QuickBooks Pro vs. QuickBooks Premier: Which Is Right for Your Business?


Image source: Getty Images

Many or all of the products here are from our partners that compensate us. It’s how we make money. But our editorial integrity ensures our experts’ opinions aren’t influenced by compensation. Terms may apply to offers listed on this page.
Both QuickBooks Pro and QuickBooks Premier offer beneficial features and competitive pricing plans. The Ascent goes over the advantages of each to help you decide which is right for your business.

QuickBooks Pro and QuickBooks Premier are part of Intuit’s QuickBooks Desktop application. Used by more than 1.5 million businesses across the globe, QuickBooks Desktop remains one of the most popular accounting software applications on the market today.

There are currently four QuickBooks versions available in their desktop solution:

  1. QuickBooks Pro
  2. QuickBooks Premier
  3. QuickBooks Enterprise
  4. QuickBooks Accountant

The first three versions are QuickBooks for small business applications, with each version offering more robust features, while the fourth option, QuickBooks Accountant, is designed specifically for accounting professionals who also want to access their client’s QuickBooks products.

But perhaps the most popular QuickBooks Desktop applications are the two we’ll be comparing today. Read on to see which of these two popular applications is best for you.

QuickBooks Pro vs. QuickBooks Premier: What’s the difference?

QuickBooks Pro and QuickBooks Premier are simply two versions of the same core application, with QuickBooks Premier adding additional functionality while maintaining all of the features found in the Pro application.

Both editions offer all of the bookkeeping basics your small business needs, with QuickBooks Premier offering more industry-specific features.

Who is QuickBooks Pro for?

QuickBooks Pro is a great entry-level small business accounting application that is rich in features and an ideal solution for sole proprietors and small business owners. QuickBooks Pro supports up to three simultaneous users.

Who is QuickBooks Premier for?

QuickBooks Premier is better suited for growing businesses, particularly those that are looking for an industry-specific accounting application. QuickBooks Premier supports up to five simultaneous users and is a good fit for those that need a good inventory/sales order management option.

QuickBooks Pro vs. QuickBooks Premier: Features

QuickBooks Pro and Premier offer a very similar feature set, but QuickBooks Premier supports additional users and a few additional features that QuickBooks Pro doesn’t.

We’ll first highlight QuickBooks Pro’s features, then provide you with a list of features that you’ll only find in QuickBooks Premier.

What QuickBooks Pro offers

QuickBooks Pro offers an intuitive user interface, with the main screen divided into three areas for easier navigation.

QuickBooks Pro interface showing a workflow of different connected accounts and entries.

QuickBooks Pro’s main screen is divided into three sections for easy navigation. Image source: Author

Users can access system features from the navigation bar to the left of the screen, which also offers access to any add-on features such as time tracking and payroll.

The 2021 edition of QuickBooks Pro offers several new features, including:

  • Improved bank feeds
  • New receipt management tools
  • Ability to automatically send customer statements
  • Customizable payment receipts
  • Ability to create customer groups

In addition, QuickBooks Pro offers the following features:

Track income & expenses: Connect bank and credit cards to your QuickBooks Pro account, track business and travel expenses, and easily manage customers, vendors, and employees from a single location.

Invoicing: Create professional looking invoices, write a custom invoice, accept payments directly from an invoice, and manage current invoice status.

Manage bills and accounts payable: Track bills and purchase orders, view all unpaid bills, and take advantage of early-pay discounts.

Track time: Track employee billable hours and add them to invoices.

Track inventory: Track products sold, cost of goods, and manage inventory levels, including inventory adjustments.

Supports multiple currencies: QuickBooks Pro easily manages multiple currencies.

Reports: QuickBooks Pro offers more than 100 standard reports which can be scheduled to run when you need them.

Good help options: QuickBooks Pro offers excellent help and support options including a robust user community and access to a comprehensive QuickBooks tutorial.

Other features found in QuickBooks Pro include estimate creation and the ability to track sales tax for all purchases. In addition, both QuickBooks Pro and Premier will automatically perform all year-end closing entries, transferring balances to a Retained earnings account in anticipation of the new year.

QuickBooks Pro vendor management tool with list of vendors on the left-hand side and the details of selected event on the right.

QuickBooks Pro manages all contractor payments, including total payments for the year. Image source: Author

You can also manage and pay contractors in QuickBooks Pro, including the ability to create year-end 1099s.

What QuickBooks Premier offers

All of the QuickBooks essentials found in QuickBooks Pro are also available in QuickBooks Premier, along with some notable features and functions not currently available in QuickBooks Pro, including the following:

Forecasting: QuickBooks Premier offers excellent forecasting capability, with users able to create forecasts from scratch.

QuickBooks Premier forecasting screen listing past and expected income and expenses.

QuickBooks Premier offers excellent forecasting capability. Image source: Author

In addition, forecasts can be created by customer, job, or class.

Industry-specific features: QuickBooks Premier offers the following industry-specific editions:

  • General Business: which includes an advanced inventory management feature
  • General Contractor: offers job estimate creation and job profitability analysis
  • Manufacturing & Wholesale: tracks profitability by product and tracks reorder points
  • Nonprofit: creates year-end donation statements and creates Form 990
  • Professional Services: tracks time and expenses and supports multiple billing rates
  • Retail: tracks sales, sales tax, and taxable and non-taxable sales
QuickBooks Premier donation screen for managing charitable donations.

The Nonprofit edition of QuickBooks Premier offers donation management. Image source: Author

In addition, QuickBooks Premier also offers a reversing journal entry option and includes more than 150 industry-specific reports.

QuickBooks Pro vs. QuickBooks Premier: Pricing

QuickBooks Desktop pricing has changed for 2021, with Intuit turning to a subscription model for its desktop products. You will still be able to purchase the application without a subscription, albeit with a significant increase in price.

What QuickBooks Pro offers

Intuit recently made the switch to subscription pricing for its desktop applications, which are now branded as Plus plans. For example, for 2021, QuickBooks Pro Plus pricing starts at $199 for the first year, which will rise to $299 for the second year under the subscription plan.

However, there is also an option to purchase QuickBooks Pro 2021 (without a subscription) for a one-time fee of $399. If you’re interested in payroll, you can purchase QuickBooks Pro Plus + Payroll for $574 for the first year, or you can add the payroll option to QuickBooks Pro 2021.

QuickBooks Pro's two pricing plans.

QuickBooks Pro is available with or without payroll. Image source: Author

What QuickBooks Premier offers

Like QuickBooks Pro, QuickBooks Premier has changed its pricing structure for 2021 and added a subscription option. QuickBooks Premier Plus starts at $299 for the first year, with the cost rising to $499 the second year. Premier Plus + Payroll is also available for $674. For those who wish to forego the subscription, you can buy the standalone product for $649.

Pricing for QuickBooks Premier Plus and Premier Plus + Payroll.

QuickBooks Premier Plus is available with or without payroll. Image source: Author

QuickBooks Pro vs. QuickBooks Premier: Inventory & Sales

One of the biggest differences between QuickBooks Pro and QuickBooks Premier is its inventory management feature.

While you can easily track inventory in QuickBooks Pro, if you sell products on a regular basis it’s best to opt for QuickBooks Premier.

What QuickBooks Pro offers

The inventory feature in QuickBooks Pro is more than sufficient if you only sell a few items or need basic inventory tracking capability. QuickBooks Pro offers terrific invoicing options, but does not include a sales order option.

What QuickBooks Premier offers

If you sell or manufacture products, QuickBooks Premier is by far the best choice. It offers an excellent sales order option that allows you to consolidate multiple orders into a single invoice, track all back orders, and even create a partial invoice for partial shipments.

In addition, inventory management capability is superior to that in QuickBooks Pro, with QuickBooks Premier offering per item pricing levels, current availability tracking for all products, and a build assembly which can be used if you’re building a product from scratch.

QuickBooks Pro QuickBooks Premier
Invoicing Yes Yes
Bill payment Yes Yes
Forecasting Yes
Sales orders Yes
Industry-specific features Yes

The choice is yours

So which is it going to be: QuickBooks Pro or QuickBooks Premier? Both offer solid small business accounting capability, with QuickBooks Pro more than suitable for smaller businesses.

However, if you’re a retailer or manufacturer, the QuickBooks Premier vs. Pro debate is irrelevant, with QuickBooks Premier clearly the top choice.

If you’re open to other options, be sure to check out our small business accounting software reviews.

Alert: highest cash back card we've seen now has 0% intro APR until 2024

If you're using the wrong credit or debit card, it could be costing you serious money. Our experts love this top pick, which features a 0% intro APR until 2024, an insane cash back rate of up to 5%, and all somehow for no annual fee. 

In fact, this card is so good that our experts even use it personally. Click here to read our full review for free and apply in just 2 minutes. 

Read our free review

Our Research Expert