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Converting from QuickBooks Online to Desktop (and all Limitations)

To Convert from QuickBooks Online to QuickBooks Desktop, use this link:


These are the limitations:


Audit log: Your audit log doesn’t export to QuickBooks Desktop. We recommend you print or save it as PDF.

Cash purchases:
Cash purchases will convert to checks in QuickBooks Desktop.

Chart of accounts :
All your accounts will export, but the account name is limited to 31 characters. This includes spaces, numbers, and special characters. Parent accounts and sub-accounts are separate.You can run a report to check the length of your account names.

  1. Go to the Reports menu. Find and open the Account List.
  2. Select the export icon, then choose Export to Excel.
  3. Use the Excel function LEN.

Other things to keep in mind:

  • Your account detail types do not export.
  • Account numbers export, but only appear if you turn on the account numbers the preference before you convert.
  • Deleted accounts export as inactive accounts with no account numbers.

Class list:

  • Class names are limited to 31 characters.
  • Deleted classes export as inactive classes.

Your customer data will convert with the following exceptions.

  • Display names are limited to 31 characters.
  • Full name and Company name are both limited to 41 characters.
  • The Billing and Shipping Address are limited to three lines of 41 characters each.
  • E-mail addresses are limited to 81 characters.
  • Deleted customers are converted as inactive customers.
    Sub-customers with default terms are changed to match the parents’ default terms.
  • Customer credit card information doesn’t export due to PCI compliance.
  • Customer notesPreferred delivery methodMobile numberPager number, and Is Taxable status are not exported.

Employee list

  • Display names are limited to 31 characters.
  • Full names are limited to 39 characters.
  • Employee notes aren’t exported.
  • Deleted employees are exported as inactive employees.

Estimate: Your estimates don’t export to QuickBooks Desktop. We recommend you print or save it as PDF.

Field limitations

  • QuickBooks has different character limits for each field.
  • Characters are cut off for QuickBooks Online transactions that exceed the limitations for QuickBooks Desktop. For example: If the reference number on an invoice is 15 characters in QuickBooks Online, when you export it to QuickBooks Desktop it is shortened to 11.
  • Most export errors occur because of the list limits. If names are too long, edit them before you export.

List limits

  • In QuickBooks Pro or Premier, your combined list items (customers, vendors, employees, etc.) can’t exceed 14,500.
  • If a list exceeds 10,000 items, only the first 10,000 will convert.
  • If you exceed these limits already in QuickBooks Online, you’ll need to export to QuickBooks Enterprise.


  • Companies that use multi-currency shouldn’t export to QuickBooks Desktop. Your conversion may fail, leading to an empty QuickBooks Desktop file. Transactions that aren’t in USD will change to USD in Desktop and won’t convert correctly.
  • You may see other errors such as duplicate or missing transactions if you export QuickBooks Online companies that use multi-currency.

Other lists: The following lists don’t exist in QuickBooks Online. You’ll see default items on them in QuickBooks Desktop.

  • Customer type (this one “exists” in QBO, but does not map)
  • Job type
  • Memorized reports
  • Other names
  • Payroll item
  • Price level
  • Sales rep
  • Ship via
  • Templates
  • To do
  • Vendor types

Payment method List

  • Names are limited to 31 characters.
  • All payment method data is converted.

Paychecks and Liability Payments

  • Will export as regular checks.
  • The Pay Period and Liability Period don’t export.
  • If a check number field is blank, QuickBooks Desktop assigns a number. This can lead to duplicate check numbers in your file.

To keep running payroll after you export to QuickBooks Desktop, set up your employees and enter historical tax payments.

Preferences: Company information and preferences do not convert. You’ll need to enter these again in QuickBooks Desktop.

Products and services list:
Products and services convert to items. They’re tracked in the Item list in QuickBooks Desktop with the following caveats.

  • Bundle items don’t export.
  • Names are limited to 31 characters.
  • Taxable status doesn’t convert.

Inventory items

  • All inventory, cost of goods sold, purchase, and sales account info will convert.
  • Your quantity on hand and asset values also convert.Important: QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Desktop have different calculation methods. Make sure to check the Cost of Goods Sold and Inventory asset accounts after you convert.


  • Categories convert to inventory, non-inventory, or service items.
  • A category converts to a service item when the sub-product/service item is tagged as a service item. The same goes for categories mapped to inventory or non-inventory products and services.
  • For sub-items to export, all categories must have the same item types.

The location list in QuickBooks Online does not convert to QuickBooks Desktop. Locations in QuickBooks Online can also be referred to as Business, Department, Division, Property, Store, and Territory; all of which will not convert to QuickBooks Desktop. Locations have different naming conventions, but all are considered the same field in QuickBooks Online.

Purchase Order:
Your purchase orders don’t export to QuickBooks Desktop. We recommend you print or save it as PDF.


  • If the beginning balance in QuickBooks Desktop doesn’t match the balance in QuickBooks Online, or you see old transactions, you can fix this. Reconcile multiple months at the same time.
  • Reconciliation reports aren’t exported.

Recurring transactions, Terms list, and Budgets

  • This information isn’t converted. You’ll see default items on this list in QuickBooks Desktop.
  • Recurring templates in QuickBooks Online are called memorized transactions in QuickBooks Desktop.


  • Not all QuickBooks Online reports are available in QuickBooks Desktop.
    Some reports are slightly different in QuickBooks Desktop.
  • The two products have different cash basis calculations. Accrual Basis reports match but Cash Basis may not. After you convert, the account balances will match, but the reports are where you’ll see the differences.
  • In QuickBooks Desktop, each inventory item on a transaction represents three accounts and amounts: Income, Inventory Asset, and Cost of goods sold (COGS).
  • One line in the transaction represents three lines, as shown in the Journal Report for the transaction.
  • As payments are recorded, portions of the amount go to the COGS account. Cash Basis reports are affected by this.
  • QuickBooks Online records them all as separate. When you save an invoice, the COGS line is fully paid by the asset.
  • QuickBooks Online and Desktop treat asset accounts the same way.
  • Another example is negative lines on invoices. Say you have a service income line of $1000, a discount of $ -100 and no payments:
    • In QuickBooks Online, your cash basis P&L report will show $1000 of income and $ -100 of discount.
    • In QuickBooks Desktop, only complete paid invoices show in cash basis P&L reports.
      Similarly, as payments are received:
      QuickBooks Desktop prorates the amount of the discount.
      QuickBooks Online shows the entire amount.
  • Memorized reports will not convert.

Sales tax

  • Sales tax information on invoices doesn’t convert. Instead, a line item for sales tax will be added to each invoice.
  • Sales tax items and rates will export as service items. They can’t be used as sales tax items in QuickBooks Desktop.
  • No sales tax payments or adjustments will export.

Time-tracking activities

  • All-time activity exports except the locations. QuickBooks Desktop doesn’t track locations.
  • Activities will export but physical timesheets will not.

Transactions: The following will be converted to QuickBooks Desktop

  • Credit memos
  • Sales receipts
  • Received payments and bill payments
  • Links between bills and bill payments
  • Links between invoices and received payments

Invoices that contain charges, credits, billable expenses, or time associated with sub-customers will be separated into one invoice per customer. The rounding differences in the two versions can cause failed export of payments to specific invoices. If this happens, correct the amount on the invoice and then apply for the payment.

  • Refund receipts

If a refund is from a bank, refund receipts convert to Credit memos and checks. If the refund is from a different account, it will convert to a general journal entry.

  • Bills, checks, credit card charges, credit card credits, vendor credits, journal entries, and deposits

If a check number field is blank, QuickBooks Desktop assigns a number. This can cause duplicate check numbers in your file, enter a notation to avoid this (for example, EFT).

  • Transactions with multiple Accounts Receivable or Accounts Payable line converts to multiple journal entries. One entry is created for each A/R or A/P line.
  • Tax is exported as a detail line item.

The following won’t be converted to QuickBooks Desktop

  • Billable status on a deposit
  • Recurring transactions and unaccepted online banking transactions
  • Transaction attachments (invoices, expenses, and checks, etc)
  • Location information, custom field data, markups, and To Be Sent status
  • Voided transfers, received payments, and bill payments made by check or credit card

Transfer funds: Fund transfers convert to General journal entries.

The user list information does not exist in QuickBooks Desktop.

Vendor list

  • Display names are limited to 31 characters.
  • There’s a 41 character limit for Full name and Company name.
  • Print on Check As field is limited to 41 characters.
  • Addresses are limited to three lines with 41 characters each.
  • E-mail addresses are limited to 81 characters.
  • Vendor NotesMobile number, and Pager numbers don’t export.
  • Deleted vendors will export as inactive vendors.

If you have 1099 vendors, you need to edit and remove the 1099 status before you export.To edit a 1099 vendor’s status:

  1. Go to the Expenses menu. Then select the Vendors tab.
  2. Find and open the 1099 vendor’s profile.
  3. On the Vendor Details page, select Edit.
  4. Uncheck the Track for 1099s checkbox, then select Save.
Hector Garcia

Hector Garcia

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