The wide range of QuickBooks products helps make it the most popular accounting software among small businesses. 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 as well as who each product is right for.
QuickBooks Pro vs Premier vs Enterprise vs Accountant
Businesses with up to three users and minimal inventory
Nonprofit, manufacturing & wholesale, professional services, construction, or retail businesses
Medium to large retailers, wholesalers, distributors, and manufacturers with advanced inventory needs
Bookkeepers and accountants who provide bookkeeping services
When to Use QuickBooks Online
Business owners with multiple locations might want to consider QuickBooks Online, our top-rated accounting software, as an alternative to the desktop version. As a cloud-based solution, QuickBooks Online lets you access your data from any smartphone or computer that’s connected to the internet. Additionally, your bookkeeper and accountant can log in, 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. Plans cost from $20 to $70 per month and, right now, you can save up to 50% on QuickBooks Online.
QuickBooks Versions: Pricing & Features
$299.95, or $299.95/year for Pro Plus
$499.95, or $499.95/year or Premier Plus
Maximum Number of Users
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 With Minimal Inventory
QuickBooks Pro contains the core accounting features needed by small and midsized businesses. Due to its feature set, QuickBooks Pro is a good fit for businesses that don’t require advanced inventory features, such as tracking inventory at multiple locations, and who need three or fewer QuickBooks users.
QuickBooks Pro Pricing
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 costs $299.95 per year and provides unlimited tech support, data backups, and upgrades to the latest edition each year.
Both the one-time and annual fees are for one user license. QuickBooks Pro can support up to three users, but additional licenses must be purchased. If you need more than three users, you will have to purchase QuickBooks Premier, which allows up to five users.
QuickBooks Pro includes tech support only for the first 30 days. After 30 days, you must purchase a QuickBooks customer support plan if you want customer support. If you want unlimited tech support, you should buy QuickBooks Pro Plus since the $299.95 annual subscription is the same as the $299.95 annual fee for unlimited tech support alone.
QuickBooks Pro Features
QuickBooks Pro contains all the core functions of accounting software, such as recording banking transactions, creating invoices, managing accounts payable, and generating financial statements. These features make QuickBooks Pro a smart choice of small businesses with simple accounting needs.
QuickBooks Pro does not include some industry-specific features found in Premier, like inventory tracking and managing unbilled time by client, and it has data limitations compared to Enterprise. 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 records 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 1 million customers, vendors, and employees combined.
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, so business-to-business (B2B) sellers of inventory or custom products may want to get QuickBooks Premier since it’s 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 it can be difficult. Other QuickBooks Pro user reviews noted that desktop versions become obsolete after three years.
QuickBooks Premier: Best for Businesses in Niche Industries
QuickBooks Premier offers industry-specific tools and reports for five industries: Manufacturing and wholesale, retail, professional services, contractors, and nonprofit. QuickBooks Premier can also be configured using a general business option if you don’t need these industry-specific features. These industry-specific versions include a customized chart of accounts list, products and services lists, and reports that you won’t find in QuickBooks Pro.
QuickBooks Premier is a great choice over QuickBooks Pro if you operate in one of these industries because it is customized to meet your specific business needs. This saves you time that you would normally spend customizing the software.
QuickBooks Premier Pricing
Like QuickBooks Pro, QuickBooks Premier has a Premier and a Premier Plus version. Paying $499.95 for Premier gets you one license to use the desktop software indefinitely and includes tech support for the first 30 days. Premier Plus also starts at $499.95 but is an annual subscription and includes unlimited tech support, data backup, and automatic upgrades to the latest edition each year.
You can buy up to four additional licenses at $499.95 per license. QuickBooks often offers discounts for multiple users, so you may be able to get additional licenses for less than the full price. However, if more than five people need access to QuickBooks, you need to purchase QuickBooks Enterprise, which allows up to 30 users.
A one-time payment for the purchase of QuickBooks Premier provides tech support for the first 30 days at no additional cost. For an additional $299.95 per year, you can get unlimited tech support. The $499.95 annual subscription for QuickBooks Premier Plus includes unlimited support.
QuickBooks Premier Features
QuickBooks Premier contains all the features of QuickBooks Pro. What makes QuickBooks Premier different are its forecasting, inventory, and industry-specific tools and reports. For instance, QuickBooks Premier can create sales orders, set multiple price levels, and run reports by department and location. The contractor edition can track revenue and expense by job and print reports comparing estimated to actual figures.
If you need to track products in multiple units of measure or create sales orders for your B2B business, you should choose QuickBooks Premier over Pro. QuickBooks Pro does not have these features.
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, but Enterprise can hold up to one million. In addition, Premier cannot do parent and subsidiary reporting that may be required of large consolidated corporations. QuickBooks Enterprise does offer parent and subsidiary reporting.
What Users Think About QuickBooks Premier
QuickBooks Premier reviews say it’s an excellent product for managing business finances, and at least one person praised the program’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.
QuickBooks Enterprise: Best for Businesses With Extensive Inventory Needs
QuickBooks Enterprise is the top of the line QuickBooks Desktop product. It is for businesses with complicated inventory needs such as tracking inventory at multiple locations and using bar scanning technology. 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 and products and services list as well as custom reports for each industry. Users can also set up QuickBooks Enterprise using a general business version.
QuickBooks Enterprise Pricing
QuickBooks Enterprise starts at $1,155 per year for one user license, and you can purchase up to 30 additional licenses. You will have to contact customer service for pricing on additional licenses. The QuickBooks Enterprise license includes unlimited support available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For contrast, tech support is included only for the first 30 days in the Pro and Premier editions unless subscribed to Plus.
QuickBooks Enterprise Features
QuickBooks Enterprise includes every feature that both QuickBooks Pro and QuickBooks 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 that will be very valuable to companies fulfilling orders from multiple inventory locations.
When it comes to data limitations, QuickBooks Enterprise can hold data for up to 1 million 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, and QuickBooks Premier.
What QuickBooks Enterprise Is Missing
You cannot purchase QuickBooks Enterprise for a one-time fee. Instead, QuickBooks Enterprise is only priced as a 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 for small businesses. However, if you’re an accounting professional, you may find QuickBooks Accountant a better option because the QuickBooks ProAdvisor Program is included.
What Users Think About QuickBooks Enterprise
QuickBooks Enterprise’s ability to handle nearly all the accounting needs of a business is a common theme in user reviews of QuickBooks Enterprise. However, one person said customer support representatives do not know how to answer technical questions. Another person encouraged users to understand the real-time banking feature before setting up bank connections.
QuickBooks Accountant: Best for Professional Bookkeepers & Accountants
QuickBooks Accountant is a must-have for bookkeepers to review client files and comes in both Premier and Enterprise. Bookkeepers with clients who use QuickBooks Enterprise must have QuickBooks Enterprise Accountant to work with their files.
QuickBooks Premier Accountant and QuickBooks Enterprise Accountant are only available as part of a QuickBooks ProAdvisor Membership. You must be a current and active ProAdvisor to purchase the software. However, you have access to the program as soon as you join the ProAdvisor program, even if you aren’t certified yet.
QuickBooks Accountant Features
QuickBooks Premier Accountant has all of the features that QuickBooks Pro and Premier have and adds useful tools for reviewing client data. For example, QuickBooks Accountant has an accountant’s toolbox where accountants can dive into the trial balance, make journal entries, run after-the-fact payroll, reclassify transactions, and troubleshoot inventory.
QuickBooks Enterprise Accountant has all the features QuickBooks Enterprise, plus the accountant’s toolbox, to review and correct client data. QuickBooks Enterprise Accountant might also appeal to a controller at a larger business that might use the accountant’s toolbox to review and adjust work done by other members of the accounting team.
Features Included in QuickBooks Accountant Versions
QuickBooks Accountant versions add the following accounting tools allowing you to:
- Import Accountant Copy files from clients
- Batch enter transactions
- Batch void & delete transactions
- Toggle to industry-specific editions of QuickBooks Premier
- Utilize client data review
- Run a working trial balance report
- Manage fixed assets
- Open two companies at the same time
QuickBooks Accountant Pricing
QuickBooks Premier Accountant comes as part of the ProAdvisor Premier Software Bundle for $449 per year. While the conditions for owning the Premier Accountant include being a current and active ProAdvisor, there is no requirement to pass the ProAdvisor certification process before using the software, and there is no fee for joining the ProAdvisor program.
QuickBooks Enterprise Accountant comes as part of the ProAdvisor Enterprise Software Bundle for $799 per year. As with Premier Accountant, the conditions for purchasing the software include being a current and active ProAdvisor. You will need to select Enterprise Accountant over Premier Accountant if you have clients using QuickBooks Enterprise.
QuickBooks Accountant Desktop Plus comes in two pricing and membership tiers. There’s a premier version priced at $449 per year and an enterprise version priced at $799 per year. The primary difference between the two tiers is the enterprise includes access to four QuickBooks desktop software products: Accountant, Enterprise, Mac, and Point of Sale. In contrast, the premier plan only includes the Accountant version.
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 and bookkeepers. If you are a small business owner, you should go with one of the other three desktop options.
How We Determined Which QuickBooks Versions Is Best
All four editions of QuickBooks Desktop have good core accounting features like invoice and estimate creation, deposit and payment records, and financial reports. The best QuickBooks version for you is determined by their key differences, which are the users allowed, forecasting tools, industry-specific reports, advanced inventory tools, and data capacities.
When Is It Time to Upgrade QuickBooks Desktop?
At a minimum, you should upgrade your desktop edition of QuickBooks every three years because that’s when Intuit stops supporting and providing updates for a particular year’s edition. Business owners may want to upgrade more frequently if the newer edition of QuickBooks has features that would be helpful for their business.
When to 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. Upgrading to a new product version of QuickBooks will give you extensive inventory tracking; an expanded capacity for customer, vendor, and item records; and improved performance.
Common signs indicating that you may need to upgrade to QuickBooks Premier or QuickBooks Enterprise include:
- Your inventory tracking has become more complex: Your growing business may need a more robust inventory tracking system that allows you to create more items, generate sales orders, and track a variety of units of measure.
- You need to hold more data: You are reaching the data limits for customer, vendor, and items lists and need the ability to generate more.
- Your computer performance has diminished: If QuickBooks is unusually slow, it may mean you need to upgrade to another version, but it could also indicate that you need to upgrade your computer. Check out the minimum system requirements for more information.
Even after it becomes obsolete, QuickBooks’ desktop software continues to work for basic functions, such as recording banking transactions, but it will no longer be updated and technical support goes away. Business owners need to decide how frequently they want to upgrade to the newest version year.
When to Update New 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 Premier 2019. Each new version-year includes brand new features or provides improvements to existing features. Version-year editions like QuickBooks Pro 2019 become obsolete after three years.
It’s advisable to upgrade at least every three years, but you might want to upgrade earlier if:
- The updated version has useful new features: If there are new features in the latest version of QuickBooks that your business could benefit from, you should consider upgrading to the new version.
- The current software is no longer supported: If your version of QuickBooks is more than three years old, you can no longer contact Intuit for support and certain add-on services like payroll and credit card payment processing will no longer work.
While a version of QuickBooks that is more than three years old will continue to work for basic needs, payroll will stop working after three years, and you will be required to upgrade.
QuickBooks Customer Service & Support
QuickBooks comes with free tech support for the first 30 days after you install the software. After that, you need to purchase a support plan to access tech support. There are several support plans available for QuickBooks Pro, Premier, Enterprise, and Accountant.
QuickBooks Pro and Premier Support Plans
Before purchasing QuickBooks Pro or QuickBooks Premier, you should consider your needs for ongoing technical support carefully. 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.
Tech support for QuickBooks Pro or Premier (not the “Plus” editions) costs:
- 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 also has an extensive library of online articles and videos that is free for anyone to use.
QuickBooks Enterprise & Accountant Support Plans
Unlimited tech support is included in the cost of QuickBooks Enterprise and QuickBooks Accountant. 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 2020
New for 2020, users can send automatic payment reminders to customers, include purchase orders in invoice emails, and more easily navigate open reports.
New Features in QuickBooks Pro, Premier & Accountant 2020
New features in QuickBooks Pro, Premier, and Accountant include:
- Automatic payment reminders: Schedule, review, and send payment reminders to customers with overdue invoices
- Add purchase order numbers to invoice emails: Automatically include purchase order numbers in emails for customers requiring this information
- Combine emails: Combine multiple invoices for a single customer into one email
- Collapse columns in reports: View wide reports more easily by collapsing columns into customer or class totals
New Features in QuickBooks Enterprise 2020
New features in QuickBooks Enterprise include:
- Express Pick-Pack: Complete the picking and packing operations as part of a single workflow
- Landed cost: Factor in freight, duties, insurance, and other miscellaneous costs into actual product costs
- Alternate vendor: Enhanced vendor management to help you choose the right vendor when ordering inventory
Alternatives to QuickBooks Desktop
If you’re looking for an alternative to QuickBooks Desktop, there are several competitors from which to choose. Business owners should consider their needs carefully. Some software, such as FreshBooks and Wave, offer limited features. For businesses with more complex accounting needs, they should take a close look at Xero.
Cloud-based QuickBooks Online is a great product for service-based businesses and offers four versions to compare. Subscriptions start at $20 per month, and you can sign up for a free trial to check it out.
FreshBooks is a cloud-based accounting software like QuickBooks 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 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. When you compare Xero vs QuickBooks, you’ll see that Xero hasn’t been around as long, but the software is very robust and includes all of the features you would expect to find in accounting software. 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 maybe didn’t know that they also have a bookkeeping app, 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, and 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 and is a very robust accounting software that includes most of the core features found in QuickBooks has.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About QuickBooks Desktop
We covered the basic similarities and differences between QuickBooks Desktop, but much more can be said about each of them. We highlight some common questions people ask when they are deciding which version of QuickBooks might be right for their needs.
What are the system requirements for QuickBooks Desktop versions?
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 8.1 Update 1, or Windows 10
- Windows Server 2012 (or R2), 2016, or 2019
- 2.4 GHz processor
- 4GB of RAM, with 8GB recommended
- 2.5GB 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
Can I convert from QuickBooks Desktop to QuickBooks Online?
Many small business owners are making the switch to QuickBooks Online. You can convert QuickBooks Desktop to Online yourself, or Intuit will take care of it for you at no charge.
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 their Export Data File from QuickBooks Online to Desktop article.
If I hire a virtual bookkeeper, can I still use QuickBooks?
Several virtual bookkeepers use QuickBooks to manage their client’s books. If you want a bookkeeper, you should look for a top online bookkeeping service that uses QuickBooks.
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 ProAdvisor who can set up your books and train you on how to use QuickBooks properly. You can also take our free QuickBooks Course to learn the basics.
Is QuickBooks Desktop better than Online?
Desktop users say Desktop is better, and online users claim Online is best. In general, if you travel to see clients often, choose QuickBooks Online. Read our in-depth comparison of QuickBooks Online vs. Desktop for more details.
Now you know everything you need to about the QuickBooks Desktop product line, and it’s time to pick your version. If your business needs sophisticated inventory tools, then go with QuickBooks Enterprise. If you don’t need these inventory features and have less than five users, go with either Pro or Premium.
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.