QuickBooks Accountant Desktop: Review for Accounting Firms 2023
This article is part of a larger series on Accounting Software.
QuickBooks Accountant Desktop, an on-premise accounting software, provides bookkeepers and accountants with special tools for serving their clients who use QuickBooks Desktop Pro or Premier. This version of QuickBooks for accountants has many unique features not present in the Pro and Premier editions, such as the ability to review and adjust client data and toggle between all the industry-specific versions of QuickBooks Desktop. Most importantly, it can import an Accountant Copy created from your client’s books.
QuickBooks Desktop Accountant comes with the purchase of a QuickBooks Desktop ProAdvisor membership, with annual prices that start at $799 per ProAdvisor.
What We Like
- Accountant Copy allows easy file sharing from clients
- Accountant Toolbox helps find client errors and make year-end adjustments
- Open client files from the previous year’s edition of QuickBooks Pro or Premier
- Ability to toggle between all QuickBooks desktop editions
- Includes QuickBooks Desktop ProAdvisor membership
- More difficult to access client books than in QuickBooks Online Accountant
- Only one user at a time allowed to access the company file
- Cannot access the program remotely without third-party hosting
- No real-time update of financial data
- Accountants with clients who use QuickBooks Desktop: It’s one of our best accounting practice management software, particularly for those who serve clients using Pro or Premier.
- Full-service accountants with many clients: It lets you manage an unlimited number of clients—making it one of our top-recommended multicompany accounting software.
- Accountants wanting access to industry-specific reports: You can toggle to any industry-specific edition of QuickBooks Premier to provide clients with reports they may not have access to in their version of QuickBooks.
- Accountants providing on-site assistance: It lets you log in through your client’s QuickBooks Desktop program to gain immediate access to the special tools included in your QuickBooks Accountant Desktop subscription.
- Accountants with QuickBooks Online clients: Since QuickBooks Accountant Desktop is only compatible with clients who have QuickBooks Desktop, firms with QuickBooks Online clients require QuickBooks Online Accountant.
- Accounting firms with remote employees: Because client files are stored locally, remote employees cannot share client files with each other, so the best option is QuickBooks Online Accountant. We recommend learning about QuickBooks Online vs QuickBooks Desktop before deciding which accountant version you want to build your accounting practice around.
- Accountants needing project management features: Accountants who are looking for help with team management tasks, such as tracking projects that they’re working on, will have more success with Jetpack Workflow, which offers a great mix of features at a fair price.
- Accountants serving Xero clients: If your clients are using Xero accounting software, you need to have Xero Practice Manager.
Visit QuickBooks Accountant Desktop
Are you looking for more accounting software options? Explore our evaluation of the best accounting software for small businesses.
QuickBooks Accountant Desktop Deciding Factors
Accountants serving clients who use QuickBooks Pro or Premier
60 days from the purchase date
24/7 customer support (submit a request and wait for a call from QuickBooks), live chat support, chatbot, community forum, downloadable user guides
QuickBooks Accountant Desktop New Feature for 2023
- Cash Flow Hub: This provides a single screen where you can track all incoming and outgoing cash flow. You can monitor paid and incoming invoices, payments, sales receipts, and credit memos easily as well as upcoming and paid vendor bills. The Cash Flow Hub is customizable, so you can display specific information, such as cash balances and cash flow trends.
QuickBooks Accountant Desktop Alternatives
Best for: Accountants who manage QuickBooks Online clients or work remotely
Best for: Accountants who need project management features
Best for: Accountants serving clients that are using Xero accounting software
Cost: Free with enrollment in QuickBooks Online ProAdvisor program, which is also free
Cost: Starts at $45 per user, per month
Cost: $149 per month for up to 10 users—free when you become a Silver Partner
QuickBooks Accountant Desktop Pricing
QuickBooks Accountant Desktop is available with the purchase of a QuickBooks Desktop ProAdvisor membership. There are currently two membership levels available:
- ProAdvisor Premier Software Bundle: $799 per year, per ProAdvisor
- ProAdvisor Enterprise Software Bundle: $1,299 per year, per ProAdvisor
Both include QuickBooks Accountant Desktop and other features, but The ProAdvisor Enterprise Software Bundle has more inclusions, like QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise Accountant, QuickBooks Mac Desktop 2023, and QuickBooks POS Desktop.
Tip: If you want to learn how QuickBooks Accountant Desktop compares with the other QuickBooks Desktop products, read our QuickBooks Desktop versions comparison.
Fit Small Business Case Study
To create a reasonable and critical analysis of the accounting software we review, our experts designed an internal case study, which evaluates and rates each software based on key metrics, like pricing, features, and ease of use. The results of our case study for all editions of QuickBooks Premier, including QuickBooks Accountant Desktop, are explained in detail in our QuickBooks Desktop Premier review.
The scores are summarized below.
Score (Out of 5)
Banking & Cash Management
Sales Income Tax
Ease of Use
QuickBooks Accountant Desktop Features
In addition to the general accounting features discussed in our QuickBooks Desktop Premier review, QuickBooks Accountant Desktop includes unique, time-saving tools that can help accountants streamline their work.
As the name itself suggests, the Accountant Toolbox provides extra features and tools exclusively for accountants and bookkeepers:
- Access the Accountant Center: Your Accountant Center gives quick access to many of the features in your toolbox, such as the ability to batch-enter transactions, write off invoices, and merge vendors.
- Troubleshoot prior account balances: Users can compare the prior-year balances in a client’s QuickBooks file to what they should be, based on the actual prior-year numbers that you input. The system will then prepare a proposed adjusting entry that you can accept.
- Bulk-reclassify transactions: Instead of making a journal entry when a client repeatedly makes a classification error, you can specify criteria to locate the suspect transactions. You can then select the individual transactions to reclassify and perform the bulk reclassification with one click.
- Bulk write-off invoices: You can specify criteria to generate a list of invoices to review. After reviewing, perform a bulk write-off by indicating the appropriate invoices and clicking one button.
- Fix incorrectly recorded sales and payroll taxes: You can find and correct instances where your client recorded tax payments incorrectly.
- Merge vendors: If clients create duplicate vendor accounts accidentally, you can merge all of their transactions into a single vendor.
- Batch enter transactions: You can input numerous transactions quickly using a spreadsheet-like interface. This is much quicker than entering checks or other transactions through the regular screens.
Clients create an Accountant’s Copy to share their QuickBooks data. They specify a dividing date, usually the end of the most recent period. Only the client can work on transactions after the dividing date, and only the accountant can work on transactions prior to the dividing date. You can import their Accountant’s Copy, make the necessary changes, and then export your changes. When the client imports your changes, the dividing date they set will be unlocked.
Client Data Review
This provides specialized tools to detect and correct common data entry errors, such as incorrectly recorded sales tax payments invoices written off in bulk instead of individually. It also lets you reclassify multiple transactions in one go, troubleshoot inventory problems, and detect changes made to your lists in QuickBooks.
QuickBooks Desktop Accountant lets you toggle between all the industry-specific editions of Pro and Premier: General Business, Retail, Professional, Contractor, Nonprofit, and Manufacturing and Wholesale.
To switch to another edition, select File from the top menu bar, click Toggle to Another Edition, and then select the edition you want to switch to as demonstrated in the GIF below.
- Categorize transactions with improved bank feeds: Categorize bank transactions automatically with more detail by using enhanced rules, batch editing, and improved matching.
- Send statements automatically: Automate regularly sent statement emails tailored to different customer needs
- Customize payment receipts: Customize payment receipt formatting, including logos, for a professional and consistent look across your customer communications.
- Create customer groups: Create rule-based customer groups based on fields like customer type, status, location, and balance so that you can manage and communicate with customers easily.
- Access QuickBooks Desktop Manager: Use one management tool to find and install all of your QuickBooks products.
- Access QuickBooks Tool Hub: Fix common problems and errors with a hub containing easy-to-use troubleshooting tools.
QuickBooks Accountant Desktop Ease of Use
QuickBooks Accountant Desktop is fairly intuitive and essentially has the same user interface as the other QuickBooks Desktop products, except for the addition of the Accountant menu. The menu lets you access the special tools you need, such as the Accountant Center and the Client Review tool.
The platform also has some helpful features that make it easy to transfer and access your clients’ QuickBooks company files. For instance, you can open client files from the preceding two years without updating the file. This enables your client to still access the file with their older version of QuickBooks.
In terms of customer service, QuickBooks Accountant Desktop includes telephone support, but you have to send a request and wait for a call. You can also talk to an agent through live chat during business hours or explore some of its self-help resources and troubleshooting guides online.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How is QuickBooks Accountant Desktop different from QuickBooks Premier?
QuickBooks Accountant Desktop has the same accounting features as QuickBooks Premier. In addition, it has special tools to allow accounting professionals to import, adjust, and export their clients’ QuickBooks company file.
Can I convert an Accountant’s Copy to a regular company file?
Yes, you can, but you’ll need QuickBooks Accountant Desktop to do so. Check out QuickBooks’ guide on how to convert an Accountant’s Copy to a regular file.
If you have clients who use Pro or Premier versions of QuickBooks Desktop, then you need QuickBooks Accountant Desktop. It includes comprehensive tools to import your client’s data file, review the file for errors, and make adjustments. The 2023 version includes a Cash Flow Hub that can help you better track your or your client’s outgoing and incoming cash flow.