Here are the steps for importing an already-existing Chart of Accounts to QuickBooks Online.

Reminders when importing your Chart of Accounts

  • You CANNOT undo the import.
  • The import is ADDITIVE. That means it will add accounts to the already-existing Chart of Accounts but won't subtract the standard ones that came with QuickBooks Online.
  • The Type and Detail Type should exactly match the types available in QBO, including capitalization. If not, you'll either get an error message in red and will need to change each line item manually, or the import will fail.
  • Currently, you CANNOT add new types or detail types as they are hard-coded into the system. Please select the best fit for each account. Here's a spreadsheet that has all the detail types listed.
  • The import limit is 2 MB or 1000 rows.
  • The colon character isn't allowed, so parent:sub-account relationships will have to imported as parents first, then adjusted to become subs on the chart of accounts after the import is completed.
  • Account numbers should not be left blank and should not include decimal points.

  1. Select the Gear icon > Import Data.
  2. From the list, select Accounts.

    NOTE: Make sure your file fits the requirements for import (must be a .CSV or Excel file format and must have Account Type and Name fields). If you'd like, you can download our sample file.

  3. In the Import Accounts page, select the Browse button.
  4. Find and select the Excel file then click Open.
  5. Select Next to continue.
  6. Map your data and when you're done select Next.
  7. The next page will show the accounts that are ready to be imported. If you're missing critical fields, QuickBooks will tell you with instructions (such as Choose type, Choose detail type, or both).
  8. Adjust your data if necessary then select Import.

You may get an error that reads: Error while reading the file. Format may be incorrect. If this happens:

  • Make sure the headings in columns A-D are: Account Number, Account Name, Account Type and Detail Type.
  • The Description field does not import.
  • Headings are necessary, even if the column is empty or has no data. Entering headings should clear out the error.

If you're trying to start a new QuickBooks Online company with a Chart of Accounts from an existing QuickBooks Online company, see Transfer Chart of Accounts and lists to a new QuickBooks Online company.