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.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is now WAY out of date. Intuit has made many improvements to the sales tax centre. Check back soon for information about a new sales tax course I will be releasing in February 2020!
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.