Have an existing chart of accounts from another company file? Skip starting from scratch and save time by importing the accounts instead.

What you need to know before importing

  • 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. Remember to select the best type or detail type for each account.
  • The import limit is 2 MB or 1000 rows per import. Multiple imports may be done if needed.
  • You can import sub-accounts by using the colon (e.g. parent:sub-account relationships).
  • Account numbers should not be left blank and should not include decimal points.
  1. Select the Gear icon.
  2. Under Tools, choose Import Data.
  3. From the list, select Chart of 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). Download our sample file and use it as reference.
  4. In the Import Accounts page, select Browse.
  5. Find and select the Excel file, then select Open.
  6. To continue, select Next.
  7. Map your data, then when you're done, select Next.
  8. The next page shows 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).
  9. 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.

Need a new company file? You can start a new company and transfer chart of accounts, and other lists, from an existing company.