QuickBooks 2013 Accountant Send General Journal Entries

Written by Charlie Russell

Here’s an interesting option in QuickBooks Accountant and QuickBooks Enterprise Accountant (but not in QuickBooks Bookkeeper) – the ability to send specific General Journal Entries to your client via email or a file download. Note that this is NOT the “accountant’s copy” feature.

PLEASE NOTE that much of this is based on information from an early release candidate of QuickBooks 2013 – it is possible that some features may vary from what is described here. Also, this applies strictly to the U.S. editions of QuickBooks in the Windows environment. The UK and Canadian versions may include some of these features.

When would this be used? The most common situation would be when an accounting professional wants to send an adjustment to a client file without having to go through the Accountant’s Copy exchange process, or exchanging an entire copy of the file. Perhaps you just finished working on the client file (and have given it back to them) and you find that there is one more adjustment to make? This new feature is a simple process for sending General Journal Entries without a lot of fuss and bother.

Are there other ways to do this? Sure!

  • You can visit your client’s office and make your changes directly in their system. Not convenient!
  • You can give them specific instructions on what change to make themselves. Very risky!
  • You can log on to the client’s computer using a remote access product and make the adjustment directly. This has to be done at a time when the client doesn’t need access to their computer!
  • You can set the client up on a QuickBooks Hosting service, then you can log in as a user any time. However, QB Hosting isn’t the answer for everyone, and if you are only accessing things a few times a year it might not be the right way to go.

So, let’s take a look at this new feature. Note that this is not available in QuickBooks Professional Bookkeeper.

Sending General Journal Entries

You have a client’s file, you want to make an adjustment, you don’t want to ask them for an Accountant’s Copy of the file because of all the hassles and time that involved (or, you just don’t trust that process). Instead, just make a simple General Journal Entry on your copy of their file.

When you create a General Journal Entry you will notice a new option in the toolbar – Send GJE’s.

Make a General Journal Entry

Clicking on that button (I’m not clear why this window isn’t an option in the Accountant menu, which would be easier) opens the Send General Journal Entries window. Note the following:

  • The date range usually defaults to the prior fiscal year, but you can change it to any period you wish.
  • You can select the individual GJE’s to be send at one time.
  • You can edit any given GJE by clicking the blue link in the Account column.
  • At the bottom of the screen is an option Allow recipient to select which GJEs to post to file. If you un-check this then all of the GJEs will be posted, otherwise the client can pick and choose which to post.

Send General Journal Entries

It would be nice if there was an option to filter this to show only Adjusting journal entries, but that may be a small issue.

When you click the Email as Attachment button, you get this window:

Emailing General Journal Entry

The client receives this email with an attachment with a name like “YourCompanyFilename(QuickBooks 13.0 Aug 18, 2012 04 37PM).QBJ”

Uh oh – a bit of a philosophical problem here. We are sending the client an attachment via email and asking them to “open” it? Aren’t we always telling our clients to never open attachments? Well, of course, it is OK for a client to open attachments from ME, right?  I wouldn’t recommend using this feature, but that is up to you.

Fortunately, there is an alternate method, the Save as File button.  This will save the QBJ file  to a folder of your choice, so then you can use your client portal (you have one, right?) or a file transfer service rather than sending it as an email attachment. I wish that this was the default method!

Receiving These General Journal Entries

Now let’s look at what goes on at the receiving end. The user gets this email with an attachment, or receives the file that you send to them by another means. They are told to “Open” it. How? I looked in vain for a menu option in QuickBooks that would let me open it, or import it, or receive it. Something? Nope, no option. It’s a simple thing, really – just double-click on the QBJ file. This will open QuickBooks, and you’ll get a window that lets you add the General Journal Entries as shown here:

Add General Journal Entries

Pretty simple – if the “sender” allowed the “recipient” to select the entries to post then you can check (or un-check) them in the left column. Then you click Add GJEs.

When it is done, you get a simple summary.

GJEs Import Summary

Sounds simple! I can see how this may be very useful.

One thing that I was worried about, but they handle reasonably well. What if I try to import this same file two times? If you do, you get a warning – but you are not PREVENTED from double posting.

Duplicate Posting warning

Another question is what if I try to import this to the wrong company file? In this case, QuickBooks will warn you that this might not be the right file. It WILL allow you to proceed, which it has to. Why? Because sometimes accounting professionals change the name of a company so that they can differentiate between different files.

GJE Import Warning

There are some important things to worry about in this case, though. If you import into a different file, the import file will also add any missing items, names or accounts. You could be adding a new account even if you hadn’t intended to. Plus, there may be some bugs here, if you import this multiple times you may find that the accounts are added EACH time you import, creating duplicate records in that list.This feature was not intended to be used this way, but since they allow it, they should tighten up the process here.

For those of you who care, the QBJ file is a simple text file containing “QBXML” statements. This is the same “language” that SDK based add-on programs use to talk to QuickBooks, and in general it is very safe. That is, it won’t create database corruption and there is good error checking. This is NOT an IIF import, thank goodness.

Here is a portion of a QBJ file so that you can see what is being sent (slightly reformatted for readability):

<QBXMLMsgsRq onError=”continueOnError”>
<AccountAddRq requestID=”120818233734967″>
<Name>First Bank</Name>

First Revision Bugs and Issues

Unfortunately, there are some first-revision problems. Let’s see how many of these Intuit agrees are problems, and if they’ll fix them quickly.

Procedural Problems

  • I sure wish that we had a “print” option in the Add General Journal Entries window so that I (the recipient) can print a list of the entries that were posted?
  • I really, really wish that their list of instructions in the email recommended that the client make a backup copy first before applying the file. Odds are you won’t get data corruption or problems, but what if you decide you didn’t like the GJEs? You (the client) don’t get a list of what was done, and there is no “undo” option. If I have a backup then I can restore it for an “undo” very simply.

Security/Integrity Problems

  • I don’t like asking a client to “open” an email attachment. Fortunately, the Save As File button is an option. I would rather that this be the default option, though.
  • Remember that option that the Sender has to not allow the user to select which GJEs to apply? Well, a slight tweak of the QBJ file can get around that. Here’s a section of this text file that applies to this situation. It is easy to alter.

<CompanyName>CCRSoftware Sample Company SITES</CompanyName>

  • In fact, if you think about it, we are sending the client a file that is simple text (well, complicated text) that can be edited in any text editor. I would prefer it if QuickBooks could encrypt this file so it couldn’t be changed. I’m starting to wonder, what are the limits of the QBXML import using this QBJ file? Can someone exploit this to post OTHER kinds of things here? Perhaps I’m being overly concerned? Of course, the user still has to APPROVE the posting, so it isn’t a stealthy way to get things in. But still…

Operational Problems

On my computer I have both Enterprise and Premier installed. I would expect that this is not the typical situation for your client. However, on my system, if I “opened” the QBJ file without QuickBooks running first, the QBJ file would start a copy of QuickBooks. Sounds good! Unfortunately, it didn’t always open the right copy of QuickBooks. My sample QBJ file came from Enterprise, opening the QBJ file would start Premier, and give me this somewhat odd error. The instructions here are NOT correct for the situation. OK, my fault, but it could happen.

Wrong version of QuickBooks

My Conclusion

This feature should be popular to accounting professionals who want to make simple journal entry corrections to client files without going through the hassles of the accountant’s copy process.  I’m concerned about security issues, but they can be managed with just a little attention. I haven’t found any big problems that are show stoppers.

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About the author

Charlie Russell

Charlie Russell has been involved with the small business software industry since the mid 70's, and remembers releasing his first commercial accounting software product when you had an 8-bit microcomputer with one 8 inch floppy disk drive. He has a special interest in inventory and manufacturing software for small businesses. Charlie is a Certified Advanced QuickBooks ProAdvisor with additional certifications for QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Enterprise, as well as being a Xero Certified Partner. Charlie started blogging about QuickBooks in 2008 (Practical QuickBooks) and has been writing for the Accountex Report (formerly the Sleeter Report) since 2011.

Visit his CCRSoftware web site for information about his QuickBooks add-on products. He is also the author of the California Wildflower Hikes blog.


  • That’s ‘our’ Charlie – back on the job first thing; another excellent article on what I think will become a ‘very popular’ feature with Accountants, ProAdvisors and their clients.


  • Now that is a really useful feature that I can see myself using on a regular basis! How many times do you notice something back at the office when reviewing a file, or your client calls asking about something, and you’ve had to note to change it next time you are on site? Now you can make the adjustment while the whole scenario is fresh in mind and get it over with, without much complication for the client.

    I’m curious – will the PC accountant version make a journal entry to be imported into the Mac version?

  • It seems to me that it is risky to make journal entries directly to a client’s file any way that you do it. Having the client make the entry themselves gives them an opportunity to see what is being changed, ask questions, and correct any mistaken assumptions which have been made. If they make the entry incorrectly you simply have patience and walk them through the corrections. If you are making the same change repeatedly they might be educated to enter things correctly the first time.

    • Valerie, it’s up to you as the accounting professional to decide how you will handle these situations. I prefer to avoid GJE’s as much as possible, as QB isn’t really geared towards GJE’s. However, if you just sent a client their file back after making adjustments, and you find that there is another adjustment needed, this might be a way to go. I have worked with multiple clients who I would never, ever ask to make a GJE on their own with direction. It all depends on your situation.

  • The GJEs Import Summary refers to list items. Does this mean if I add a journal entry using a new account I have added, it will add this account in the client file? What if I have simply changed the spelling of an existing account?

    • Michelle, if you change the spelling of an account name, then use that in a GJE using this feature, it will ADD that account to the client file. This tool is for sending GJE’s, not for doing other file manipulations like changing the name of an account. That is something entirely different.

  • Thanks for the Post, using this i am able to import the customer for my app. now i wanted to do same thing for the account but i don’t know how. I had searched a lot on google, but i can’t. can you help me on this ?

    • Rahmat, if you are just trying to convert your 2006 file to 2013, you don’t have to do any kind of “export”. Opening the 2006 file with the 2013 product will convert the file, assuming that you aren’t changing the national version of the product or moving from Enterprise down to Pro or Premier. Also this assumes that the file doesn’t have any corruption issues.

      If you just want to move some portion of the data, you can use the Data Transfer Utility from Karl Irvin (www.q2q.us), or the export and import tools from http://www.baystateconsulting.com

  • How long should the “import” step take for a file to respond? Have you tested this function since you wrote about it at the pre-release stage?

    I have a client updated to R6 of QB 2013 Premier Accountant Edition and I am using it in my office to review their data file.

    I have one long JE and two smaller ones that have only one account “rebalance” entry. We are trying to rebalance BS accounts for Class tracking now that this is available, so the long entry is rebalancing Bank subaccounts for Class balances to match the subaccounts.

    I am creating the .qbj as files to send myself, so I also have them as a record of activity.

    I made the GJE and exported them, then restored the earlier backup of their file to import. I have tried the export/import GJE on my own computer just to see how it is going to function. I tried exporting all three transactions into one .qbj; I tried each as its own .qbj file.

    I have their data file open and then I double-click the .qbj from my computer folder. This causes a secondary QB exec to attempt to launch, but the splash logo goes away. I click on the button to accept the GJE. Nothing happens except the cpu fan kicks into overdrive. After 5-10 minutes, when I click on the QB active title bar or open Task Manager, Windows 7 indicates QB is not responding.

    I know there are some tasks that QB is “too busy to poll to Windows” and you just keep waiting (such as a long verification for a back up or rebuild) but it seems to me even the small GJE should import in a snap.

    What do you think? Thanks in advance, of course, for your continuing description of how things are supposed to work, as opposed to how or if they actually work.

    • QBTeachMT – This must be another R6 issue, the Send Journal Entries (and import them) worked in earlier releases, but I have a client that is still on R6 and today I discovered the ‘exact same issue you describe’ while attempting to import a 2-line journal entry. I tried it with a 2nd entry and found the exact same situation.

      Charlie – do you have any update about this? I don’t see anything about this in R7 or R8 release notes.


    • Michele, I’m sorry that I didn’t respond to this earlier. It got lost in the shuffle.

      Murph, I’m not sure that I have all the details down on this. I am able to use the Send GJE feature in R8. I didn’t test it on R6. I don’t know if I have the exact combination of lines, etc, that you are looking at.

      Note that if you have both Enterprise and Premier installed on the same system, the import feature doesn’t work smoothly – it can’t always open the right version of QB that you need. So you have to test this in a system that only has one version of QB installed.

      And, to answer your other question, Murph, there isn’t anything on the list of “changes” for R8 that addresses this, but I’ve noticed a few small changes in R8 that are not on the list of things. But they are small things.

  • Hello, I have a client that is running pro 2012 and they sent me a backup copy for their taxes, I would like to open the backup and convert to 2013, make some changes and send them the JE’s back to import into their 2012 file. But I wasn’t sure if sending JE’s like this were backwards compatible?

    ~ Thanks in Advance
    Joseph E Shrock, EA

    • Joseph, you don’t have an option to send info back to the client in the situation you describe. The “Send GJE” feature only works with 2013 and later – their 2012 product doesn’t have a feature to read those GJE files. If you have QuickBooks Accountant 2013 then the client can give you an “accountants copy” file, that you can work with and then send back the “accountants changes”, and this will work if you have 2013 and they have 2012. But if they give you a “backup copy” you don’t have that option.

      Sending information back to the client is not simple, there are limited ways of doing that. In your case, if you have a small number of changes, you might want to consider just using remote access to get to their 2012 file and make the adjustments there directly.

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