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

Not sure which version of QuickBooks to purchase? Compare the features and pricing of QuickBooks Pro vs Premier — the two most popular small business accounting applications.

Updated March 26, 2020

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.

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 2020 edition of QuickBooks Pro offers some new features including:

  • Automatic payment reminders sent to customers
  • The ability to consolidate multiple invoices into a single email
  • Improved system navigation
  • Enhanced help content

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.

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. Source: Intuit QuickBooks.

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. Source: Intuit QuickBooks.

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

There is a $200 difference in price between QuickBooks Pro and QuickBooks Premier, a small price to pay to obtain access to industry-specific features.

QuickBooks Pro vs Premier comparing all of the pricing options.

There is a $200 difference in pricing between QuickBooks Pro and QuickBooks Premier. Source: Intuit QuickBooks.

What QuickBooks Pro offers

QuickBooks Pro 2020 is currently $299 and offers complete small business accounting features that you need for your business, including invoicing, bills and accounts payable, time tracking, estimates, sales tax management, access to more than 100 standard financial reports, as well as basic inventory tracking.

What QuickBooks Premier offers

In addition to the features available in QuickBooks Pro, QuickBooks Premier includes access to industry-specific editions, which can be particularly valuable for retailers, nonprofits, and manufacturing businesses. In addition, QuickBooks Premier offers more than 150 industry-specific reports, all for $499.

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.

How They Compare: QuickBooks Pro vs. QuickBooks Premier

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.

QuickBooks Online

QuickBooks Online brings the best of its original desktop application into an easy-to-use online accounting application that continues to improve with each version.

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