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How to Create an Accountants Copy in QuickBooks

Posted by Lance Wilkins Posted on Mar 14 2023

QuickBooks has a unique type of file copy named Accountants Copy. This file type allows you, the QuickBooks user, to send a copy of your QuickBooks company file to your accountant much like you would a backup. 

Once you have created the copy, you are free, with certain limitations, to continue to use your QuickBooks company file for ongoing business needs.

The accountant is able to view the company transactions in the copy sent to them. They can also make changes to the data for financial statement, tax return, or other needs.

The real value of the accountants copy comes when the accountant has completed their work. QuickBooks will create a special file of only the changes the accountant makes. That file can be imported into the original QuickBooks company file.

The original QuickBooks file is updated with all the accountants work. Your transactions and reports now match any statements, returns, etc the accountant has completed. In addition, the accountant will have the correct beginning balances for the next year. When the time comes and another copy is sent, the work for previous periods does not need to be redone to make the new file copy current. 

Here’s how to create an accountants copy for your accountant.

Notice that in the graphic ‘Save File’ is selected rather than ‘Send to Accountant’. This will be the more common choice.

Screen 1

Accountants Copy will almost surely be selected already. Just check to be sure it is.

Screen 2

In screen 2, the Dividing Date is the important entry. The dividing date determines what part of the file is open to the accountant. That part is restricted to you, the QuickBooks user.

Ask your bookkeeper/accountant if you are unsure. Several options are available on the dropdown that reads “Custom” in the screenshot. Selecting Custom allows you to set any date in the field below it.

Screen 3

QuickBooks will display a message that it needs to close all windows. Select OK.

Screen 4

In this next screen QuickBooks wants to know where you want to save your accounts copy. Notice arrow 1. From the dropdown, we have selected drive E, a flash drive we have inserted into a USB drive on the computer.

Arrow 2 designates the name of the copy we are creating. Shown is the name QuickBooks inserted and is suggesting. There is rarely a need to change this.

Arrow 3 points to the save button. When you click here, QuickBooks will save the copy in the location you specified in the window.

You’re done!

Give the flash drive to your accountant/bookkeeper. They can now work on your QuickBooks company file in past periods, you continue to work in current and future periods.

A couple of cautions.

In past periods, there is little you can do. If you try to edit, delete, or in some way change these past transactions, QuickBooks will prevent you from proceeding.

It may tell you that you can “Remove Restrictions” and then have full access to your QuickBooks company file. If you do this however, you break the accountants copy and the work your accountant/bookkeeper is doing will not import back into your QuickBooks.

This negates the entire purpose of the accountants copy. It also means, someone will have to manually edit all the transactions affected by the accountant/bookkeeper. This is often a long and tedious process.

It is usually a good idea not to reconcile accounts while an accountants copy is pending. Check with your accountant/bookkeeper if you feel you need to reconcile accounts before they finish their work. 


If you prefer to see this process in a video, showing each of the necessary steps, click here:

The video is less than 4 minutes.