Is QuickBooks Enterprise overkill for your business? If you’re only using basic functions, you may only need QuickBooks Premier or even Pro. With the new QuickBooks Enterprise (QBES) subscription model, it may have become too expensive to just keep going that way, since it costs at least $85/month. It may be time to switch to Premier or Pro.

QBES doesn’t have any way of converting to Pro or Premier. Until now, you couldn’t downgrade.

In simple circumstances, it is possible to use QuickBooks Online (QBO) as a pass-through conversion tool by importing your QBES data into QBO, then exporting it to a Desktop version (QBDT).

There are conversion services available who can safely do this for you. Two recommendations are provided at the end of this article if you need assistance.

Lastly, don’t forget to check out all of my QuickBooks training classes and consider joining our fun and quirky QuickBooks community!

Here are the instructions provided by Intuit [with commentary by Alicia in brackets] :

Importing QBES into QBO

Before you get started:

  • There must be no more than 350,000 targets in your QuickBooks file. To trim it down, see Trimming your QuickBooks Windows file for import. [If you are over 350,000, you should probably stay in Enterprise, as it is built to handle large files. Condensing your QuickBooks file may cause corruption.
  • The first step is to create a QuickBooks Online free trial account at
  • Your QuickBooks Desktop file will also replace your entire QuickBooks Online file if imported within 60 days of the start of your QuickBooks Online company.
  • To access Quickbooks Online, you must be an Administrator level user.
  • You must be logged in as the Admin user in your Desktop file.
  • Windows requires Internet Explorer. Other browsers won’t work.
  • If you receive any errors regarding the file you’re importing, see Errors Importing to QuickBooks Online
  • See What’s not imported when you move from desktop to online for a breakdown of key differences and unsupported features.

Important notice for QuickBooks Enterprise users:

Intuit does not officially support moving data from QuickBooks Enterprise to QuickBooks online and data loss may occur. 

As an Enterprise user, you have access to many advanced features not available in QuickBooks or QuickBooks online. In some cases you may have found yourself in Enterprise on accident, or only using the bare essentials, in which case moving will likely not be a problem. In all other cases however, you should strongly consider if QuickBooks online is right for your business by looking at Intuit’s import limitations above and testing out needed features first through a test drive.

[If you are running inventory, be aware that your calculations will change. QB Enterprise typically uses Average Cost to calculate COGS, while QBO changes it to FIFO (“first in, first out”). When you round trip back to Pro or Premier, you’re back to Average Cost. After your conversion, your Inventory Assets and COGS may be different than they were before. Please check with your accountant, as this might require filing a form with the IRS.]

[If you are running Intuit Payroll, you will need to set up your Payroll subscription from scratch in the new file. and talk to them before starting.]

[QuickBooks Online has additional data limitations that Enterprise does not. Check this list before you proceed:

When You’re Ready to Convert QuickBooks Enterprise to Pro or Premier:QuickBooks Enterprise Home Screen

  1. Subscribe to QuickBooks Online.
  2. Make a backup of your Enterprise file onto your local computer. Restore the backup to create a second copy, and work off of this second copy. That way, if anything goes wrong your original file is untouched. You are also now working off your local copy, instead of the server.
  3. Open QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions to the Home screen.
  4. Press Ctrl+1 to open the Product Information window
  5. Once opened, press Ctrl+b followed by Ctrl+q.
  6. Click OK to close the Product information window.
  7. The screen below should automatically come up. If you don’t see this screen, attempt Step 2 one more time.
  8. Enter your QuickBooks Online login info, agree to the Terms of Service, and click Submit.
  9. Pick the online company you want to import your data into.
  10. Note: You may only have the option to import list and balances if your company file is too large to import. If you don’t see this screen, continue to the next step below.

If QuickBooks is freezing or unresponsive during the import:

First, open Internet Explorer (Non 64-bit if you have two), then follow the guide to disable/enable the appropriate settings:

  • Once you are in the Tools Menu, press and hold ALT+T to get to the Internet Options tab. From here, you can uncheck the box to enable protected mode under the Security tab.
  • In the Tools Menu, press ALT+T, then select Internet Options, then Security at the top, and uncheck Enable Protected Mode..
  • Still on the Security tab, click on the Zone with an image of a globe called Internet. Drag the slider for security level to Low or Medium.
  • Click Apply, then OK. Now close and re-open Internet Explorer before attempting to re-do the import.

. After following all the above steps, try the import again. During the import flow you will likely get a pop-up asking you to be redirected to, and if you trust this site? Please click Yes to continue.

12. Click OK, Got it. Look for an email from Intuit when your data is done converting and you can log back into QBO.

13. Compare the Profit and Loss and Balance Sheet standard reports for All Dates in QBO and in QuickBooks Enterprise to ensure that your data transferred correctly.

Exporting from QBO to QBDT Premier or Pro

Once your file is up and running in QBO, use Internet Explorer to Export your QBO file into a backup for Desktop. Change the URL in the browser window to

  1. Follow the prompts to make sure ActiveX Controls are installed. Click Continue.
  2. Choose All Financial Data to convert your entire file. If you want to start fresh, choose All financial data without transactions, which will bring over balances but not the history. You can always refer to your old QBES file if needed.
  1. Once the file has been exported, the next step is to Convert it.
  2. Open QBDT to the screen where you pick a company to open.
  3. In QBO, click the button to Convert the file from QBO. Follow the prompts – sometimes the window appears behind other windows, so look for it!
  4. Once you’re done, don’t forget cancel your QBO trial subscription…although you may want to poke around. A lot of people love QBO more than Desktop.
  5. Once the import has finished, you will want to restore your browser to its default setting. Do this by opening up Internet Explorer and following these steps:
  • Press and hold ALT+T to get to the Tools Menu. From here go to Internet Options at the bottom, then go to the Security tab at the top.
  • Click Reset all zones to default level, then click Apply, OK, and close Internet Explorer.


Get Help Converting from QuickBooks Enterprise to Pro or Premier

Because this technique is complex, and only to be used in very specific circumstances, I recommend you contact Matt Clark at  instead of doing it yourself!

But for all of you on QuickBooks Enterprise who know you’re not using any Enterprise-specific features, and have wished there was a way to simplify, use this workaround to import your file into QuickBooks Online and then export it back out again, solving your problem.