As most have noticed, Intuit added a new IIF import workflow, with its goal being to catch mistakes in IIF files, import all transactions that are valid, and to help you understand what's wrong with the invalid ones. It's a fantastic goal that should help a lot of inexperienced people from introducing difficult-to-diagnose problems to their books, but unfortunately the version that shipped in Quickbooks 2019 missed the mark.
They've added a couple hoops and scary messages to frighten you off of the reliable, old importer
It seems that Intuit/Quickbooks is at least aware of this, as they left the "old way" of importing available, albeit with a couple scare tactics and extra, confusing steps to dissuade you from using them. In the images to the right, you'll see you have to click a text link designed to make you think it isn't clickable while telling you that the way importing has worked for the past decade is "not recommended", then you have to click through another window scaring you into thinking it's a dangerous operation by urging you to back up your QB file.
The whole thing stinks of manipulative dark UX patterns, but we can easily forgive that if the new importer is achieving all of its goals. Unfortunately, it doesn't, and it comes down to two main issues:
- issues importing valid files/transactions
- no assistance provided in creating these files
Issues with importing valid files/transactions
Here you can see one of the testing transactions Quickbooks refused to import for "not balancing",
and how it totals to $0.00, proving it is in balance.
There's no getting around it, the new importer is buggy and routinely flags valid, balanced transactions as being invalid, most commonly the Main Deposit transaction that Dassle creates. The Main Deposit transaction contains your entire cash deposit, all the income accounts you're splitting against, your clearing totals (ARs and CCs), taxes, and more. It's the largest part of the Dassle export file and certainly does the majority of the work. When importing it with the new importer, about three out of four times to works perfectly. However, there are times when a perfectly good Main Deposit transaction is flagged by the new importer as "not balancing", meaning that when we add the first line with all of the other lines of the transaction, we don't balance to $0. However, if I take that transaction into Excel the entire thing balances, and if I import via the old importer, it works just fine!
Luckily this is one of the few bugs that are encountered with a Dassle export file, but that doesn't mean it doesn't have many other problems. The fine folks over at Big Red Consulting have put together an exhaustive list of bugs they have encountered and isolated in the current version of QB. Even if the Main Deposit transaction would import, there'd be a bunch of other issues to be wary of with the new importer QB strongarms you into using.
No assistance provided in creating/fixing these files
In addition to this, there are many other changes made to the new IIF files, including the removal of certain transaction types and modification of existing ones. Unfortunately, there are a couple changes that impact the Dassle export file outside of the Main Deposit, mostly when moving funds from your AR clearing to the AR holding. As we set to make the relevant changes to Dassle to support the new imports, we naturally ran into some questions on what exactly some error messages meant. Intuit provides a kit containing a bunch of different IIF files, but without much guidance on how these files are vetted by the new importer. After a bunch of testing, it seems that the General Journal transaction type was no longer represented in the IIF as "GENJRNL" but as "GENERAL JOURNAL", and changing that in the file would allow it to import, HOWEVER it would come through completely differently. We combed through the provided files and tested more options, but could never replicate the old functionality that Dassle users have come to expect from our export files and Quickbooks.
Naturally, we look to reach out to Quickbooks themselves, but they refuse to support their own product and turn us away. Any question about IIF imports issues or bugs in Quickbooks are met with one of three responses:
- "We do not provide any assistance with IIF importing"
- "If can still use the old importer by clicking 'Import it for me, I'll fix it later'"
- "In this article you can download sample IIFs"
We've tried reaching out multiple times, but every time the answer is the same. "We do not provide any assistance with IIF importing".
Our Next Steps
So in conclusion, we've spent the better part of 8 months trying to get this working. We did it despite a borderline-antagonistic response from Quickbooks, as if they don't want people to be able to use the IIF import functions (new or old) at all!
They made a bunch of changes to the new importer, scare you off of the old importer, provide little assistance/documentation on their site in changing your files for the new importer, refuse to provide support for the importer even when you reach out to their team directly, and even if you have a totally valid file, sometimes it just won't import and there's nothing you can do about it.
At this point, we're waiting and hoping that with QB2020 comes many fixes to the new importer and that Quickbooks will change their policy on providing support for IIF imports. We really, really want to use the new importer. It looks like a great step forward, providing better validation for files being imported, but at this time it just isn't possible.