There are two ways to import transactions into QuickBooks Online: automatic and manual.
We’ll show you how to import transactions into Intuit’s flagship accounting software using both methods — and explain when to use either option.
Tip: We recommend opening a business banking account if you haven’t already. Separating business from personal transactions makes it easier for your accountant to manage your business.
Connect Your Bank Account to QuickBooks
QuickBooks has features that let you import banking transactions automatically. If you don’t want to go through the trouble of manually updating your books, you’ll want to use this method.
However, if there’s no QuickBooks support for your bank (see step 1 below), you’ll have to upload your transactions manually.
You’ll need to set up an online banking account to do the following steps. Make sure you have your online banking username and password handy before you proceed.
Step 1: Find Your Bank in QuickBooks
Log into your QuickBooks account. From the main dashboard, look for Banking in the sidebar and click it.
Search for your bank using either the search bar or by choosing from the list right below it.
Step 2: Log Into Your Online Banking Account
After you select a bank account, a login prompt will pop up.
Enter your online banking credentials to give QuickBooks access to your account.
Step 3: Link a Bank Account
If you have more than 1 account with your bank, you will have to select which account you want to connect to QuickBooks.
Otherwise, select the only option available.
Note that QuickBooks will let you select a date range after you configure your account. You can only connect up to 90 days of bank transactions. If you want to connect transactions that go past the limit, you can upload transactions manually.
There’s a drop-down menu right next to your account information. Open the menu and select Add Account.
You will be given an opportunity to configure your account details. Make sure you fill all the fields completely, especially if you’ll be connecting more than 1 account. This will prevent any confusion.
- Account Type: Select whether the account is a bank or a credit-card account.
- Detail Type: Describe the account you’re setting up. Is it a checking account? A savings account? Choose from 1 of the options provided.
- Account Name: Enter how you want this account to appear inside QuickBooks.
- Account Description: Use this space to further describe the account you’re connecting.
Once you’re finished, click Save and Close.
Step 4: Connect and Review Transactions
When you’re ready, click the Connect button to sync your transactions.
QuickBooks will then start downloading your banking transactions into their system.
However, all imported transactions will be labeled For Review. You’ll need to check each and approve them to verify information like the date the transaction took place, the amount involved and the account number used.
When to Manually Import Transactions
There are 2 main reasons why you’d want to use the manual method:
- You can only connect transactions going back 90 days. If you need to connect transactions that took place 4, 5 or 12 months prior, you’ll need to do so manually.
- If you already have automatic transactions enabled but need to add more dates, the manual method can help you accomplish that.
Smaller banks may not have set up a partnership with QuickBooks. If that’s the case, you’ll also need to upload transactions through this method.
Note: Before you begin, make sure you’re not submitting duplicate transaction entries. To find the earliest transaction in your QuickBooks account, refer to this QuickBooks guide on determining an opening balance.
Step 1: Secure a Copy of Your Bank Transactions
Log into your online banking account. From there, you can download copies of your banking transactions.
Every bank uses its own interface. If you’re unsure how to download your transactions, get in touch with a representative for instructions.
Step 2: Save Your Transaction Details in Correct Format
QuickBooks accepts entries in 3 formats: comma-separated values (CSV) files, QFX (Quicken) files and QBO (QuickBooks Online) files.
The company suggests that you download files in QBO format if your bank offers that option. This way, your banking information is ready for upload immediately.
But if that option is unavailable, you’ll have to edit your file manually using Excel or other software that supports this format. QuickBooks has a full guide on how to prepare your transactions in Excel. Basically, you want to use a 3- or 4-column spreadsheet.
A 3-column spreadsheet should contain a column for the date, a description and the amount.
A 4-column setup contains a date, description, credit and debit.
QuickBooks won’t accept CSV spreadsheets that are arranged in a different way.
On top of the column requirements, you should be aware of other restrictions, including:
- Special characters aren’t allowed: This includes #, % and &. When writing amounts, do not add the dollar sign ($).
- No commas: Don’t use commas when writing numbers. For example, you should write 5,890 as 5890.
- Use blanks in place of zero: Don’t use 0 as an amount. If the cell is supposed to represent $0, leave the cell blank.
- No brackets: If the cell is supposed to have a negative value, use the minus sign before the number. So (567) should be written as -567.
Step 3: Upload Your Spreadsheet
There are 2 ways to upload a spreadsheet. The first method is for users who already have an online banking account that’s connected to QuickBooks. The other option is for people who don’t have linked accounts.
If your banking accounts are connected to QuickBooks:
Go to the Banking menu. Click the Banking tab.
Select the account you want to upload the transactions to. From the drop-down menu, select File Upload.
If your banking accounts aren’t connected to QuickBooks:
Go to Banking and select Upload Transactions.
This will let you upload your CSV file. When you upload your transactions, you may be asked to create a new account.
Using either method, you should now be able to browse your computer for the CSV file you want to upload.
Select the file and click Next.
Step 4: Categorize Your Transactions
Now that your transactions are on QuickBooks, you have to categorize them.
You need to confirm with QuickBooks that the information you uploaded is accurate.
Go to Banking and click the Banking tab. On this screen, you’ll 3 new tabs. Click For Review.
You’ll find a list of all transactions that haven’t been verified yet.
Clicking on any transaction will reveal more information.
You can enter details such as the vendor or payee name, a category to file the transaction under and a memo for future reference.
By default, QuickBooks will match the details you enter with other entries that are from the same vendor. If you don’t want this, you can edit your settings to disable the feature.
Once you’re finished updating the details, you can click Add to finish. This will add the transaction to your list of existing QuickBooks transactions.
All QuickBooks images sourced from the Quickbooks Help page