What is Data Import?

Data Importing for Financial Software

It is possible to import data to tax software from personal finance software.
Importing Financial Data to Tax Software. Credit: Screen shots by Shelley Elmblad

To import data means to bring data saved from a source, such as a secure bank website, into your financial software.

Data Import Examples

A typical data import would come from account transactions downloaded from your bank or other financial institution, where your financial software converts the data so that new transactions show up in the account register.

Another example of importing data would be importing an entire account, or data file that is transferred from one software package to another to save time entering transactions.

Account data and data files can also be exported and imported between the same software title and version on two computers.

Before Importing Data You Must Export

Before you can import data, you need to follow a procedure to export and save the data from the online source. For example, I had to import my old MS Money data into Microsoft Money Plus Sunset edition to be able to compare my old budget to the new one I created.

Steps for Exporting Data:

  • Most financial institutions let you export an entire statement or transactions that cleared since your last download. If you do not want to download an entire statement, click on recent transactions or a similar option for the account you are downloading.
  • Look for a link or button to download activity. This link could be off to the side, or at the top or bottom of the page.
  • If given the option to select the date range you want to export, select the beginning and ending dates for the transactions you want to download.
  • Now, select the software format or file type you want to export, which is usually presented in a drop down menu or other selection list.
  • If given the option to choose the location to save the exported file to, use the folder that suits you or just save the file to your desktop.
  • Once the downloaded export file is imported into your financial software, the export file should be deleted. Your browser probably has a default location to save files to on your computer, usually this is in a folder called Download, but check your browser options to verify the location.
  • Click on the Download button, allow the exported data to be saved and you have successfully exported and downloaded transactions for use in your personal finance software. Now you need to import the data into your software.

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