CSV2QBO Converter Help

Getting Started

The CSV2QBO converter is a single step financial data converter that converts bank, and credit card transactions into QBO format suitable for QuickBooks® software.

Use CSV2QBO to import transaction data into QuickBooks when the data comes from a spreadsheet program such as Microsoft Excel® or Google Docs® or was downloaded from your financial institution in CSV (spreadsheet) format.

To get started first set your QuickBooks account information and date formats with the Settings menu. It is important to select an FID. If your bank is not listed, then it is not supported by QuickBooks, and you need to select the FID of some other bank as a workaround. See more about FID’s below.

Use the File menu, Preview CSV File to process your CSV file and view the column data found in the CSV file. Use the pull-down menu at the bottom of each column to select the correct type of information in that column. Be sure to select one Date column, one Payee column, and either one Amount column or both Credits and Debits columns. If you have a balance column, the column selection should be blank (to ignore it). See more about Preview Mode below.

Select Convert at the bottom of the Preview Screen to run the conversion and create your QBO file. Run subsequent CSV to QBO conversions of similar files with File, Open CSV File and create your QBO file in a single step.

Installation

  • Microsoft Windows® full install
    • Download CSV2QBO.exe for Windows, save the file to your computer, and run the installation program by double clicking the file.
    • If you do not have have Java installed it will be automatically downloaded during the installation.
    • Mac OS X® full install
      • Download CSV2QBO.dmg for Mac OS X, save the file to your computer. Locate the file in the download area, open it by double clicking, then and run the installer.app by double clicking it.
      • If you do not have have Java installed it will be automatically downloaded during the installation.
  • Portable Installation
    • Download CSV2QBO.zip and save the file to your computer.
      • If running on Mac OS X the unzip will be done automatically as part of the download, and CSV2QBOportable.jar should be in your user download folder.
      • If running on other operation systems run zip or winzip on CSV2QBO.zip and extract CSV2QBOportable.jar to a suitable folder such as C:\Program Files\QIF Tools.
    • Make sure you have Java installed on your computer. If you do not have Java already installed, download it for free at www.java.com.

Entering License Information

On Microsoft Windows, the easiest way to enter the license is to copy the license file CSV2QBO.lic from the product confirmation e-mail to the same folder where you installed the converter – i.e. C:\Program Files\QIF Tools\CSV2QBO.

Otherwise enter the license by copying the license string (CTRL-C) from the confirmation e-mail and pasting it (CTRL-V) into the license dialog. To enter the license string manually from within the program select Help, and Enter License, and paste (or type) the full license code into the dialog.

After you enter your license, your license email will be shown in the program title bar, and in Help, About.

Preparation

There are two things to do before running the converter

  1. Create a CSV file.

This can be downloaded from a bank or brokerage web site, created by the QIF2CSV counterpart to this program, or be manually created in Excel and saved as a CSV (Comma Delimited) file in Excel. See Appendix A for guidelines on creating a file from scratch.

  1. Get the account number of the QuickBooks account into which you want to import transactions. If you are creating a new account, then any number will suffice. If you wish to import transactions into an existing account, then QuickBooks will match up the account numbers, and you will want to import into the correct account.

Running the Converter

On Windows or Mac OS X, double click the CSV2QBO Converter icon on your desktop.

You may also run the converter from the Windows Start Menu, or run CSV2QBO.exe on Windows or CSV2QBO Converter.app on Mac OS X.

If you are running the portable version, run CSV2QBOportable.jar by double clicking it, or starting it as a Java program.

Settings


Setting QuickBooks Account Info

When the QBO file is created, first it needs to be of the correct type – Bank or Credit Card. In addition there are four pieces of account information that may be inserted into the QBO file when it is created. The only one of these that is critical is the QuickBooks FID. This is a four or five digit number that QuickBooks uses to identify the financial institution. QuickBooks will validate the FID over the Internet when reading in the QBO file, and it must be correct and valid, or QuickBooks will abort the file import.

Set the QuickBooks account information with the Settings menu, and Set QuickBooks Account Info. This will bring up the dialog below. First, select the Account Type as Bank or Credit Card in the drop down list.

Set QuickBooks Account Information

Select “Lookup…” in the dialog and it will bring up a window with all the QuickBooks Financial Institutions that are listed for that type of account. Type some or all of the name of your financial institution into the search box at the top to search within the list. Scroll down the list to find your bank and select it. The bank URL is also included to help resolve ambiguity if your bank has a name that is similar to other banks.

If your bank is not listed, then QuickBooks will not import QBO files (Web Connect files) that are identified as being from that financial institution. The only workaround is to use an FID from some other bank. You can still name the account to include the name of your financial institution. So long as you as not also doing QuickBooks Direct Connect downloads into the same account, it will work just fine. There are some Financial Institutions that provide Direct Connect, but do not support Web Connect, and if you use one of these, you will have to create two accounts and move transactions from one to the other.

Just remember that the FID is critical, and although CSV2QBO will run without one, it will give a warning, and QuickBooks will give an error when reading the QBO file.

QBO files are required to have account information. All files require an account number and bank accounts also require a bank routing number. If you don’t want to save your accounts numbers for security reasons, then you can skip entering this this information. If you do provide your account number to be inserted into the QBO file, then QuickBooks uses that number to automatically determine which account to import into. If you are always importing into the same account, then CSV2QBO will save the information from session to session, so you do not have to re-enter it. For PayPal users, your account number is the email address you use to sign into PayPal. Note that CSV2QBO does not access the Internet at all, so any information entered is only saved on your computer, and is not sent over other web or to any other computers.

To determine the account number to use in the QBO file, CSV2QBO will look in the following locations, in order.

      1. The account header in the CSV file, typically the first line in the file. This method is best if you are converting data for different accounts in QuickBooks on a regular basis, and don’t want to always re-enter the numbers. To specify this information in the CSV file, use an account header of the form:

        !Type:accounttype;accountname^FID|accountnumber

      2. Values from the QuickBooks Account Info dialog window (see above). This method is best if you are doing a one time conversion, or are always converting the same account. Once again, if you are concerned about entering your account number, then don’t, and either manually edit the QBO file after it is created, or match up accounts when doing the QuickBooks import.
      3. The CSV file name, if it is a number without any letters.
      4. As a last resort, CSV2QBO will use an arbitrary default number for the routing number and account number. You will then have to manually match accounts when reading the QBO file into QuickBooks.

The bank account routing number is required by QBO for bank accounts (but not for credit card accounts). However, it is not actually used by QuickBooks, so if you don’t specify one, CSV2QBO will insert a default value and QuickBooks will accept it.

Lastly, the currency needs to be specified. US Dollars are the initial setting, use the drop down to select a different currency.

Date Formats

CSV2QBO can read dates either in US format (month-day-year) or European format (day-month-year). Use the Settings menu to select the date format that is used in your CSV file. If your dates have the month name or abbreviation rather than a number, then this setting is not applicable. Note that there is no need to specify a date format for QBO files.

Positive and Negative Charges

Normally credit card statements will have charges as negative numbers and payments as positive numbers. That is what QuickBooks expects. Some credit card companies switch things so that charges are positive – showing an increase in your balance – and payments are negative. Use the Settings menu to select Charges are positive, Payments are negative (Switch signs) if this is the type of data in your CSV file.

Converting the CSV File

The converter can be run in two modes – Preview Mode and Express Mode. If you are just getting started, then use Preview Mode. If you have run the converter previously or are sure that the columns names are all correct then it’s faster to use Express Mode.

Preview Mode

Select File, Preview CSV File and this will bring up a file chooser dialog. Navigate to the folder containing the CSV file, select the file, and then select Open at the bottom of the dialog.

This will bring up a preview window that displays the contents of your CSV file. The account type at the top of the window will be fixed to the QuickBooks account type you chose in the Settings menu. At the bottom of each column is a selector that contains the name of the data in that column. It may have already been set correctly by CSV2QBO based on column headings in the CSV file. If it’s not correct, use the pull-down to select the correct type of data. Each type can only be used in one column, so types that have already been used will be grayed out. If you have many columns, you can increase the width of the columns of interest by going to the header row and dragging the column separator to increase the width of the column, and of course drag a corner of the window to enlarge it as well.

The only required fields are the Date, and depending on whether the transaction amounts are in one column or two, either Amount or Credits and Debits. If your data has an Amount column that has positive amounts for both credits and debits (i.e. mint.com) then you also need to select a Type column that has the type – credit/debit or CR/DB. Some credit card files also have the the signs of amounts reversed so that credits have a minus sign. If this is the case then go back and use SettingsCharges are positive, Payments are negative (Switch signs).

To create a Memo that combines two different columns choose ‘Memo’ for the the first part of the memo, and ‘Memo Add-on” for the second part. The text from the two columns will be combined into a single Memo, with a space between the two text strings.

Preview CSV Files

When the column data is correct, select Open at the bottom of the preview window. The converter will run, giving some statistics on how many lines were processed and create a QBO file with the same name. If a QBO file with that name already exists you will be prompted to overwrite it.

Preview Mode settings will be automatically remembered, and will apply to all subsequent conversions. To clear Preview Mode, select the Settings menu and then Clear Preview Mode.

Express Mode

Use this option when you previously ran a similar file with Preview Mode or your CSV file has names for each column. Select File, Open CSV File and this will bring up a file chooser dialog. Navigate to the folder containing the CSV file, select the file, and then select Open at the bottom of the dialog. The converter will run, giving some statistics on how many lines were processed and create a QBO file with the same name. If a QBO file with that name already exists you will be prompted to overwrite it.

Automation

To use CSV2QBO from the command line or a script simply invoke it on Windows as:

CSV2QBO inputfile.csv

Or for the portable version

CSV2QBOportable.jar inputfile.csv

There is no need to specify an output file name, CSV2QBO will use the same name and an QBO extension. The log will be written to a file with the same name and a .log extension, or ERROR.log if the input file name is invalid.

Note that if the output file already exists, it will be overwritten. And if your input file name has any spaces in it, remember to use quotes – for example:

CSV2QBO “input file.csv”

Importing QBO files into QuickBooks

The easiest way to import the QBO file is simply to double-click it from Windows Explorer or Max OS X Finder. You can also read the QBO file while running QuickBooks. Simply select File, then from the pull-down menu select Utilities, then Import, and then Web Connect File... This will bring up the standard File Open dialog, select the file, and then select Open. The transactions should be read into QuickBooks.

One of the advantages of using QBO file format is that QuickBooks ‘remembers’ which transactions it previously read, and will not read the same transaction again. If your CSV file has a transaction ID from your financial institution, then make sure that the column header is correct, and CSV2QBO will use that transaction ID. CSV2QBO will generate transaction Id’s if they are not available, but they will not match up with direct downloads from your financial institution.

Trouble Shooting


Cannot find your Financial Institution in the list of FID’s.

If your Financial Institution is not listed for the type of account your are imported (bank or credit card) then you will have to ‘fool’ QuickBooks by using the FID of some other Financial Institution. QuickBooks will NOT import transactions with FID’s from banks that are not QuickBooks affiliates. You can use pretty much any other FID you want, one would suggest a similar name to your Financial Institution and/or a large bank that is unlikely to drop QuickBooks support. See the following section for more details as well.


QuickBooks Error: “QuickBooks is currently unable to verify the financial institution for this download. Please try again later.

When you import the QBO file into QuickBooks, if you receive an error “QuickBooks is currently unable to verify the financial institution for this download. Please try again later.” then the FID is incorrect. QuickBooks is very picky about this. The financial institution must be currently in good standing with QuickBooks for Web Connect download, and the account must be of the correct type. QuickBooks distinguishes between financial institution support of bank versus credit card transactions.

CSV2QBO will only display those FID’s that are listed as being able to import Web Connect files, so if you don’t see your bank or brokerage, QuickBooks will not accept Web Connect files from that financial institution. Also, even though a bank may be listed, QuickBooks may still give this error. That problem seems mostly to occur with small banks, perhaps they did not stay current with QuickBooks.

If you are running into a brick wall with QuickBooks FID’s, the workaround is to use an FID for some other financial institution other than the one you actually use. However, if you already are downloading from your financial institution, then you would have to have two accounts and copy transactions from one to the other. Therefore, this is practical only if you don’t already download directly from that financial institutional, or you import transactions very infrequently.

If QuickBooks is refusing to link a QBO import to an existing account, then make sure that the account type was set correctly – see the section above on Setting QuickBooks Account Info. QuickBooks will only allow you to import credit card QBO files to credit cards accounts, and bank account QBO files to bank accounts. If the account number was not specified accurately in the QuickBooks Account Info, then QuickBooks will generally allow you to do a manual match, but it will also change the account number in QuickBooks.


No transactions when import the QBO file into QuickBooks

Review the log in the CSV2QBO Status window. Often the cause is a missing header – see next paragraph.

CSV2QBO Error: No account header found, unable to process

If the CSV2QBO status windows has the error, “No account header found, unable to process”, then it likely means that you are trying to read a CSV file whose first line does not label what each column contains. Some credit card companies create CSV files like this. Either Use Preview Mode to specify what is in each column, or use Notepad or Excel or any text editor to insert a line at the beginning of the CSV file that labels each column. For example, for AMEX the line would be:

Date,Number,Amount,Payee,Memo


CSV2QBO Error: Incomplete header…

There are missing columns which are needed to process the CSV file. The date might be missing, there might be a credits column without a debits column, or similar types of missing data. Review the column names in Preview Mode, or edit the CSV file to label the columns.

Missing Information

If not all transaction information is being input into QuickBooks, then verify that the CSV file has headers that correspond to the names in Appendix A. Although CSV2QBO recognizes a wide variety of alternative names, the program or web site that created the CSV file might be using some names for column headers that are not being recognized. Review the column settings in Preview Mode, or edit the CSV file to correct the column names.

Switched Information in QuickBooks

If you are importing the QBO file into QuickBooks and information is switched (i.e. the Payee is what you expected for some other field) then the headers in the CSV file may be misunderstood. Either use Preview Mode to correct the column description, or look at the beginning of the conversion log to see what columns are being used for what information, and edit the headers in the CSV file accordingly.

If the amounts are switched (i.e. credit card charges are showing up as positive rather than negative) then use the Settings menu to select Charges are positive, Payments are negative (Switch signs) and rerun the conversion.

Multiple Accounts in a singe file

Because a QBO file can only contain transactions from a single financial institution, CSV2QBO will only process the first account found in a CSV file when creating a QBO file.

Saving the Converter Log

After the converter has run, you may wish to save the log information to a file. Select the File menu, and the Save Log menu entry. This will bring up a File Save dialog. Simply specify a file name and select Save.


Appendix A

Spreadsheet conventions

If you want to create or edit the CSV file, the following is is a complete description of the conventions used by CSV2QBO.

By way of example, a simple bank account might look like this:


 

!Type:Bank;My bank account^23456|1111222233334444
Date Number Payee Amount Memo
5/1/2011 Opening Balance 0
5/2/2011 Deposit 100 From David
5/10/2011 ATM ATM Withdrawal 50
5/18/2011 INT Interest Paid This Period 0.01

 

First Line

The first line for an account must have the type of the account, and may optionally have the account name, FID, and account number. The punctuation is a semi colon after the account type, an up-arrow after the account name, and a vertical bar after the FID.

!Type:accounttype;accountname^FID|accountnumber

The accounttype is one of the following:

    • Bank – checking and savings accounts
    • CCard – credit card accounts

The accountname is the name of the account being created, the FID is the QuickBooks FID, a 4 or 5 digit number that is checked by QuickBooks, and the accountnumber is the account number that QuickBooks can use to match accounts.

If the first line does not have this type of information, then CSV2QBO will look at the column headers to determine the account type, and read the rest of the information from the QuickBooks Account Info dialog.

Columns

All data must be in columns, and the columns should have the column name at the top of the column. Normally the column headers are in the second line of the spreadsheet, but CSV2QBO will search until a header row is found. The order of the columns is not important, and only the columns in bold are required.
Many alternate column names are used by various financial institutions, and most of them are recognized by CSV2QBO. If your CSV file does not have column headers, or uses different names, then running under Preview Mode is the easiest way to assign the column names for your CSV file.

The following is the list of ‘standard’ column names and their meanings for different account types.

Bank and Credit Card Accounts

    • Date - transaction date
    • Number – check number (for bank accounts only)
    • Payee – payee or merchant
    • Amount- Amount of the transaction in $ or other currency. Alternatively a credit and a debit column can be used
    • Credit – credit amounts
    • Debit – debit amounts
    • Type – transaction type, such as credit or debit
    • Transaction ID – the unique transaction ID
    • Memo – memo or description of the transaction
    • Memo Add-on – addition description to be added to the memo

Saving a CSV file from within Microsoft Excel

  1. Do a File, Save As
  2. At the bottom of the File Save Dialog select the file Save-as type to be CSV (Comma Delimited) (*.csv).
  3. Select Save.
  4. When you get a popup warning that some features in the file may not be compatible with CSV (Comma Delimited) format, select Yes to keep this format and the CSV file will be saved.

Saving a CSV file from within Google Docs

  1. Do a File, Download As and then Comma Separated Values (.csv, current sheet).
  2. This will start a file download. Select OK to download.
  3. This will bring up a file chooser dialog to save your file. Just select an appropriate folder and select Save and the CSV file will be downloaded.

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Last modified August 11th, 2014