Import a data from another program to

I think it would be a good idea, not just import from backup file
e.g. csv (excl files) in Journal Entries

The difficulty with that is that other accounting programs do not use the same file structure as Manager. Basically, no program allows what you suggest. I have heard of only one very limited exception, and it is reported not to work very well.

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@Tut Are there any documents explaining the file structure required by Manager. Earlier I also asked for a link to API documentation but no reply so far. Do you know?


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I am sorry, @jmo, I don’t know the answer to either of your questions. I’m only a forum moderator, not a developer or part of NGSoftware staff.

Thank you. Appreciate the quick reply.

Documentation is a serious issue with Manager. Was considering it as a replacement for QB but learning process is too slow to be viable.

It might be an option to have a import from QB and other common Accounting programs tutorial. I think that @jmo does have a valid point. I trialled Quickbooks and a dozen other accounting programs before choosing Manager because Manager was far simpler than QB. But many people are already on QB’s and I think their chief difficulty is not having a step by step guide to importing data from Quickbooks etc into Manager.

A good guide would be the following:

  1. Exactly what you can import (customers, suppliers and ??)
  2. What file format the customers etc needs to be in - how do you create the files to import the customers etc
  3. After you have imported your customers, suppliers and whatever else you can import - what is the next step - such as bank and account starting balances. How do you do that.
  4. How do you transfer your VAT so that you can do your VAT return.

I think these are the sort of questions that need to be in the Manager Documentation under Importing from Quickbooks and Similar Accounting Packages because I think that Manager is probably losing a lot of potential customers because have no starting point for importing from their current program. There needs to be a section called Importing from Quickbooks and Similar Accounting Packages for people who want to migrate to Manager which is presumably the majority of people.

I think that Manager is far simpler than Quickbooks (I found Quickbooks quite complicated to use - far too many features), but if people don’t know how to get their data from QB to Manager, they are most likely going to stay with QB.


This is certainly a good function to consider. The key I believe is to find the correct table / spreadsheet layout for Manager, put the data in and import using the buttons provided. Once the format is determined the spreadsheet could be potentially populated with data from any other piece of accounting software. I have just done a quick test with Manager inventory. If you export the Inventory to file then check OK in a spreadsheet and confirm data correct. Next I followed the import instructions and I found the inventory Description imports OK but without the Item code and Item name, also the pricing is missing as well as the Qty on hand.

I read somewhere we need to add a column StartingBalanceQty is TRUE but it has not resolved the incomplete data population problem.
It would be fantastic to have knowledge of what the headers ought to be in the spreadsheet layout so that this can be achieved seamlessly.

A closer look reveals that Manager allows you to download a template

Continuing the discussion from Using batch operations on inventory items:

It works.

What a shame. It looks like an amazing product. Unfortunately a great product is necessary but not enough.

These issues should really be in GitHub etc so can be managed as part of the development cycle. So many unanswered and unresolved issues in this forum.

With pricing way out of whack to the value (and cost of development), not sure how these guys can keep funding this. IMO, just too risky to run a business on this. This might explain lack of documentation and lack of response to issues.

I truly hope they sort these issues out. This is the first serious challenger I’ve seen to MYOB, QB and XERO.

hi @jmo

I found that if you enter a test entry be it Customer, Supplier Inventory , Non Inventory etc and export this and open the export file in say excel this gives you the blank template lubos was referring to and you can copy and paste the whole listing from your other program to the template and it will import perfectly ( not sure about QB as it uses IIF but MYOB works a treat.

I feel your pain and frustration and my understanding of API’s and documentation , Github is very very limited but I do know as a User , overall I am wrapped in Manager. I have used a lot of software programs all the major ones and some less known. Yes, Manager is not as polished as the Big Names but the functionality and flexibility is what makes Manager a stand out. Yes it needs some extra features but even in the time I have been using it (coming up to 1 year) I have seen hugh advances in functionality and the response times and interaction from the developer Lubos and others is outstanding . He is genuinely interested in what the users want and this software is worldwide so no easy task. Its speed and size of data file is also second to none. So before you give up on it completely keep these things in mind as you will be hard pressed to find better software that is independent and evolving as fast as this one while keeping reliability in mind. From what I have seen , the reason why there is no set plan of development is because the development is driven on user needs , not some preconceived ideas and implementation based on points or likes rubbish or potential for profit or return. Lubos seems totally focused on user needs and functionality and fixes things as they happen. He does have some things he priorities first of course but overall things do get done asap. This is why you see so many unresolved issues , partly because the user is not familiar with the product or the new feature has not had the documentation added to the guides yet so for many it is trial and error . I also notice that many requests are very user specific not generic in nature so these requests are unlikely to be met.

The Guides are good but often cover just the basic requirements and this forum does the rest for me. Not perfect but workable. The more you use manager the faster you get at it and the flexibility in the chart of accounts is now very good. So if you don’t see what you need now, keep checking back as Lubos and his team don’t sleep it seems to me.

Best of luck in your endeavours


I’m not sure if you understood what github is.

Github is repository to store code but has a very good issues functionality. This way reported issues can be discussed and tagged for resolution in a future release. I.e. users have visibility of issues and potential fix date.

I have no doubt or have ever questioned Lubos ability or commitment. My point is they need to charge more or have paid support options so it’s easier to onboard but more importantly there is a paid support available. That certainly is one way to get revenue and continue to provide value to Manager’s loyal user base. But it does offer those willing to pay a done-for-you or a more hand-on support. At this price the software is pretty much free.

Not everyone wants to mess around doing trial and error and a ton of testing to learn a software. The opportunity cost is too high – this is what needs to be addressed. Those who love messing around and want to learn by trial and error are free to do so. But you severely limit your addressable market.


Why complex up a business model that works very effectively for the majority without a problem.
The reason other accounting software charge more is so they can run their more complex business models + shareholders who want fat dividend payments.- why pay more just so someone else can get your money (paying them for their risk of investing in the business).

Accounting software comes and goes eg Attaché, and the accounting world hasn’t collapsed.
Others now want (force) you to be purely cloud based clients. If a package does become redundant the user just keeps functioning without receiving updates - similar to when they stop supporting older technology, eg XP.

Manger’s existence, due to its business model, is more likely to be a risk to others, QB & MYOB, as they continue to lose customer base. You have to remember that once upon a time MYOB started from nothing and has knocked out other packages along the way.

=> And how do you know that? What if the majority is leaving without mentioning anything, i.e. the silent majority. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence![quote=“Brucanna, post:11, topic:7407”]

The reason other accounting software charge more is so they can run their more complex business models
=> Not necessarily. They charge more because people are willing to pay. No one is forcing anyone to pay more. Time is money and there are people out there who don’t mind paying for a more hands-on service or are not comfortable enough doing it themselves for whatever reason.

=> Wow! No need to be so self-serving! I want my software vendor to make money so they’re happier, invest more and make the product better, faster! No one is forcing you to pay more. I for one am willing to pay more because it reduces the overall risk of using Manager.

@jmo, is funded by customers, all expenses are covered by revenue from customers and revenue keeps growing each month - so it’s all good. I sympathize with your concerns. This is all in the basket “Manager is promising software but it’s just not mature enough to be taken seriously”. I guess you might need to check again 1 year from now or so. I hope you will see a lot of progress by then.

Could we offer paid support? We could. Why don’t we? Well, I’ll rather take a hit and criticism for lack of documentation and training materials than taking an easy way out and introducing paid support.

Paid support would ultimately hurt Manager because if the business starts relying on revenue from it, we would face innovator’s dilemma by not improving free documentation as not to cannibalize revenue from paid support. Then good & free documentation would never happen and I’ll rather have it later than never.

That’s why I’m saying Manager is not for everyone right now but as time goes on, it should be accessible to more and more people.


@lubos Thank you for your response.

Just one final comment. I don’t believe paid support and free documentation are mutually exclusive. Paid support addresses immediacy whilst documentation addresses completeness. I can’t see why paid support can’t be used as catalyst to prioritise what to document next for free customers.

Wishing you much success. :slight_smile:

Running a business myself and also having the issue where I have too much to do and not enough time to do it, I also find that I am not always meeting the expectations of my clients in that sometimes projects get delayed for months as other distractions pop up with the result that sometimes it takes a couple of years for me to implement things that I promised ages ago.

Being a customer of the accounting program Manager - I am in the position of my clients. So I think I can understand the issue from both sides.

My personal opinion is that while its important to do the best job that you can, to be honest and reliable, the fact is customers need documentation (my clients and your clients) - I am finding the paperwork (documentation) is becoming increasingly important to both myself and my clients. I also aware that my clients don’t want to be kept waiting for months on end for a promised project (for example I am going to be doing an updated IT Staff Handbook Guide this week - which I have been meaning to do for over two years!) and I find myself that my biggest frustration with Manager is threefold - One waiting for features such as the status of quotes (thats been on your todo list for over two years) and I am really looking forward to the budgeting. The second issue is your habit of releasing an update without either proper testing (such as removing the print button for the new PDF button before ensuring that the pdf function worked properly) and the third issue is lack of communication and documentation - for example the release notes has the last update in August!

Speaking as someone who has been running their own business for eight years and I have made my fair share of mistakes - I have come to learn a few things over time.

Nobody can do everything themselves - there is just isn’t enough time - so I outsource some of my work - You can outsource the documentation and communication work to someone else.

Documentation and Communication - is probably the single biggest important factor in keeping clients happy. It doesn’t how hard you work, how good you are you, one needs to communicate with their clients - so I have improved my communication considerably over the last two years - You need to ensure that the release notes are up to date and have a beta/finished version so that people can beta test a new release.

Pricing - Pricing is very difficult - Charge too much and people will go somewhere else where they can get a better price, but charging too little can also create its own set of problems - such as not having money to hire people to do documentation or handle bug fixes while you focus on development features like budgeting. Also if one is too cheap in certain job fields, then people think “oh well he can’t be that good then if he charges so little.” Pricing is difficult to get right and I do agree with JMO that if you underprice you lose a lot of potential clients who won’t take the program seriously as they are used to a certain price range and know what they can expect for that price range.

I know that you said that you will never charge for the desktop version, but I personally think that your program is really good and that you should not be giving away a product for free as its clear it takes up a lot of your time to develop and support the product and many people (myself included) would be happy to pay if it would mean that features like Status of Quotes gets implemented in a reasonably short space of time instead of waiting five years for the feature. I have never used the Sales Order function precisely for this reason - lack of status for quotes and orders - (I do currently use a custom drop down field but its a stopgap measure until the real deal comes in).

In short (If I can ever say anything in short - people say I wrote novels which I will admit is the case) - I feel that I can see both sides of the story. From the customer point of view - documentation and communication is very very important and the extremely lengthy delay to release of certain features like status of quotes does put people off the product and from the company point of view - while I like to do as much as possible myself (so I know its done properly) and because I am not exactly swimming in cash at the moment (I have to do some of the work myself) I recognise that I can’t do everything myself, so network cabling and projector installations, I outsource this and I just add on my fee for handling the installation project.

I think that the same applies to Manager - you are trying to do too much yourself and I can see its a struggle and I have been there and to some extent I am still there - too many demands on my time and not enough time to do it all. Put a price on the desktop version and increase the price of the other products so that you can afford to hire people to take some of the load off you - such as documentation etc I dunno.

As a client of yours I can emphatically state that I would be happy to pay if it results in the service that I want i.e. timely implementation of features as status of quotes and orders - you have no idea how irritating the lack of this feature is - I currently use the flags in my email program to remind me to order products, pay invoices and to invoice clients because of the lack of statuses for quotes and orders as the custom drop down field doesn’t help very much if you forget to change the status of a quote etc on conversion to invoice as well as the fact that the quotes and orders tabs should only by default show open quotes and orders!

This is meant as constructive criticism as I want Manager to succeed and while I think the program is brilliant - there is no denying that it takes a very long time to get certain issues resolved such as the aforementioned status of quotes and orders. I just want to highlight that I do actually agree with JMO - your product is great, but obvious things like lack of documentation on how to import from popular programs like Quickbooks etc and releasing a version that should be a beta version and things like this let the product down. I hope that you take this constructive criticism as its meant as I want Manger to be the best product out there! :relaxed:

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I see the problem a little differently. In my opinion the project leaders should be charging for support contracts, and special features. The people who pay for support contracts would get priority support, and the people who are willing to pay for specific features would get them implemented as a priority. Everyone has different needs. If a lot of people have the same needs they can chip in for specific features that they need, and have them done more quickly.

Also, it seems to me that an opesource project should have ability for other developers to contribute code or fixes. But I am not a developer, so I don’t know if that is possible for this project. For non-developers, there are also ways that they can contribute, such as user documentation, testing beta versions, suggesting new features, and paying for things like support, new features and hosting.

Thats my humble opinion. But I think that we have strayed off topic since this doesn’t have to do with importing anymore, and should really be under a different subject heading. But I think that these are important things to discuss since I really like the program and would like to see it move forward.

You misunderstand the Manager environment, @fred_blauer. Manager is not a project the way, for example, GnuCash is. It’s not open source. NGSoftware has chose a specific business model, on which forum members have no vote. No one can pay for support and groups of users cannot chip in for preferential treatment. Part of the business model is that support comes on the forum. Feature requests can be raised on the forum. But no one decides if or when they are implemented except NGSoftware.

The Manager environment is not for everyone. Using the program requires a decision to accept the manner in which help is rendered and the application moves forward. If it’s not for you, good luck with a search for an alternative. Personally, I doubt you’ll find one so responsive to user input.

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You are right I did misunderstand, since I saw opensource on the bottom of the landing page of the web site. Now I understand that it is a proprietary system. I am just evaluating the system, but I am pretty impressed so far. I saw that you responded instantly to my question, and that I appreciate. My only concern would be what if the lead developer, (or you) gets hit by a truck? Seems to me thats a big risk, unless I am misunderstanding something else.

Your risk if I get hit by a truck is zero. I’m not the developer, only a forum moderator (by virtue mostly having having spent so much time here over the last three years).

As for the lead developer, I can’t say. I have no information about NGSoftware’s continuity plans, any more than I (or you) know what happens if the developer of any software I use goes out of business. At such a point, you always have your latest version. Eventually, it won’t be supported as operating systems advance. That is actually what drove me to Manager; I couldn’t run my old system any longer.

Too bad. That’s why most comnmercial organizations end up with something like Quickbooks since they don’t want to risk the potential disruption to the business.