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QuickBooks Compatible via IIF Files vs. The Cloud

October 16th, 2012

QuickBooks is becoming a relatively popular search term on the mobile app stores, compared to a year or two ago.  So, a few months ago I searched iTunes App Store and looked one-by-one through the top 50 results for the search term “QuickBooks”, downloaded each app, and tried to see what the app developer “meant” when writing “QuickBooks compatible” (or similar) in the app description.  As you’d guess, “compatible” means different things to different people:

For 21 of the 50 apps, I couldn’t find any evidence of QuickBooks compatibility at all, but the other 29 apps did indeed seem to have legitimate compatibility of some kind.  What was surprising to me, though, was that out of those 29 apps, 11 of them were “compatible” via IIF files.  I would not have guessed that, because of the drawbacks shown in the video. Aside from the fact that Intuit long ago deprecated IIF files (sometime before January 2009), you wouldn’t want to run any crucial part of your business on IIF files, and I’ll give you my personal “Top 5″ reasons why.

Top 5 Reasons To Steer Clear of IIF Files


No Feedback Loop

Virtually any app that is sending transactions or updates of any kind to QuickBooks, needs a clear, accurate, and current understanding of the Chart of Accounts and other QuickBooks lists, down to every character in each account name. Why? Because if an app sends an IIF file to QuickBooks referencing “Meals and Entertainment” when the actual account is “Meals & Entertainment”, and worse if you have 100s of transactions coming across, you’ll be chasing audit log reports for days to figure out what happened. The app developer won’t be able to help much, because they don’t have a way to query how the transaction ended up getting stored in QuickBooks.

They Rely on SneakerNet

Before the internet, we had sneakernet. What’s sneakernet? It’s when you save a file onto removable media, walk it over to the machine that needs it, and plug in, push in, or otherwise connect your removable media. Sound “old school”? It is. Emailing yourself a file is the slightly more modern version, but I still call it sneakernet. You deserve better. A cloud-based system should be doing that work for you.

No Tech Support Since 2009

Maybe you like to hang on to old technology for nostalgia, or because you are familiar with it, but this IIF stuff has been deprecated by Intuit since at least 2009, and probably a lot longer than that. Three years after that, you can bet that any kind of tech support that you can get for an IIF file problem, will be minimal to none.

They Create Mysterious Accounts

I can’t claim that this happens 100% of the time, but more times than not, if you have a transaction that accidentally references a non-existent chart of account entry, QuickBooks will try to add a new account to your COA for you. There is no way that this ends well, because QuickBooks can’t possibly guess what type and subtype, and parent account, the automagically created account should have.

There is a Better Way

Perhaps the most important reason to jettison your IIF files is that there are now a wide variety of high-quality cloud-connected apps that have been run through Intuit’s security and approval processes, residing on Including our very own ProOnGo Expense, of course.

What else can we do to convince you that now is the time to make the jump to the cloud? What more do you need than this?

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