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:
- QuickBooks Pro is more affordable and works best for small businesses with general accounting needs
- QuickBooks Premier is preferable for growing businesses that operate in one of the industries it’s built for.
If you think that neither Pro nor Premier is right for you:
- QuickBooks Online is a more affordable alternative for five users and those who need remote access and easy sharing with their bookkeeper.
QuickBooks Pro vs Premier: Quick Comparison
Maximum Number of Users
Ease of Use
Moderate; may require steeper learning curve due to additional features
Ease of Sharing
Must create an Accountant Copy to send to your bookkeeper
User Review Ratings
4.4 out of 5 on G21
4.4 out of 5 on Software Advice2
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.
When To Use
The only QuickBooks desktop software available for Mac users is QuickBooks for Mac, which has features similar to QuickBooks Pro. Mac users looking for additional features should consider QuickBooks Online, which will run on Windows and Mac. Read our QuickBooks for Mac review to learn more.
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.
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 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.
Read our QuickBooks Accountant Desktop review to see how else it differs from the other versions of QuickBooks Desktop.
QuickBooks Pro vs Premier: Pricing Comparison (Pro Wins)
Number of Users
Pro (Cost per Year)
Premier (Cost per Year)
All QuickBooks Desktop products, including Pro and Premier, come with a 60-day money-back guarantee.
QuickBooks Premier vs Pro: Features (Premier Wins)
QuickBooks Pro and Premier both offer standard features, such as the ability to:
- Connect and reconcile bank accounts
- Create invoices and email or print
- Enter bills and scan receipts from smartphone
- Email customized bill payment stubs
- Transfer Accountant’s Copy file
- Input and track unpaid bills
- Track inventory
- Track time
- Manage 1099 forms
- Access unlimited customer support
- Track project profitability
Premier wins in terms of features, however, because it offers additional functionality, as outlined in the table below.
Choose From Industry-specific Editions
Track Sales Orders
Track Inventory Assemblies
Generate Financial Forecast
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.
With QuickBooks Premier, you can generate a new forecast or use your data from the previous year’s sales to create forecasts for the current and future years. You can choose to create forecasts for different timeframes, such as monthly, quarterly, or annually.
To help you generate accurate predictions, Premier allows you to segment your financial forecasts by various characteristics, such as jobs and types of income or expenses. If your business involves multiple projects or jobs, Premier allows you to segment your forecasts by job—enabling you to see how each project contributes to your overall revenue. When forecasting upcoming expenses, you can categorize them by type, such as utilities, rent, and marketing, and forecast each category separately.
Premier lets you track open and unfilled orders (backorders) with sales orders easily. 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 apply automatically.
QuickBooks Pro vs Premier: Ease of Use & Customer Support (Tie)
QuickBooks Desktop Pro and Premier have the same user interface—meaning the layout and general appearance are very similar. Those who are familiar with QuickBooks Desktop Pro can easily upgrade to Premier without having to learn a new system. However, Premier may require a slightly steeper learning curve due to its additional features. For instance, the specialized tools in the industry-specific editions may require additional training for new users.
To support and guide new users, Pro and Premier offer the same level of customer support, including phone (callback), chat support, chatbot, and self-help resources, such as user guides, video tutorials, and community forums.
To help you learn QuickBooks Desktop, we created free tutorials that cover the basics:
QuickBooks Pro vs Premier: User Reviews (Tie)
More affordable than QuickBooks Premier
Decent reporting features
Efficient inventory management and purchase order tracking
Reports are more extensive than those in Pro
Not as scalable as Premier
Customer support is not responsive
More expensive than Pro
Customer support is difficult to reach just like in Pro
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 more than 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. Others shared that the customer support team is difficult to contact.
As of this writing, Pro earned the following scores on third-party review websites:
- Software Advice3: 4.4 out of 5 based on more than 1,800 reviews
- G21: 4.3 out of 5 based on more than 1,700 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 PO tracking while others like that there are numerous reports available.
Meanwhile, one user who left a negative review commented that Premier is more expensive than QuickBooks Pro. Another reviewer complained that the customer support is not easy to reach, which is also the case in QuickBooks Pro.
Here’s how Premier is rated by several review websites:
- Software Advice2: 4.4 out of 5 based on around 100 reviews
- TrustRadius4: 8.2 out of 10 based on more than 400 reviews
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
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.
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.
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.