Accountants CPA Hartford
William Brighenti, Certified Public Accountant
Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor
Office Address:  46 Mildrum Road, Berlin, Connecticut 06037-2423      Phone:  (860) 828-3269      Email:  info@cpa-connecticut.com
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Use QuickBooks IIF Files to Export and Import Lists
It's fast and easy to import charts of accounts and lists of customers and vendors


Are you changing QuickBooks files for your company, or adding a QuickBooks file for another company that will have the same chart of accounts, customers, vendors, classes, items, etc.?  Don’t start from fresh, taking hours recreating and re-entering all of that same information in tedious, individual, input fashion.  Instead import all of this previously entered information into your new QuickBooks file.

However, before you undertake any import operation, always make a backup copy of the QuickBooks company that will receive the list information in the event that the data file becomes corrupted during the procedure.

The easiest way to import this information is to use the utility in QuickBooks.  But before you can import the data into the new company QuickBooks file, you will need to first export the data from the older QuickBooks file.  First, go to the File menu, click Utilities, click Export, and then click Lists to IIF Files. 

IIF stands for Intuit Interchange Format.  IIF files are text files that QuickBooks uses to import and export data. Using IIF files to import or export data to and from QuickBooks is easier than using Excel, csv, and tab delimited files because with IIF files QuickBooks has already formatted the files for you, making the entire process faster and easier.

QuickBooks Export Import IFF Utility

In the window that appears as shown above, simply select the lists that you want QuickBooks to include in the export file. For example, if you want to transfer the customer data from another QuickBooks file, check off Customer List in the Export dialog box, click OK, enter a filename for the export file, and save.  It's that simple to export a customer list.

Now importing the saved IIF file is even easier than exporting it.  Open the QuickBooks company that will receive the list information.  Then go to the File menu, choose Import, and then click IIF Files.  In the Import dialog box that appears, simply select the export file you just created and click Open.  QuickBooks adds the list information in the export file to the current company file.

For example, if "Accountants CPA Hartford, LLC" is on the Customer list in the export file, QuickBooks adds "Accountants CPA Hartford, LLC" to the Customer list in the new company file.  If Accountants CPA Hartford, LLC has already been entered in the new QuickBooks company file prior to the import process, QuickBooks essentially updates the information for those fields in the company file.  For example, if the export file lists the address of "Accountants CPA Hartford, LLC" as "90 Golf Boulevard" and the company file lists the address as "46 Mildrum Road," QuickBooks changes the address in the company file to "46 Mildrum Road."  Consequently, when the two files may have many duplicate entries, make certain that the export file has the most current information for that entry.

If you are a certified public accountant working for a public accounting firm and are tired of using that QuickBooks interview feature to set up charts of accounts for clients, try saving prototype templates of standard charts of accounts for companies in a variety of industries by exporting them first into IIF files, saving them, and then importing them whenever you need to set up a chart of accounts in QuickBooks for a specific client in a particular industry.  It can save you much time and many headaches.

Using the QuickBooks IIF utility to export and import files makes transferring data between QuickBooks files fast and easy.  Always make a backup of the file into which you are importing the data in the event that there is a problem during the transference operation.  In addition, make certain that the file being imported contains the most current information for the respective lists.  In order to undertake the export and import of IIF files into QuickBooks, you must be logged in as the QuickBooks Administrator if you have created users and roles in your company file and must be in single-user mode as opposed to multi-user mode in order to prevent other users from accessing data as it is being imported.

This article is provided for informational purposes and is not intended to be construed as legal, accounting, or other professional advice.  For further information, please consult appropriate professional advice from your attorney and certified public accountant. 

Have a tax or an accounting question?  Please feel free to submit it to William Brighenti, Certified Public Accountant, Hartford CPA Accountants.  For information and assistance on any tax and accounting issue, please visit our website:  Accountants CPA Hartford.

If and only to the extent that this publication contains contributions from tax professionals who are subject to the rules of professional conduct set forth in Circular 230, as promulgated by the United States Department of the Treasury, the publisher, on behalf of those contributors, hereby states that any U.S. federal tax advice that is contained in such contributions was not intended or written to be used by any taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed on the taxpayer by the Internal Revenue Service, and it cannot be used by any taxpayer for such purpose.  The above tax advice was written to support the promotion or marketing of the accounting practice of the publisher and any transaction described herein.  The taxpayer recipients of this offering memorandum should seek tax advice based on their particular circumstances from an independent tax advisor.
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