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QuickBooks Pro vs. Premier

Intuit’s QuickBooks has been popular among small business owners for years, and today, 4.3 million companies use the accounting software. If you’re considering joining the ranks, you’ll need to choose from among several versions of QuickBooks. For a desktop computer, your small business choices are QuickBooks Pro and QuickBooks Premier. Read on for a breakdown of the differences between the two.

QuickBooks Pro vs. Premier: At a glance
Price Features
QuickBooks Pro $219.95
  • Track income/expenses
  • Manage bills/accounts payable
  • Invoice
  • Run reports
  • Track sales tax
  • Track inventory
  • Track time
  • Pay 1099 contractors
  • Up to 3 users at once
QuickBooks Premier $379.95
  • Track income/expenses
  • Manage bills/accounts payable
  • Invoice
  • Run reports
  • Track sales tax
  • Track inventory
  • Track time
  • Pay 1099 contractors
  • Up to 5 users at once
  • Make forecasts
  • Manage inventory
  • Track data by location, department
  • Bill in stages
  • Reports, tracking and billing specific to general contractors, manufacturers/

wholesalers, nonprofits, professional services companies and retail companies

QuickBooks Pro Overview

Although it’s the more basic of the two offerings, the QuickBooks Pro version is still incredibly powerful. It allows businesses to track daily transactions, generate reports, invoice customers and pay bills. More specifically, QuickBooks Pro enables you to:

  • Track your business’s income and expenses by linking QuickBooks with your bank and credit card accounts, so you can automatically download transaction history. You can also easily import financial data from Excel or other programs.
  • Create purchase orders, estimates and invoices and send reminders to customers regarding payments that are past due. The software also makes it easy to convert estimates to invoices and track leads.
  • Handle accounts payable by tracking bills and purchase orders in one place, and automatically apply discounts for early payment.
  • Run more than 100 reports, and schedule automatic reports on profit and loss, expenses and balance sheets.
  • Track sales tax by defining which of your products are taxable and tracking the sales tax automatically throughout the month.
  • Track time spent per employee, project or client. You can either have one person do this or give multiple employees access. QuickBooks Pro also allows you to track products and costs of goods, and you can receive notifications when inventory is low.
  • Track subcontractor payments and prepare and file 1099s from QuickBooks.
  • Engage up to three users at a time, with user-access levels to protect sensitive information. Each user, however, needs a separate license.
  • Create a chart of accounts with up to 10,000 entries.

New Features

The 2018 version offers several features that previous versions didn’t have, including:

  • You can now use QuickBooks on multiple monitors so you can have your customer list on one screen, invoices on another and accounts payable on the third.
  • You can compare your performance on either a cash or accrual basis and automatically stamp outstanding invoices with “past due.”
  • There’s a new search bar in the chart of accounts to help you easily find a certain account.
  • You’ll get reminders of upcoming due dates for federal and state taxes and workers’ compensation.

You can also opt for QuickBooks Pro Plus, which offers unlimited, 24/7 support and upgrades to the latest version throughout the year. You’ll pay $199.95 for an annual subscription, which you must to renew each year, versus the one-time $219.95 fee for QuickBooks Pro.

QuickBooks Premier Overview

The more powerful and comprehensive QuickBooks Premier offers the same features as QuickBooks Pro, with the addition of forecasting capabilities, industry-specific tools and some other pluses. Premier allows you to:

  • Create a new forecast from scratch or from existing data, and track actuals against the forecast in both dollars and percentages. You can also create specific forecasts for specific areas of your business.
  • Engage up to five users at a time, with user-access levels to protect sensitive information. Like Pro, each user needs a separate license.
  • Run more than 150 reports, and schedule automatic reports on profit and loss, expenses and balance sheets. You can run reports specific to your industry, such as donor contributions or summary of sales.

Industry-specific functions include the following:

  • General contractors can create a “jobs by vendor” report to see which vendors still must be paid. They can also create job estimates and track change orders.
  • Manufacturers and wholesalers can set optimal inventory levels and create a report showing what they need to reorder. They can also track profitability by product and prioritize which sales orders to fill first.
  • Nonprofits can create donation statements to track every donor and see how much each has contributed.
  • Professional services companies can track unbilled time and expenses and apply different billing rates for employees, services and clients to analyze profitability by project and client.
  • Retailers can track sales with a weekly summary, easily track inventory and establish when they need to reorder new inventory.

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New features

Like Pro, the 2018 version of Premier allows you to use QuickBooks on multiple monitors, compare your performance on either a cash or accrual basis and automatically stamp outstanding invoices with “past due.” There’s also a new search bar in the accounts chart that enables you to easily find a certain account. You also now get reminders of important tax due dates. But unlike Pro, Premier adds new, customizable industry reports for better insight into where your business stands.

An add-on that allows you to pay employees via direct deposit or paychecks, file and pay payroll taxes from QuickBooks and file W-2s is also available for $27.30 a month, plus $2 more a month per employee.

Other versions

If the desktop isn’t the right choice for your business, Intuit also offers four cloud options. These online solutions allow you to work from any device and range in price from about $5 to $30 per month. You can integrate QuickBooks Online with apps you may already use, such as PayPal.

For companies with more advanced needs, there’s QuickBooks Enterprise, available in Silver, Gold and Platinum versions, with the ability support up to 1 million items and 30 users. The cost of those three depends on whether you choose the local only versions (your software and files are stored on your work computers and you can’t access them remotely) or with hosting (your software and files are stored in the cloud, not on your computers, and you can access them remotely). It costs $990 for the first year for local only and $126.80 with hosting per month for Silver; $1,287 the first year for local only and $151.10 with hosting monthly for Gold; and $1,584 the first year and $176.30 monthly with hosting for Platinum.

The bottom line

So should you choose QuickBooks Pro or Premier for your business? The answer depends to some degree on the size and complexity of your company.

You might opt for Pro if:

  • The cost of the software is the most important issue.
  • Three or fewer employees will use the software at once.
  • You don’t have more than one location.
  • You don’t need forecasting capabilities.
  • You don’t need a lot of help managing inventory.

You might opt for Premier if:

    • The cost of the software is not the most important issue.
    • Four or five employees will use the software at once.
    • You have multiple locations.
    • Forecasting capabilities would be useful.
    • You need significant help managing inventory.
    • You’re a general contractor, nonprofit, professional services company, retailer or manufacturer/ wholesaler looking for tools and reports specific to you.

If you need more help choosing between Pro and Premier, it’s worth reaching out to QuickBooks Intuit at 877-683-3280 or online. You can get a full refund within 60 days of purchasing the software.

 

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