Using ChronoBooks to Migrate QuickBooks Online

I just finished helping a customer migrate a QuickBooks Online Plus account to Advanced using ChronoBooks. A direct upgrade was not possible because they were changing to the nonprofit platform available through TechSoup. ChronoBooks is a pretty slick program that allows copying QuickBooks Online data to a new company. After the new company is set up, it also does continuous backup if you ever need to restore after an error.

Note This will no longer work after February 25, 2020. See the January 17, 2020 update below.

Unfortunately, due to limitations that Intuit imposes on what data can be accessed programmatically, the ChronoBooks copy is not 100%. The ChronoBooks web site outlines some limitations here and here. Here are a few details that were unanticipated:

  • Payroll copies across as a general journal entries, and drops $0 line items (like when you didn’t need to pay a certain tax). This customer is no longer using Intuit Payroll, so it’s not a big issue for them. I assume that if you were still on Intuit Payroll, you’d have to re-do the setup. Update September 1, 2019:  ChronoBooks author Nate Tippie responded that this will be fixed. In future copies, $0 journal entries will be included.
  • Bank reconciliation does not copy. They will be reconciling over 13,000 uncleared transactions in the first month.
  • SSNs and EINs for 1099 contractors do not copy. (Probably employees too.) Must be copied manually.
  • 1099 setup does not copy. You need to run the first part of the 1099 wizard and re-select the 1099 accounts.

The last two items require that you have your old system available, so don’t cancel that until you copy! It is possible to create a report from the old system that includes the tax IDs, so at least do that and save it as PDF.

We also learned that if you need to re-run the ChronoBooks copy, it’s much better to purge the new company first (Intuit article) and start from scratch. If you don’t, ChronoBooks will just deactivate the accounts, vendors, etc. from the first copy, so if you had 700 vendors, after the re-copy, you’ll have 1400 vendors with 700 inactive.

Update January 15, 2020 ChronoBooks has been acquired by Intuit and is now included in QBO Advanced.

Update January 17, 2020 In an email yesterday, Intuit announced that “ChronoBooks will no longer back-up and restore your QuickBooks Online company data if you are on the Simple Start, Essentials, or Plus plans beginning February 25.” ChronoBooks will only be a feature of QBO Advanced. Which means the ability to use it for migration between editions is going away. Intuit suggests that you back up your Plus data to Excel or QuickBooks Desktop, or that you look for another 3rd party application. It’s too bad they have decided to kill off ChronoBooks for Plus.

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