NetSuite, Implementation, Data Migration

Three approaches to importing historical sales into NetSuite


You just signed up to transition your business from QuickBooks to NetSuite. But now, the NetSuite implementation team is telling you they can't load your historical sales data. This data is essential for your executive and sales team. You are stuck in the middle, figuring out what to do next.

In this post, I will provide common reasons for not loading historical transactions and three potential methods to load sales history into NetSuite.

Why is everyone telling me not to do this?

There are several reasons, all of which come down to the high level of effort and risk of mistakes:

  • Extracting data from the legacy system
  • Mapping legacy segments to the NetSuite segments
  • Manual manipulation of Excel files

Historically, most clients are either (1) paying the implementation team an hourly rate to complete this or (2) attempting to prepare this data internally. As a result, it is rare to know both the legacy system and NetSuite. And the time it takes to complete this task can be monumental.

I agree that, before starting, you should assess whether you and your team have the expertise and the time to complete this task alone. If you are unsure, contact me for a free data migration plan. Below, I discuss three approaches I've used to migrate legacy sales data into NetSuite.

Three Approaches for Loading Historical Sales

Closed sales orders

Sales orders are non-posting transactions, meaning no general ledger (GL) impact exists. This feature makes loading historical sales as a closed sales order transaction ideal. However, because these are non-posting transactions, NetSuite will not include them in the standard sales reports. Therefore, you must customize these reports to include historical and live transactions.

OptimalData Consulting completed this approach with a furniture reseller based in North Carolina within two weeks before their NetSuite implementation go-live date. We imported two years of historical sales data from QuickBooks Desktop to NetSuite.

Cash sale transaction and reverse the GL impact.

Cash sale transactions are posting transactions but do not affect the accounts receivable (AR) subledger. And, because these are posting transactions, they will be included on the standard sales reports. The downside is that cash sale transactions create a GL impact. So, you will need to reverse that impact with a journal entry. First, net the GL impact to zero with a journal entry and then load the historical financial statements as a journal entry.

OptimalData Consulting completed this approach with a Kansas-based retail client moving from QuickBooks Desktop to NetSuite, importing over 200,000 transactions over five years.

Full general ledger import

Importing your entire GL history, including sales history, brings the complete financial story from QuickBooks into NetSuite. The entire customer history includes sales, payments, and credits. The benefit of this approach is everything is in NetSuite. The downside is that this approach requires expertise and time to extract legacy data and format it for loading into NetSuite.

OptimalData Consulting worked with a SaaS organization that acquired another company. The acquiring company wanted the entire history imported from the acquired company's QuickBooks Online file after the acquisition date. OptimalData was able to import ten months of transactions for the client.

A potential fourth option

A potential fourth option is to include the customer's name on the historical financial statements loaded as journal entries. This article provides step-by-step instructions to load historical financial statements into NetSuite. First, add the entity name and include the amount on the journal entry by GL account. The benefit of this approach is minimal additional work since you are already preparing and loading these entries. The downside is that the data is summary-level. There are no transaction details, like the item ordered, the quantity, or the price.


Historical sales data is essential to providing world-class customer service and empowering your sales team. Don't leave this data behind in QuickBooks—Trust OptimalData Consulting to complete this essential task for you today. Contact us today for your free quote on migrating your QuickBooks data to NetSuite.

Load sales transactions to NetSuite


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