Emailing QuickBooks files

By Patrick Bonnaure, founder of ProLedge Bookkeeping Services

QuickBooks files tend to be very large. If you need to send a copy of your QuickBooks file to someone such as your CPA, attaching the file to an email is typically a bad idea because the email service provider on the recipient’s side will often block such a large attachment. Even if it goes through, email has a nasty tendency of corrupting QuickBooks files. There are better approaches and they are free.

If you create a brand new company file in QuickBooks, the file will start at about 9MB even before you start entering any transaction in it. This is, by most standards, a large file already. If you have been using the QuickBooks file for a few years, you file could easily grow to 20MB or even 100MB. This gets you in the range in which many email providers will start blocking your messages. For instance, Gmail doesn’t allow emails larger than 25MB. For Hotmail, the limit is at 10MB. Even if you manage to squeak under the size limit, QuickBooks and emails don’t appear to be good friends. Very often, the QuickBooks file will arrive corrupted on the other end and the recipient won’t be able to open the file.

The best way to send a QuickBooks file is to use file sharing services such as www.yousendit.com or www.sendthisfile.com. Both services have free options that are sufficiently powerful to send QuickBooks files around. Here’s how it works.

  • Go to one of these file sharing websites and setup a free account if you don’t have one yet.
  • Select the option to send a file. It will ask you toselect the file on your PC or Mac.
  • Once you’ve selected the file, enter the email address of the recipient and a short message.

The file will be uploaded to a server. An email will then be sent to the recipient. But that’s where the elegant trick happens: instead of having the QuickBooks file attached to the email, there will be a link in the email saying something like “Download Now”. If the recipient clicks on this link, it will link the recipient to the file sharing service and allow you to download the file.

The beauty of this process is that the email is very small. It just includes a link to the QuickBooks file instead of the file itself. No risk of your email being blocked because of the size of your email.

The other benefit is security. You can setup a password to download the file. Emails travel the web in clear and can easily be read by other people. However, if your recipient has a password to unlock the link, you can ensure that she will be the only one allowed to download the file. With most of these file sharing services, you can also set an expiration date on the link. It reduces the amount of time the link is available to the outside world.

Give it a try. Once upon a time, if the QuickBooks file was too large for email, you had to burn a CD or DVD and snail mail it. Not anymore.

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