duplicate list items

Customize sales templates

  1. Gear > Your Company > Account and Settings > Sales

Recreate memorized reports

  1. Reports > My Custom Reports

Connect apps

  1. QuickBooks Online Accountant > Apps > Find Apps

Connect QuickBook Payments

  1. Gear > Your Company > Account and Settings > Payments

Connect bank feeds

  1. Banking > Add Account
  2. Individual transactions
  3. Attachment center located in Gear > Lists > Attachments

NOTE: To avoid duplication, choose appropriate date range for initial download

Set closing date

  1. Gear > Your Company > Account and Settings > Advanced

Congratulations! The conversion process is complete.