QuickBooks Premier is a desktop version of QuickBooks bookkeeping software that enables you to perform a wide range of accounting tasks, such as sending and tracking invoices, running payroll, and managing bills. It’s great for businesses that need to keep separate books for multiple companies and have an experienced bookkeeper that will rarely need assistance from an off-site accountant.
QuickBooks Premier is available for a one-time fee, or it can be purchased as an annual subscription that includes free online data backup, unlimited customer support, and free upgrades when new editions become available. Ready to get started?
Pros & Cons of QuickBooks Premier
Fast data input compared to cloud-based software
More difficult to share with external accountant than cloud-based software
Bookkeeping for multiple companies for no additional charge
Software must be installed and maintained
5 Industry-specific versions available
Powerful features take time to master
QuickBooks Premier Pricing
QuickBooks Premier can be purchased for either a one-time fee or as an annual subscription. The annual subscription, QuickBooks Premier Plus, includes free upgrades to the new edition each year. If you purchase for the one-time fee, you most likely won’t have to upgrade to a new edition for at least three years.
Concurrent Users Included
Cost for Additional Concurrent Users (Maximum 5)
Free Maintenance Updates
Free Edition Upgrades
Unlimited Customer Support
Online Data Backups
Last updated on 03/25/2020.
Additional User Pricing
Your QuickBooks Premier license allows you to set up an unlimited number of QuickBooks users. However, only one user at a time can access the program, which you’re allowed to install on three computers. You may purchase a maximum of five licenses, which will allow five employees to access the program at the same time. Five licenses will cost $2,500, but the program will be supported by QuickBooks for three years.
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Who QuickBooks Premier is Right For
In my experience with QuickBooks Premier, its strengths are the ability to work on multiple companies, quick navigation and data entry, and its industry specific reports. However, users need to be prepared to spend the time to learn the program and be able to work with limited assistance from an off-site accountant.
- Users with multiple companies: A single license allows you to do the bookkeeping for multiple companies. This is ideal for companies that might consist of multiple entities where the books must be kept separately for tax or other purposes.
- Full-time bookkeepers: QuickBooks Premier operates much faster than cloud-based programs. A full-time bookkeeper working in QuickBooks all day will be far more productive than if they were using a cloud-based software.
- Specific industries: QuickBooks Premier comes in five industry-specific versions. We chose it as the best small business accounting software for companies in the following industries:
- Manufacturers and Distributors
- Professional Service Firms
Who Should Choose a Different Accounting Software
The primary weakness of QuickBooks Premier is that the program can only be accessed from the computer(s) with the program installed. There are solutions to this problem, such as allowing outside access to your office computer or having the software hosted online by a third party.
- On-the-fly accounting: Many businesses require some of the accounting functions (especially invoicing) to be done in the field instead of waiting for the bookkeeper. QuickBooks Online will be a better fit for these businesses.
- Inexperienced bookkeepers: Unlike cloud-based software, your off-site accountant can’t effortlessly see your books from their office computer. With QuickBooks Premier you must make an Accountant’s Copy and send it to your off-site accountant. It’s not a bad system, but it’s not something you want to deal with on a daily or weekly basis.
- More than five users: This software can only support up to five concurrent users. If your business has an entire accounting department that needs continuous access, you’ll be better off with QuickBooks Enterprise, which supports up to 30 concurrent users.
Not sure whether to go with an on premise or cloud based accounting software? Read our guide to Quickbooks Online vs Desktop to understand the main differences.
Alternatives to QuickBooks Premier Edition
There are many good QuickBooks alternatives if Premier doesn’t fit your needs.
QuickBooks Pro is a desktop program with the advantages of quick data entry and navigation, but has a lower price tag at only $299.95. While saving $200, you lose some of the more advanced features of Premier such as industry-specific reports, tracking the balance sheet by class, and performing forecasts and projections. The maximum concurrent users with Pro is only three.
QuickBooks Enterprise is the top-of-the-line of desktop accounting software from QuickBooks intended for use by larger companies. Enterprise allows up to 30 concurrent users along with the ability to assign custom permissions for each user, which is a must for that many users. Enterprise also has more advanced reporting, pricing, and inventory features than Premier and also comes in the same industry-specific editions as Premier.
You can learn more about your desktop options in our QuickBooks Desktop comparison guide.
QuickBooks Online (QBO) is often better for inexperienced bookkeepers because it is very easy to get assistance from a QuickBooks ProAdvisor. After hiring a ProAdvisor, they can easily access your books from anywhere and see exactly what went wrong and advise you how to fix it! QBO is also better than QuickBooks Premier at on-the-go accounting such as issuing invoices in the field. See our QuickBooks Online comparison for a complete discussion of your QBO options.
QuickBooks Premier Key Features
- Reporting: QuickBooks Premier outshines its competitors with over 150 reports that can be customized and saved for later use. Reports go far beyond the basic financials with detailed reports on:
- Customers and receivables
- Jobs, time, and mileage
- Vendors and payables
- Employees and payroll
- Budgets and forecasts
- Cash and accrual reports: Most QuickBooks reports can be printed using either the accrual or cash method of accounting. This feature is great if you, like many small businesses, keep your company books on the accrual method, but file tax returns on the cash method.
- Reports linking to Excel: This is where QuickBooks reporting really gets good. Reports can be exported to Excel for further analysis. When the data in QuickBooks changes, the existing Excel spreadsheet can be updated from within QuickBooks. Updating the data in the spreadsheets preserves all the work, formulas, and tables you’ve already created.
- Batch invoicing: You can generate invoices for individual customers or for multiple customers who are billed the same amount for the same service. For instance, a trash service might bill multiple clients $50 per month for service. Generating and emailing hundreds of invoices at once can save hours of work.
- Collections center: The collections center provides a list of invoices that are overdue or almost due. It also provides the customer’s phone number and a place to keep notes on your contact with the customer.
- Income tracker: You can view the income tracker to see the status of your future cash flow, which is helpful for projections. In addition to unpaid invoices, the income tracker shows you unbilled estimates, sales orders, time, and expenses.
- Report and pay sales tax: Quickbooks will track the accrual and payment of sales tax separately for each taxing authority. You can define which types of sales should have sales tax collected.
- User defined class lists: You can define class lists to departmentalize your financials in whatever way you find useful. For example, a property manager might create a class for each of its managed buildings. By assigning every transaction to a class, the property manager can generate profit and loss reports and balance sheet reports by building. Classes can be used creatively to develop highly customized software, which is why we ranked QuickBooks Premier as the best overall real estate accounting software.
- Inventory: QuickBooks will track both the quantity on-hand as well as the average cost of all your inventory items. You can access information regarding each inventory item through the Inventory Center.
- Bank feeds: You can set up a feed from your bank for checking, savings, and credit card accounts. Transactions will automatically be loaded into QuickBooks for you to classify. You can create rules so QuickBooks will automatically classify transactions from certain vendors.
- Bill tracker: The bill tracker in Quickbooks will show you the progress of upcoming payments, which will be helpful in projecting your cash flow. The bill tracker follows expenses from purchases, to open bills, to paid bills.
- Workflow navigation: Quickbooks rarely requires journal entries. Instead, transactions are entered on forms that create the journal entry for you. For instance, cash expenses are recorded by writing a check. Not only will cash be decreased, but the appropriate expense will be increased. The company homepage within QuickBooks lays out the workflow process so you can click on whichever form needs created. Alternatively, all the necessary actions are available through the top menu.
- Accountant’s copy: When it’s time to share your books with an off-site accounting, like a CPA at tax time, you create an electronic file called the Accountant’s Copy. When you create the Accountant’s Copy, you must choose a dividing date. For instance, if you are sending a CPA the information for your 2019 tax return, you will choose a dividing date of Dec. 31, 2019.
Your accountant will be able to work on transactions on or before Dec. 31, 2019 in order to prepare your return. You will be able to continue working on 2020 information, but won’t be able to change any information prior to 2020. This allows both you and the CPA to simultaneously work on the company file without interfering with each other. When the accountant is done they will send you an Accountant Changes file that you will import to both record the changes made and release the divide date.
QuickBooks Premier is powerful accounting software with many advanced features and reporting capabilities that take time and patience to learn. Full-time bookkeepers will love it for its quick data input and fast navigation compared to cloud-based software. However, inexperienced bookkeepers might be better served with cloud-based software, like QuickBooks Online, if they need frequent help from an off-site bookkeeper.
It can be purchased for a one-time fee or an annual subscription. Visit QuickBooks today to get started.