A Quick Guide to the QuickBooks Sync | Service Autopilot

Published on May 4, 2017

Service Autopilot's QuickBooks Sync is a complete mystery to many Members.

The Sync is confusing to some and infuriating to others. But, it's a powerful tool that you should understand ... and it's actually pretty simple. 

Time to dive in and "sync up."

How does Service Autopilot's QuickBooks Sync Work?

There is no other software like Service Autopilot.

The two-way QuickBooks sync is unique to Service Autopilot. There are other systems that claim to perform a two-way sync… except for your invoices and payments (which are the parts that really matter to business owners).

Service Autopilot’s sync is truly two-way, which means that a change to an item in Service Autopilot causes the item to change in QuickBooks and vice versa.

That means you don’t have to enter data in twice – and you can cut out the “human error” that most other service companies deal with daily.

Everything that syncs between the systems syncs both ways. A change to a service in SA updates the service in QB. A change to a payment in QB updates the payment in SA.

That said, there are some things that we are unable to sync between the two systems.

Some of these things are excluded because of incompatibility between how the two systems implement the items (estimates, for example). Others can’t be synced because they aren’t an option with the tools QB has released for third-party developers.

How and What Does Service Autopilot Sync with QuickBooks?

What we Currently Sync from QB:

  1. Customers
  2. Customer Type
  3. Invoices
  4. Payments
  5. Payment Method/Type
  6. Standard Terms
  7. Credits
  8. Vendors
  9. Sales Reps
  10. Charts of Accounts
  11. Items List (products, services, sales tax, discounts, other charges)
  12. Employees
  13. Cost on Inventory Products
  14. Refund Checks (as long as they have been applied to the payment they are refunding)

What we Do Not Sync from QB:

  1. QB Checks
  2. Estimates
  3. General Journal Entries
  4. Expenses
  5. Time Tracking/Payroll
  6. Bank Account/Reconciliation
  7. Item Costs
  8. Statement Charges
  9. Discounts on Payments
  10. Credit Card Numbers
  11. Cost on Non- Inventory Products
  12. Balance Adjustments

How to Quickly and Painlessly Run Your QuickBooks Sync

Generally, you need one button to run the sync: “Force Sync.” This button starts the engine. You sit back and watch it run.

Helpful hint: if you click “Force Sync” and nothing happens, try re-entering your Service Autopilot username and password. If you changed your password recently, you’ll need to update it.

QuickBooks must be running for the sync to start. If you have an invoice open, or you’re inputting payments, QB will block the sync’s attempt to connect. This also means that you shouldn’t close QuickBooks while the sync is running.

Non-standard Sync Options:

  • Create TLF File: You’ll never need to use this. It creates a detailed log file that is used to troubleshoot issues by our development team. A QB Support Rep would perform this option for you if it was relevant.
  • Update Balance Report: This updates the balance report (CRM > Reports > QB Comparison), a helpful audit of the information that QB and SA have for your clients.

Best Practices at the End of Your Day

One best practice with the sync is to close it down at the end of the day. Restarting the sync each morning means that as soon as we push an update for the sync, you’ll get it installed. It also protects you from running the sync during the nightly recycling of our servers, which can cause problems for you sync.

It’s also a good idea to shut down your computer each night. It saves you money on your electric bill and reduces wear on your machine. You wouldn’t leave your car idling in the garage all night, don’t leave your computer up all night either.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

  1. The Sync won’t run when I press "Force Sync." - Double check your username and password. It’s your Service Autopilot login. You can find it in your employee record (Scheduling > Employees).
  2. “Invalid reference to _______” This is going to require help from our QuickBooks Support Reps, but can be prevented in the future by following the tips in the section below.
  3. “A required element ______ cannot be found.” This will also require help from our QuickBooks Support Reps.
  4. “QuickBooks must be running to start the Sync.” - First, try closing QuickBooks and the sync, then re-open both. Close any open windows in QuickBooks.
  5. “Unknown Error”  - This is caused, most of the time, by separating master and sub-properties. QuickBooks will not let you do this, once a master has a paid an invoice for a sub-property. You will need to reconnect the properties in SA the way they are connected in QuickBooks. You can inactivate the sub-property and create a new one if you need to roll a client off.
  6. “Transaction is empty.” The payment or invoice is for $0 or has no line items.
  7. “To change _____, you must be in single-user mode.” You’ll need to move QuickBooks to single-user Mode to complete this action. In QB, it’s under File > Switch to Single-User Mode.

Prevent Common Headaches

  • Don’t separate master and sub-properties. They will error out.
  • Don’t name things identically. They will get mixed up on their way into QB. If an employee is also a customer, add something to one of the names to make it distinct.
  • Don’t put colons ( : ) in names. QB uses these to signify that items are related. It will not let you use them in names.
  • Log into your QB file as the administrator. Many of the actions that happen regularly on the sync require administrator privileges in QB.
  • Bookmark this page. It will be a handy reference when you run into QB questions in the future.

Follow the tips above and consult the list of what syncs and what doesn’t when you have questions or issues with the QB sync.

As always, if you need help with your QuickBooks Sync because you have stubborn errors or an item that behaves oddly, call the Support line at 972-728-4040.

Related: How to Make Your Services Price Themselves | Rate Matrix

Cody Owen

Cody is a copywriter with Service Autopilot. He was writing before he could read, dictating stories to his mom. Of late, he distills business principles and practices learned from his ever-increasing trove of books and his year with SA Support into digestible blog posts designed to provide maximum value to service industry business owners.


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