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Downloading Attachments When Closing Dext and QBO

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Professional bookkeeper and QuickBooks ProAdvisor Jody Linick shares her experience helping a client close their business and ultimately her accounts with Dext and QuickBooks Online.

Jan 28th 2022
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Downloading data and documents from Dext and QuickBooks Online and archiving them as part of the shutdown process can lead to unexpected surprises, as I found recently working with a business client.

Specifically, as part of the process of winding things down with my client's business, I am cancelling her QBO and Dext (formerly ReceiptBank) subscriptions. Here's how things went:

Closing a Dext Account

Dext makes it simple to de-activate an account and discontinue the monthly billing. That being said, I want to download to my local drive an archive of all documents stored on Dext.

Dext also makes it rather simple to obtain the data, by going to Tools, then Export All. You can select CSV, PDF or Zip. I selected Zip, and a tidy Zip file downloaded with all the documents we had ever uploaded to Dext. (Note: Dext also has options to archive the data to online storage services such as Dropbox, Box, OneDrive, etc.)

Upon further examination, however, I discovered there is no order, rhyme or reason inside the download. Yes, all the documents are in the .zip folder, but with filenames like “8148080895.pdf” or “8130130899.jpeg.”

On top of that, every file is dated the date of the download - the original document date is gone. I found this is completely insane. How would someone ever be able to find any particular bill or receipt, without clicking through every doc on the folder?

I thought that perhaps I had done something wrong, so I opened a support case. The response from the support rep reads, “I just confirmed with our Specialists, and I'm afraid that's how the system exports files at the moment.” The support rep also noted they had submitted a Feature Request to the tech team, but also admitted that they had no idea how much priority it would get in the queue - but the more people who request the same feature, the higher the request moves up in importance.

Closing a QBO Account

We also cancelled the QBO subscription. My understanding is that the data file remains available to view reports for one year; if any changes are made to the file, the monthly subscription fee will be reinstated.

Since we had documents attached to transactions in QBO (some from Dext, some manually added), I decided to download those as well. This was also quite easy. The steps are:

1. Login to the QBO file

2. Go to: Gear |Lists | Attachments

Options are to select the individual docs you want to download, or download all the attachments, in bulk. I wanted the latter.

3. To download all attachments, click the box in the top row, to auto-select all docs.

4. Click the Batch actions dropdown and click Export. A .zip file is created and downloads.

When opening the downloaded .zip file, I found a nice set of folders, called:

  • Unattached Documents
  • Bills
  • Check
  • Deposit
  • Expense
  • Invoice
  • Payment

Clicking on the folder, I found one a single Bill inside each folder. If I had manually uploaded the bill to QBO (not using Dext), the .pdf exists with the name I had given the document before I uploaded it to QBO. So far, so good. In fact, this underscores the usefulness of naming a document before manually uploading it to QBO. I use this naming convetion: YYMMDD VendorName Invoice (or Receipt) $xxx.xx. 

If the Bill had been uploaded to QBO via Dext, the .pdf in the folder has a useless file name of all numbers. In both instances, the .pdf date displays as the date of the download, not the original document date.

In the “Expense” folder, I found sub-folders, mostly for documents of expenses I had sync’d to QBO from Dext. The subfolders were named: Expense #RBxxxxx Vendor name $xxx.xx (the “RB” meaning the doc was from ReceiptBank, the former name of Dext). This is more information for the attachment than I got from the Dext download! As in the example above, the actual doc inside the folder has a meaningless file name if the expense came from Dext sync; if the doc was something I had manually attached, my original filename remains.

So, the QBO Attachments download creates subfolders with useful names, and each subfolder then has a doc with a sometimes useful, sometimes meaningless name, depending upon the name of the attachment when it was originally uploaded to QBO.

A look at the “Unattached Documents” folder revealed a 1099 form, a Vendor’s W-9 form, a .pdf of an email I had saved somewhere in the QBO file, and a few other docs.

Conclusion
 

This is something to keep in mind when selecting a vendor who syncs data to QBO. Clients don’t remain clients forever, and businesses don’t stay in business forever. When a business closes, it is important to not only download and archive some reports (not discussed in this blog post), but also to create an archive of all available documents, for records retention purposes.  

Upon review of the file downloads, it is clear that the Intuit download is far superior to the Dext download in terms of identifying the document by type, and identifying the document by name.

Since this particular file was not using Bill.com, it now makes me wonder what the data looks like when one needs to close a Bill.com account and archive the stored data? Guess that will be for a future post.

Final note, I did reach out to Dext regarding the results of the attachments download, and they will get back to me, but in the meantime I expect other users creating Dext download archives will have a similar experience.
 

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