I'm managing CiviCRM for an organization that has the following kinds of accounts in Quickbooks:

  • General Fund: undesignated donations
  • one account per staff member, for donations towards each staff members salary
  • one account for each project/campaign, for donations towards a particular purpose
  • accounts for sales of products

Initially, I captured each of these as a different campaign using CiviCampaign. These means we can do things like have a Campaign dropdown on a CiviContribute page, e.g. to donate to the general fund or particular project or to support a particular staff member. This means it's easy to get reports or filter searches based on how each campaign is doing.

However, now that we're working to fully integrate CiviCRM with Quickbooks, I'm running into a problem. CiviCRM accounting codes are contained under financial accounts, but don't offer the same functionality as CiviCampaign. For example, is it possible to have a dropdown to pick which fund a donation goes to on a donate page if the funds are captured as Financial Accounts instead of CiviCampaigns? It seems every Financial Account requires a Financial Type?

And it doesn't seem to be easy to add Financial Accounts as staff come and go, compared to captured these accounts as campaigns. It also seems awkward: the financial type is really donation for all of these contributions, but the donations just go to various funds/accounts/campaigns. Is there a way to capture this in multiple Financial Accounts without having to have multiple Financial Types?

My options seem to be:

  • Use CiviCampaign, and figure out a way to modified the data before import to Quickbooks
  • Use Financial Accounts / Financial Types, and figure out another way to get the functionality we want in CiviCRM and potentially deal with a proliferation of Financial Types (which just doesn't feel right)

I'm leaning towards the first option, because CiviCampaign seems to be the right tool. But for extensive use of CiviCRM and accounting integration, what is the best way to capture multiple destinations for donations? When should I use CiviCampaign and when should I use Financial Accounts?

  • yes i think you would need to make a Financial Type for each Financial Account that needs synching with Quickbooks
    – petednz - fuzion
    Commented Nov 8, 2018 at 20:00

1 Answer 1


A few points:

  1. The system creates a financial account automatically when you create a financial account, so there's not much extra effort. You will want to edit the financial account to put in the QuickBooks chart of account information. enter image description here

  2. The general advice regarding Chart of Accounts (in QuickBooks or similar software - it's actually an accounting best practice) is that you don't want to be removing them regularly. I'd suggest having a parent account for something like Donations - Staff Salaries, and then sub-accounts Donations - Staff Salaries - Joe, etc. While the subaccounts will remain, their amounts will be conveniently summarized in QuickBooks into the parent account. After creating the subaccounts as Financial Types in CiviCRM, edit associated the Financial Account that was automatically created, then make sure to configure the fields as appropriate for QuickBooks. I believe if you export your Chart of Accounts from QuickBooks (for many versions of QB Desktop File > Utilities > Export > Lists of IIF files, select Chart of Accounts) then open it in a low-level text editor like Notepad you will be able to see the data you need to exactly match the account name and 'Account Type Code'. In particular, the subaccount will have a name with a colon in it separating the parent account name and this account's name. You need to enter that exactly correctly (cut and paste!) in order to have things work correctly when you import the .iif from CiviCRM into QB. Remember to backup QB before trying the import...it usually takes several finicky checks to get everything perfect and not creating duplicate accounts.

  3. You can create a price set and associate different financial types with different select widget options pretty easily: enter image description here


  • Thanks, that's very helpful! I think the price set / financial types was a key piece I was missing.
    – balleyne
    Commented Nov 13, 2018 at 15:25
  • Clarification question: Our Chart of Accounts in Quickbooks is setup using that best practice method of subaccounts. What is the best way to handle subaccounts on the CiviCRM side of things, with Financial Types/Accounts? It seems like a different Financial Type would be needed for each subaccount, correct? Thanks!
    – balleyne
    Commented Nov 14, 2018 at 7:55
  • I've added some more material on configuring subaccounts in 2. Yes, a separate Financial Type is needed for each subaccount.
    – Joe Murray
    Commented Nov 14, 2018 at 17:06

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