This article is part of a larger series on Accounting Software.
Are you looking for something else? Read our guide to the best small business accounting software.
QuickBooks Desktop Premier Deciding Factors
Supported Business Types
Businesses that need intensive inventory accounting and are in specialized industries, such as manufacturing, retail, and nonprofit
Pricing for Enhanced Payroll
$50 per month plus $5 per employee or $500 per year plus $5 per employee per month
60 days of the purchase date
Overall Ease of Use
Above average to difficult; recommended for experienced bookkeepers
Phone support (you wait for a call), live chat, chatbot, and self-help resources
QuickBooks Desktop Premier New Features for 2023
- Tag intercompany transactions: With this new feature, you’ll no longer have to adjust manually for intercompany transactions when creating consolidated reports, helping you manage multiple business entities better.
- Cash Flow Hub: This helps you track your cash position and your bank and credit card accounts and loans. With Premier 2023, you can now review account balances, see cash balance trends, manage overdue bills and payments, and track cash performance over a specified period.
- Upgraded mileage tracking: QuickBooks Premier 2023 now allows you to track business mileage from your desktop or mobile device automatically and get it approved by your manager or supervisor. You just need to input the start and end trip locations, and the app will calculate the mileage automatically. The previous version tracks business mileage, but you have to record your odometer readings manually. This new feature is only available in the iOS mobile app.
- Inventory categorization: You can now organize item lists by categories or groups so that you can shorten the list and easily find what you need.
- Improved bank feeds: Premier 2023 now connects to many banks that were previously not possible. Also, you can set up the frequency of automatic downloads of banking data.
QuickBooks Desktop Premier Alternatives
Best for: Businesses that need remote access to their QuickBooks files
Best for: Companies with more than five users
Best for: Businesses that want a free accounting alternative
Starts at: $30 per month
Starts at: $1,340 per year
Starts at: $0
QuickBooks Desktop Premier pricing runs from $799 per year for one user to $1,999 per year for five users, which is expensive compared to most small business software. For example, you can get QuickBooks Online Plus with similar features for $85 per month ($1,020 per year) with five users included. However, if you only need one user, QuickBooks Premier can be of great value. If you’re dissatisfied with QuickBooks Desktop Premier, then you can ask for your money back within 60 days of purchase.
QuickBooks Desktop Enhanced Payroll calculates your payroll taxes, lets you run your payroll in minutes, and allows automatic import of your time data. It costs $50 a month plus $5 per employee per month and includes free direct deposit.
Fit Small Business Case Study
We conducted a case study to determine how Premier performs against our internal rubrics. Our QuickBooks Premier review was based on an expert evaluation using different categories. For each, we assign respective weights based on how essential they are to our evaluation. The table below summarizes the result of our QuickBooks Desktop Premier case study.
QuickBooks Desktop Premier vs Competitors
QuickBooks Premier is very strong in most areas of our case study. Its mobile app is pretty weak compared to QuickBooks Online and Xero, which isn’t surprising given that QuickBooks Premier isn’t cloud-based software.
While QuickBooks Premier received only 1 point for pricing, that is a little misleading since our case study evaluated pricing based on a subscription for five users. QuickBooks Online charges $85 per month for one to five users, but QuickBooks Premier charges by the user with a single user being only $799 per year. If you only need a single user, then Premier can be of very good value.
Case study for QuickBooks Premier vs QuickBooks Online and Xero
Touch the graph above to interact Click on the graphs above to interact
QuickBooks Premier $799 per year
QuickBooks Online Starting at $30/month; $85 as tested
Xero Starting at $12/month; $65 as tested
QuickBooks Desktop Premier Features
QuickBooks Desktop Premier offers a wide range of tailor-made features specially designed for your industry. Whether you’re a general contractor, nonprofit organization, or professional service provider, you’ll find many useful functionalities in the QuickBooks Desktop Premier software. Below is a list of some of its key features.
QuickBooks Desktop Premier would have hit all the right notes if not for its inability to track activity by location, which is a popular feature of its cloud-based counterpart, QuickBooks Online. However, as with QuickBooks Online, setting up QuickBooks Desktop Premier is easy and detailed. You can input company information and set entity type. After setting up basic information, you can also modify or import a chart of accounts, close prior period accounts, and input beginning balances.
When it’s time to share your books for tax with an offsite accountant, like a certified public accountant (CPA), you create an electronic file called the Accountant’s Copy. When creating it, you must choose a dividing date. For instance, if you’re sending a CPA the information for your 2022 tax return, you’ll choose a dividing date of Dec. 31, 2022. Your accountant will be able to work on transactions on or before Dec. 31, 2022, to prepare your return.
You’ll be able to continue working on 2023 information but won’t be able to change any information prior to 2023. This allows both you and the CPA to work on the company file simultaneously without interfering with each other. When the accountant is done, they’ll send you an Accountant Changes file that you’ll import to record the changes made and release the divide date.
The only downside of this feature is that you have to send the Accountant’s Copy every time you need a CPA to check your books. This is inconvenient compared to cloud software, which allows your accountant direct access to your books with a simple invite.
Accounts Payable (4.80/5)
While QuickBooks Desktop has strong A/P features, the A/P module isn’t easy to use. Users with no experience in bookkeeping and accounting software programs will have a hard time navigating. In terms of features, it allows you to create recurring expenses, convert purchase orders (POs) into bills, create service items, and record e-payments.
The bill tracker will show you the progress of upcoming payments, which is helpful in projecting your cash flow. The bill tracker follows expenses from purchases, open bills, and paid bills.
Accounts Receivable (4.80/5)
As with its A/P module, the A/R module could have been easier to use, which explains the slight reduction to its score. However, invoice creation in QuickBooks Desktop Premier is excellent because it allows users to select invoice templates and change invoice colors for branding purposes. You can also print or email invoices to customers after recording them. Another great feature worth considering is adding service items for services provided to minimize data entry when billing frequently for the same service.
The collections center provides a list of invoices that are overdue or almost due. It also provides the customer’s phone number and a place to keep notes on your contact with the customer. You can view the income tracker to see the status of your future cash flow, which is helpful for projections. In addition to unpaid invoices, the income tracker shows you unbilled estimates, sales orders, time, and expenses.
The A/R module is full of useful features that are adaptable to different industries. However, we still find it difficult and confusing to use. QuickBooks Desktop Premier’s interface isn’t as minimal as QuickBooks Online. If you plan to self-manage your books, you’ll have a hard time using QuickBooks Desktop Premier—unless you’re willing to take tutorial and training courses.
Banking & Cash Management (5/5)
You can set up a feed from your bank for checking, savings, and credit card accounts. Transactions will be loaded into QuickBooks automatically for you to classify. You can create rules, so QuickBooks will classify transactions from certain vendors automatically.
With or without bank feeds, you can account for cash transactions and reconcile bank accounts just by entering the bank statement balance. Other accounting software programs require a bank feed connection to reconcile accounts. With QuickBooks Desktop Premier, you can still perform reconciliation even if you choose not to connect your bank accounts.
QuickBooks Premier has a great “undeposited funds” feature that allows you to combine checks and cash into a single deposit. By grouping checks and cash properly with QuickBooks, your bank deposits will match your bookkeeping deposits, making bank reconciliation much easier.
Project Accounting (5/5)
QuickBooks Desktop Premier does well in project accounting. That’s why this version of QuickBooks is great for project-based businesses like contractors and designers. Advertising and marketing firms will also make good use of these features for keeping track of client projects. It has all the vital features, such as assigning estimates and costs to projects and comparing budget-to-actual costs, which QuickBooks Online doesn’t do.
Sales Income Tax (4.50/5)
If QuickBooks Desktop offered a tax filing service for its users, then that would have earned it a perfect score. However, despite this weakness, it still provides a convenient way for tracking taxes. QuickBooks will monitor the accrual and payment of sales tax separately for each taxing authority. You can define which types of sales should have sales tax collected.
QuickBooks will track both the quantity on-hand and the average cost of all your inventory items. You can access information regarding each inventory item through the Inventory Center. We like the level of detail that QuickBooks Desktop Premier gives users because it can help in making decisions. Moreover, inventory features are integrated into A/R and A/P, and QuickBooks handles purchases, cost of goods sold (COGS), and ending inventory automatically.
Despite the inability to track income and expenses by location, you can define class lists to departmentalize your financials in whatever way you find useful. For example, a property manager might create a class for each of its managed buildings. By assigning every transaction to a class, the property manager can generate profit and loss reports and balance sheet reports by building. Classes can be used creatively to develop highly customized software.
Ease of Use (3.90/5)
While QuickBooks Desktop Premier has a streamlined desktop interface, you must at least have a basic knowledge of accounting to understand the workflow process. The company homepage within QuickBooks lays out the workflow process so that you can click on whichever form needs to be created. Alternatively, all the necessary actions are available through the top menu.
We highly recommend looking for accounting advisors who can coach you in bookkeeping using QuickBooks. Also, we don’t recommend learning QuickBooks Desktop Premier on the job because mistakes can create very messy books quickly. .
In terms of customer service, QuickBooks Premier offers phone support, but you have to submit a ticket first and wait for a call from an agent. Other ways to seek help include live chat, a chatbot, and some self-help resources. Some software providers, like FreshBooks, have better customer support, as you can make a phone call for immediate assistance.
The good thing about QuickBooks Premier is that it has a vast network of QuickBooks Desktop ProAdvisors. This means you can easily find a local ProAdvisor in your area who can provide bookkeeping support for your business.
Mobile App (0.50/5)
QuickBooks didn’t do great in mobile accounting as it has a very limited mobile app, which is only designed to capture expense receipts, with an added feature for tracking business mileage (for iOS users). If you need to send invoices, accept payments, and view reports on the go, then we recommend choosing QuickBooks Online especially if you plan to stay within the QuickBooks product line. If you want a full-featured mobile app that offers more features, like the ability to record time worked, then check out Zoho Books.
QuickBooks Desktop Premier integrates with ecommerce platforms like Shopify, WooCommerce, Big Commerce, and Magento. You can also integrate seamlessly with online marketplaces like eBay, Amazon, and Walmart.
Users who left QuickBooks Premier reviews praised it for strong inventory accounting reports and the ability to generate advanced reports. However, some dislike that the mobile app is very limited and that it is a bit expensive—especially if it comes with payroll. Overall, the user ratings are a little lower than the ratings for QuickBooks Online and Xero, which is consistent with our evaluation that QuickBooks Premier is a little more difficult to use for nonaccountants.
Here are QuickBooks Desktop Premier’s ratings on several review websites:
- G2: 4.3 out of 5 based on over 1,600 reviews
- TrustRadius: 8.4 out of 10 based on about 800 reviews
- Software Advice: 4.34 out of 5 based on around 1,500 reviews
- Google Play (for Mobile App): 3.1 out of 5 based on over 100 reviews
- App Store (for Mobile App): 1.9 out of 5 based on more than 50 reviews
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
When is QuickBooks Desktop Premier right for me?
QuickBooks Desktop Premier is right for you if you’re working with an in-house bookkeeper, have complex inventory accounting needs, or are in a specialized industry, including retail, general contractor, manufacturing and wholesale, retail, nonprofit, and professional services.
Is QuickBooks Desktop Premier better than QuickBooks Online?
QuickBooks Desktop and Online are designed to serve different business purposes. For instance, Desktop Premier is great for multicompany accounting and inventory, while QuickBooks Online is better for companies whose accounting tasks are done remotely.
Are there great alternatives to QuickBooks Desktop Premier?
Yes, there are, and the right one depends on your needs. For example, if you need access to more than five users, you need to upgrade to QuickBooks Enterprise, whereas if you want a free alternative, consider Lendio Accounting.
QuickBooks Desktop Premier is powerful accounting software with many advanced features and reporting capabilities that take time and patience to learn. Full-time bookkeepers will love it for its quick data input and fast navigation compared to cloud-based software. However, inexperienced bookkeepers might be served better by cloud-based software, such as QuickBooks Online, if they need frequent help from an offsite bookkeeper.