QuickBooks enjoys more than 80% of the small business market, with 29 million small businesses in the United States alone. There are four QuickBooks Desktop products: QuickBooks Pro, QuickBooks Premier, QuickBooks Enterprise, and QuickBooks Accountant. In this guide, we compare the cost, features and support options, including who each product is right for.
QuickBooks Pro vs. Premier vs. Enterprise vs. Accountant
|QuickBooks Pro||Businesses with annual revenues of less than $1 million and need up to 3 users|
|QuickBooks Premier||Nonprofit, manufacturing & wholesale, professional services, contractor, or retail businesses|
|QuickBooks Enterprise||Small to medium-sized businesses with sales of more than $1 million and between 20 to 250 employees|
|QuickBooks Accountant||Bookkeepers and accountants who provide bookkeeping services|
When to Consider QuickBooks Online
QuickBooks Online offers a cloud accounting option, which is a great option if you work in multiple locations. With QuickBooks Online, you can access your data remotely from any smartphone or computer that’s connected to the Internet. Additionally, your bookkeeper and accountant can log in your QuickBooks Online, eliminating the hassle of transferring large data files.
If you need remote capabilities, QuickBooks Online is a better option when compared to QuickBooks desktop versions. If this sounds like you, right now you can save up to 50% on QuickBooks Online.
How We Determined Which QuickBooks Version Is Best for You
All four editions of QuickBooks Desktop have the core features you expect to have in accounting software. Core features include creating invoices and estimates, recording deposits and payments, and generating financial reports. The key differences between the desktop versions are the number of users, forecasting tools, industry-specific reports, advanced inventory tools, and data capacities.
QuickBooks Pricing & Features By Version
|QuickBooks Pro||QuickBooks Premier||QuickBooks Enterprise||QuickBooks Accountant|
|Starting Price||$299.95||$499.95||$1,100 per year||$349 per year|
|Max Number of Users||3||5||30||5|
|Manage Sales Tax||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Create Sales Orders||✕||✔||✔||✔|
|Create Bill of Materials||✕||✔||✔||✔|
|Toggle to Other Editions||✕||✕||✕||✔|
|Batch Void/Delete Transactions||✕||✕||✕||✔|
|Manage Fixed Assets||✕||✕||✔||✔|
QuickBooks Pro: Best for Businesses Up to $1 Million in Annual Revenue
QuickBooks Pro contains the core accounting features needed by small and mid-sized businesses. Due to its feature set, QuickBooks Pro is a good fit for businesses with revenues up to $1 million per year, with less than 20 employees, and who need three or fewer users to access the financial data.
QuickBooks Pro Pricing
The starting price for QuickBooks Pro is $299.95. QuickBooks Pro comes in two varieties: Pro and Pro Plus. Pro costs $299.95, which is a one-time fee and provides tech support only for the first 30 days. Pro Plus also costs $299.95, but is an annual subscription and provides unlimited tech support.
This fee is for one user license. QuickBooks Pro can support up to three users. Up to two additional licenses can be purchased for $250 per license. If you need more than three users, you will need to purchase QuickBooks Premier, which allows up to five users.
QuickBooks Pro includes tech support only for the first 30 days. After the 30 days, you will need to purchase a QuickBooks customer support plan. If you want unlimited tech support, it will be cheaper to buy QuickBooks Pro Plus at $299.95 per year, compared to Pro for a $299.95 one-time fee and $299.95 annually for tech support.
QuickBooks Pro Features
QuickBooks Pro contains all the core functionality of accounting software, such as recording banking transactions, creating invoices, and generating financial statements. QuickBooks Pro does not include some industry-specific features found in Premier like tracking inventory or unbilled time by client and has data limitations compared to Enterprise.
Below is a list of just some of the features included in QuickBooks Pro:
- Maximum of three users
- Manage accounts receivable
- Manage accounts payable
- Create estimates
- Create invoices
- Create purchase orders
- Manage sales tax
- Manage inventory
- Manage multiple currencies
- More than 100 financial reports
When it comes to data limitations, QuickBooks Pro can hold up to a total of 14,500 customers, vendors and employees combined. For other areas like fixed assets and the chart of accounts, it can hold up to 10,000 each. Keep in mind that as you get closer to these limits, the performance of the software could slow down considerably. QuickBooks Enterprise, by contrast, allows up to one million names.
What QuickBooks Pro Is Missing
In addition to being limited to three users, QuickBooks Pro is not a good fit for a manufacturing business that needs to create a bill of materials. Also, you cannot create sales orders with QuickBooks Pro. However, QuickBooks Premier is capable of creating a bill of materials and sales orders.
What Users Think About QuickBooks Pro
Many users report finding QuickBooks Pro intuitive and relatively straightforward to use. One user praised QuickBooks Pro for ease of use in creating and sending invoices but also pointed out that learning to use QuickBooks can be difficult. Users also noted that desktop versions of QuickBooks become obsolete after three years. You can read all our reviews of QuickBooks Pro.
Where to Buy QuickBooks Pro
You can download QuickBooks Pro and receive up to $80 to $100 off with a 60-day money-back guarantee. Set up your company file and try entering basic transactions like invoices and bills. You can also take advantage of the free customer support that is included with the first 30 days.
QuickBooks Premier: Best for Businesses in Niche Industries
QuickBooks Premier offers industry-specific tools and reports for the manufacturing, retail and wholesale industries, for professional service firms and general contractors, and nonprofit organizations. Accordingly, QuickBooks Premier is a good fit for small and mid-sized businesses in these industries with revenues under $1 million per year and fewer than 20 employees.
What sets QuickBooks Premier apart from other desktop versions of QuickBooks is the ability to configure Premier for five specific industries:
- Nonprofit organizations
- Manufacturing & wholesale
- Professional services
These industry-specific versions include a customized chart of accounts, a customized products and services list and custom reports for each industry. This makes QuickBooks Premier a great choice over Pro if you operate in one of these industries. QuickBooks Premier can also be configured using a general business option if you don’t need these industry-specific features.
QuickBooks Premier Pricing
QuickBooks Premier comes in two varieties: Premier and Premier Plus. The price of Premier starts at $499.95 for one license to use the desktop software indefinitely and includes tech support for the first 30 days. The price of Premier Plus also starts at $499.95, but is an annual subscription and includes unlimited tech support.
Up to four additional licenses can be purchased at approximately $350 per license. If more than five people need access to QuickBooks, you will need to purchase QuickBooks Enterprise, which allows up to 30 users. QuickBooks Premier provides tech support for the first 30 days at no additional cost; for an additional $299.95, you can get a full year of tech support.
QuickBooks Premier Features
QuickBooks Premier contains all the features as QuickBooks Pro. What makes QuickBooks Premier different are forecasting tools, inventory functionality, and industry-specific tools and reports.
QuickBooks Premier includes the following features:
- Track multiple units of measure
- Create sales orders
- Create price levels
- View or print past bank reconciliation reports
- Run a balance sheet report by department & location
- Export report templates & import into another QuickBooks company files
- Forecasting & business planning
- More than 150 reports, including industry-specific reports
What QuickBooks Premier Is Missing
In addition to being limited to five users, QuickBooks Premier cannot hold as much data as QuickBooks Enterprise. For example, you can set up a maximum of 14,500 customers, vendors and employees in Premier, whereas Enterprise can hold up to 1 million. In addition, Premier cannot do parent and subsidiary reporting like QuickBooks Enterprise does.
What Users Think About QuickBooks Premier
QuickBooks Premier is an excellent product for managing business finances, users often mention in their reviews of QuickBooks Premier. One person praised QuickBooks Premier’s ability to create detailed cost estimates for construction projects. However, sometimes the automated backup process fails. Be prepared for a learning curve in figuring out how to use QuickBooks.
Where to Buy QuickBooks Premier
You can download QuickBooks Premier and receive up to $200 off your purchase, with a 60-day, money-back guarantee. Take full advantage and set up your company file. Try entering basic transactions like invoices and bills. Be sure to take advantage of the free customer support that is included with the first 30 days.
QuickBooks Enterprise: Best for Businesses With Revenue of More Than $1 Million Per Year
QuickBooks Enterprise is what I call the “Range Rover” of the QuickBooks Desktop product line. It is for businesses that earn more than $1 million per year in sales and have between 20-250 employees. With QuickBooks Enterprise, you can have up to 30 users, making this the best option for mid- to large-sized companies.
Similar to QuickBooks Premier, QuickBooks Enterprise also comes in the following industry-specific versions:
- Nonprofit organizations
- Manufacturing & wholesale
These industry-specific versions include a customized chart of accounts, a customized products and services list and custom reports for each industry. Users can also set up QuickBooks Enterprise using a general business version.
QuickBooks Enterprise Pricing
QuickBooks Enterprise starts at $1,100 per year for one user license. Up to 30 additional licenses can be purchased. You will have to contact customer service for pricing on additional licenses.
QuickBooks Enterprise is structured as an annual subscription, starting at $1,100 per year. The QuickBooks Enterprise license includes unlimited support available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. By contrast, tech support is included only for the first 30 days in the Pro and Premier editions.
QuickBooks Enterprise Features
QuickBooks Enterprise includes every feature that both QuickBooks Pro and Premier have. Additionally, QuickBooks Enterprise offers features such as advanced reporting for creating customized financial statements, a fixed asset manager, and a new pick-pack-and-ship inventory process. QuickBooks Enterprise also has more data capacity than Pro and Premier.
Below is a list of features included in QuickBooks Enterprise:
- Faster processing
- More transactions
- Reporting for parent and subsidiary companies
- Granular user permissions
- Multiple location tracking & reporting
- Mobile Inventory barcode scanning
- QuickBooks Accountant Desktop tools for reviewing client data and sending journal entries back to the client
- More than 150 preconfigured industry reports and tools for creating customized financial statements
When it comes to data limitations, QuickBooks Enterprise can hold up to a total of 1,000,000 customers, vendors, and employees combined. You can also set up to 100,000 accounts on the chart of accounts as opposed to 10,000 for QuickBooks Pro, Premier & Accountant.
What QuickBooks Enterprise Is Missing
QuickBooks Enterprise is missing the option to pay for the software once. Instead, QuickBooks Enterprise is priced as an annual subscription that must be renewed annually if you want to continue using the software. In terms of product features, we cannot think of any functionality that QuickBooks Enterprise is missing.
What Users Think About QuickBooks Enterprise
QuickBooks Enterprise can handle nearly all the accounting needs of a business is a common theme in user reviews of QuickBooks Enterprise. Sometimes, customer support representatives do not know how to answer technical questions, one person said. Another person encouraged users to understand the real-time banking feature before setting up the bank connections.
Where to Buy QuickBooks Enterprise
You can download QuickBooks Enterprise and take it for free a test run. Take full advantage of the trial run and set up your company file. Enter basic transactions like invoices and bills and be sure to take advantage of the free customer support that is included with the first 30 days.
QuickBooks Accountant: Best for Professional Bookkeepers & Accountants
QuickBooks Accountant provides tools for bookkeepers to review client files and comes with QuickBooks ProAdvisor membership. Containing all the features found in Pro and Premier, QuickBooks Accountant adds an Accountant’s Toolbox. From this menu, accountants can enter batch transactions and run the client data review utility. Accountants can have two company files open at the same time.
QuickBooks Accountant Features
QuickBooks Accountant has all of the features that QuickBooks Pro, Premier, and Enterprise have. QuickBooks Accountant adds useful tools for reviewing client data. For example,
QuickBooks Accountant has an Accountant’s Toolbox, and from this navigation menu, accountant’s can dive into the trial balance, make journal entries, run after-the-fact payroll, reclassify transactions, and troubleshoot inventory.
Depending on your ProAdvisor membership level, you will either have access to one or both of the following accountant editions:
- QuickBooks Accountant Desktop Plus
- QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise Accountant
Features included in QuickBooks Accountant Desktop Plus
QuickBooks Accountant Desktop Plus includes all of the features of QuickBooks Pro and Premier. The Accountant’s version of QuickBooks has additional features to make it easier to work with client’s files, including:
- Batch enter transactions
- Batch void & delete transactions
- Toggle to other editions of QuickBooks like Pro and Premier industry-specific editions
- Client data review
- Run a working trial balance report
- Manage fixed assets
- Open two companies at the same time
Features Included in QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise Accountant Edition
QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise Accountant provides tools to manage and review data files from clients who use QuickBooks Enterprise. This software contains all the same features as QuickBooks Enterprise. Additionally, accountants can review their client’s data, reclassify multiple transactions at once, and create journal entries. File management utilities include version control, securely storing passwords, and organizing files by client.
QuickBooks Accountant Pricing
QuickBooks Accountant Desktop Plus comes in two pricing and membership tiers. There’s a deluxe version priced at $349 per year and a premium version priced at $549 per year.
QuickBooks ProAdvisor Deluxe Membership Pricing
The ProAdvisor Deluxe membership costs $349 per year and includes the following benefits:
- QuickBooks Accountant Desktop Plus
- Accountant toolbox, which includes batch enter transactions, delete/void transactions, and client data review tools
- Accountant’s copy file transfer service, which allows you to receive client files and send back to the client with importable changes
- ProAdvisor membership
- Dedicated tech support team
- Training materials & videos to get you quickly up to speed on QuickBooks
QuickBooks ProAdvisor Premium Membership Pricing
The ProAdvisor Premium membership costs $549 per year and includes the following benefits:
- Four desktop software packages: QuickBooks Accountant Desktop Plus, Desktop Enterprise Accountant, Mac Desktop, and Desktop Point of Sale
- Accountant Toolbox, which includes batch enter transactions, delete/void transactions and client data review tools
- Accountant’s Copy File Transfer Service, which allows you to receive client files and send back to the client with importable changes
- Dedicated tech support team
- Training materials & videos to get you quickly up to speed on QuickBooks.
What QuickBooks Accountant Is Missing
QuickBooks Accountant does not include payroll functionality, which is sold as an optional add-on. QuickBooks Enhanced Payroll costs an extra $307.50 per year. Keep in mind that QuickBooks Accountant is customized for accountants/bookkeepers; if you are a small business owner, you should go with one of the other three desktop options.
Where to Buy QuickBooks Accountant
Unlike QuickBooks Pro, Premier and Enterprise, you cannot get a free trial of QuickBooks Accountant. Instead, you must join the QuickBooks ProAdvisor program. Instead of paying for the full year up front, you can sign up for a monthly subscription to gain access to the QuickBooks Accountant software. With the monthly plan, you can cancel your subscription at any time.
How to Determine When It’s Time to Upgrade QuickBooks Desktop
At a minimum, you should upgrade your desktop edition of QuickBooks every three years. That’s because Intuit stops supporting and providing updates for a particular year’s edition of QuickBooks after three years. Business owners may want to upgrade more frequently if the newer edition of QuickBooks has features that would be helpful for their business.
Upgrade to a New Product Version of QuickBooks
Businesses may want to upgrade to a more robust version of QuickBooks if they need additional features. Common signs indicating that you may need to upgrade to QuickBooks Premier or QuickBooks Enterprise include:
- You need a more robust inventory tracking system
- You are reaching the data limits for customer, vendor, and items lists
- The performance in QuickBooks is unusually slow, which could also indicate that you need to upgrade your computer — check out the minimum system requirements for more information
QuickBooks desktop software becomes obsolete after three years. The software will continue to work for basic functions such as recording banking transactions. But the software will no longer be updated, and technical support will go away. Business owners will need to decide how frequently they want to upgrade to the newest version year.
Update to an Updated Version Year of QuickBooks
Intuit creates a new edition of QuickBooks each year. Version-year refers to the actual year of the product like QuickBooks Pro 2019 and QuickBooks Premier 2019. Each new version-year includes brand new features that the previous version year did not offer or provides improvements to existing features. Version-year editions become obsolete after three years.
It’s advisable to upgrade to the latest version-year, especially in these two situations:
- There is a new feature in the latest version from which you could benefit
- Your version of QuickBooks is more than three years old
What many people don’t realize is that Intuit only supports the last three version-years of each product. Each year, Intuit sunsets one version, which means that it will stop supporting the product and updating the software. This is the reason why it’s important for you to upgrade so that you can always contact Intuit if you have any issues with QuickBooks. Furthermore, if you use any QuickBooks services like credit card processing or payroll processing, those products will cease to work once your QuickBooks software sunsets.
One last piece of advice I will share with you is to not upgrade to a new edition or version of QuickBooks until it has been out for at least six months. Within the first few months of a product release, there are almost always several patches and fixes that take place.
General QuickBooks Customer Service & Support
In general, QuickBooks comes with free tech support for the first 30 days after you install the software; after that, you will need to purchase a support plan to access tech support. Below, we have provided you with the details of the support plan options that are available for each QuickBooks edition.
QuickBooks Pro & Premier Support Plans
Before purchasing QuickBooks Pro or QuickBooks Premier, you should carefully consider your needs for ongoing technical support. You can purchase QuickBooks Pro or Premier for a one-time fee, and then pay for technical support as needed.
Alternatively, you can purchase QuickBooks Pro Plus or Premier Plus for an annual subscription and get unlimited technical support. The difference is Pro and Premier are one-time software fees, while Pro Plus and Premier Plus are yearly subscriptions.
If you opt for QuickBooks Pro or Premier (not the “Plus” editions), the tech support from Intuit can be purchased on an as-needed basis as follows:
- Tech support for one session: $59.95
- 90 days of 24/7 tech support: $89.95
- One year of 24/7 tech support: $299.95
QuickBooks Enterprise & Accountant Support Plans
Unlimited tech support is included in the cost of Enterprise, and the Accountant editions include of QuickBooks. As long as you renew your annual subscription to QuickBooks Accountant or Enterprise, you will have access to tech support 24/7.
New Features in QuickBooks 2019
New for 2019, users can track the history of an invoice from the date created until the date the customer paid and deposited in the bank. Also new is the ability to transfer client overpayments across unpaid invoices in a single click. Payroll customers have the new ability to accrue sick and vacation pay.
Here is a list of the new features released in 2019 for QuickBooks Pro, Premier, and Enterprise:
QuickBooks Pro & Premier
New features in QuickBooks Pro and Premier include:
- Invoice status tracker: Get real-time visibility of invoice status, so you can stay on top of which customers have paid you
- Transfer customer credits: Transfer overpayments from customers to other unpaid invoices with one click
- Manage bills: View and manage unpaid vendor bills
- Sick day & vacation day accruals: More easily calculate and accrue employee sick time and vacation time
- Data file optimization: This utility helps reduce the size of your QuickBooks file without deleting valuable financial data
New features in QuickBooks Enterprise includes:
- Improved pick, pack & ship: sales orders can now be routed to packers in the shipping department (as well as pickers in the warehouse)
- Cycle counts: Take a count of inventory remotely through an Android smartphone app
- Improved Permissions for payroll: Provides the QuickBooks administrator with visibility into which users can view sensitive payroll information
Alternatives to QuickBooks Desktop
If you’re looking for an alternative to QuickBooks Desktop, there are a number of competitors from which to choose. Businesses should consider their needs carefully. Some software, such as FreshBooks and Wave, offers limited features. For businesses with robust accounting needs, they should take a close look at Xero.
Below, we highlight five of our top picks for cloud-based accounting software.
QuickBooks Online is the cloud version of QuickBooks. It is a great product for service-based businesses. Check out our free QuickBooks Course to learn how to get your business up and running quickly. Subscriptions start at $15 per month, sign up for a free trial to check it out.
FreshBooks is a cloud-based service for small business owners who need to track hours for employees, contractors and themselves. It has a robust time tracking tool that allows teams to log their hours daily so that you can transfer them to an invoice when it’s time to get paid.
Pricing plans start at $15 per month, sign up for a free 30-day trial to check it out for yourself!
Xero is a great alternative to QuickBooks. While it hasn’t been around as long, the software is very robust and includes all of the features you would expect to find in accounting software. Check out our free Xero Course to learn how to set up and run your business using Xero. Subscriptions start at $9 per month, sign up for a free 30-day trial.
You’ve probably heard of or used a Zoho app before but didn’t know that they have a bookkeeping app called Zoho Books. If you are currently using Zoho apps, then Zoho Books will work great for you because you can connect it with other Zoho apps easily and share information like customer and vendor contact information. Pricing plans start at $9 per month. You can take it for a test drive by signing up for a free 30-day trial.
If you don’t have any money in the budget for accounting software, then Wave is your solution. Wave is 100% free. It is very robust accounting software that includes about most of the core features that QuickBooks has, but at no cost.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About QuickBooks Desktop Versions
We covered the basic similarities and differences between the different desktop versions of QuickBooks. Much more can be said about the desktop versions of QuickBooks. We highlight some common questions that people ask when they are considering which version of QuickBooks might be right for their needs. If you have questions about QuickBooks, feel free to post your question in the FitSmallBusiness forum, and we’ll get back to you with an answer.
Some common questions business owners ask about QuickBooks Desktop include:
What are the System Requirements for QuickBooks Desktop?
Be sure your computer meets the minimum system requirements. Otherwise, you may encounter significant issues with QuickBooks. Below are the minimum requirements for the desktop versions of QuickBooks Pro, Premier, Enterprise, and Accountant:
- Internet Explorer 11 — 32-bit
- Windows 7 SP1, 8.1 Update 1, or Windows 10 — all 32-bit & 640-bit
- Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1, 2012 R2, or 2016
- 2.4 GHz processor
- 4 GB of RAM, with 8 GB recommended
- 2.5 GB disk space recommended; additional space required for data files
- 4x DVD-ROM drive, unless the user is downloading from Intuit server
- Payroll and online features require Internet access; 1 Mbps recommended speed
- Product registration required
- Optimized for 1280×1024 screen resolution or higher; supports up to three monitors
What’s the Difference Between QuickBooks Desktop & QuickBooks Online?
There are a number of differences between QuickBooks Desktop and QuickBooks Online. The key difference is that QuickBooks desktop requires that you install software on your computer, while QuickBooks Online is a cloud accounting software. Check out our side by side comparison of QuickBooks Online vs. QuickBooks Desktop.
Can I Convert from QuickBooks Desktop to QuickBooks Online?
Many small business owners are making the switch from QuickBooks Desktop to QuickBooks Online. The best part about converting is that Intuit will take care of it for you – at absolutely no charge. Check out our step by step guide on how to convert from QuickBooks Desktop to Online.
Can I Convert from QuickBooks Online to QuickBooks Desktop?
You can, but it’s complicated. There are times when the features or performance you need are found in a desktop version of QuickBooks. Alternatively, you may want to move your data off the cloud and onto your local hard drive.
To convert from QuickBooks Online to Desktop, you will need to export your QuickBooks Online data file. Intuit details the process step-by-step in this support article: Export Data File from QuickBooks Online to Desktop.
If I Hire a Virtual Bookkeeper, Can I Still Use QuickBooks?
There are a number of virtual bookkeepers who use QuickBooks to manage their client’s books. Accountants have special tools in their version of QuickBooks to facilitate file sharing and collaboration.
If you are shopping around for a bookkeeper, read over the FitSmallBusiness guide to Online Bookkeeping Services, which highlights five virtual bookkeeping services that are very good at what they do.
How Can I Find a QuickBooks Expert to Help Me Set Up QuickBooks?
To make sure that you get off on the right foot, it is always ideal to hire a QuickBooks expert who can set up your books and train you on how to use QuickBooks properly. In our How to Find a QuickBooks ProAdvisor article, we provide you with some great resources on how to find a good QuickBooks pro.
The Bottom Line
Now that you know everything you need to about the QuickBooks Desktop product line, it’s time to pick the version that’s right for you. If your business earns less than $1 million per year and has fewer than 20 employees, then go with QuickBooks Pro or Premier. If your business earns more than $1 million per year and has more than 20 employees, then go with QuickBooks Enterprise.
Regardless of which QuickBooks edition you decide to go with, you get to take it for a test drive by signing up for a trial version at 50% off the standard price. The most popular tiers are QuickBooks Pro and Premier.