QuickBooks Pro vs Premier - What's The Difference?

QuickBooks Pro vs Premier - What's The Difference?
Taylor Gordon
on March 23, 2020
Read in 6 min

While it may not be the most important decision you make with your small business, you’d be wise to differentiate QuickBooks Pro vs Premier and figure out which suits you best before you spend money on the wrong thing.

Intuit’s QuickBooks has gained the reputation of being the accounting software of choice for millions of small business owners–

This much you already know.

But with so many options available, the challenge is settling on which edition to use.

That’s where we come in.

If you’re leaning towards a desktop edition, QuickBooks Pro and QuickBooks Premier are two options for small- to mid-sized businesses.

In this post, we’ll give you the scoop on what they both have to offer.

What Are the Features of QuickBooks Pro?

QuickBooks Pro is a software that’s meant to simplify your basic accounting and customer management processes.

QuickBooks Pro is one of Intuit’s oldest small business accounting products.

Since it’s initial creation in the early 2000’s, this software has evolved to keep up with modern technology and small business owner needs.

Here are the main features of QuickBooks Pro:

  • Allows for three users.
    • When you buy QuickBooks you’re licensed to use it with a certain number of computers. In this case, only three.
  • A Customer Snapshot feature which provides key customer insights at a glance.
  • Income Tracker, a feature that shows your income-producing transactions and unpaid invoices to help you follow up with customers on payment.
  • Sales tax tracking.
  • For banking, you can pull credit card and banking transactions directly into QuickBooks Pro for reconciliation.
  • Business performance reports including profit and loss, income and expenses, and more.
  • Purchase orders and invoice tracking capabilities. 
  • Email and accounting report templates.
  • You can send professional quotes and invoices with QuickBooks right from your email account.
  • You can import contacts from your digital address book, accept credit card payments, pay W-2 employees, file payroll taxes, and integrate shipping with UPS, FedEx, and USPS.
  • You can import data from earlier versions of QuickBooks, Excel, or Quicken.

In a nutshell, QuickBooks Pro comes with the most common accounting processes.

If you’re looking for an uncomplicated and user-friendly desktop accounting system without too many extra frills, QuickBooks may fit the bill.

Think of QuickBooks Pro as a reliable car without the luxury features.

The reliable car may not come with heated seats, but it serves the basic functions needed to get you from Point A to Point B.

Similarly, QuickBooks Pro can do the basics for your business. 

As for price, QuickBooks Pro is more affordable than QuickBooks Premier.

The current price tag for QuickBooks Pro 2020 is $219.95.

The price of all QuickBooks products can fluctuate due to ever-changing sales and promotions, so check retailers for the most current details.

Now, let’s see what QuickBooks Premier is working with.

What Makes QuickBooks Premier, “Premier”?

QuickBooks Premier has everything that QuickBooks Pro offers plus additional features.

There are multiple versions of QuickBooks Premier which are tailor-made to serve businesses within specific industries.

After installing the QuickBooks Premier accounting software, you’ll be prompted to choose one of six industry concentrations for your business.

QuickBooks Premier offers customized forms, reports, and capabilities for each industry choice.

The six industries you can choose from are:

  • General Business
  • General Contracting
  • Non-Profit
  • Professional Services
  • Retail
  • Wholesale & Manufacturing

Being that the features of this product vary by industry, a head-to-head comparison of each variation against QuickBooks Pro would be exhaustive.

Instead, we’ll give you a snapshot of what accounting extras Premier has overall first.

Then, we’ll dig into a brief overview of the standout features within each industry-specific version.

Here are some key selling points of QuickBooks Premier:

  • Allows for five users.
  • An upgraded Inventory Center to help you manage inventory activities with many reports.
  • The ability to set up multiple units of measurement for inventory items.
  • An Inventory Assembly feature where you can track each piece of inventory and non-inventory material used to create the products you’re selling.
  • Job Costing Center to review time spent, income, and expenses for each job.
  • Ability to bill clients by job phase, percentage completed, and time spent. 
  • Sales orders and back order capabilities.
  • Ability to track changes to job estimates.
  • Flexibility to change billing rates for different services, employees, and clients.
  • Balance sheet tracking by location, department, and profit center.

There are some pretty distinct aspects of QuickBooks Premier that may benefit you more than QuickBooks Pro.

If you run a small business that requires inventory, sales orders, or job costing, QuickBooks Premier will be the top choice.

The decision to go with QuickBooks Premier is also pretty clear cut if you need more than three system users.

QuickBooks Premier is a littler pricer than QuickBooks Pro because of the extra features.

QuickBooks Premier 2020 is currently $499.95.

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QuickBooks Premier Industry Options

Here’s a quick glance at the features associated with each QuickBooks Premier industry version. (You’ll notice some duplicate features here because some capabilities are necessary for multiple industries.):

General Business

  • Inventory management
  • Balance sheet tracking by class
  • Billing for clients by job phase

General Contractor

  • Job costing
  • Job estimates and change tracking
  • Job profitability analysis

Manufacturing & Wholesale

  • Inventory management
  • Profitability by product tracking
  • Sales order management


  • Donor reporting,
  • Form 990 statements

Professional Services

  • Expanded billing rate options
  • Tracking of unbilled time and expenses
  • Analysis of profit by client


  • Inventory management
  • Sales reports
  • Profit and loss reports

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Starting at 5%
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Funding Option
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Time in Business
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QuickBooks Pro vs Premier – When QuickBooks Premier Wins

The key you should take away from this comparison is that QuickBooks Premier is a more robust accounting system.

It’s for businesses that require specialized functions where Pro is for simple accounting.

But if you’re still not sure which one to choose, here are some scenarios where you should go with QuickBooks Premier:

  1. If you run a business where you need to track product availability, back orders, and sales orders for customers. Premier gives you more here.
  2. If you sell products that need to be assembled with multiple parts, Premier lets you create inventory assemblies and bills of material for better reporting.
  3. If you sell products and need the freedom to price each item as you wish, QuickBooks Premier has more options where QuickBooks Pro is limited. 
  4. If you hand out many quotes to prospects and need a non-cumbersome way to transition those quotes to invoices, Premier simplifies this workflow.
  5. If you run a non-profit and you need an easy way to keep track of donations and exemption reporting.
  6. If you get hired on jobs as an independent contract and need advanced analysis of how each job is performing financially.

Learn about Invoice Factoring

These advanced features are most likely on the “wish list” of contractors, service providers, non-profits, and manufacturers.

If you run a small- to mid-sized business in any of these four industries, look into Premier before going with Pro.

What You Need to Know Before Deciding Between QuickBooks Pro vs Premier

Some wrap up points to make about Premier:

The benefit of QuickBooks Premier is the industry customizations.

If you need help deciding which QuickBooks Premier industry option is right for you, reach out to a QuickBooks specialist.

They will ask you a few questions about how your business operates to determine which features will benefit you the most.

Do you run two businesses in two industries?

QuickBooks Premier has you covered.

You’re able to set up multiple companies in different industries with this desktop software.

So, when you buy QuickBooks Premier, you’re buying the whole package.

One area QuickBooks Premier is lacking: It’s retail edition doesn’t include full-service point-of-sale features.

If you’re looking for a point-of-sale system, you may want to check out QuickBooks Point-of-Sale instead.

Other QuickBooks Products to Consider

One thing is for sure: Intuit likes to give small business owners options.

Besides QuickBooks Pro and QuickBooks Premier, other popular products for small business include:

Learn more about Quickbooks Online vs Desktop

If you’re in the “big leagues” with a larger business that surpasses the limitations above, QuickBooks Enterprise may be the better desktop version for you.

It allows for up to 30 users, and up to 1 million customers, vendors, and inventory parts.

QuickBooks Enterprise can also help you track inventory from multiple warehouses.

Beyond the traditional desktop editions, QuickBooks Online has become increasingly popular for the modern small business owner.

QB Online has affordable monthly subscription fees and is ideal for location-independent service providers, product sellers, and non-profits.

There are Online plans with very basic features as well as full-service plans for business owners who need more advanced reports on business income, expenses, and productivity.

Learn more about Cloud-Based Accounting Tools

For accountants, the QuickBooks Accountant Edition can help you manage multiple clients in one place.

It lets you make bulk transactions, gives you access to a plethora of industry reports, and much more.

There are desktop and online versions of QB Accountant as well.

QuickBooks Pro vs Premier – Final Thoughts

The bottom line is, you can rest assured knowing QuickBooks has a product that can fulfill your accounting needs.

In the case of QuickBooks Pro vs Premier, for basic accounting functions, you can save a few bucks by going Pro.

Invest in the extra features of QuickBooks Premier if you foresee business growth in areas where it gives you more flexibility.

If you have unique business circumstances that make this choice difficult, head over to QuickBooks to speak with a product specialist.

They’re very responsive and eager to connect you with the right QuickBooks product!

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Est. APR
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Funding Option
Est. APR
Starts with
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Min. Credit Score
Get Started
Taylor Gordon Finance Journalist

Taylor K. Gordon is a personal finance writer and founder of Tay Talks Money, a frugal lifestyle blog on entrepreneurship and hacking your way to an abundant savings account.

Taylor has contributed to The Huffington Post, GoGirl Finance, Madame Noire, The Write Life, and more.

1 Comment
6 years ago
Although many QuickBooks users find themselves gravitating to the online version of the product, some still prefer the desktop version of QuickBooks. QuickBooks Pro and QuickBooks Premier are both excellent products. QuickBooks Desktop, in general, is one of Intuit’s all-time best products. So, if you are evaluating which is right for you, use this ultimate comparison of QuickBooks Pro vs. Premier.