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Move QuickBooks Desktop File to QuickBooks Online

Move QuickBooks Desktop File to QuickBooks Online

If you’re thinking about moving your company file from QuickBooks Desktop to QuickBooks Online, we’re here to help! Migrating your files to QuickBooks Online needs careful attention to maintain accuracy. Making the move can seem daunting at first but it’s an important step that can streamline your accounting processes and offer insights into your business’s finances. Making this shift comes with a multitude of advantages, including improved accessibility, real-time collaboration, automatic backups, software updates, and seamless integration with third-party apps and services.

This article will thoroughly explore the step-by-step transition from QuickBooks Desktop to Online, elucidating the benefits of doing so, and discussing the features that move and don’t move over to QuickBooks Online. Additionally, you will learn how to migrate files to QuickBooks Online with the Accountant Batch Migration Tool.

Steps to Move QuickBooks Desktop File to QuickBooks Online

Below are the steps to migrate your QuickBooks Desktop File to QuickBooks Online:

Step 1: Get your Desktop File ready

Note: You have 60 days from when you set up your QuickBooks Online account to move your data. If you’re unsure about your company’s age, sign in to QuickBooks Online and refresh the page for personalized information.

Important: Ensure QuickBooks is updated.

Press F2( or Ctrl+1) in QuickBooks to access the Product Information window in QuickBooks.Next, verify your existing version and release. For optimal results, ensure you use QuickBooks versions and releases that meet the following criteria or are newer: 2019 R17, 2020 R15, 2021 R10, and 2022 R5.

1. Update QuickBooks Desktop to the latest version.

Update QuickBooks Desktop

2. Next, verify your company file isn’t too large to export.

  • To convert to QuickBooks Online, your total targets must be under 750,000. Press Ctrl+1 to check. If the total exceeds this number, you can either import lists and balances into QBO or begin with a fresh start.

3. Before proceeding with your move, print a copy of your Sales Tax Liability report. This report will be necessary for entering adjustment entries following the transition.

  • Access the Reports section.
  • Pick “Vendors & Payables”, and then choose “ Sales Tax Liability.”
  • In the Dates dropdown menu ▼, choose “ All”.
  • From the Print dropdown menu, choose “Save as PDF.
  • Pick the folder where you want to save the file, give it a name, and click “Save.”

4. If you utilize QuickBooks Desktop Payroll, follow these steps:

  • Terminate or deactivate any employees who are no longer employed and haven’t received payments in the current year.
  • Wait for 2-3 days after running payroll before moving your data. This ensures that all paycheck information transfers to QuickBooks Online. Also, don’t forget to move your data before your next scheduled payroll.

Also Read:- QuickBooks Online vs QuickBooks Desktop

Step 2: Move your QuickBooks Desktop File to QuickBooks Online

For QuickBooks versions 2020 or older, an online tool is available to facilitate the transfer of your data to QuickBooks Online.

You can Utilize the Online Tool if:
1. If you have QuickBooks Pro, Premier, Enterprise, or QuickBooks Desktop for Mac files. This tool can transfer data from various QuickBooks file formats, such as QuickBooks company files (.QBW), portable files (.QBM), backup files (.QBB), and QuickBooks Desktop for Mac files, provided you have saved a backup for Windows in the .qbb format.

2. If you’re an accountant without QuickBooks Desktop and you want to help your client transition to QuickBooks Online, you can use our tool even if you don’t have QuickBooks Desktop. You just need a QuickBooks Desktop file that you want to move to QuickBooks Online.

3. Your QuickBooks Desktop file should be from 2011 or later. If it’s from 2010 or earlier, follow specific steps to fix your company file before using our tool.

To utilize the Online tool follow these steps: 

Open the Online Tool

1. Choose the appropriate link for your QuickBooks version:

  • QuickBooks Pro/Premier
  • QuickBooks Enterprise
  • QuickBooks for Mac:

If you’re using QuickBooks for Mac, ensure you convert your file to QuickBooks for Windows before proceeding with the tool.

2. Then, select “Get Started” and sign in with your Intuit Account.

Upload your Company File

1. Choose “Select File” and locate your QuickBooks Desktop file. 

Note: You can only upload one file at a time. 

2. Once found, click “Open” to upload.

  • Alternatively, drag and drop your QuickBooks Desktop file to upload it.

3. After you upload your file, we will automatically update it to the latest version of QuickBooks Desktop. Then, we will present you with the option to transition to QuickBooks Online.

Data into QuickBooks Online

4. Next, you’ll encounter an option to transition to QuickBooks Online.

5. If you wish to move to QuickBooks Online, simply follow the on-screen instructions.

Bring Online

6. Next, you

will get the QuickBooks Online login option.

QuickBooks Desktop Pro and Premier:

1. Log in as an admin.

2. Opt for the Company and choose Export Your Company File to QuickBooks Online.

Export Your Company File to QuickBooks Online

3. Click on Get Started.

4. Log in as an admin to your QuickBooks Online account.

5. Choose “Select Online Company” and determine the company you wish to replace with your company file.

6. Next, select Continue.

7. Track inventory in QuickBooks Desktop:

  • Choose “Yes” to migrate them over, then specify the as-of-date.

Note: Start your inventory from the first day after your last tax filing period.

  • Select “No” if you prefer to set up new items later in QuickBooks Online.

8. In the text field, type Agree and next choose Replace.

9. Click Yes to proceed with replacing the data, then opt for Replace.

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QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise:

Note: It’s advisable to begin from the start, especially if you utilize advanced features such as advanced reporting and inventory.

1. Sign in as an admin to your desktop company file.

2. Press Ctrl + 1 to open the Product Information window.

3. Press Ctrl + B + Q, then click OK to open the export window, and then select Get Started.

4. Sign in as an admin to your QuickBooks Online company.

5. Choose your online company and continue.

6. If you track inventory:

  • Select Yes and specify the as-of-date.

Note: Use the first day after your last tax filing period as your inventory start date.

  • Select No if you want to set up new items later in QuickBooks Online.

7. Type “Agree” in the text field, then choose Replace.

8. Finally, confirm Yes, go ahead and replace the data, and choose Replace.

QuickBooks Desktop for Mac:

Note: You can only transfer QuickBooks Desktop for Mac files only to the US version of QuickBooks Online. Furthermore, if your file contains more than 35,000 targets, you’ll need to condense it before transferring.

If you use QuickBooks Desktop Version 2020 and Later:
  1. Login to your QuickBooks Desktop file as the admin.
  2. Choose File, Export, and then To QuickBooks Online. ( Utilize the keyboard shortcut: Shift+ Command+ D)
  3. Opt for “Get started”.
  4. Choose Export all your company file data or Export specific data.
  5. If you utilize inventory you have the option to whether you wish to move inventory or not
  6. If you’re an existing QuickBooks Online user, pick “Yes, sign me in,” and provide your login details. For new users, select “No, I need to create a new one,” and proceed to set up a new account.
  7. Next, choose the QuickBooks Online company where you intend to transfer your data and click “Continue.”

Your data migration process has been initiated. Note that your QuickBooks Desktop data will replace any existing information in QuickBooks Online.

After you Transfer your Data to QuickBooks Online:
You will receive an email confirmation once the transfer is complete. Please note that confirmation may take up to 12 hours. 
If you use QuickBooks Desktop Version 2019 or Older:
  1. Transfer your QuickBooks Mac file to QuickBooks Desktop for Windows.
  2. Utilize the Online migration tool to transfer your file to QuickBooks Online.

Note: If your company data exceeds 350,000 targets, you must condense your file. 

After you Transfer your Data to QuickBooks Online:
  • Expect an email confirmation once the process is completed. 
  • Confirmation may take up to 24 hours. 

Step 3: Get Ready to Use QuickBooks Online

Note: If you track sales tax, ensure to set up location-based sales tax in QuickBooks.

Note: You’ll need to sign in to QuickBooks Online to access this information. 

  • Finally, you can begin using QuickBooks Online.

Different Words in QuickBooks Desktop and QuickBooks Online

QuickBooks Desktop and QuickBooks Online use the following different terms:

Note: QuickBooks Desktop has some features that are unavailable in QuickBooks Online.

QuickBooks DesktopQuickBooks Online
Bank FeedsOnline Banking / Bank Transactions
Documents /Doc CenterAttachments
Scheduled PayrollRun Payroll
Unscheduled PayrollRun Payroll Bonus Only
Payment RemindersReminders / Automatic invoice reminders
Income TrackerAll Sales
Bill TrackerVendors window
Upload & Review BillsReceipts
Schedule Online PaymentOnline Bill Pay
Inventory PartsInventory 
Non-inventory PartsNon-inventory 
AssembliesBundles (Products & Services)
GroupsBundles (Products & Services)
Other ChargesUnavailable in QuickBooks Online
DiscountsUnavailable in QuickBooks Online
ItemsProducts and services
Memorized transactionsRecurring transactions
LeadsUnavailable in QuickBooks Online
Price LevelsUnavailable in QuickBooks Online
Billing Rate LevelsUnavailable in QuickBooks Online
Other NamesUnavailable in QuickBooks Online
VendorsVendors (for all Vendors)Contractors (for Vendors tracked for 1099)
Fixed Asset ItemsAvailable in QuickBooks Online Advanced
Sales Reps(Customer & Vendor Profile Lists)Unavailable in QuickBooks Online
Vendor Types(Customer & Vendor Profile Lists)Unavailable in QuickBooks Online
Job Types(Customer & Vendor Profile Lists)Unavailable in QuickBooks Online
Customer Messages(Customer & Vendor Profile Lists)Unavailable in QuickBooks Online
Ship Via(Customer & Vendor Profile Lists)Unavailable in QuickBooks Online
Vehicles(Customer & Vendor Profile Lists)Manage vehicles
TemplatesCustom Form Styles
Add/Edit Multiple List EntriesUnavailable in QuickBooks Online
ClassesClasses (and Locations)
Chart of AccountsChart of Accounts
Customer Types(Customer & Vendor Profile Lists)Customer Types
Terms(Customer & Vendor Profile Lists)Terms
Payment Methods(Customer & Vendor Profile Lists)Payment Methods
Memorized reportsCustom reports
Scheduled reportsCustom reports
Commented reportsUnavailable in QuickBooks Online
Custom reportsCustom reports (QuickBooks Online Advanced)
Company SnapshotBusiness Snapshot
Job & Item Estimates vs ActualsUnavailable in QuickBooks Online
BillsExpensesBillsVendor Credits
Credit Card ChargesExpensesCredit Card Credits
Item ReceiptsExpensesBills
Sales OrdersUnavailable in QuickBooks Online
Credit MemosCredit MemosRefund ReceiptsDelayed Credits
Batch InvoicesBatch transactions (QuickBooks Online Advanced)
Receipt ManagementReceipts
Adjust Quantity/Value on HandInventory Quantity Adjustment
Make General Journal EntriesJournal Entries
Make DepositsBank Deposits
Transfer FundsTransfer
Enter Statement ChargesUnavailable in QuickBooks Online
Receive PaymentsReceive Payments
Sales ReceiptsSales Receipts
Purchase OrdersPurchase Orders
Pay BillsPay Bills
Undeposited FundsUndeposited FundsPayments to deposit
Use Register(For Banks/Accounts)View Register
Edit, then PreferencesSettings ⚙, then Account and Settings.
Settings ⚙, then Payroll settings
My CompanySettings ⚙, then  Account and settings
Weekly TimesheetTime Entries (if the Time tab is available)Weekly Timesheet (if the Time tab isn’t available)
Time / Enter Single ActivityTime Entries (if Time tab is available)Single Time Activity (if Time tab isn’t available)
CalendarUnavailable in QuickBooks Online
Set Up UsersManage Users
To Do ListTasks (QuickBooks Online Advanced)
RemindersUnavailable in QuickBooks Online
LettersUnavailable in QuickBooks Online
Customer GroupsUnavailable in QuickBooks Online
Payroll Item ListEdit Pay Items
Desktop Payroll Reports:
• Payroll Details report • Tax Liability report • Direct Deposit report • Workers Comp report • Sick and Vacation report
Online Payroll Reports:
• Payroll Summary report • Liability Balance report • Employee Direct Deposit Listing • Workers Comp report • Sick and Vacation History report

Features That Transfer and Those That Don’t Transition to QuickBooks Online

Moves to QuickBooks OnlineDoesn’t Move to QuickBooks Online
XAttachments/Document Center docs
Attachments aren’t included in a QuickBooks company file or backed up with it. You’ll have to manually attach your documents in QuickBooks Online after transferring your data.
Only Profit and Loss budget types are supported in QuickBooks Online Plus or Advanced.
Data migrates, but budget information isn’t replicated in QuickBooks Online due to mapping disparities.
1. Inventory is available only in QuickBooks Online Plus and Advanced.
2. It’s imported using the First-In, First-Out (FIFO) method.
3. You’ll need to set a FIFO start date.
4. QuickBooks Online recalculates inventory based on the FIFO start date.
5. The recalculated inventory and adjustments are then imported into QuickBooks Online.
Note: If using QuickBooks Desktop Mac, inventory items are migrated as non-inventory items in QuickBooks Online. To migrate them as inventory items, convert your QuickBooks for Mac file to QuickBooks for Windows before using the migration tool.
QuickBooks Online lacks support for units of measure for inventory items.
1. Multi-Currency is exclusive to QuickBooks Online Plus and Advanced.
2. Your Multi-Currency preferences will transfer to QuickBooks Online.
Transactions with three different currency types will not transfer to QuickBooks Online.
Online Banking
1. Banking rules are transferred for both Express and Advanced modes.
2. Auto-recognized rules are also transferred for both Express and Advanced modes.
Online Banking
Bank Feeds setup does not transfer to QuickBooks Online.
1. Paychecks are moved as regular checks for accurate financial reporting.
2. QuickBooks Online copies current year paycheck data as lump sums.
3. Liability refunds, adjustments, and opening balance transactions become journal entries.
4. All employees (active and inactive) transfer to QuickBooks Online.
5. Some addresses may need fixing; non-supported state addresses (e.g., PR, AS, VI) stay blank.
6. Essential employee details like date of birth, gender, and SSN are included.
7. Company direct deposit details and employee bank information are migrated.
1. Past years’ payroll history is not transferred.
2. After setting up payroll in QuickBooks Online, you can generate paychecks.
3. Transaction details like payroll item breakdown and previous year’s employee year-to-date numbers do not convert.
4. You must input physical addresses for all work locations.
5. Employee schedules, wages, and year-to-date balances and information need to be set up separately.
QuickBooks Payments
1. Payments account automatically transfers from QuickBooks Desktop (Payments only, no payroll).
Note: To ensure a successful migration, ensure admin user status on both QuickBooks Desktop and QuickBooks Online Intuit accounts.
XPrice Levels
Sales Tax
Sales tax won’t transfer for all transactions; some taxes will be copied as journal entries.
XWrite Letters
XMileage Tracking
You must manually input previous mileage into QuickBooks Online.

Migrate Files to QuickBooks Online with the Accountant Batch Migration Tool

You can Use this Tool if:
1. You have QuickBooks Desktop Accountant versions 2021-2024.
2. QuickBooks Desktop Pro, Premier, or QuickBooks Desktop for Mac files are compatible, but QuickBooks Enterprise files are not supported.
3. Your client’s payroll has up to 50 employees.
4. Files have up to 750,000 targets, 5 GB or smaller, and are locally stored.
5. Migrating with existing QuickBooks Payroll data requires a local QuickBooks Desktop Accountant. Migrations with hosted versions may not always succeed.
Note: You might receive notifications suggesting otherwise.
6. QuickBooks Online companies you’ll move files into shouldn’t have existing payroll data; contact support if they do.

Steps to Migrate Files to QuickBooks Online using Accountant Batch Migration Tool

Here are the steps to move files to QBO using the Accountant Batch Migration Tool:

Step 1: Verify that your client’s files are ready to move to QuickBooks Online

  1. Update QuickBooks to the latest version.
  2. Sign in as the Primary admin (All access) to your client’s file.
  3. Review the pre-migration checklist to confirm the company file is ready for transfer to QuickBooks Online.
  4. If the company file has attached services like payments, confirm your QuickBooks Online account admin has admin access on the QuickBooks Desktop Intuit Account.

Step 2: Transform your Desktop Company File to a QuickBooks Migration (.QM) file

Note: You have 60 days, starting from the creation of your QuickBooks Online account, to complete the transfer of your data.

To proceed follow these steps:

  1. Log in to your client’s file as the company file admin (all access).
  2. Access the Company menu.
  3. Choose “Migrate multiple company files to QuickBooks Online.”
  4. If the company file lacks an owner email address, you’ll need to input it when prompted.
  1. Follow the instructions outlined in “Migrate multiple company files.”
  2. Opt for “Save as QM file” and select the desktop location to save the file.
  3. Click on “Save.”
  4. Once saved, you can repeat the process for each company file, signing in as the company file admin each time.
  5. After saving all .QM files, access the “Open Batch Migration Tool.” This tool will launch in an external browser to initiate the migration process.

Step 3: Move your QuickBooks Desktop File to QuickBooks Online

Note: To proceed, every Desktop file must match an online company file. If your QM file can’t find a match, you can manually link it. If your QuickBooks Online company already has account data, you’ll need to authorize its replacement.

  1. Open the Accountant Batch Migration Tool and make sure you meet all requirements.
  2. Sign in as an admin to your QuickBooks Online Accountant account.

Note: You need to sign in as the Admin to your QuickBooks Online Accountant account to move your QuickBooks desktop files. If you don’t have Admin access, you’ll be asked to sign in as the admin or create a new QuickBooks Online Accountant account.

  1. Upload your saved .QM file to the tool. You can upload one or multiple files simultaneously. Files that aren’t .QM files (.QBW, .QBB) won’t upload.
  2. Once you successfully upload all .QM files, you can move them to QuickBooks Online.
  3. In the mapping screen, all uploaded QM files will automatically match with QuickBooks Online companies based on the company name. The mapped company file will display the name and last 4 digits of the company ID.
  4. Select “Migrate” to begin the migration process for all mapped company files. A migration status email will be sent to you and the primary admin of each company file.

Step 4: Get Ready to Use QuickBooks Online

  1. Check your email for migration status updates for each migrated company file.
  2. Review and confirm that all relevant data has been successfully migrated.

Benefits of Converting QuickBooks Desktop to QuickBooks Online

Converting QuickBooks Desktop to QuickBooks Online (QBO) offers several benefits:

1. Accessibility: QuickBooks Online allows you to access your financial data from anywhere with an internet connection.

2. Collaboration: QBO enables multiple users to work on the same file simultaneously, facilitating seamless collaboration among team members and accountants.

3. Automatic Updates: With QBO, it automatically applies updates and new features, ensuring that you always have access to the latest version without manual installation.

4. Integration: QuickBooks Online seamlessly integrates with various third-party applications, expanding its functionality.

5. Security: QBO provides robust security measures to protect your financial data, including encryption, multi-factor authentication, and regular data backups.

6. Scalability: As your business grows, QuickBooks Online offers scalable solutions to accommodate your evolving needs without the hassle of migrating to a new platform.

7. Mobile Access: QBO’s mobile app allows you to manage your finances on the go, providing real-time insights and the ability to perform essential tasks from your smartphone or tablet.


In conclusion, migrating files from QuickBooks Desktop to QuickBooks Online is a strategic move that brings numerous advantages to businesses seeking enhanced accessibility, collaboration, and better management of finances. With the convenience of cloud-based access, real-time updates, and the flexibility to work from anywhere, QuickBooks Online offers a modern solution for businesses of all sizes. Making this switch improves the efficiency and adaptability of managing your finances. To make the switch today, contact our QBO Support at our toll-free number: +1-855-875-1223, for immediate assistance.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can QuickBooks Desktop Sync with QuickBooks Online?

Yes, you can switch from QuickBooks Desktop to QuickBooks Online. The transfer from QuickBooks Desktop to QuickBooks Online will move your data, but not all of it will copy seamlessly.

How Long Does it Take to Move QuickBooks Desktop to Online?

The duration required to transfer your data to QuickBooks Online varies depending on the size of your company file. The migration process can take up to 72 hours depending on the amount of data to transfer.

Should I Switch from QuickBooks Desktop to QuickBooks Online?

Remote access: QuickBooks Online allows for remote access, unlike Desktop, which may need remote desktop software. Additionally, QuickBooks Online is cloud-based, unlike Desktop. Integration: QuickBooks Online provides better integration options than Desktop, offering broad compatibility with third-party apps.

How do I Import Data into QuickBooks Online?

Here’s how to import your file:

1. Sign in to QuickBooks Online.
2. Select Settings ⚙, then select Import Data.
3. Select Products and Services.
4. Select Create products with variants or Create single products, depending on what kind of products you offer.
5. Here, you can manually enter your product data, or copy and paste from your spreadsheet. To import, select Import CSV.
6. Select Next.
7. Map your information. CSV column headers represent the headers on your spreadsheet. From each dropdown ▼ menu, select the one that matches a field in QuickBooks Online.

Note: Make sure you select the correct date format.

1. Select Next.
2. If you see the correct red, this means the cell is invalid. Read the error message and correct it. Or, you can edit your CSV file and upload it again.
3. (Optional) Select Check this box to overwrite details of existing items in your account to replace details of existing items in your account. Make sure everything looks correct because this can’t be undone.
4. Select Save.

Can I Move My QuickBooks Desktop to Another Computer?

Step 1: On the Old Computer

1. From QuickBooks, go to the File menu, select Utilities, and then select Move QuickBooks to another computer.
2. Select I’m Ready, then create a one-time password.
3. Follow the instructions to choose the USB flash drive you’ll use. Then wait for the files to be copied.

Step 2: On the New Computer

1. Insert the USB flash drive. Due to Windows security restrictions, the Migrator Tool won’t automatically open.
2. Open the flash drive to view its files and double-click the file Move_QuickBooks.bat to start the migrator.
3. Enter the password you created, then select Let’s Go.
4. Wait for the Migrator Tool to finish. Note: This will depend on the speed of your computer and internet, and the size of your company file(s).

Note: If the migrator doesn’t open after selecting and running the file, you may need to update your version of Windows 10.

How can I Verify my Data was Imported Correctly?

Generate a Profit and Loss report or a Balance Sheet report in both QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Desktop, then proceed to compare the two.

Does QuickBooks Online Sync with QuickBooks Desktop?

No, QuickBooks Online operates independently from QuickBooks Desktop.

How do I Import QuickBooks Desktop to Online after 60 Days?

To begin the process in QuickBooks Desktop, log in as an administrator to the company file you wish to import. Navigate to the Company menu, then choose Export Company File to QuickBooks Online. Select Get Started, then click Select Destination. Sign in to your QuickBooks Online account to proceed.

About The Author

Editorial Team

Editorial Team

At QAsolved, we are a team of skilled professionals dedicated to delivering unparalleled accounting and bookkeeping services. With backgrounds in finance and technology, our collaborative efforts focus on providing practical solutions and guidance. Our services are tailored for a range of businesses, covering advisory, CFO services, bookkeeping, and financial systems consulting. QAsolved is an award-winning consulting firm and Intuit’s #1 QuickBooks Reseller Partner. We offer comprehensive QuickBooks services, including consulting, integration, migration, maintenance, data conversion, training, and support, among other services. Over the years, we have assisted over 30K customers across various industries with their Intuit products.

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