Pro Tips Monday: Exporting to QuickBooks Desktop (yes, one more time)

Omar Al-Agely —  February 6, 2012 — 9 Comments

Recently, I have been receiving a lot of emails asking for help on how to sync Expensify with QuickBooks – so I have the need to re-blog this.In case if you still have questions, we do have a very detailed, step by step guide in our help section as mentioned above ( as well as a weekly Webinar every Friday at 11:30am PST that will go over how to establish this connection and every possible other connection to your account package supported by Expensify. To register for that, click on any of the following links:


QuickBooks is an amazingly powerful tool.  It can be configured (and misconfigured) countless ways.  But the high level concept of how to export from Expensify to QuickBooks desktop is relatively straightforward.  There are a bunch of detailed instructions in our help section, but here’s a quick step-by-step guide — feel free to print it out so you can follow along.

Phase 1: Clean up your account
First, if you’ve already started exporting and it’s not working for you for some reason, I suggest cleaning up your account so we can start over from scratch.  Don’t worry: you won’t lose any data or affect your QuickBooks company file or Expensify reports in any way — this just removes any old connections so we can rebuild them from scratch.

  1. Sign in to Expensify using the https://expensify.comlink (eg, do notsign in via Intuit Workplace). This just keeps things easy.
  2. Click “Settings” in the upper right, then “Connections” on the left, and click “delete” next to any existing QuickBooks connections. This won’t affect your data, but it will just disconnect it from your Expensify account.
  3. Remove your “Intuit” secondary login. Just more cleanup. Click “Settings” in the upper-right, then “Account” on the left, and click “[remove]” next to any “intuit” line in the “Secondary Logins” section.

Phase 2: Connect to QuickBooks and export the report
Next, let’s go set up a new connection to QuickBooks using the QuickBooks web connector, and then export our first report.

  1. Shut down QuickBooks, QuickBooks web connector, or essentially anything Intuit or QuickBooks-related on your desktop.
  2. Close all web browsers.
  3. Open a new web browser (I strongly recommend Google Chrome).
  4. Sign in to the Expensify website direct using this link:
    • Note: Do NOT sign in via Intuit Workplace, Intuit App Center, or by clicking anything inside of QuickBooks. This is an advanced feature.
  5. Click “Reports” at the top of the Expensify site.
  6. Click the name of the report you want to export.
    • If there are no reports here, click “new report” and create one for testing — add at least one expense to it by clicking “new expense”. Basically, expenses needed to be added to a report before they can be exported to QuickBooks.
  7. Click “export to…” along the top.  If there is no “export to…” button:
    • If someone else submitted this to you, click “approve” first, and choose “final approve”.
    • If you created this report, click “archive” first.
  8. Choose the company you want to export to.
    • If no companies are listed, follow these instructions.
    • When done, go back to step (1) and start over.
  9. Review the export options — this explains exactly where the data will be put inside QuickBooks.
  10. Click “export” at the bottom.
  11. Open the QuickBooks company file on your desktop.
  12. Open the QuickBooks Web Connector by clicking “File -> Update Web Services” inside QuickBooks.
    • If it doesn’t open, reboot computer and try again.
    • If it still doesn’t open, call Intuit (888-222-7276).
  13. Verify the Expensify connection is selected.
  14. Click “Updated Selected”
  15. This will cause QuickBooks to connect to Expensify and download the information into QuickBooks. When it reaches 100%, it should be done!

And that should do it.  It’s not exactly a painless process, but it’s an incredibly powerful one!

Omar Al-Agely


When we long for life without difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure.

9 responses to Pro Tips Monday: Exporting to QuickBooks Desktop (yes, one more time)


    1) Why doesn’t the export to QB remember simple things like the account to write a check from?
    2) When will we be able to directly create an invoice from an expense report so the dates will be correct, rather than the check or bill date?


    @@bdesilva – Great questions. As or (1), it’s just due to us being in the midst of a total overhaul of QB export, and so we haven’t been doing much to improve what’s already there given that we’re about to replace it entirely. Sorry for the delay! As for the (2), I’m not sure I understand entirely — can you describe this in a bit more detail so I can follow? Thanks, sorry for my confusion!


    I’ve chatted with someone there about this. Here is the flow and problem.
    1) expenses approved in expensify. Ea expense has it’s own date
    2) Send to QB as check or bill. All expenses now have one date.
    3) create an invoice from the check or bill data. All expenses have the one date.

    The only way to get the correct dates on the invoice is for Expensify to export directly to create an invoice. I’d like the option to export just to a check/bill OR just to an invoice OR BOTH.


    Export options do not seem to be working. For example, when it says “choose the default expense account”, this account should only by used if an expense is not cateogorized in the report. In my case I have my QB chart of accounts and have cateorized every expense in my report. After exporting to QB, the transaction is there under the correct employee, but everything goes to the “default” and not to the correct/specific journal/general ledger account listed in my chart of accounts. I have tried everything, but nothing seems to work. Any ideas?


    @Lisa – Hm, that’s odd. Did you import the categories from QuickBooks automatically, or did you manually re-type them into Expensify? If the latter, it could be that they’re slightly off and thus not matching exactly. Regardless, can you please do me a favor and email so we can investigate in more detail? Thanks!


    I was also hoping to achieve what Lisa had requested, but perhaps it is not possible? Kirk just told me you cannot create Expensify subcategories to match your QB subcat’s. But even if you could, when I look at the Exporting “New Report”… page, it appears you can export to one expense account at a time. I was thinking that if I created Expensify Cat’s that exactly matched my QB Cat’s they would all export accordingly but it does not seem like that is an option.


    @bdesilva-What you are describing is actually a QB limitation not really Expensify. I’m a QB consultant and clients complain of this issue to me all the time. Unfortunately, QB uses the transaction date when linking a reimbursable expense to invoices which is why expense reports through bill/check aren’t conducive to this process. Similarly, importing directly to an invoice doesn’t link the associated cash out which would then lose the reconciling aspects of the process. There are 2 workarounds that I’ve used to resolve this issue…
    1) Create a separate bill for each transaction to employee then create bill payment to employee for those on the approved report.
    2) Create a separate check for each transaction to vendor in a wash bank account then create check or bill/bill payment to employee for approved report amount using the wash account as the offset thus washing out the balance.
    1st solution is simpler but I prefer to see the vendor not employee on the Add Time/Costs so I can verify memo makes sense. Also, this method tracks any 1099 activity which is handy for owner’s that use cash or personal checks to pay eligible vendors. However, if the account is not properly handled you then have to add another step to reconcile the bank account…not typically difficult but can be irritating. Anyhow, I’m new to Expensify and have not used the export feature just yet so I’m not sure if either workaround is possible but figured it wouldn’t hurt to let you know the route issue and possible solutions. I hope this helps 🙂


    @Christina Actually it can work by exporting to invoices directly. Other expense programs do this. You are right that alone it would not be enough. However if the export created an invoice and a bill, the bill would put the expenses in the correct category. Now the invoice isn’t connected to billing of the expenses, but that’s no big deal to me as it’s obvious.


    As noted, this feature isn’t perfect, but it’s working for me so far. FYI – The QuickBooks Web Connector is soon to be deprecated tech though as Intuit moves to / supports their Intuit Anywhere interface exclusively.

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