Thinking about migrating from QuickBooks desktop to QuickBooks Online Edition? What if your file is too big?

There is a way around this obstacle, but first, a little background.

It used to be that if your QuickBooks file was bigger than 200MB, it wouldn’t migrate to QuickBooks Online…too big. You’d get an error when you tried to create the QuickBooks Online export file.

Then the limit changed, and it was a limit on the total number of transactions that your file contained.

As of today’s writing, the limiting factor is on how many “targets” exist within your file. A “target” is basically a line of detail within a transaction. If your file has more than 350,000 targets in it, it’s too big to migrate to QuickBooks Online.

You can find out how many targets your file has by opening your company in QuickBooks and pressing the F2 key.

F2 screen in QuickBooks
F2 screen in QuickBooks

In the screenshot above, the total targets is less than 6,000. This is from a sample set of data, and an actual working set of data — particularly with lots of inventory or jobs transactions — will have a high total targets figure.

So if you have a ton of transaction detail in your file — move than 350K lines — but you want the advantages found in QuickBooks Online Edition, what can you do?

The first thing to try would be the built-in Condense command in QuickBooks. Try it on a copy of your file. If the Condense command is found in your version of QuickBooks, it’ll be in the File / Utilities menu (the command is not in all versions).

Why would you want to run Condense on a copy? Because sometimes the Condense command will freeze and you’ll have to exit QuickBooks abnormally. If that happens, you don’t want it happening on your live data. But when the Condense command works well, it works well, so try it and see what happens.

If the Condense command succeeds, then you can strip out lots of old transaction lines, and possibly bring the file down to the point where you can successfully create the export migration file.

BUT…

If the Condense command doesn’t work, or doesn’t get enough reduction to make the data migration possible, then you could consider getting your file prepared for migration. This is an external process we provide that can reduce your file’s size (and targets) by 50-80%. We remove all but the last 1-7 years of data (your choice), and create the export file (OE.qbw) that is ready to send into QuickBooks Online.

Learn more about the file preparation service here.

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QuickBooks permissions let you permit — or restrict — your users’ activities in QuickBooks. If you have more than a couple of employees’ who use QuickBooks, you probably take advantage of this feature.

When I posted “How to Restrict User Access in QuickBooks” a few years ago, it elicited scores of questions and comments. My thanks go out to all those commenters. Here’s a summary of those comments and answers:

What is possible to restrict in QuickBooks (partial list):

You can restrict…

  • Access by module (Sales, Payroll, etc.)
  • Reporting
  • Ability to change or delete existing transactions
  • Access to especially sensitive information like bank accounts, customer credit cards
  • Access to financial reports

What is impossible to restrict in QuickBooks (any edition):

You cannot restrict…

  • Name-based access (e.g. you can’t allow transaction entry or reporting for some customers / jobs / employees / vendors / sales reps, while restricting others)
  • Changing other users’ entries, but allowing you to change your own entries
  • Access to only selected reports (as opposed to whole categories of reports)
  • Access based on payroll group, weekly vs. bi-weekly, for example
  • Date-based access (e.g. running reports or viewing transactions only data before or after a certain date)
  • Account-type access (e.g. able to view P&L accounts but not BS accounts)
  • Viewing of the item list
  • Access to bank accounts without access to paychecks
  • Field-level access, e.g. disallowing a sales rep from changing the sales rep field, or disallowing access to inventory cost while retaining access to QOH
  • Allowing the entry or reconciliation of some bank accounts or credit cards, but not others
  • Entering a transaction without being able to see the previous entries also

There are many examples of restrictions that are possible in Enterprise edition but not in Pro or Premier editions. Here are a few differences that came out of the comments.

What is possible to restrict in Enterprise, but impossible to restrict in Pro or Premier:

  • Preventing the viewing the Employee Center’s list of employees
  • Allowing access to estimates without also giving access to other sales/receivables functions
  • Allowing access to payments without also giving access to invoicing
  • Allowing creation of purchase orders but no other A/P entries
  • Creating classes
  • View-only mode for non-financial reports, without also giving the ability to enter transactions (e.g. you can’t keep access to A/R reports without also giving access to A/R transactions)

Which of the “impossibilities” listed above do you think Intuit should definitely address in a future version?

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