Sometimes QuickBooks users want to migrate from their desktop edition (Pro, Premier, or Enterprise) to QuickBooks Online. It’s supposed to be a hassle-free migration. What if it’s not?

The main kink people run into is file size. There is a 200MB limit on file size to do the migration. (This limit was 140MB until not long ago.) So if your QBW file is over that limit, you can’t create the special “Copy for QuickBooks Online” file in QuickBooks. And you therefore can’t import your desktop data to the QuickBooks Online system.

What to do?

1. You can export your company lists out of your desktop file and import the lists into QuickBooks Online. You would then need to enter in beginning balances or reenter open transactions.

2. You can use some third party tools to export and import transaction-level data from your QuickBooks company file into QuickBooks Online.

3. You can use the QuickBooks Online File Preparation Service. This service provides a turnkey solution to the problem: An importable OE.QBW file is returned to you that is ready to be imported into QuickBooks Online. By removing some of the oldest information, the 200MB limit can be observed even if your original QBW file is larger than 200MB.

Have you migrated QuickBooks desktop data to QuickBooks Online? How did it go?

ice cream conesQuickBooks comes in lots of flavors. That’s a good thing.

I remember as a kid growing up in Houston going to the Baskin Robbins store on Memorial Drive. 31 flavors! Mint Chocolate Chip or Rocky Road…hmmmm…

QuickBooks users make choices too.

The hot choice these days, at least from Intuit’s point of view, is QuickBooks Online. I just read an article interview with Intuit’s CFO that said that QuickBooks Online is growing at 30% per year and accounts for two-thirds of sales.

That edition’s advantages? There are several. You never have to worry about updating your software or data. You don’t have to worry about local network IT, as far as QuickBooks is concerned. Your team can access the books from any office, anywhere.

The most popular choice in the desktop editions? QuickBooks Pro. It has all the general accounting functionality that most small businesses need, and has a ton of optional add-in offerings that extend its usefulness even further. It’s affordable ($154.96 on Amazon as of today). Main drawback? As of the 2011 version, you can only have three licenses on a network. That means only three simultaneous users.

Next flavor? Premier edition. This actually comes in a number of sub-flavors according to the type of business you have: Contractors, NonProfit, Manufacturing and Wholesale, Professional Services, Retail and Accountant versions. The Contractors and Manufacturers versions are especially popular. You can have up to five licenses on a network with the Premier edition, and you can buy 3-bundle licenses.

The heaviest lifting is done by the Enterprise edition. There are subflavors here as well that are industry-specific. Intuit has tuned this edition to perform under heavy user loads. I spoke with a user yesterday who had 25 Enterprise users on their network. (And that sometimes can bog down if the data file is very large. That’s why we supercondense a lot of large files for Enterprise users these days.)

Enterprise also is the only QuickBooks edition that has advanced inventory functions. It is the only edition except for 2012 Premier Accountants edition that can have more than one company open at a time. But mostly, it’s about IT performance for businesses with high transaction volume or heavy-duty inventory.

The various editions of QuickBooks mix and mingle within limits. You can upgrade your QuickBooks file to a higher edition whenever you want. That is, a Pro file will convert to Premier no problem. Either of these will convert to Enterprise. Any of those will convert to QuickBooks Online.

There is a 140MB size limit for converting from any of the desktop editions to QuickBooks Online, however. We often see files from people whose file size exceeds that, and we remove old years’ data to get the file small enough to convert to QuickBooks Online. (This is another application of our supercondense service.)

Data can be downgraded from Enterprise to Pro or Premier, but only with special conversion services.

Within the same edition, older version company files will automatically upgrade to newer versions whenever you open the company in the newer version. The opposite is not true, however: Newer version data cannot be converted to older versions (QuickBooks Pro 2011 cannot be converted to QuickBooks Pro 2010, for example).

You’ve also got the Mac version of QuickBooks. It kind of lives alone in the QuickBooks universe.

Anyway, you don’t have 31 flavors to pick from, but you do have several.

Thinking about moving from a QuickBooks desktop edition to the QuickBooks Online Edition? Check your file size.

There is a limit on the size of files that can be successfully uploaded/converted to QuickBooks Online. That limit is 140MB. This file size limitation refers to the size of the exportable file that QuickBooks creates in preparation for QB Online. It is roughly the same size as your QBW file, but will be a little different.

To see if you are above or below the limit, go to File>Utilities>Copy Company File for QuickBooks Online. The file may take several minutes to create. The file will have your same company name, but will have an .OE extension.

If the resulting file is under 140MB, you’re good to go, as far as having a file that could be converted to the online edition.

If your file is bigger than 140MB, then it can’t be converted as is. You could have old information in your file removed so that the resulting file is under the 140MB threshold, or you could create a new company in QuickBooks, and export/import your lists into the new company, and upload a small file that way.

Anyone want to report their experience in converting a desktop QuickBooks file to the Online edition?

Starting yesterday afternoon, and continuing into today, some of Intuit’s servers went offline to the outside world.

That means that businesses using QuickBooks Online, Intuit Merchant Services, or QuickBooks Online Payroll were left twiddling their thumbs. Lots of them were not too happy. I read these tweets on Tuesday afternoon:

* * *

“How can QuickBooks Online Edition be down all day? Very frustrating.”

“Quickbooks Online has been down for hours now. Anyone else feeling like “the cloud” is more like “the smoke”?”

“Freaking out a bit that QuickBooks is unavailable and has been all day. This is when “in the cloud” stuff scares me to death.”

* * *

This is one of the disadvantages of the cloud — it’s completely out of your hands. That’s also it’s biggest advantage (when it’s working right).

The pros and cons here apply to all cloud-based applications. There were the same mumblings and grumblings a week or so ago when a chunk of Gmail’s users lost access to their accounts because of a problem on Google’s servers.

What brings me down, though, is that this is not a rare event for Intuit customers. This happened back in January, a couple of times in 2010, and you can keep going back.

Honestly, Intuit makes great software. QuickBooks rocks. Quicken rocks. TurboTax rocks. ProSeries rocks.

But Intuit’s deliverable online IT doesn’t rock, and this is not new.

Why fight it? Why doesn’t Intuit farm out their online services IT to somebody who has a fantastic track record and can deliver 99.95% uptime? IBM, maybe? Sun?

There are several different editions of QuickBooks available. They vary in how well suited they are for different sizes and types of organizations and in the way users access their data.

All of the editions can do basic accounting – check printing, paying bills, processing payroll, invoicing customers — but some are better suited for specific requirements and situations. (Can I easily change between editions? See below.)

For Small Business – 100% Online Access:

QuickBooks Online Plus

Up to 5 simultaneous users + accountant
$39.95/month
Seamlessly access accounting records real-time from multiple locations
Limited import/export and inventory capabilities

For Small Business – Mac:

QuickBooks Mac

Up to 5 simultaneous users on a network
$229.95 retail
Feature set similar to QuickBooks Online

For Small Business – PC/Network Based Accounting:

QuickBooks Pro

Up to 3 simultaneous users on a network
$229.95 retail for single user
Best combination of general accounting features for most small businesses
Wide selection of optional add-ins

For Small/Medium Business — Industry Focused PC/Network Based Accounting:

QuickBooks Premier

Up to 5 simultaneous users on a network
$399.95 retail for single user
Industry-specific editions for not-for-profits, construction, manuf., etc.
Extra management tools like business planning and forecasting

For Medium Business — Many Users/Network Based Accounting:

QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions

Up to 30 simultaneous users on a network
$600 retail per user
More robust multiuser performance
Designed for higher transaction volumes and database sizes

Moving from One Edition to Another

You can easily upgrade between the following editions, simply by opening the file in the higher edition:

Pro -> Premier
Pro -> Enterprise
Premier -> Enterprise

You can convert from Pro or Premier to Online by uploading your file. But there is a 120MB file size limit; if your QBW file is bigger than that, QB Online won’t accept it. Your file can be recreated with only last year’s transaction history to bring the file size down and make it uploadable.

You can downgrade these editions:

Premier -> Pro (file formats are compatible)
Online -> Pro/Premier (upon request by Intuit)
Enterprise -> Pro/Premier (by AccountingUsers, Inc.)

Do you have the best version in place already? Or are you contemplating a switch?

Did you notice that blog.quickbooksonline.com stayed up even when quickbooksonline.com and quickbooksonline.intuit.com went down?

I’m talking about those few hours on July 14 when many of Intuit’s websites and online servers were unavailable because of a commercial power failure in San Diego.

I tried several Intuit sites and subsites during the episode, and that blog was the only Intuit site I could access. (I didn’t try Intuit’s non-US sites or tax software sites.)

But blog.quickbooksonline.com never went down, and started posting helpful status updates that morning.

How did the blog manage to stay up and running? Because it’s not on Intuit’s servers. The blog’s DNS resolves to wordpress.com — WordPress’ hosted version of their renowned blogging platform.

If the blog had been self-hosted on one of Intuit’s servers, it too would have been unavailable during those hours. It was a good thing that at least part of QuickBooks Online’s web presence was located somewhere else.

We are getting lots of calls today from people having problems accessing QuickBooks Online and other websites and services on Intuit servers.

Intuit tweeted this morning, saying that they had a commercial power failure and are working to restore services.

As of the time of this post, we are seeing the following websites down:

intuit.com
QuickBooks Online
Intuit Merchant Services
Intuit Community
quickbooks.com

QuickBooks Online put up a status page with updates today.

We are trying to tweet and retweet status updates on our twitter account.

I remember the day I put on my then-favorite suit — a charcoal pinstripe — and doggone it, it didn’t fit anymore! Oh man! The clothing that used to serve me so well didn’t serve me anymore.

If you are using an edition of QuickBooks that doesn’t seem to fit, don’t worry…there are options.

Moving from desktop editions to QuickBooks Online or hosted

If you find yourself wanting to access your books from different locations on a regular basis, QuickBooks Online Edition may be for you. Likewise if you need to have other people in other locations access them.

Your physical location then doesn’t matter. Your employees, your accountant, and you can access your data from just about anywhere over the internet. There are also certified 3rd party companies that host QB desktop editions on their server, and you can access your data remotely through them.

If you need help setting up or moving your data over, give us a call at 1-800-999-9209.

Moving from Pro/Premier to Enterprise

If you have a rapidly growing business, you may find that you are starting to outgrow Pro/Premier:

* Sluggish performance or instability of QuickBooks on your network
* Rapidly growing data file size
* Explosive growth in numbers of customers or inventory items
* Adding more and more data entry users

Some of these issues can be managed through supercondensing services, but sometimes your business is just growing too rapidly for Pro/Premier to keep up. Lucky you! Enterprise can upgrade your data simply by opening the company (Make sure you backup your data first.)

Moving from Enterprise to Pro/Premier

On the other hand, people sometimes find that Enterprise is really more than they need. The support contracts cost much more for Enterprise than for Pro/Premier, so there is a long-term dollars and cents difference.

Pro/Premier cannot by itself open or convert an Enterprise file. To get your Enterprise data into Pro/Premier, you can export/import your lists and use 3rd party software to bring over many of the transactions.

Or QuickbooksUsers.com can convert your file for you from Enterprise to Pro or Premier and bring over 100% of your accounts and transactions – even payroll transactions.

Moving to Specialty Editions

Did you know that there are industry editions of Premier that are specifically tailored for various types of businesses? Currently there are varieties for Construction, Wholesale/Manufacturing, Nonprofit, Professional Services, Retail, and Accountants.

Data can move between Pro and Premier specialty editions simply by opening the company in the edition you want to use. The only limitation is that you have to use at least as current of a version as you had been using. For example, if you had been using QuickBooks Pro 2009, you could open your data in QuickBooks Premier Contractor 2009 or 2010, but not 2008.

Need to see current prices on current and older (but still supported) editions of QuickBooks? Find them here.