QuickBooks Pro Vs Premier: Which Is Better in 2023?
This article is part of a larger series on Accounting Software.
The main difference between QuickBooks Pro and QuickBooks Premier is that Premier has industry-specific editions—manufacturing and wholesale, retail, contractor, nonprofit and professional services. Pro is more affordable and works best for small businesses with general accounting needs while Premier is preferable for growing businesses that operate in one of the industries it’s built for.
QuickBooks Pro vs Premier: Quick Comparison
From $549.99 per year for one user to $949.99 per year for three users
From $799 per year for one user to $1,999 per year for five users
Maximum Number of Users
Sole proprietors and small businesses that have a few users and need basic accounting features
Businesses with complex inventory and those in specialized industries, like manufacturing, retail, and professional services
Overall Ease of Use
Moderate; can be difficult to use if you’re used to cloud-based software
Moderate; has the same interface as QuickBooks Pro
Very limited; can only add up to three users
More scalable than Pro; can add up to five users and has customized features for specialized industries
Ease of Sharing
Must create an Accountant Copy to send to your bookkeeper
4.3 out of 5 on G2
4.5 on Software Advice
QuickBooks Pro and Premier are versions of QuickBooks Desktop, which is our best small business accounting software for users dealing with internet speed or reliability issues. To help you learn QuickBooks Desktop, we created free tutorials that cover the basics:
- How to import bank transactions
- How to reconcile credit card balances
- How to print checks
- How to set up recurring vendor payments
- How to record credit card charges
- How to pay credit card invoices
When To Use
- Small businesses with minimal inventory: QuickBooks Pro has a basic inventory module that you can use to track inventory parts, non-inventory parts, and service charges. If you don’t need to create and track sales orders and back orders and manage inventory assemblies, Pro should be enough.
- Sole proprietors: Prices increase with each additional user, but Pro is very affordable for a single user at only $549.99 per year or roughly $46 per month.
- Manufacturers: If you manufacture products, QuickBooks Premier is better than Pro. Its enhanced inventory module lets you track inventory assemblies, which comes in handy if you’re building a product from scratch. You can also process multiple sales orders in a single invoice, track back orders, and generate partial invoices for partial shipments.
- Businesses in specialized industries: QuickBooks Premier is worth the additional price if your business deals extensively in inventory or operates in one of the five industry-specific editions of Premier: We discussed these editions individually in greater detail in our:
- Midsized and large enterprises that need advanced inventory features: If you need more than five people to access your account, you must upgrade to QuickBooks Enterprise, which supports up to 40 users. It also has an advanced inventory module that allows you to perform more advanced tasks, such as setting custom pricing rules and tracking inventory by location. Read our review of QuickBooks Enterprise to learn more about its advanced features.
- Bookkeepers and accountants who manage QuickBooks Desktop clients: If you’re a bookkeeper or accountant looking to provide accounting services to clients using QuickBooks Pro or Premier, you need QuickBooks Accountant Desktop. It has all the features of QuickBooks Premier, plus special tools and capabilities designed to help professional bookkeepers work with many different clients. For instance, QuickBooks Accountant Desktop can toggle between all the industry-specific versions of Premier. Check out our QuickBooks Accountant Desktop review for more information.
- Businesses seeking excellent mobile accounting features: Pro and Premier’s mobile apps have the same features—and are very limited. You can scan receipts and track mileage, but you can’t send invoices and accept payments online, which we believe are essential for modern businesses. If mobile accounting is crucial to you, consider Zoho Books. It allows you to perform almost all essential accounting tasks from your smartphone, including invoicing and bill payments. Learn more about its mobile app and other features in our review of Zoho Books.
- Companies with off-site bookkeepers: QuickBooks Pro and Premier needs to be hosted to take your files online—which requires additional fee. Discover our best QuickBooks hosting providers if you’re interested in getting hosted Pro or Premier. However, for those who have a remote accountant, the most efficient and more affordable way to share your files with your clients is to use a cloud-based accounting solution like QuickBooks Online. It lets you access your data from any smartphone or computer that’s connected to the internet. See our detailed QuickBooks Online review if you prefer this cloud-based alternative.
To help you decide between the desktop and cloud versions, read our QuickBooks Online vs Desktop comparison.
QuickBooks Desktop Versions Comparison
QuickBooks Pro and Premier are the most popular QuickBooks Desktop programs, but there are a couple of additional QuickBooks Desktop programs for you to consider. QuickBooks Enterprise is better for companies that need more than five users or companies with advanced inventory needs.
Meanwhile, QuickBooks Accountant Desktop is designed specifically for independent bookkeepers to keep the books of multiple clients. The biggest difference between Accountant and Pro or Premier is that Pro and Premier can be used to export an Accountant Copy of the company data while Accountant can import an Accountant Copy. In other words, clients must have Pro or Premier and independent bookkeepers must have Accountant.
Number of Users Included
Keep the Books for Multiple Companies
From $549.99 to $949.99 per year
1 to 3
Export data and import changes
Basic inventory; good for retailers
From $799 to $1,999 per year
1 to 5
Export data and import changes
Better inventory; good for light manufacturers
From $1,410 per year for one user
1 to 40
Export data and import changes
QuickBooks Accountant Desktop
$799 per year, per ProAdvisor
Import data and export changes
Same as Premier
QuickBooks Pro vs Premier: Pricing
Number of Users
All QuickBooks Desktop products, including Pro and Premier, come with a 60-day money-back guarantee.
QuickBooks Pro vs Premier: Features
Connect Bank Accounts & Reconcile Easily
Create Invoices & Email or Print
Enter Bills & Scan Receipts From Smartphone
64-bit Advanced Processing Power
Email Customized Bill Payment Stubs
Transfer Accountant’s Copy File
Input & Track Unpaid Bills
Manage 1099 Forms
Unlimited Customer Support
Track Project Profitability
Choose From Industry-specific Editions
Track Sales Orders
Track Inventory Assemblies
Convert Estimate to Purchase Order (PO) Instantly
Set up Price Levels
Advantages of QuickBooks Premier
Unlike Pro, Premier comes in five industry-specific editions. Each comes with the same features as the standard QuickBooks Premier, in addition to a few extra features custom tailored for each industry.
For instance, the Contractor edition lets you create a “job by vendor” report to determine which vendors you need to pay. You can easily generate job estimates and convert them to orders. Meanwhile, the Retail edition provides Sales Summary Reports to help you track sales accurately.
Premier lets you easily track open and unfilled orders (back orders) with sales orders. Let’s say your company takes an order for an item that is out of stock. You can ship the in-stock items immediately and deliver the back orders at a later time. Premier lets you track what was already shipped and what else you need to provide to your customers.
If you build products out of a bundle of individual items, Premier lets you track each component separately. For example, if you are manufacturing a mountain bike in-house, you will need to assemble your product using components, such as one saddle, one set of handlebars, and two sets of brakes.
Premier will track the stock of the mountain bike and each component individually. When you assemble the bike, Premier will remove the components from inventory automatically and add the assembled bike to inventory. This helps you determine how many bikes are available for shipment and what materials are available to build more bicycles.
Once a customer accepts your estimate, you can convert it into an invoice instantly. This helps you reduce data entry as you won’t have to enter the same information twice. This feature is especially useful for contractors.
Pro lets you set up a fixed percent price, but it’s not flexible enough for businesses with complex pricing structures. With Premier, you can assign customized price levels for a specific customer or item so that every time you create a transaction for them, the price will automatically apply.
QuickBooks Pro vs Premier: User Reviews
QuickBooks Pro is rated 4.3 out of 5 on G2, while Premier scores 4.5 on Software Advice.
QuickBooks Pro User Reviews
Those satisfied with Pro shared that the program makes it easy for them to track bills and credit card charges and reconcile bank and credit card statements. Others also like that it can create over 100 financial reports, while some appreciate its affordable pricing. Meanwhile, those who left negative reviews complained that it’s limited to only three users, making it unsuitable for small businesses.
QuickBooks Premier User Reviews
What users like about Premier is that it has industry-specific editions, unlike Pro. Many are impressed by how it handles most of their accounting needs, including inventory and purchase order tracking. However, we also found negative reviews, which are mostly about file sharing. They explained that it’s not convenient to share files with their accountant unless they purchase the hosted version of Premier. Of course, this inconvenience is also true for Pro.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
When is QuickBooks Pro better than Premier?
If you only need up to three accounting users and have light inventory to track, then Pro might be enough for you. It has strong invoicing, bill payment, banking, and project accounting features, which are usually enough to cover standard accounting needs.
When is QuickBooks Premier better than Pro?
Premier is preferable if you have four or five accounting users or need enhanced inventory features, like inventory assembly tracking. You also need to upgrade to Premier if you operate in one of these industries: retail, nonprofit, contractor, manufacturing and wholesale, and professional services.
When should I upgrade to QuickBooks Enterprise?
If your business has upscaled and you now need to add up to 40 users to access your accounting software, then you should upgrade to Enterprise. Read our QuickBooks Enterprise review to explore what advanced features are available for your medium-sized or large business.
Whether QuickBooks Pro or Premier is right for you depends on the size of your business and the specific features your operation requires from accounting solutions. If you have basic accounting needs and only need up to three users to access your accounting software, Pro should be enough. If you want enhanced inventory features and need up to five accounting users, go with Premier.