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Do I need a 3rd party tool to import transactions from excel into QuickBooks Desktop?

The answer is “maybe”; let’s break down the different situations first.

NOTE: before reading this article, if you are looking for QuickBooks Online, this article is better for that

Importing list entries (not transactions) into QuickBooks Desktop

All versions of QuickBooks Desktop (Pro, Premier, Accountant, and Enterprise) have built-in functionality to import into QuickBooks the following lists:

  • Customer List*
  • Vendor List*
  • Item List* (Products and Services)
  • Account List* (Chart of Accounts)

All of these tools are in-product, with menus that guide you through the mapping process.
*If the name/list entry is being created for the first time, it is possible to import a beginning balance as well as of a specific date, and that will create a journal entry with that beginning balance adjustment against an “Opening Balance Equity” account.

Additionally, you could use an IIF** file to import those same types mentioned above and also the following list types:

  • Other Names List
  • Employee List
  • Shipping Method
  • Sales Tax Codes
  • Classes
  • Payment Terms
  • Customer Messages
  • Sales Rep
  • Job Type
  • Payment Method
  • Budgets
  • Price Levels

IIF is also valuable to make UPDATES to existing lists, which is very useful for Customer, Vendors, Accounts, and Items; which can be imported/updated via IIF as well.  You can download the Import kit from Intuit here

NOTE: if it is NOT on this list, you cannot import with IIF, you may need a 3rd party tool like TPI, Zed Axis, and/or SAASANT.


Importing Transactions into QuickBooks Desktop

If you have QuickBooks Desktop Accountant or QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise editions, there are some built-in features to import transactions of these types:

  • Invoices & Credit Memos
  • Bills & Vendor Credits
  • Checks (or Bank Debits)
  • Deposits
  • Credit Card Charges and Credit Card Credits

The caveat on these, is that it can only import single-line transactions (so an invoice with 2 or more items cannot be imported); same issue with checks that would have split expense categories, cannot be done with the built-in tool.

IIF files could come to the rescue, the following transaction types could be imported via IIF import:

  • Bill
  • Bill Payment
  • Bill Credit
  • Sales Receipt
  • Check
  • Credit Card Refund
  • Credit memo
  • Customer Payment
  • DepositEstimate
  • Invoice
  • Item Receipt
  • General Journal Entry
  • Purchase Order
  • Sales Tax Payment
  • Statement Charge
  • Transfer
  • Inventory Qty/Value Adjustment
  • Timer Activity (Timesheet)

NOTE: Sales Orders are NOT Supported via IIF


So the original question was: Do I need a 3rd party tool to import transactions from excel into QuickBooks Desktop like: SaasAnt, TPI, or Zed Axis?

Well, primarily, if you need multiple lines, you need IIF or a 3rd party program, period!  If the list type and transaction type listed above is in the IIF kit, and you do not mind finagling with an IIF file to make it fir the formatting from your original data, then the answer is no.  However. that might prove to be a huge pain in the butt, and I personally prefer to avoid wasting time with IIF files, unless it is something simple, so I resort to my favorite importing app: SaasAnt Transactions for QuickBooks Desktop, it is a $100 a year software and it allows to import all the following:

  • Invoice
  • Receive Payment
  • Estimate
  • Credit Memo
  • Sales Receipt
  • Sales Order
  • Statement Charge
  • Refund Receipt
  • Check
  • Bill
  • Bill Payment
  • Purchase Order
  • Item Receipt
  • Item Receipt With Bill
  • Credit Card Charge
  • Credit Card Credit
  • Journal Entry
  • Time Tracking
  • Deposit
  • Transfer
  • Bank Statement
  • Credit Card Statement
  • Inventory Adjustment
  • Inventory Transfer
  • Vehicle Mileage
  • Chart Of Accounts
  • Customer
  • Vendor
  • Employee
  • Location
  • Item
  • Item Discount
  • Item Payment
  • Inventory Item
  • Inventory Assembly
  • Fixed Asset
  • Item Group
  • Price Level
  • Other Name
  • Sales Tax
  • Sales Tax Group
  • Class

Their sample/template in excel, will show you all the fields available for importing into.  SAASANT can also do transactions exports and batch delete.  It also has lower upfront cost ($100), BUT after two years it it technically more costly, because its annual subscription.  I do notice that most import projects are one-time anyway.  To also be fair to its competitors (which I also have licenses for) it is worth mentioning these two:

  • Transaction Pro Importer 7.0: It is a one-time fee of $249, it can only do importing functions.  Needs to be updated every few years to support latest version of QB
  • Zed Axis Importer v13:  It is a one-time fee of $195; and It can do Import, Export, and Delete all within the same program!  It can also do import-only into QuickBooks Online.


**IIF Files are very tricky to put together, you can download Intuit’s old (and unsupported) IIF kit to figure it out. We do offer some easier to use macros and templates for IIF importing as well


If you need assistance importing lists or transactions into QuickBooks, email us: for a quote.

Hector Garcia

Hector Garcia

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