22 of the Best Tips for Using the QuickBooks Accountant’s Copy

What is an Accountant’s copy

The QuickBooks Accountant’s copy allows an accountant to review and edit a client’s company file, while at the same time the client can continue using the file at their office. When your accountant has made the necessary adjusting and other entries, you can then import his or her changes into your company file.

This is a summary of how to use this feature with the QuickBooks Canadian 2013 version.

Create an accountant’s copy

    1. DO THIS IN SINGLE USER MODE. You must create the Accountant’s copy in single user mode: click File > Switch to Single-user Mode.
    2. Choose File > Accountant's Copy > Client’s Activities > Save File.
    3. Confirm you want to create an Accountant's Copy and click Next.
      1. Choose a dividing date to determine the fiscal period your accountant will work on. Your accountant works on transactions dated on or before the dividing date while you continue to work on transactions after the dividing date. You can view transactions dated on or before the dividing date, but you cannot change them.
      2. It's a good idea to consult with your accountant when choosing a dividing date. Generally, a good choice is a couple of weeks after the last day of the fiscal period, such as the end of the year or the end of a quarter, which would allow your accountant to move transactions between periods.
      3. For the dividing date, we suggest the first of the year so that your accountants can make reversing entries.
      4. QuickBooks provides several predefined dates you can use to choose your dividing date: End of Last Month, 2 Weeks Ago, 4 Weeks Ago, and Custom. Click Custom to choose a specific date, such as 12/31/12
    4. Click Next
    5. (Optional) Change the suggested location for the file and the file name that QuickBooks suggests for the accountant's copy. The file must have a .qbx extension.
    6. Click Save.
    7. Save the Accountants copy to a flash drive or to a CD Rom. If you will be using a Portal your accountant has set up for you to exchange files securely between the two of you, save the file in the Accountant Copy folder on the Portal. We use e-Courier, which means you can send us the file securely.
    1. If you use the internet to transfer the file, the following message appears.
    1. Give the Accountant's Copy transfer file (.qbx) to your accountant and continue work on your file.
    2. Remember if your file is on a file server, you must go through the same exercise as if you were creating a Portable company file.
    3. When you next open your copy of QuickBooks, the following message appears:
  1. After creating the Accountant’s copy, your file will include (Accountant’s Changes Pending) in the name.

An overview of the process


If you change your mind about creating an Accountant’s copy

  1. If, for some reason, you decide that you do not want the accountant to have the Accountant’s copy, you can cancel it. To cancel, click File> Accountant’s copy> Client activities>Remove Restrictions.
  2. After cancelling the change, the file name no longer includes the words Accountant’s Changes Pending.

Some things you can and cannot do while your Accountant has your accountant’s copy


  1. You can work only on transactions dated after the dividing date.


  1. You can add a new account, but you cannot add a new sub-account to an existing account.
    1. You cannot edit, merge, or make an existing account inactive
    2. You can only edit an account or make an account inactive if you created it while your accountant has the Accountant’s copy.

Lists (other than the Chart of Accounts)

  1. You can edit, sort, and make list items inactive; you cannot delete or merge list items


  1. You can reconcile your accounts
    1. All reconciliations that include transactions in the current period (after the dividing date) are saved and will not be undone
    2. To prevent conflicts with your accountant's changes, reconciliations that include transactions dated on or before the dividing date will be undone when you import your accountant's changes.
    3. If your accountant has reconciled or undone reconciliation for any period, any reconciliation you did will be undone when you import your accountant's changes.

Incorporating your Accountant’s copy into your QuickBooks copy

  1. When your accountant’s work is complete, he or she sends you an accountant’s change file. This file has the format *qby. You can then use this file to automatically import your changes into your company file.

Here are the steps:

  1. Open the company file from which you created the Accountant’s copy
    1. Choose File > Accountant’s Copy > Client’s Activities > Import Accountant’s Changes from File
    2. Locate the accountant’s changes file (*.qby), and click Open

Review and Import changes into your company file

  1. After you have opened the accountant's change file using either method, continue with the following steps.
    1. Review your accountant's changes. You can use the [+] and [-] to expand or collapse each change to see the details. To see or hide details for all the changes, click Expand All or Collapse All.
    2. If any of your accountant's changes conflict with work you've done since saving the Accountant's Copy, a message displays below the change with an explanation of what to do.
    3. (Recommended) Click Print to print a copy of your accountant's changes, or click Save As PDF to save a PDF file of your changes. This step is recommended so you have a record of your accountant's changes.

Incorporate or Reject Accountant’s Changes

  1. After reviewing the changes, click Incorporate Accountant's Changes. Or click Close if you choose not to import the changes.
    1. Note: If you choose not to import the changes, you will have to remove the Accountant's Copy restrictions and enter the changes manually. Be sure to check with your accountant before you decide not to import the changes.
    2. Click OK to close the QuickBooks windows.
    3. Click OK to back up your company file. In the Save Backup Copy window, choose a location for your backup file and click OK. Click OK again when the backup is complete.
    4. Review the incorporated changes in the Incorporate Accountant's Changes window. If your accountant made changes that conflict with work you've done since saving the Accountant's Copy, the Incorporate Accountant's Changes windows displays messages that explain the conflict and what you should do . Also, this is your last opportunity to print a hard copy of your accountant's changes.
    5. After you've reviewed the changes, click Close.