Upgrading QuickBooks is usually an easy process. You simply install or subscribe to a new version and all of your files will be upgraded automatically. Downgrading, however, isn't so easy. Opening files from a 2019 version of QuickBooks into a version you bought a couple of years ago isn't an option, nor is it possible to use a "Save As" option to downgrade your files to make them compatible.
If you have upgraded an online version of QuickBooks, going back to a different version is quite a bit easier, but the process isn't exactly foolproof.
Accessing Data Using an Older Version of QuickBooks
It's not possible to open a file you saved in today's version of QuickBooks using an older version of the software, nor is it possible to convert that file to make it compatible. If you want to use an older version of QuickBooks, you will need to open a backup file that you made using that version. For example, if you want to use QuickBooks 2017, you will need to open a backup file from 2017. You will, of course, not have access to any updates made after you upgraded to the newer version of QuickBooks.
To open a backup file, click the "File" menu in QuickBooks, select "Open or Restore Company," then click"Restore a Backup Copy." Once you locate the backup file, choose a folder to save the restored file and give it a new name when prompted and click "Save."
Downgrading a QuickBooks Plan
If you used to use a less expensive version of QuickBooks and upgraded to a different version, you can change back. However, you need to plan this first, because some of the features you currently have may not be compatible with your former version. Things you need to consider include:
- Losing connections to other apps.
- Losing applied discounts in your subscription.
- Losing recurring transactions.
- Losing support for some users.
- Losing inventory tracking.
- Losing multi-currency.
Review the features you currently have with Quickbooks and compare these to the plan you want to downgrade to. If the older version of Quickbooks doesn't offer the features you need, it may not be worth switching.
Losing User Support
Different versions of QuickBooks support different numbers of users. Before downgrading, you need to first ensure you won't lose the ability for some users to login. Supported users in 2019 include:
- QuickBooks Simple Start: one billable user and two accounting firms
- QuickBooks Essentials: three billable users and two accounting firms
- QuickBooks Plus: five billable users and two accounting firms
- QuickBooks Advanced: 25 billable users and three accounting firms
If the plan you are downgrading to doesn't support the number of users you currently have, you will have to remove them from your plan before making the change.
Other Important Features You May Lose
Third-Party Apps: If you have connected QuickBooks to other apps, you should review these before downgrading. Open the "My Apps" tab in Quickbooks to see what other apps you have that are connected to your Quickbooks account.
Recurring transactions: These aren't included with QuickBooks Online Simple Start, so if you currently use recurring transactions, you will need to track scheduled transactions yourself if you switch. Before downgrading, you also need to log into Quickbooks and turn off, or pause, your recurring transaction templates.
Inventory Tracking: Only QuickBooks Advanced and QuickBooks Online Plus currently support inventory tracking. If you are changing to another version, deactivate your inventory items before switching.
Multi-currency: QuickBooks Online Simple Start does not support multi-currency. If you are using this feature, you won't be able to downgrade to Simple Start.
Downgrading Your QuickBooks Subscription
Once you have decided to downgrade, sign in to QuickBooks Online using your admin account. QuickBooks will inform you of the features you will lose before you make the change. To downgrade:
- Select "Settings," then "Account and Settings."
- Select "Billing & Subscription" and ensure your payment information is up-to-date.
- Select "Downgrade" and then select the plan you want. If you don't see the downgrade option, you can log in at qbo.intuit.com/app/changeplan to select a plan.
- Read the list of features you will lose.
- Follow the onscreen prompts to make the necessary changes, like turning off Recurring Transactions.
- Select "Change Plan" to finish the process.
If you want to go back to your previous plan, you will have to wait 24 hours before this option will be available. Once the wait time is over, use the same steps as above, selecting the "Upgrade" option instead of "Downgrade."
A published author, David Weedmark has advised businesses on technology, media and marketing for more than 20 years and used to teach computer science at Algonquin College. He is currently the owner of Mad Hat Labs, a web design and media consultancy business. David has written hundreds of articles for newspapers, magazines and websites including American Express, Samsung, Re/Max and the New York Times' About.com.