How QuickBooks Desktop Lists Convert to QuickBooks Online - dummies

How QuickBooks Desktop Lists Convert to QuickBooks Online

By Elaine Marmel

When you work with some desktop QuickBooks company lists, some fields convert into QuickBooks Online (QBO) but others don’t. This section is organized by desktop QuickBooks list. Also included is some information about how inventory works in QBO.

Customer and Job List

When it comes to conversion, the fields in the Customer:Job list of the desktop QuickBooks product fall into three categories:

  • Fields that convert include Customer, Company Name, Mr./Ms./?, First Name, Middle Initial, Last Name, Phone, FAX, Alternate Phone, Email, Resale No., Terms, and Is Taxable check box.

  • Fields that convert with exceptions include Bill to Address (except Note), Ship To Address (except Note), Preferred Payment Method (except from QuickBooks 2003 or later), Credit Card Information (except from QuickBooks 2003 or later), and Note (up to 4000 characters).

  • Fields that don’t convert include Contact, Alt. Contact, Customer Type, Rep, Price Level, Tax Item, Custom Fields, Account, and Credit Limit. Also note that inactive status customers convert as active.

After conversion, you can edit customers to make them inactive.

In addition, these Pro Only fields don’t convert: Job Status, Start Date, Projected End, End Date, Job Description, and Job Type.

Item List

In transactions, subtotal items appear on separate lines with text in the Memo field indicating they are a subtotal.

Group items don’t convert; instead, each item in the group appears on a detail line, and zero-amount lines appear at the start and end of the group to identify the items that were part of the group. The top line shows the group name, and the bottom line shows the group description.

Sales tax group items don’t convert, but you can set up combined sales tax items in QBO. QBO doesn’t support three-character tax codes associated with items.

Employee List

The information in the desktop QuickBooks edition Employee List converts to QuickBooks Online, but QBO retains only the following information:

  • Mr./Ms.

  • First name

  • Middle initial

  • Last name

  • Address

  • Print As

  • Phone

  • Social Security Number

  • Email address

  • Hire date

  • Release date

Vendor List

The following Vendor List fields don’t convert:

  • Contact

  • Alternate contact

  • Note

  • Inactive

  • Vendor Type

  • Credit Limit

  • Tax ID

  • 1099 status

  • Custom fields


QBO supports basic inventory needs; if you run a service business or sell finished goods, QBO should be able to support your inventory needs. Inventory items convert as two-sided items in QBO with prices and costs but no quantities. Here’s how QuickBooks Online converts inventory parts and transactions:

  • QBO creates new sub-items called Inventory Asset and COGS for each inventory item used on a transaction. Although the names of these sub-items imply that they are accounts, they aren’t. These items contain the same description as their parent item, but have, respectively, the inventory asset account and COGS account associated with them. Conversion uses them to ensure that reports are correct after conversion.

  • After each inventory line on converted invoices, sales receipts, credit memos, and on some bills, checks, and credit card transactions that contained inventory items, QBO creates two new detail lines using the new sub-items that represent the inventory asset and COGS amounts.

For unpaid or partially paid transactions that contain inventory items, cash basis reports with a COGS amount in QBO will be different from cash basis reports with a COGS amount in desktop QuickBooks. Cash basis reports for fully paid inventory transactions or non-inventory transactions will be the same in QBO and desktop QuickBooks.

After you convert inventory from a QuickBooks desktop company to QBO, you can’t just start using inventory in QBO. You need to go through a clean-up process. You can find excellent details on the clean-up process in the “How to Resolve Post Conversion Inventory Issues in QBO“ video.

Generally, conversion creates the new sub-items as a temporary measure for the sole purpose of making sure that your reports are correct. After conversion, you find, in the Chart of Accounts, an Inventory account converted from your QuickBooks desktop company. Then, when you turn on inventory and quantity-on-hand tracking in QBO, QBO creates another Inventory account — the one that you use going forward as you work in QBO.

To establish the correct inventory dollar valuation in the Inventory account created by QBO and to make your inventory items update the correct Inventory account going forward — the one created by QBO — you’ll need to edit each inventory item (not the sub-items created during conversion) and fill in the correct quantity on hand.

This process results in doubling your inventory value by displaying it in both the Inventory account created from your QuickBooks desktop company during conversion and in the Inventory account QBO creates. To correct the overstatement, you’ll use a journal entry that removes the dollars from the QuickBooks desktop Inventory account.

But before you correct the inventory value and after you’ve edited every item, you can and should delete the sub-items created during conversion.

Because you need to do the clean-up process on an item-by-item basis, if you have hundreds of inventory items, you might find all of this overwhelming. As an alternative, you can opt not to convert inventory and, instead, follow the instructions found in the video. The video suggests that you import the Item List but not the details for each item. Instead, set up the details of each item in QBO. For hundreds of items, importing only the list information will probably be faster and cleaner.

There’s one downside to importing list information only: You lose the historical data associated with your inventory items. But nothing is stopping you from keeping your QBO desktop company around for the times when you might need that history.