QuickBooks Unrecoverable Error 📁 KnowledgeBase 📁 QuickBooks Files 📁 How Does a Client Import an Accountant’s Work From an Accountant’s Copy Import File?

How Does a Client Import an Accountant’s Work From an Accountant’s Copy Import File?

To import an accountant’s work prepared in an Accountant’s Copy import file (.QBY), the first step is to receive and save the .QBY file on your computer.  Given the small size of most .QBY files, this file is normally transmitted via email.

For background, use of an Accountant’s Copy in QuickBooks is an easy way for a client company to transfer data to a third-party (such as an accountant), have the accountant make changes and return just those changes, and incorporate them with the company file subject to the client’s review.  In an article on our blog, we’ve described how a company can easily transfer an Accountant’s Copy export file (.QBX) to us using Intuit’s secure servers.  This file could also be delivered via other methods, such as delivery on a flash drive or other physical media.  In separate articles, we’ve reviewed how an accountant works with client data received from an Accountant’s Copy and returns that data to a client.

Working with an Accountant’s Copy is essentially a 5 step process:

  1. client sends an Accountant’s Copy export file (.QBX) to an accountant or third party
  2. accountant or third party works with the data
  3. an accountant or third party returns completed work to the client
  4. client imports changes made by accountant or third party
  5. resolving problems if the client import fails

Throughout this article, we’ll refer to different file types with similar names.  The function of each of these files is very specific. For more information, see our article describing the different file types in QuickBooks.

Here’s a sample message with an Accountant’s Copy import file (.QBY) attached.  In Outlook, right click on the attachment, and choose Save As… in the drop down menu.  Specify a location, and save the file.  Write down the location you specify so you can quickly locate the file when you return to QuickBooks.  The exact steps to save an email attachment may vary slightly in your own email client.

QuickBooks Accountants Copy Client Email

Once you’ve saved the file, return to QuickBooks.  Click the File->Accountant’s Copy->Import Accountant’s Changes… menu selection.  This menu selection will only be available if you have an outstanding Accountant’s Copy.

QuickBooks Accountants Copy Import

You’ll see the Incorporate Accountant’s Changes window.  Note that these changes are not yet incorporated – you’ll have a chance to review them first.

QuickBooks Accountants Copy Incorporate Changes

In this window, you can:

  • read the note from your accountant regarding changes made
  • review a list of those changes
  • print or save a PDF report of those changes
  • incorporate those changes into your company file

In this example, we recorded a single change in the .QBA file created from the client’s data, a journal entry.  Changes initially appear as single line items, and you can expand (+) or collapse (-) the detail that appears below a transaction by clicking the appropriate indicator to the left of the transaction.  If your accountant has recorded more than a few transactions, you can also click the Expand All and Collapse All buttons to perform those tasks on all of the transactions in the .QBY file.  At this point, the changes are described as not yet incorporated into your company file.  We’ve attached a sample report in PDF format showing the output at this stage.

After completing your review, click the Incorporate Accountant’s Changes button.  You’ll see a message that QuickBooks needs to close all windows.  Click Ok.

QuickBooks Accountants Copy Incorporate Changes Close All

Before incorporating the changes, as a precaution QuickBooks forces you to perform a backup.  To proceed and backup your data, click Ok.

QuickBooks Accountants Copy Incorporate Changes Backup

QuickBooks will prompt you to specify a file location and name to save the backup file.  When the backup is successfully completed, click Ok.  QuickBooks will proceed to incorporate the changes recorded in the .QBY file.

QuickBooks Accountants Copy Incorporating

When the changes have been incorporated, you’ll see a window reflecting the successful result.

QuickBooks Accountants Copy All Done

It’s strongly recommended that you click Print or Save as PDF to document the changes made.  If you click the Close button before producing a report of the changes, you’ll be cautioned to produce a report first.  Click Cancel to return to the previous window to print or save a report.  If you ignore the caution and click Ok, you’ll lose any chance to produce a report of the changes that were just incorporated.

QuickBooks Accountants Copy Print Caution

To document your work, click either the Print or Save as PDF button.  At this point, the changes recorded in in the Accountant’s Copy have been sucessfully incorporated into your company file.  We’ve attached a sample of the PDF produced by QuickBooks after this step.


  1. David says:

    I have taken on a new client and the previous bookkeeper sends my client a Quickbooks Acct Transfer file .QBX, but my client has Quickbook Pro. How can I import these files? Help

    • Your steps aren’t quite right. Your client should be sending you a transfer file, and you return an import file with your completed work.

      • Joy Peoples says:

        My client did send me a transfer file .qbx that the previous bookkeeper sent to her in an email, but again my client has QuickBooks Pro. I have not started any work, because we need to upload the transfer files to have prior years info (2011-2013). I need to convert the .qbx files to .qbb or .qbw to get the info imported first before I start inputting 2014 data. Any suggestions?

        • Take another look at our articles on using Accountant’s Copy files. In summary, your client sends you a transfer file (.qbx). You convert that to an accountant’s copy file (.qba). You make your changes, such as importing 2014 data. However, any changes you input must be on or before the dividing date. Then, you send back your completed work in a change file (.qby). You don’t work in a .qbw file directly. If you were to do that, you would not be able to send back your work in a .qby file; you’d have to send the updated .qbw file back to your client, and while you work in the file, they must suspend work.

          Hope that helps.

          • Emel says:

            I believe we have a misunderstanding. I am working in my clients office on their computer. We are trying to get the previous bookkeeper to convert the Account Transfer files and resend them to us so we can have prior years data in the new Quickbooks Pro that we have moved to. The client never had their files on their computer. Thanks I know what needs to be done now

  2. Keval says:

    I have an Accountants Copy QBY file, but my client has moved to QB Pro and when I go to select Import Accountant Changes of course it is grayed out because the Accountant’s copy was not created on this QB program. How can I import these changes?

    • Importing is tied to the company (data) file, not the program. When you open the company file, in order to import, QB must display a notice that there is an Accountant’s Copy with a dividing date outstanding. If not, then your client’s switch of versions may have canceled the Accountant’s Copy, which is why the menu option is greyed out. Your best bet is to contact Intuit before proceeding so that you don’t risk losing the work in your QBY file.

  3. Anna Elrod says:

    I have created and sent an accountant’s copy to my cpa. He has printed a list of changes for me to enter, however, QB tells me I cannot make changes before the cutoff date. Without a change file, how can I get QB back to the way it was so I can make these changes myself?

    • That’s the whole point of the cutoff date – you’re not supposed to make changes until you complete the import. You can cancel the accountant’s copy, which will allow you to record those transactions, but it will also mean any work your CPA did is lost. You should wait until that work is completed and then complete the import before recording transactions before the cutoff date.

  4. Jami says:

    I am trying to import my accountants file into QB’s however, I cannot get into the Incorporate Accountant’s Changes window as I cannot see the file. QB’s is only looking for QBY files and my Accountants copy is a QBA file, please let me know how I can get this to work.

    • Your accountant needs to send you a change file in order for you to incorporate them. The QBA file is not a change file.

  5. Amanda says:

    Hi. I have created an ACCOUNTANT COPY and the problem we have is that my accountant CAN NOT OPEN THIS ACCOUNTANT COPY on his quickbooks in order to start processing. Can someone explain to us how an accountant opens up the accountant copy on his quickbooks, in order to start working?? Thanks!!!

    • QuickBooksUnrecoverableError says:

      Using an accountant’s copy file should be pretty straightforward – provided your accountant has the right version of QB. See our article on how an accountant works with client data in an accountant’s copy file. In order for your accountant to make use of an accountant’s copy file, he or she must have QuickBooks Premier Accountant that matches your version (year) of QB. For 2012, QB Premier Accountant has been renamed to simply QB Accountant.

  6. Anita says:

    I have the email the accountant sent me to inc. the accountants changes. I didn’t print the list and now need to see something that was changed…is there a way to print that after the fact? Thank you

    • Hindsight is always 20/20. See our cautionary words:

      It’s strongly recommended that you click Print or Save as PDF to document the changes made. If you click the Close button before producing a report of the changes, you’ll be cautioned to produce a report first. Click Cancel to return to the previous window to print or save a report. If you ignore the caution and click Ok, you’ll lose any chance to produce a report of the changes that were just incorporated.

      So, at this point, there is no way for you to print a report, but there are some workarounds. First, check with your accountant to see if a report of the changes exists. If not, you could try to create a new company file from the backup you created just before importing the changes. Then, from that file, you could create an accountant’s copy. Finally, you’d import the changes your accountant sent, but this time opting to print the report. You would not be overwriting your current company file; you’d be creating a new one and re-doing the import only for the purpose of generating the report. You’d need to be extremely careful to do this in a separate folder to eliminate any chance of overwriting your current file. And once complete, you’d want to remove this duplicate so that you didn’t inadvertently enter transactions in this duplicate file rather than your current file. It’s a straightforward process if you pay attention to details and understand what you’re doing, but if you move quickly or don’t have a good understanding of folders and file locations, it’s easy to overwrite your company file, which would be going backwards from your present spot. Good luck.

  7. Idrees Ahmad says:

    Now that I’ve imported the accountant’s changes, I want to print out a GL that shows his changes on the trial balance – pre his adjustments. I want to avoid creating a custom spreadsheet. Please help.

    • Chris – Since an accountant’s changes could have impacted any period before the dividing date, you have 2 choices:

      1. look at the accountant’s changes and see if they all have the same date, such as the last day of a month; if that were the case and there were no other transactions, you might be able to get your report by careful choice of a date
      2. create a new company file from the backup QuickBooks forced you to make before you incorporated the changes and run reports from that file to reflect the state of things before your accountant’s changes

      The second choice above is usually the real solution. The first choice only works in situations with limited changes by your accountant in company files that have light activity. Anything beyond that, and the risk that you miss something makes it not worth the trouble.

      Once you’ve completed the import (which you said you did), QuickBooks doesn’t offer you tools to distinguish transactions imported from ones you’ve entered. Therefore, there’s no way to accomplish what you want unless you call upon your backup, which is the principal reason why QuickBooks forces you to make one.