Many Canadian ProAdvisors I talk to are excited about QuickBooks Online (QBO), but a common complaint has been that there is no conversion tool. EXCITING NEWS! It appears that the conversion tool is now available from right inside a desktop file. These are my early observations, as there isn’t much information available on the tool as of the date of this blog post.
HOW TO USE THE CONVERSION TOOL:
1. Open the desktop data file using QuickBooks 2014 R4. IMPORTANT: If you’re using the Accountant edition, you need to toggle to the Pro or Premier edition. 2/25/14 UPDATE: The conversion tool is now available from the Accountant edition of QuickBooks desktop.
2. Under the COMPANY menu, go to the bottom and select EXPORT COMPANY FILE TO QUICKBOOKS ONLINE. If you don’t see this, you need to toggle to the Pro or Premier edition.
3. Click CONTINUE on the next window. The data is checked. NOTE: If you are using multiple currency, this conversion tool will not work. Also unavailable (but I’m not sure if any of these prevent a conversion): custom sales form templates, price levels, progress invoicing, multiple sales tax rates, inventory tracking.
4. You are prompted to sign in to your Intuit account or create a new account. I used my QuickBooks Online Accountant (QBOA) credentials (although please note this doesn’t mean the company will appear in my QBOA dashboard – I still have to invite myself as an accountant user).
5. You are asked if you want to replace an existing QuickBooks Online company file or create a new one. I chose to create a new company (which sets up a 30-day free trial of a QuickBooks Online Plus company). 2/25/14 UPDATE Creating the company in QBO FIRST lets you choose which version.
6. QuickBooks begins the export. This step takes a few minutes. Soon a new window opens saying you will receive an email when your data is ready.
7. Open your email and sign in to your QBO account. Voila! There’s the file!
Right now it’s all or none – there’s no option to select a certain period of data.
I tried this with the Pro Hockey School sample file in QuickBooks Pro 2014 R4P (I’m not sure if the tool is available in earlier releases). The data came across beautifully and just as it was entered in the desktop file. I compared the P&L and Balance Sheet from desktop to online and they are an exact match. The GST/HST filing history is correct and the upcoming period is intact. Payroll is correct. Reconciled transactions are marked correctly. 2/25/14 UPDATE: Before converting, make sure you have the latest release by going to Help > Update QuickBooks.
I also tried this with the Pro Hockey School sample file in QuickBooks 2013 R8P+U. However, this opened a US data file and much of the data did not come across correctly. Don’t do this using the 2013 version! 2/25/14 UPDATE: This now works with 2012 and above and converts into a Canadian file.
If you are serious about converting a client, I would probably try this out using your own email address to make sure the tool works. Then, I would call the Intuit Inbound Sales Team to have them set up a proper QBO account for your client, making sure the subscription level is correct (though I’m not sure if you can convert to anything other than the QuickBooks Online Plus version) and to make sure you’re getting the best available discount (ProAdvisors may be able to receive perpetual discounts on behalf of their clients).
2/25/14 UPDATE: Although all payroll DATA comes across nicely, you will have a few tasks to do in the QBO file in order to begin processing payroll: turn on payroll, complete employee profile information, enter YTD information.
My early review is that I’m totally impressed! This took all of five minutes and my data appears to have converted seamlessly. Try it out. Just make sure to check your data very carefully after the conversion. Let me know how it works for you in the comments section below.
If you’re just getting starting using QuickBooks Online (QBO), here are a few things to know about GST/HST as of the date of this blog. I’m using the Harmony version.
1. First things first. You need to set up Sales Tax in order for it to be active in QBO. Select the Sales Tax tab from the menu bar on the left hand side and click on the Set up tax button. Follow the onscreen prompts to complete set up.
2. QBO automatically adds two default accounts when setting up GST: GST/HST Payable and GST/HST Suspense. Think of the GST/HST Suspense account as a clearing account. You can even rename it as such. NOTE: You cannot write a cheque that posts directly to the GST/HST Payable account. You can, however, write a cheque that posts directly to the GST/HST Suspense account.
3. There are no ‘sales tax items’ in QBO like there are in QuickBooks Desktop. Therefore, journal entries must be entered a bit differently. See #9 below.
4. Completing the Sales Tax Return creates a two-line Journal Entry that simply moves what you owe (or what is owed to you) from GST/HST Payable to GST/HST Suspense. If you create a Payment for that period, you are crediting your bank account and debiting the GST/HST Suspense account. If you create a Refund for that period, you are debiting your bank account and crediting the GST/HST Suspense account.
5. When preparing your return, be careful to set the correct dates and click Refresh to generate an accurate report. Watch for yellow highlighted areas when you prepare a return. If you have any, stop and review. Double and triple check the dates at the top when about to File Return. This is because…
6. You cannot modify or delete the journal entry that QuickBooks creates when you file a sales tax return.
7. Regardless of the date you filed your GST/HST return, QuickBooks uses today’s date for the journal entry that is created when you file a sales tax return. Excel will become indispensable if you’re troubleshooting!
8. When you make a payment (or receive a refund) for a return you just filed, you must be sure to do so by clicking on Record under the Payments column. Do not make a payment using the big blue Record a Payment button – this is meant for upcoming filings and will create a discrepancy on your next return if used improperly (see #5 – yellow highlighted lines). You’ll know you’re in the wrong payment window if the tax period says Upcoming Filing. Make sure you enter the correct date. I recommend entering a memo as well, for example, “January 2014 Return.” NOTE: when you file a return and create a payment, the payment cannot be printed.
9. Posting directly to the GST/HST Payable account via journal entry is BAD, even though it’s allowed. Although it will post to the balance sheet account, it won’t show up when you go to file a sales tax return. But don’t panic, Intuit has designed something even better – the ability to assign sales tax to each line of a journal entry. No second independent line for GST/HST needed. When entered this way, it will show up on the return. Accountants commonly post directly to the GST/HST Payable account, so please make sure they know this crucial tip.
10. Made a mistake on your payment and need to change it? You need to delete and re-enter it. But you won’t be able to access the payment from the registers (here you can only view it). You also won’t be able to access it from the View History section of the Sales Tax module. Instead, do this. Use the Advanced Search feature to search for the amount of the payment (see below for suggested filters). Click once on the transaction to open, select delete payment, confirm, then start over using the instructions in #8.
I hope this article assists you in navigating GST/HST in QuickBooks Online. Please be sure to leave a comment if you have any tips to add. And if you’re really stuck, feel free to contact me to schedule a troubleshooting session.
This week, the brand new Cloud ProAdvisor program was announced in Canada. There are some innovative changes happening at Intuit, and this program is one of the most exciting! Here’s what I heard about QBO, QBOA and the Cloud ProAdvisor Program at the launch event in Edmonton this week.
What an honour to have guest speaker Michelle Long talk about QuickBooks Online (QBO) and all the great reasons for switching to the cloud. Michelle was recently in the UK doing QBO training and was also at last week’s VIP Summit. Here are a few of the highlights of QBO that she mentioned; no compatibility issues, frequent updates, work anywhere, anytime, on all your devices, and automatic and redundant back-ups. A great bonus right now is that payroll is now LIVE and FREE until March 2014. Subscription levels for your clients can be found here: Compare QuickBooks Online Editions
With QuickBooks Online Accountant Edition (QBOA), we have FREE access to our clients’ files who subscribe to QBO. There’s nothing for us to purchase! You simply ask your client to invite you to be an accountant user in their file. Something I learned about QBOA that I LOVE is that if you work with clients all around the globe, they will ALL appear in your QBOA home page – no need to create different accounts or profiles for different countries. We can even use a copy of the program for our own books at no charge!
Zac Parsons, Marketing Manager, Accounting Professionals Division, unveiled the awesome new Cloud ProAdvisor Program. He spoke very candidly about how the ProAdvisor Program has had its struggles over the past couple years. I think the entire room appreciated the fact that he spoke openly and honestly. He said that they haven’t been innovative… that they’ve been flat in terms of what they’ve been able to deliver. But he said that things are changing and Intuit is 100% committed to revolutionizing the ProAdvisor Program. They want to deliver on their promises.
With that, he introduced the new QuickBooks Cloud ProAdvisor Program. And here are the highlights. The theme again and again was FREE. Benefits include:
1. FREE access to QuickBooks Online Accountant. It’s incredibly easy to sign up!
2. FREE online training webinars.
3. FREE certification test. Opportunity to become QBO certified and get your own logo.
4. FREE QBO training through AccountingCycle. They offer 5 classes for a total of 10 hours of training. And if you want to become certified, they also offer a FREE QuickBooks Online Certification Exam Preparation Webinar. Here’s a link to their website: QuickBooks Online ProAdvisor Certification Training
5. FREE listing on the brand new Find-a-ProAdvisor website. Having certifications will move you to the top of the list. The Find-a-ProAdvisor website will launch on September 23rd.
6. FREE Turnkey Marketing Tools where you can upload your company logo and access customizable templates, banner ads, and more.
7. FREE phone-based support, which will be moving to chat in a couple months. My own experience with the QBO support team has been outstanding.
8. FREE data conversion from Sage to QBO (coming soon). Note: there is currently no conversion tool to transfer a QuickBooks desktop file to QBO… but it’s also in the works!
The one other item Zac talked about was discounts for our clients. Because it’s fairly complex and still a work-in-progress, he couldn’t say much more at this point. But he did promise that the discounts will come this November and they’re greater than they’ve ever been!
Only one thing was missing from the launch event, and that was the mention of ‘Harmony’ – the new look of QBO. Having just come back from the Intuit VIP Summit in California – where ‘Harmony’ was unveiled with much excitement – I totally expected it would be announced here as well. I do understand it will take a while to roll it out across North America, and Intuit Canada probably wants to work out any kinks before making if official. Harmony is the number one reason I’m so excited about QBO and eagerly await the day that ALL QBO customers are using this platform. If you want to take the US version of QBO ‘Harmony’ for a test drive, you can find it here Craig’s Design & Landscaping Services.
Intuit will be hosting several “Find your Freedom in the Cloud” events across Canada in the upcoming weeks. Watch the Intuit Canada website for more information.
So… some incredible opportunities that are basically too good to pass up! Stone de Souza, Senior Marketing Manager, Global Business Division, said that Intuit really wants to reward and incentivize their partners. With QBOA and the Cloud ProAdvisor Program, we’ll have the ability to add value, grow our practice, and serve our customers better. Sounds good to me!
Here’s the link to get started QuickBooks Cloud ProAdvisor Program.
Just a few of the guests at last week’s Intuit VIP Summit in California. Here are the international attendees from Canada, India, UK and Australia. Thank you to Margaret Carey for the photo!
Last week I was honored and humbled to be invited to the Intuit VIP Summit in Mountain View, California. The event was attended by QuickBooks Accountants and Influencers from all over the globe. The two Canadian ProAdvisors in attendance were Esther Friedberg Karp and myself. It was definitely the event of a lifetime, and I certainly hope we get asked back.
The evening before the official event, a lovely cocktail reception was held on the ‘Moon and Stars’ patio at the Westin Palo Alto. Two of the first people I had the chance to meet were Charlie Russell and William Murphy, who I’m definitely IN AWE OF. It was a great opportunity to connect with a few of the attendees and some of the folks from Intuit.
DAY ONE was held at the Intuit campus. We had a bit of time for breakfast and socializing, and I got to meet several more QuickBooks ninjas including Doug Sleeter, Michelle Long, the gang from RadioFree QuickBooks, Seth David of Nerd Enterprises, and the incredible team from Intuit. I’m sorry I can’t list all the guests, but one thing is for sure, they are all QB rockstars! It was an absolute thrill to meet so many people I feel like I know because of social media. And speaking of social media, we were encouraged to be active on all platforms and tweet using the hashtag #IntuitSummit. We lit up Twitter like a Christmas tree!
After an awesome welcome from Senior VP Jill Ward, CEO Brad Smith delivered the key-note address. His speech got the room energized about all the exciting innovation happening at Intuit. We were introduced to the new look of QBO (code name ‘Harmony’). It has an updated look that’s modern and clean (and kind of reminds me of Wave). Intuit is putting a lot of resources into the product, worldwide. Last July, QBO was in five countries. Now it’s in over 100! One of the awesome features is that QBO works with a lot of third-party apps. Brad said that Intuit is a team sport and they value their developers. Someone asked about tech support. Brad said that they are aware of the challenges with tech support and believe deeply that “service matters.” He said their goal is to help us to win, not to eliminate our jobs. And he stressed the fact that Intuit cannot succeed without accounting professionals. I have to say I am COMPLETELY excited about ‘Harmony,’ and I will discuss (and challenge) some of the most common objections about QBO in an upcoming blog.
In the afternoon, we took part in a “Design for Delight” exercise where we had the chance to break into teams and CREATE! There was much energy and laughter, as all seven tables were assigned a challenge to brainstorm specific ideas/solutions for QBO. Scott Cook, Founder of Intuit, sat at each of the tables, listening and observing. The presentations were intriguing, outrageous, and clever. Shortly after our innovation exercise, it was time to depart for the next part of our day-one adventure.
We loaded into buses and were driven up the winding road to the Mountain Winery in Saratoga. We were treated to some excellent wines, delicious appetizers, a stunning view of Silicon Valley, and the “Innovation Showcase,” where we were able to preview some of Intuit’s newest products and meet with Intuit developers at various displays. I was particularly excited to meet Pamela Bailey, Design Lead for the desktop version, who had QuickBooks 2014 on display. She’s from Edmonton, my hometown, and we have mutual friends, so we had lots to chat about. Intuit continues to make improvements to the desktop version, and even with ‘Harmony’ taking center-stage, it definitely won’t be neglected. One thing you’ll appreciate is that the left-icon bar now has color!
As the sun went down, we enjoyed a first-class meal and lively conversation on the patio. The Google Glass was in attendance for anyone who wanted to try it, and a cool 3D printer sent us all home with an Intuit wine bottle key chain. Two high-powered telescopes allowed us to admire the stars. It was a very full day, and my heavenly bed at the Westin was just that.
DAY TWO was held at the beautiful Quadras Conference Center. Our morning was an interactive session with Steve King from Emergent Research discussing the future of accounting. We learned some interesting facts. Like sales of tablets are predicated to outpace sales of PCs by 2014. That boomers likely need prescription Google Glass! That social media has created FOMO – the fear of missing out. That predicting the future isn’t that hard… but getting the timing right is. The entire morning was captured by Terry, a graphic recorder. In colorful markers, she recorded the morning’s conversation. It’s really something to see. Her amazing artwork will go back to Steve’s office where he will use it for his Future of Accountancy project.
Remember our “Design for Delight” exercise from day one? Joe Wells, the VP of Engineering at Intuit, showed up with the previous day’s best idea magically implemented into QBO! It was very exciting to see our suggestion come to life and confirmed what we’d been hearing over the last two days – that Intuit really is listening.
Prizes were awarded for the ‘most social’ attendees, and according to TweetReach, our influence on Twitter was stellar! You can check out all the awesome posts by searching #IntuitSummit. You can also see some great pics of the summit on Pinterest at http://pinterest.com/search/?q=IntuitSummit.
It was an amazing, incredible, inspiring two days. I came home with some awesome swag (including a bottle of wine from Scott Cook’s own vineyard!), many new connections, and complete excitement around what Intuit is doing for accountants and customers.
Coming in Friday’s blog – information about the new Cloud ProAdvisor Program!
As of yesterday, it’s new and improved! Well, at this point we can say it’s new 😉
There are nine ‘topics’ to choose from. The first six topics relate to the US versions of QuickBooks. The last three topics are specifically for QuickBooks Canada, QuickBooks UK, and QuickBooks en Español.
If you’re a regular visitor, you’ll notice that the topics have been revised. Intuit is perhaps trying to make the language easier for the majority of users to understand (for example, ‘Customers & Getting Paid’ instead of Accounts Receivable). If you click on the QuickBooks Canada topic, you’ll probably notice that ‘Sales Tax’ is not a subtopic. I noticed this right away and definitely think it should be added back!
It appears Intuit has some kinks to straighten out, and I’m sure they’re working on them. Members don’t seem to have access to their old questions and answers. And referring specifically to the QuickBooks Canada topic, the ‘Unanswered’ questions seem to all be ‘asked about a year ago!’ That said, it’s early in the changeover and it looks like Intuit is gradually adding back content.
Opinions on the new platform aside, the community forum can be a great resource to get pretty much any question you have answered. A lot of QuickBooks gurus hang out and provide answers, generally because they love to serve and help other members with their books. You can also search the database for older questions and answers (a note about searching… right now, you have to type your search into the ‘Have a Question?’ field at the top of the page. You’ll then be taken to the results page, and the field will now be labelled ‘Search.’ Here you can search for another topic). You can also browse tags which you will see on the right hand side of the main page.
I’d love to know what you think of the new forum. And if you have a suggestion, you can contact Intuit directly. Look for the ‘Send us Feedback’ link at the bottom of all forum pages. Embrace the change!
ISSUE: the journal entry that QuickBooks automatically creates when filing sales tax is not entered correctly. The most common problem is missing tax items. You may also see missing information on the memo line, and you may even see the tax items switched around.
This happened to one of my clients this week. He noticed an ‘unassigned tax amount’ when attempting to ‘file sales tax.’ He clicked on the amount and it took him back the journal entry that QuickBooks had created for the previous sales tax filing. We then started to uncover some strange errors…
Here’s a screenshot of what a normal FILE SALES TAX journal entry should look like:
And here are two screenshots of the incorrect FILE SALES TAX journal entries discovered in my client’s file:
This is a known issue. QuickBooks senior tech support tells me it’s essentially random. It started with the 2012 R12 update and the 2013 R4 update. It’s considered a critical issue with moderate severity and high impact. The engineers are working on completely removing this issue.
SOLUTION: Go back to the incorrect journal entries that QuickBooks created and manually correct them. Review previous, current, and future tax filings carefully.
My advice until Intuit works on eliminating this potential problem is to keep current with your updates and CHECK YOUR ‘FILE SALE TAX’ WINDOW CAREFULLY BEFORE FILING! Watch out for unassigned tax amounts. If you have any, drill down on the amount. If you end up in a previous ‘File Sales Tax’ journal entry, and you spot something wrong, you’ve likely encountered the ‘File Sales Tax’ bug! You will need to correct the journal entry by entering the correct tax items. If you discover information missing from the memo line, correct that as well. You can refer to previous filings for missing information.
NOTE: these errors carry over to the next sales tax return. If you discover more than just the last “File Sales Tax’ journal entry incorrect, your previous filings with the CRA could have errors.
Other tips for spotting errors in the File Sales Tax window: Manually multiply line 101 by the tax rate in your province for a ballpark figure of what line 103 should be. Drill down on line 103. Look for a balance leading into the period. This will be zero if you have not made changes to your sales after your last filing. Drill down on line 106. Again, look for a balance leading into the quarter. This will also be zero if you haven’t made any changes to your purchases after your last filing.
Be careful when troubleshooting your sales tax, and always make a backup of your file before making any changes.
I’d love to hear from you if you’ve run into this particular bug!
This weekend, the ‘Find a Local QuickBooks Expert’ search wizard for Canada will be gone. But it’s only temporary! In September, a new and improved site will be launched. Here’s the announcement:
I couldn’t be more excited about this development! We are definitely behind our US counterparts in this regard, so this is very welcome news. I’ve been asking about and hoping for a better site for years! Here’s a peek at what the Canadian site looks like now:
7/19/13 UPDATE – FEATURE NOW GONE! I was hoping to add a screen capture of the site today but they took it down a day early! Here’s the link anyways: http://www.intuit.ca/en/intuit/findexpert_index.jsp
And here’s a link to the US site:
The links take you to the welcome pages, not to the search results. The differences when you actually perform a search are astronomical!
Complaints about the Canadian site aside, this is an awesome tool provided by Intuit on both sides of the 49th. I have connected with a few clients because of it, and the long-awaited improvements will be great for Canadian ProAdvisors and clients alike.
So you’ve gone green and signed up for e-statements. Kudos to you! Here’s how going paperless helps the environment, compliments of http://payitgreen.org/
There’s nothing better than neglecting my own bookkeeping and sitting down to do it a couple times a year. It fulfills my need for a challenge. LOL! (I don’t recommend this, by the way!) This last time, I went to my credit card provider’s website to download the past twelve months of statements into QuickBooks. Except eight of them were gone! Only the most recent four were available to download into QuickBooks. The missing months were easy enough to access in PDF format (they keep seven years for me), but the downloadable files were indeed gone with no way to get them back. That made for a lot of manual data entry for me.
Another of my credit card providers only saves six months, PDF or otherwise. After that, I have to contact them to retrieve the missing statements. This involves an email, a confirmation email, a password and a time limit to fetch them… which I typically miss. I then have to start the entire process of retrieval over again!
Banks and credit card issuers often make only a certain number of statements available online. In many cases, it’s only a few months. If you need to go back farther than that, you may have a few hoops to jump through. You may even be required to pay a fee.
So here’s a reminder. Save those files to your computer every couple months (and if you still prefer to print, no judgement here!).
Several months ago, I was consulting with a Canadian client in a 3-user networked environment. Before leaving, I set the closing date to March 31, 2012. They called me a couple days later saying two users were being asked to override a closing date of Dec 12, 2012. Whaat? I was sure I set the correct date. I went back and reset the closing date to March 31, 2012. We tested it out but had the same issue. The closing date had again mysteriously changed to Dec 12, 2012. What was going on?
I’ve never seen this problem south of the border, but north of the border? As of this week, three times! At first I was completely perplexed, but I finally figured out why this was happening. The regional date settings on your computers don’t match! The reason I’ve never seen it in the United States is that new computers are preloaded with the date preferences set to be Month/Day/Year. Everyone matches. In Canada, it seems like some computers are preloaded with the date preferences Month/Day/Year but many others are set with the format Day/Month/Year (silly, and one of my pet peeves… it should be written the way we say it! But that’s a rant for another blog post…)! In addition, users like myself sometimes change the date settings to the ‘US’ format. So not everyone in the network matches. Since the date format of the computer that initially set the closing date doesn’t save to the data file, any computer in the network that has a different date format will cause QuickBooks to get confused!
The solution? Make sure all computers in a networked environment are set with the same date regional date settings. Again, I prefer the Month/Day/Year setting myself, but the critical thing is that all the computers have matching regional date settings. If you’re using Windows 7, here’s how to locate the date preference: Start > Control Panel > Region and Language.
Now, if we could just get businesses to be consistent about dates on receipts. This was never a problem in California, but in Canada, it sure gets confusing when a receipt is dated 6/7/13 and it’s entered a few weeks later!