James E. Moede, CPA

Specializing in Accounting Services, QuickBooks® Consulting, and Tax Preparation

QuickBooks Accountant’s Copy

General Information – One very powerful (and probably least used) feature in QuickBooks is the Accountant’s Copy. The Accountant’s Copy feature allows a user (normally a client) to create a copy of their existing QuickBooks data file that can be e-mailed to their accountant for year-end tax work or routine maintenance. The accountant can make necessary adjustments to the client’s file and e-mail those changes back to the client. The major benefit of the Accountant’s Copy feature of QuickBooks is while the accountant is working on the client’s copy of the file, the client can continue to work in QuickBooks. When changes from the accountant are imported by the client, none of the client’s work is lost. If the client had sent the entire file to the accountant, the client would need to wait to get the file back from the accountant before entering transactions; otherwise, any changes would be lost when the data file returned by the account is copied over the client’s data file.

There are several steps involved in using the Accountant’s Copy feature in QuickBooks which are discussed in the next section. These steps are based on QuickBooks 2007. Other versions of QuickBooks will follow similar steps.

Step 1 – Create the Accountant’s Copy (done by the client)

  1. Open your QuickBooks company file.
  2. From the [File] menu, choose [Accountant’s Copy], then [Client Activities] and [Create Accountant’s Copy].
  3. An “Accountant’s Copy: Overview” window appears, click the [Next] button.
  4. Pick a “Dividing Date” (usually your year-end date such as ‘12/31/06’) and click the [Next] button. Note: this is new for QuickBooks 2007.
  5. A “Save Accountant’s Copy to” window appears. Click on the [Desktop] icon on the left and click [Save]. A file with a “QBX” extension will be created on the desktop.
  6. Attach this file to an e-mail and send to your accountant. See “E-mailing QuickBooks data files” for details.
  7. You may continue to work in the QuickBooks data file using dates after the dividing dates. It is generally a good idea not to change your year-end data after providing it to your accountant. At the top of your QuickBooks window, the title bar will indicate that “Accountant’s Changes Pending” (“Accountant’s Copy Exists” for older versions of QuickBooks). This is normal.
  8. The “.QBX” file may be deleted from the desktop. It is no longer required.

Step 2 – Use the Accountant’s Copy (done by the accountant)

  1. The accountant must copy the attached “.QBX” file from the client to the desktop.
  2. Start QuickBooks and close any open company file.
  3. From the [File] menu, choose [Accountant’s Copy], then [Convert Accountant’s Copy Transfer File] (“[Use Accountant’s Copy]” for older versions of QuickBooks.
  4. A “Convert Accountant’s Copy Transfer File: Overview” window appears, click the [Next] button.
  5. Click the [Next] button on the follow-up window.
  6. An “Open Accountant’s Copy Transfer File to” window appears. Click on the [Desktop] icon on the left and select the desired “…QBX’ file.
  7. Click [OK].
  8. A “Name Accountant’s Copy File” window appears. Click on the [Desktop] icon on the left and click [Save]. Note: any drive and directory could be used as the destination.
  9. Click [OK].
  10. Now the Accountant can make necessary adjusting entries and other changes to the client’s file.
  11. The “.QBX” file may be deleted. It is no longer required.

Step 3 – Export Changes for the Client (done by the accountant)

  1. After all changes and adjustments are complete in the file created in Step 2.
  2. From the [File] menu, choose [Accountant’s Copy], then [View/Export Changes for Client].
  3. Add a note for the client – optional (New for QuickBooks 2007).
  4. Click [Export].
  5. A “Save Accountant’s Change File to” window appears. Click on the [Desktop] icon on the left and click [Save]. Note: any drive and directory could be used as the destination.
  6. Click [OK]. A “.QBY” file is created. Note: older versions of QuickBooks create an “.AIF’ file.
  7. Attach this file to an e-mail and send to your client. See “E-mailing QuickBooks data files” for details.
  8. The “.QBY’ can be deleted once the client has successfully completed step 4.

Step 4 – Import Changes from Accountant (done by the client)

  1. Save the attached “.QBY” file received from you accountant to the desktop.
  2. Start QuickBooks and open your company file.
  3. From the [File] menu, choose [Accountant’s Copy], then [Client Activities] and [Import Accountant’s Changes].
  4. An “Import Accountant’s Changes” window appears. Click on the [Desktop] icon on the left, then select the “.QBY” file, and click [Open].
  5. Review any notes from the accountant.
  6. Click [Import].
  7. Click [OK].
  8. QuickBooks will prompt you to make a backup. Follow the instructions on screen.
  9. Review the “Import Results” and click [Close].
  10. You may add a password to protect the accountant’s changes. Follow the instructions on screen.
  11. At the top of your QuickBooks window, the title bar will no longer indicate that “Accountant’s Changes Pending” (“Accountant’s Copy Exists” for older versions of QuickBooks). This is normal.
  12. The “.QBY” file may be deleted. It is no longer required.

Other considerations in using the Accountant’s Copy feature in QuickBooks

The benefits of using the Accountant’s Copy feature in QuickBooks include uninterrupted use of QuickBooks by the client and not having to manually enter the accountant’s changes when completing the year-end close. However, as well as the Accountant’s Copy feature works, there are some drawbacks.

First, the client’s QuickBooks company data file should be fairly “clean”. The chart of accounts should be organized and well established. The transactions should be entered in a consistent manner through out the accounting period. The Accountant’s Copy allows the accountant to add new accounts but accounts cannot be merged or deleted. If the client’s company file needs major fixes, then I recommend sending the entire file to the accountant. Caution – the client should not post any transactions in QuickBooks until the repaired file is received back from the accountant. Otherwise, those transactions will be lost (the repaired file will over-write the previous copy).

Second, the client and account should be using the same version of QuickBooks (for example QuickBooks 2006) with all current updates installed. I recommend that clients keep within two versions of the current version of QuickBooks. For example, the current version of QuickBooks is 2007. All clients using versions 2004 and older should upgrade to version 2007. Clients using 2005 and 2006 are probably good waiting until version 2008 to upgrade.

 

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Last modified: August 22, 2008