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

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Many companies automate their internal processes to 1.) achieve maximum outcomes, while 2.) minimizing the time it traditionally takes to get results. However, when it comes to accounting, many small businesses are not comfortable migrating their operations to the cloud and prefer using QuickBooks Desktop solutions: Pro and Premier.

In this article, we’ll compare QuickBooks Pro vs. Premier to help business owners decide which version best matches their company’s current needs.

What is QuickBooks?

QuickBooks, developed by the software company Intuit, is an accounting tool designed specifically for small- to medium-sized companies. It allows users to manage their invoices, track their cash flows, and pay bills all in one platform.

QuickBooks is particularly beneficial to companies that need help generating month- and year-end financial reports, either for tax purposes or for getting additional funding. The software includes payroll integration and bank transaction management, as well as 24/7 chat support.

The company also launched a cloud-based accounting platform known as QuickBooks Online, which is for organizations and companies that want to run their accounting operations on the cloud.

QuickBooks Pro vs. Premier

Here we’ve broken down both the similarities and the differences between QuickBooks Pro and Premier in terms of features. Let’s start with the ways in which they are similar.

What are the similarities between QuickBooks Pro and Premier?

1. Track income and expenses

With both platforms,small business owners can easily import their existing financial data from Microsoft Excel or other programs supported by QuickBooks Desktop. They can also easily connect their bank to the software to categorize transactions, although corresponding charges apply.

2. Get real-time invoice status

QuickBooks Pro and Premier lets users create personalized professional invoices and payment receipts, as well as set reminders on pending payments.  Both can also bill partners regularly and stay up-to-date on the cash flow with invoice status alerts.

3. Customize sales reports

Through the Pro and Premier platforms, business owners can use filters to customize their company’s sales reports so that the reports focus on the information that’s most important to the business – whether that’s sales from taxable customers, sales by state, daily sales by payment method, or payments linked to open invoices, among other options.

4. Manage unpaid bills

It’s imperative that small businesses stay on top of all their monthly bills or accounts payable. With so many different payments due at different times throughout the month, this can be difficult to manage. QuickBooks Pro and Premier both help track and pay recurring operational expenses by creating a spreadsheet of vendors the business owes, the amount they’re owed and what for.

5. Record employee time-ins and outs

QuickBooks Pro and Premier will both allow human resources to clock employee time, including accruals of vacation and sick leaves. Business owners can also use either platform to track billable hours according to their clients and add them to invoices when needed.

6. Oversee inventory round-the-clock

Managing available products and estimating the total cost of inventory can take time, which could otherwise be used for more critical tasks. QuickBooks Pro and Premier make it possible to track inventory and receive notifications as soon as products run low.

7. Comply with 1099 forms

The IRS Form 1099 requires all businesses to report the following to the Federal government: all taxable incomes paid to vendors, contractors, attorneys, or freelance workers who provided services amounting to more than $600. QuickBooks Pro and Premier both allow companies to track all third-party payments and put them together in the software’s 1099 category. Companies may also file their 1099s straight from QuickBooks with additional charges.

8. Ensure data recovery during downtimes

Companies are assured that their financial information is secure with automated data recovery and backup in place on both platforms.

What is the difference between QuickBooks Pro and Premier?

QuickBooks Premier builds upon the Pro platform to offer a more robust accounting system. The premiere is designed for businesses that require more specialized functions, whereas Pro is designed for those in need of simple accounting.

Here’s a breakdown of the main differences between the two:

1. Reports generation and tracking

Creating financial reports on QuickBooks Pro and Premier is a breeze, except that more industry-specific reports (150 and up) can be generated when small business owners subscribe to Premier.

Both plans allow users to create profit and loss analyses, balance sheets, and expense reporting in one dashboard. Premier, however, makes it possible for business owners to track their profitability according to product, client, or project. This feature is not available in the Pro version.

2. Pricing model

Since Premiere features more functionalities than Pro, it is more expensive. See below for price comparison:

Pricing model

Source: Intuit QuickBooks

Both the Pro and Premier Desktop versions are fairly priced, given what they each offer. When evaluating which may be best for your company, it will boil down to the urgent needs of your business. Some small companies may opt for the Pro version initially to try the software out first before getting the Premier or Enterprise plans.

For small business owners who want to hire or outsource an accountant but don’t have the budget, QuickBooks Premier is a good alternative because of its added features.

3. Sales forecasts

One of the best-added features of QuickBooks Premier is its forecasting capabilities. Companies that want to focus on the growth of sales need forecast reports to make better marketing decisions. With the help of Premier, business owners can easily track their forecast progress either via percentage or dollar format.

For example, owners of a small retail business can create a new sales forecast or use existing data to project future sales. Using QuickBooks Premier, they can estimate whether the business is ready for an expansion, or if more informed financial decisions need to be made in order to meet the annual sales targets. These features are not available in Pro.

4. Industry-specific capabilities

QuickBooks Premier features tailor-made in-app solutions that help businesses to better manage and track their inventory, and create reports that fit the following industry-specific niches in particular:

  • General contractors

QuickBooks Premier allows contractors to create reports per vendor to monitor expenses and see which vendors need to be paid. They can also customize job cost reports and modify job orders at a glance.

  • Manufacturing and wholesale

Businesses in this sector can use QuickBooks Premier to track inventory at a more comprehensive level. They can run reports that tell which products are running low on inventory and therefore need re-ordering. You’ll also be able to see which products are performing best in terms of sales so you can remove the ones that aren’t performing well. Furthermore, users can easily prioritize open sales orders and close them at their own pace.

  • Not-for-profit organizations

Through QuickBooks Premier, users can monitor who the biggest donors are and quickly create donation statements by the end of the year. They can also comply with IRS Form 990, which is a requirement for tax-exempt organizations.

  • Retail

QuickBooks Premier offers sales summaries, inventory reports, and profit-and-loss analyses to its users. Users can also bill suppliers and analyze expenses in real-time, using personalized invoices.

  • Professional Services

Freelancers can take advantage of QuickBooks Premier to see which clients need to send their payments, set different billing rates according to client, project, or service provided, and analyze profitability reports.

5. Number of users

QuickBooks Desktop Pro allows up to three users simultaneously using the account, while Premier allows up to 5 users. This means that using Premier guarantees more work done in the same period of time.

It’s worth mentioning that QuickBooks Pro also has a QuickBooks Pro Plus version. The main difference between the QuickBooks Pro vs Pro Plus is that the latter has an annual subscription model, compared with Pro that’s only a software. The QuickBooks Pro Plus also has unlimited chat support and automatic data backup, which are features that Pro users will have to pay for separately.

Can you upgrade from QuickBooks Pro to Premier?

Users who wish to upgrade from QuickBooks Pro to the Premier platform can easily transfer their data to the latter. To do this, you simply need to install QuickBooks Desktop Premier. You’ll be able to access the Premier edition’s added features immediately once the installation is complete. (Make sure you do not uninstall the Pro version before the Premier version is done installing.)

If the version of QuickBooks Premier that you are upgrading to is from the same year as the QuickBooks Pro platform you were previously using, then all the financial data you had entered into the Pro version will automatically transfer over when you upgrade. This means if you’re currently using QuickBooks Pro 2020 and are planning to migrate the files to Premier, you should use the 2020 version of Premier as well.

Can you downgrade from QuickBooks Premier to Pro?

Since QuickBooks Desktop Pro and Premier are interchangeable, users can switch back to the Pro edition. The Premier version does feature added functionalities such as industry-specific reports, sales orders, and forecasts, which are not available in the Pro version. If you revert to Pro from the Premier version, you will not be able to access these added functionalities. There is also a possibility that existing data you had entered into Premier may not be captured into the Pro edition.

All-new features of QuickBooks Desktop Pro and Premier 2021

Intuit recently unveiled the new powerhouse features of QuickBooks Desktop Pro and Premier 2021. The features include:

  • Automatic categorizing of bank transactions using better guidelines and batch editing
  • Automated recurring statements to various customer groups
  • Integration of brand logo as well as custom formatting on invoices and receipts
  • New customer management tools that allow users to automatically update its customer groups according to location, payment balance, or status.

Ready for an Upgrade? You Can Also Try QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise

QuickBooks Enterprise 2021 contains all the robust features of Premier, plus more:

Receipt organization.

    1. Categorizing receipt expense transactions are made easier, thanks to the Enterprise’s mobile app. Users can simply take a photo of the receipt, import it into the application and review the expenses later on.

 

  1. Priority Circle Loyalty Program. Customers of QuickBooks Enterprise are part of the Priority Circle Loyalty Program, which gives them a dedicated team, complimentary training, and priority support from QuickBooks’ top specialists.
  2. Barcode scanning. Warehouse workers can easily scan product barcodes for real-time updating of inventory and tracking of sales orders.
  3. End-to-end sales workflow. Using QuickBooks Enterprise, business owners can oversee the entire sales workflow from the central dashboard. They can also fill out and print shipping labels, and send items to a picker or packer.
  4. Up to 30 users. Imagine how many reports can be generated when 30 people are using the Enterprise platform simultaneously. This gives business owners more time building the company’s network or getting more clients.
  5. More than 200 pre-set report templates. Users can either choose among hundreds of report templates or generate their own using Enterprise.
  6. Customized access. Since 30 people can access a single Quickbooks Enterprise account, business owners can nominate pre-set user roles and permissions. The access is also customizable, so not all Enterprise users with access to the same account can see the same set of sensitive financial data.

Which version of QuickBooks is the best for the business?

When asking which QuickBooks version is right for your organization, it’s important to assess your current requirements as well as your budget. Smaller companies that are new to managing their financial data using accounting software can start off with the Pro version and then upgrade to Premier or Enterprise if the need arises.

Medium-sized organizations that have industry-specific accounting needs are likely better off purchasing the Premier version since it offers added features that are tailor-fit for more advanced requirements.

Serine Alejandro
Serine is a graduate of Journalism from one of the most prestigious universities. She has broad experience in public relations and marketing communications for the lifestyle, travel, tech, and banking industries. She is now a co-owner of a growing condiments business, a manager of her family’s pharmacy, and a full-time writer for SMB Compass.

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