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Opportunity: Conversion tools for old accounting software

Are you a QuickBooks tech guru? Or perhaps you’ve had a look under the hood of MYOB, Sage or some other accounting system – if so we’re really keen to connect with you.

There are plenty of things to consider when converting from one accounting system to another and we’d like to make this process as easy as possible for our customers. We already have a number of features to help out – but we’d like to take this to a whole new level.

It’s a great opportunity for gurus in desktop software, consultants and integrators to create value as small businesses move from the desktop to the cloud.

Because there are so many different flavors of accounting software, with many different versions, we thought the best approach would be to provide a standard import format that Xero will support. Once the file is populated it would allow an organization to be set up in Xero in a single step – everything needed is imported and in the right format.

This would remove a lot of  the pain associated with conversion by consolidating exported organization settings, accounts, historic invoices and contacts.

If you’re one of the smart people out there who could build these sorts of tools, we’ll make sure you have the ability to upload the resulting files directly into Xero. And to make this magic happen, we’ve defined a data format that contains all the information you would normally need when setting up an organization in Xero.

This draft XML format contains the information collected through our set-up wizard, plus a section to include contact information. Before the final schema is confirmed, we’re interested in hearing from anyone who can verify that this sort of information can be extracted from other systems (which you’re familiar with) and find out if we’ve missed anything.

Interested in working with us on conversion tools or perhaps you’d like to know more? Contact us at network@xero.com or give us feedback in the comments below.

 

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33 comments

Matt Allen
4 November 2011 #

I like where this is heading, having had the horrible luxury of dealign with MYOB in a read-only capacity before I can see how this could melt the minds of non-developers.

I guess it comes down to a mapping exercise. Upload => Read file => write XML.

If only I had some real world examples of MYOB/QUICKEN file to try with, all my friends are on Xero already!

Firas Hermez
4 November 2011 #

The MYOB sample company file has enough data to work with and it also runs in trial for a lengthy period of time.

For QB , the trial for the US version is enough to get you going but not in the AU/NZ regions however as the trial is limited to you running QB for up to 5 times before you have to purchase.

All of that aside this shouldn’t be a challenge but it would definetly be interesting to see who does this, we’ve already done deep integration work with all of the 3 accounting systems above and this idea has been brought up a few times.

Will be interesting to see who ends up doing this =)

Rhys Roberts
4 November 2011 #

Great initiative, but I would like to see an opportunity to edit the data on the way through – you need more than just one click to suck data out of MYOB (or other system) & into Xero. Why do I say this? Because converting between systems is such a great time to cleanse data & if that function doesn’t get to be part of the impementation it is a huge opportunity lost.

I have just uploaded an MYOB file that had 900 customers and 600 suppliers, I gave the client the option of excluding those that were obsolete, we ended up with 160 contacts in Xero (ie 90% got purged, which will make his file easier to work with in the future).

Similarly with the clients GL – you do not necessarily want to import the existing GL chart line by line, rather to be able to map this to something that provides a better platform for the client to run their business ongoing. One specific and really important example of this (in Australia at least) is for those Not For Profit clients who wish to implement the Standard Chart of Accounts.

And again similar issues with jobs / tracking codes, items, and so on.

I know you could do lots of edits in MYOB then do the imports, but usually these sorts of edits are far easier to do in Excel.

So great initiative but two clicks not one please!

Happy to provide any input you need Andrew (I have already spoken with Tim Wright about this at some length),

Cheers, Rhys

Rod Drury
4 November 2011 #

Hi Rhys

Our XML file is an import format so whoever writes converters can do all sorts of manipulation before getting to the XML file. We can imagine some smart tools that pull data from source systems, manipulates that information and even provide editors to augment the data before creating the XML file.

This was one of the reasons that drove this approach. We hope smart people who understand the desktop products intimately (and better than us) will build sophisticated conversion tools.

Cheers

Rod

Wayne Robinson
4 November 2011 #

I would consider working on this problem but I can’t really see anyone paying enough to use it, especially as it would only be useful to use once.

Clint Davis
4 November 2011 #

Wow … Game changing.

This was my biggest problem with moving to xero is that I would not have my past years of financial data to produce reports from, unless I went back and summarized the data .. And I could not be bothered to do that.

So in the end I bit the bullet and changed, but this and have kept my version of quickbooks for when I need to go back and check on some old data…. this would have made it so much easer to make the shift to Xero.

PLEASE, Please, please make it possible to import historical data even though the customer has already started using xero with new data.

I would love to start producing reports that allow me to go back to the beginning of time, track growth etc.

I love you Xero,
Clint.

WSI
5 November 2011 #

@Rod: We’re ready to answer the call.

Earl Rudolfo
5 November 2011 #

Looking forward to using this XML tool for QB conversions. Really appreciate Xero taking the initiative to make our lives easier -:)

Böse Blick
5 November 2011 #

Can’t wait to use this conversion for my QB and Sage Peachtree clients.

David Kime
5 November 2011 #

Can’t wait for solution for sage 50 – not clever enough to write it but I know what I want. Here is the sage data, press go and hey presto there it is in xero!

Adrian Pearson
5 November 2011 #

Hi folks, the good news is that we already have most of the work required for this done.

We have software that extracts all historical transaction data from Sage 50 and QuickBooks files over the web. Currently this data gets processed in Ledgerscope but we are now looking at the draft XML format above to see what changes we need to make to import the data into Xero instead.

@David Kime – quick question please: how much would you be willing to pay for this service, per Sage 50 / QuickBooks file converted?

Fred Blauer
6 November 2011 #

Don’t know about the xml aproach, since I am not a developer, but I have used a different approach which seems to work. I have found this ETL tool to be very useful for data migrations, from virtually any kind of system, including a direct connection to Quickbooks:
http://www.astera.com/
Good luck with your initiative. There are so many different versions of quickbooks, and also different country versions, it might be difficult to automate and keep up to date.

Gayle Buchanan
7 November 2011 #

Oh I would soooo be happy with a banklink quick change out – client is a commission agent and it’s a nightmare – however, very please they are converting (I just can’t charge them the hours it is going to take to move them over, they already paid for the coding) looking forward to what comes out of this initiative. Initial conversion and time I’m sure will be repaid in the future a thousand fold. Go team

John B
7 November 2011 #

This sounds like a very good initiative. One question – would Xero also be providing an export tool, to export data in this format for those wanting to change *from* Xero?

Kelvin Hartnall
7 November 2011 #

@Wayne, I agree. As a developer, the issue I see is determining who would pay for this service. There are three parties who would get value from this service:

1) Businesses transitioning to Xero. They would get a one-time benefit of a simpler transition. But they would also see this as part of the cost of changing systems, not as something that directly gives them any new benefit, so I would assume they would be unwilling to pay much for the service. Complicating this is that many businesses would like to use the service as a way of accessing the free Xero trial before making a commitment to the change. Again, this would mean that they would be unlikely to want to pay for the service.

2) Financial advisors and book-keepers. They would get repeated benefit from the service by reducing the amount of data entry in transitioning client’s systems.

3) Xero. They get a lot of value in the service since it helps accelerate the uptake of the Xero system. When coupled with a free trial, this makes it very easy for businesses to trial the Xero system on their real business data.

To make it a worthwhile business case, I think Xero would need to be williing to directly license the solution, or at least a particular version that would allow the solution to also be sold to financial advisers / book-keepers too.

Stephen
7 November 2011 #

It would be fantastic to be able to download an app, read in the MYOB AccountsRight Plus or MYOB AccountsRight Premier file, “cleanse” the file of customers / supplier cards, etc, clean up the Chart of Accounts (have a default set in the app from a the default Xero system) and then when ready, hit the magic export button to push all the information out to a XML file ready for importing into Xero.

You would have to be able to save the information after reading it into the ‘app’, before exporting it, so that you can come back to it. Also the information should be saved, so that you can export to XML and if the XML file doesn’t import correctly to Xero then you can go back to the ‘app’ and fix the data and try again. Also there should be a ‘test upload’ button on the Xero side, where you can test the XML file, so that you can determine if it has any errors in it.

My thoughts anyway …

Gillian Rossouw
11 November 2011 #

Awesome Toks – I have worked with extracting a considerable amount of data from QB Online, MYOB & Netsuite – and majority of data can be pushed thru with a few tweaks using Xero’s templates, however it does depend what feature is being used in each data file/application one is pulling data from. Like @Rhys comments agree we need more than one click. Happy to assist with more feedback if need be.

[...] said in a recent blog that they realize the multitude of many things to consider when moving from a desktop accounting [...]

[...] said in a recent blog that they realize the multitude of many things to consider when moving from a desktop accounting [...]

Josh Reeder
11 December 2011 #

You will have 2 more of my companies on Xero if you come up with a quickbooks converter!

Jason Oxley
2 February 2012 #

As a newbie to Xero in the last month. I have found it a very time consuming moving from Quickbooks. It would be great to been able to convert my data to Xero and still would be as I haven’t finished the entries yet.

Ben Kepes
2 February 2012 #

Jason – we hear you! Watch this pace, in the very near future we’ll be adding a QuickBooks to Xero conversion service to our MYOB to Xero one!

Nick Bird
9 March 2012 #

I have fine-tuned a quickbooks data migration process using quickbooks reports and CSVs that works for most businesses. Depending on the amount of transactions and complexity of the system you would like to import, It’s a reasonable cost for a data migration. My average data conversion comes to around $1,500-2,000. Drop me a line if you are interested or just want to chat about improving the process. I’m all for it!

Ben Kepes
21 March 2012 #

We (DJCA, Trineo and Diversity) have taken the challenge and now offer a MYOB to Xero migration in three different flavours – lite, pro and full monty – check it out!

https://secure.livemigrate.com/

Andrew Noble
27 March 2012 #

Any update on the Xero XML Import Utility? I’ve got a simple tool ready to rip report end points, customer info, supplier info & employee info from MYOB & Quickbooks to XML.

Ronan Quirke
28 March 2012 #

@Andrew we’ve been making some good progress both on the technical side and also on what this might look like as a product, will drop you a line with some more details.

Josh
30 March 2012 #

Working on a way to do the same for Cloud Accounting to Cloud Accounting conversions? I.e Saasu to Xero?

Andrew Tokeley
30 March 2012 #

@Josh – we don’t know of anyone targeting Sassu to Xero conversions yet, but sounds like a good idea to me ;-)

However, our approach of supporting a single file upload and extending our API will work for any accounting solution, desktop or web based – the only criteria being that the necessary data can be extracted from the source system. The demand at the moment has come primarily from users coming from older desktop solutions and this is where the new providers we’ve mentioned here, http://blog.xero.com/2012/03/its-all-about-conversion, are focusing.

Thomas Bombotas
8 April 2012 #

Would love to see a migration tool for sage handisoft data.

[...] people face with converting data and are creating the ability for Conversion Add-on partners to use technology to assist the conversion process. We are looking forward to utilising the technology as it becomes [...]

Adrian Pearson
30 May 2012 #

Eek! Just realised that I never came back here to update you guys that we now have our Sage to Xero conversion software up and running at http://www.movemybooks.com.

Mainly for UK accountants and businesses at the moment, but QuickBooks conversions are coming very soon. Plan is to support UK, Canadian and US QuickBooks. If you are waiting for this, leave us your email on the website and we’ll let you know when it’s ready.

Ankit Mehta
26 September 2012 #

MMCconvert has launched its conversion service in different packages for Clients and CPAs who wish to convert their clients data from QB to XERO, with the basic conversion costing as low as 149$ and a commitment of turnaround time of 72 hours. If the basic conversion takes longer than that, the entire money is refunded. Your clients data will be in hands of Certified Chartered Accountants alongwith the commitment to be the cheapest option available at all times. We are interested in tie-ups with CPAs or consultants for bulk conversions.Check out the website http://www.mmcconvert.com for further details or email me at info@mmcconvert.com.

Ronan Quirke
1 October 2012 #

@Anik – great to hear. We have a partner program to certify and promote those offering conversion services to Xero: http://blog.xero.com/2012/09/making-conversions-easier/ – feel free to get in touch.

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