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EXCL 101 Getting started with CHOICE/ QBO

Updated: May 8, 2019

Here are a few EXCL helpful tips on first steps to making the CHOICE QBO Chart Of Accounts (COA) and Choice Advantage (CA) synchronization to QBO work for you.

There are many things to think about when you are getting started:

  1. QBO is a high value/low cost accounting system. The QBO discount for Choice owners makes it a NO BRAINER investment! But don't kid yourself into thinking it will do the accounting for you. While it is not rocket science, if you want useful data to analyze your performance, you need to know some basics of Hotel Accounting. Garbage in - Garbage out. Consider it like this - you have purchased a low cost Intuit QBO airplane. CIA is an add-on app that permits your plane to talk to your PMS. But do you, as the hotel owner, know how to fly a plane? As an accounting service provider and management company, EXCL highly recommends that you talk with someone who understands hotel systems and is willing to dig into them and get you tight and right (this is where I see many owners losing money on the revenue collection side - Shift4, CLC, Choice Advantage (CA) ledger management, SRD, direct billing, extended stay sales tax exemption reporting, etc). Many owners turn to accounting firms they pay for other businesses or payroll or tax filings who don't have the hotel systems expertise to manage the hotel's accounting at this granular hotel system level. If you are currently paying someone to do your books, make sure they are not only well-versed in hotel accounting systems but are also asking you for a Choice Advantage login and have the know how to navigate your systems. Here at EXCL, we believe your bottom line is impacted by overlooking these details. So, we encourage you to step back and evaluate whether you can get a bigger bang for your accounting service dollars and if you are not paying someone, then ask yourself whether you might benefit from a bit of support (even if only temporarily) as you learn to fly and establish best practices for your hotel companies and accounting.

  2. If you have not signed up for QBO via the Choice franchise relationship, stop now and fix this by calling Intuit at 540-908-9831 or 540-847-1364 or by going to their web link: This is currently the only way to get the Choice Chart of Accounts (USALI 11th edition format) and the QBO discounts extended to Choice Franchisees. They can also tell you how to convert your existing Intuit products to QBO. If you are already using QBO, you still need to contact them to determine how they can get you the COA and Choice discounts.

  3. If you have not signed up with CIA for at least their minimum offering of the Connector package (they have more to offer you if interested), stop now and fix this by reaching out to CIA here: This is the only way for Choice Advantage night audit data to import to your QBO system and is an ESSENTIAL add-on service. When I hear owners saying I have QBO, but I don't want to pay CIA the extra monthly fee for the Connector to synchronize with Choice, I don't want to be rude, but honestly I bet this owner is bleeding way more money in credit card batch errors than the CIA monthly fee would cost. Repeat: Paying this fee to get your night audit information directly uploaded from CA to QBO IS A NO BRAINER!!! (I HAVE NO RELATIONSHIP WITH CIA OR QBO - I JUST LOVE THEIR PRODUCTS AND THE VALUE THEY BRING TO MY CLIENTS). Watch this training video we made for EXCL front desks to upload CA Back Office Reports to CIA here:

  4. If you have not yet added your bank accounts to sync to QBO, stop now and do this. If your bank does not support this synchronization, consider changing banks. If you have bank requirements and cannot move your accounts then consider opening a credit card batch and cash deposit receivable account at a bank that supports QBO synchronization at a minimum. You will thank me when you learn how to reconcile your credit card batches and cash deposits (go to QBO 201 blogpost to learn about that). Learn how easy it is to add bank accounts here:

  5. If you have not yet added your hotel credit card accounts to QBO, stop now and do this (see above link). Please note that this credit card account (the one you use to purchase hotel items) should be making purchases exclusive to the hotel if you plan on syncing it. I would not advise that you add a personal credit card account to your synchronization unless you only use that credit card for hotel expenses and the hotel pays the bill. EXCL offers an excellent credit card product via our bank to our clients. Talk to your banker about finding a solution like ours that permits you to establish a unique credit card account for each legal entity and permits you to order cards and manage limits under each legal entity as needed via an online portal. For example, for each hotel client, EXCL opens a line and issues a card called "General Manager, Hotel ABC" and this card synchronizes to QBO. It has made accountability SO MUCH EASIER, because we can see in real time how team members are using their cards via the QBO synchronization to the account.

Once these basic getting started steps are complete, you are ready for EXCL 102-Getting Started with CHOICE QBO (personalizing my COA, adding balance sheet accounts, converting COA, and more). And remember EXCL Hospitality is always looking for new clients. If you want us to do this work for you, reach out.

Kristin Crinot is the CEO of EXCL Hospitality and has been offering her expertise, strength of character and a deep commitment to excellence for the benefit of our clients and teams since 1999. She is always learning new ways to be a better human and hotel operator. This blog is part of that exercise and may or may not be relevant to you. EXCL Hospitality offers these little nuggets of accounting practice and opinion as opportunities to learn more about how to improve your hotel accounting. You should not consider them professional advice. Of course EXCL is always looking for clients and mutually beneficial accounting and/or management relationships with like-minded owners who share in our commitment to Happy Guests. Happy Teams. Happy Owners. If you would like to learn more about our accounting or management services, please send an email to:

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