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QuickBooks Integration 101

Integrating your BigTime account with QuickBooks means data are shared between the two systems. Integration saves you time and work: no need to manually enter information in two applications.

With just a few clicks you can:

  • Post data—timesheets, expenses, and invoices—from BigTime to QuickBooks, and
  • Sync data—client list, project list, and staff list—from QuickBooks to BigTime.

This article will explain the basic concepts of a QuickBooks integration. Click here to watch a video on how to connect with QuickBooks Desktop.

Note: If you move from QuickBooks Desktop to QuickBooks Online or vice versa, you will get duplicates that will need to be manually merged.



  • Communication between BigTime and QuickBooks happens in the cloud. Put another way, you tell BigTime and QuickBooks what to do, and the work is completed behind the scenes.
  • Integration with QuickBooks Desktop or Online is easy to setup Integrate your BigTime account with either version of QuickBooks within minutes. QuickBooks Desktop users need to download BigTime’s Sync Agent, which syncs information from QuickBooks Desktop to BigTime. However, QuickBooks Online users don’t need to download additional software.
  • Synchronization of data between BigTime and QuickBooks is controlled by you. You can turn BigTime’s automatic sync feature on or off. That means, transactional data, such as timesheets, expenses, or invoices, aren’t shared from QuickBooks to BigTime without your permission.


Connecting to QuickBooks Online vs. QuickBooks Desktop

BigTime integrates with online and desktop versions of QuickBooks. The integration process varies, depending on the QuickBooks version you’re using. However, the time-saving result is the same.

  • For QuickBooks Online, BigTime communicates directly with the Intuit-provided cloud. That means you don’t need additional software to share information between the systems.
  • For QuickBooks Desktop, you’ll need to download BigTime’s Sync Agent. It acts as a middleman: enabling information from QuickBooks to sync in BigTime.

Initiating the QuickBooks Integration

Regardless of the QuickBooks version you’re using, you’ll begin the integration process in your BigTime account.

Click on MY COMPANY, at the top-right of your navigation bar, and click INTEGRATIONS.


You’ll be directed to a screen that lists several applications BigTime integrates with, including QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Desktop.


Click the icon you want to integrate with, and BigTime will prompt you with instructions. During the setup process, you can restrict how QuickBooks updates BigTime. For example, you can select to export only approved time and expenses to QuickBooks.


Sharing Data Between BigTime and QuickBooks

There are two ways to share data between BigTime and QuickBooks: you can post or sync data.

Find out when you’d use each function:

Post Data

Posting data mean you’ve got data that originated in BigTime—such as timesheets, expenses, and invoices—that you’d like to add to QuickBooks. Timesheets, expenses, and invoices are sometimes referred to as transactional data.

1. To post time or expenses, simply go to QUICKBOOKS, on the navigation bar, and click POST TIMESHEETS or POST EXPENSES, whichever one you’re looking to post.


2. In POST TIMESHEETS, check the relevant timesheet entries that you’d like to post to QuickBooks.

3. Then, click POST SELECTED TIME button, located in the top left corner of your screen.


In POST EXPENSES, check the relevant boxes associated with the expenses you want to post in QuickBooks, and click POST SELECTED EXPENSES.


BigTime doesn’t update the information once data are posted. If you’d like to change an invoice that’s been posted to QuickBooks, for example, then the invoice should be deleted and reposted from BigTime.


Sync Data

If you sync data, information that originates in QuickBooks and applies it to BigTime. That means employees, vendors, and service items are populated into their respective fields in BigTime.

Users with QuickBooks Desktop need to download the Sync Agent, which works like a middle man: syncing information from QuickBooks to BigTime. Users with QuickBooks Online don’t need to install software, since BigTime already communicates directly with QuickBooks. 

The table below shows a list of all of the data types that are shared between BigTime and QuickBooks.  In each case, we indicate whether the data is List or Transaction data.

QuickBooks Data BigTime Data Notes
Company Info Firm Info We load your company name, address, etc into BigTime based on the information you've entered in QuickBooks when you first integrate the two systems.
Customers Clients/Projects If you use customers in QuickBooks, then we import those customers into BigTime as client/job's (eg - we have a "client" level record for your customer as well as a "job" level record).  In BigTime, we enforce a client:job hierarchy.
Job Projects If you use jobs in QuickBooks, then those jobs will be imported into BigTime as projects.  QuickBooks supports 2-3 levels of "job" in their system, so BigTime will import the lowest level in you QuickBooks hierarchy into the system when we first start out. Keep in mind that the BigTime import engine is extremely flexible, so you can always delete/block jobs in the system that you don't want to see.
Employees Staff Members Each active employee in you QuickBooks company file will become a staff member in BigTime.  Staff members can be "invited" to login to the system (at which point they are not only staff members but actual BigTime "users").  We leave it up to you to invite your staff to login.
Vendors (Staff Members) If you use independent contractors, chances are they are listed as "vendors" in your QuickBooks file.  If you'd like, you can add outside contractors to BigTime as staff members.  If you do, you'll link those staff members to the correct "vendor" account in QuickBooks (so that time, expenses, etc. are imported/posted correctly).
GL Accounts (Various) We provide a list of GL accounts to which various parts of the BigTime system can be attached (eg - you can specify a default AR account for invoices, link expense codes to expense accounts, decide which AP account employee expense reports should post to, etc).  Your GL accounts are used in those picklists throughout the system.
Items (Service) Labor Codes By default, each of your service items in QuickBooks becomes a labor code in BigTime.  But, keep in mind that labor codes don't have to be attached to service items (eg - you may decide to use labor codes for things like vacation, training, etc).  If you do link a labor code to a service item, we pull the default billing rate for that labor code from QuickBooks as well.
Items (Other Charge)  Expense Codes

By default, each of your "other charge" items becomes an expense category in BigTime.  In addition, you can link expense categories to GL "expense" accounts (or other types of items: inventory, non-inventory, etc).  Typically, firms have a mixture of GL and "item" links in their expense category list.


Items (various) (Various)

We use other types of items in picklists throughout the system.


Sales Tax Codes Tax Rates

Your sales tax codes in QuickBooks become tax rates in BigTime automatically.  Updating those rates in QuickBooks will update the rates in BT automatically.


Classes (Various)

You can attach time, expenses and invoices to a specific QuickBooks class code (if you use classes in your QuickBooks company file).  You can also specify a default class per project, staffer or even per task -- and let BigTime do the work of hooking up time or expenses with a class behind-the-scenes based on those defaults.


Payroll Items Payroll Items

If you run payroll out of QuickBooks (desktop), then you can connect time inside of BigTime to specific payroll items.  In fact, the payroll item filter(s) in BigTime are extremely robust -- enabling many firms to apply the correct payroll items behind the scenes -- so users don't need to! 


Terms Invoice Terms

The terms in BigTime are updated with your terms in QuickBooks automatically.


Time Activities Time Entries

You can post BigTime timesheet entries to QuickBooks from the QUICKBOOKS...POST TIMESHEETS page in the system. If you have timesheet history in QuickBooks, you can also import that history into BigTime (so you'll have a complete history of time billed against all of your active accounts).


Bills/Checks Expenses

You can post BigTime employee expenses to QuickBooks as either a "bill" payable to a specific vendor, or a "check" payable to a specific employee.  You control that process from the QUICKBOOKS...POST EXPENSES page in the system. 


Credit Card Entries Expenses

When employee enter/post credit card charges (or credits), those post into QuickBooks as credit card entries.


Invoices Invoices

You can create Invoices in BigTime for your team to review/edit and then post those documents into QuickBooks to manage AR and track income. 


Where To Go From Here

The articles below are great resources for completing the integration, as well as learning about BigTime and QuickBooks functions:





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