How Does a Client Import an Accountant’s Work From an Accountant’s Copy Import File?

To import an accountant’s work prepared in an Accountant’s Copy import file (.QBY), the first step is to receive and save the .QBY file on your computer.  Given the small size of most .QBY files, this file is normally transmitted via email.

For background, use of an Accountant’s Copy in QuickBooks is an easy way for a client company to transfer data to a third-party (such as an accountant), have the accountant make changes and return just those changes, and incorporate them with the company file subject to the client’s review.  In an article on our blog, we’ve described how a company can easily transfer an Accountant’s Copy export file (.QBX) to us using Intuit’s secure servers.  This file could also be delivered via other methods, such as delivery on a flash drive or other physical media.  In separate articles, we’ve reviewed how an accountant works with client data received from an Accountant’s Copy and returns that data to a client.

Working with an Accountant’s Copy is essentially a 5 step process:

  1. client sends an Accountant’s Copy export file (.QBX) to an accountant or third party
  2. accountant or third party works with the data
  3. an accountant or third party returns completed work to the client
  4. client imports changes made by accountant or third party
  5. resolving problems if the client import fails

Throughout this article, we’ll refer to different file types with similar names.  The function of each of these files is very specific. For more information, see our article describing the different file types in QuickBooks.

Here’s a sample message with an Accountant’s Copy import file (.QBY) attached.  In Outlook, right click on the attachment, and choose Save As… in the drop down menu.  Specify a location, and save the file.  Write down the location you specify so you can quickly locate the file when you return to QuickBooks.  The exact steps to save an email attachment may vary slightly in your own email client.

Once you’ve saved the file, return to QuickBooks.  Click the File->Accountant’s Copy->Import Accountant’s Changes… menu selection.  This menu selection will only be available if you have an outstanding Accountant’s Copy.

You’ll see the Incorporate Accountant’s Changes window.  Note that these changes are not yet incorporated – you’ll have a chance to review them first.

In this window, you can:

  • read the note from your accountant regarding changes made
  • review a list of those changes
  • print or save a PDF report of those changes
  • incorporate those changes into your company file

In this example, we recorded a single change in the .QBA file created from the client’s data, a journal entry.  Changes initially appear as single line items, and you can expand (+) or collapse (-) the detail that appears below a transaction by clicking the appropriate indicator to the left of the transaction.  If your accountant has recorded more than a few transactions, you can also click the Expand All and Collapse All buttons to perform those tasks on all of the transactions in the .QBY file.  At this point, the changes are described as not yet incorporated into your company file.  We’ve attached a sample report in PDF format showing the output at this stage.

After completing your review, click the Incorporate Accountant’s Changes button.  You’ll see a message that QuickBooks needs to close all windows.  Click Ok.

Before incorporating the changes, as a precaution QuickBooks forces you to perform a backup.  To proceed and backup your data, click Ok.

QuickBooks will prompt you to specify a file location and name to save the backup file.  When the backup is successfully completed, click Ok.  QuickBooks will proceed to incorporate the changes recorded in the .QBY file.

When the changes have been incorporated, you’ll see a window reflecting the successful result.

It’s strongly recommended that you click Print or Save as PDF to document the changes made.  If you click the Close button before producing a report of the changes, you’ll be cautioned to produce a report first.  Click Cancel to return to the previous window to print or save a report.  If you ignore the caution and click Ok, you’ll lose any chance to produce a report of the changes that were just incorporated.

To document your work, click either the Print or Save as PDF button.  At this point, the changes recorded in in the Accountant’s Copy have been sucessfully incorporated into your company file.  We’ve attached a sample of the PDF produced by QuickBooks after this step.

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Comments

  1. I have created and sent an accountant’s copy to my cpa. He has printed a list of changes for me to enter, however, QB tells me I cannot make changes before the cutoff date. Without a change file, how can I get QB back to the way it was so I can make these changes myself?

    • Chief Mechanic says:

      That’s the whole point of the cutoff date – you’re not supposed to make changes until you complete the import. You can cancel the accountant’s copy, which will allow you to record those transactions, but it will also mean any work your CPA did is lost. You should wait until that work is completed and then complete the import before recording transactions before the cutoff date.

  2. I am trying to import my accountants file into QB’s however, I cannot get into the Incorporate Accountant’s Changes window as I cannot see the file. QB’s is only looking for QBY files and my Accountants copy is a QBA file, please let me know how I can get this to work.
    Thanks

  3. luis g. lopez says:

    Hi. I have created an ACCOUNTANT COPY and the problem we have is that my accountant CAN NOT OPEN THIS ACCOUNTANT COPY on his quickbooks in order to start processing. Can someone explain to us how an accountant opens up the accountant copy on his quickbooks, in order to start working?? Thanks!!!

  4. I have the email the accountant sent me to inc. the accountants changes. I didn’t print the list and now need to see something that was changed…is there a way to print that after the fact? Thank you

    • Hindsight is always 20/20. See our cautionary words:

      It’s strongly recommended that you click Print or Save as PDF to document the changes made. If you click the Close button before producing a report of the changes, you’ll be cautioned to produce a report first. Click Cancel to return to the previous window to print or save a report. If you ignore the caution and click Ok, you’ll lose any chance to produce a report of the changes that were just incorporated.

      So, at this point, there is no way for you to print a report, but there are some workarounds. First, check with your accountant to see if a report of the changes exists. If not, you could try to create a new company file from the backup you created just before importing the changes. Then, from that file, you could create an accountant’s copy. Finally, you’d import the changes your accountant sent, but this time opting to print the report. You would not be overwriting your current company file; you’d be creating a new one and re-doing the import only for the purpose of generating the report. You’d need to be extremely careful to do this in a separate folder to eliminate any chance of overwriting your current file. And once complete, you’d want to remove this duplicate so that you didn’t inadvertently enter transactions in this duplicate file rather than your current file. It’s a straightforward process if you pay attention to details and understand what you’re doing, but if you move quickly or don’t have a good understanding of folders and file locations, it’s easy to overwrite your company file, which would be going backwards from your present spot. Good luck.

  5. Now that I’ve imported the accountant’s changes, I want to print out a GL that shows his changes on the trial balance – pre his adjustments. I want to avoid creating a custom spreadsheet. Please help.

    • Chris – Since an accountant’s changes could have impacted any period before the dividing date, you have 2 choices:

      1. look at the accountant’s changes and see if they all have the same date, such as the last day of a month; if that were the case and there were no other transactions, you might be able to get your report by careful choice of a date
      2. create a new company file from the backup QuickBooks forced you to make before you incorporated the changes and run reports from that file to reflect the state of things before your accountant’s changes

      The second choice above is usually the real solution. The first choice only works in situations with limited changes by your accountant in company files that have light activity. Anything beyond that, and the risk that you miss something makes it not worth the trouble.

      Once you’ve completed the import (which you said you did), QuickBooks doesn’t offer you tools to distinguish transactions imported from ones you’ve entered. Therefore, there’s no way to accomplish what you want unless you call upon your backup, which is the principal reason why QuickBooks forces you to make one.

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