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QuickBooks Enterprise vs QuickBooks Online vs QuickBooks Pro: What’s the Difference?

What is the difference between QuickBooks Enterprise, QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Pro?
The difference between QuickBooks Enterprise, QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Pro lies in their features, pricing, and deployment. The critical difference is that Online is a cloud-based application, while Pro and Enterprise are on-premise solutions that also offer plans for cloud hosting. While QuickBooks Online is the cheapest product, the Enterprise version delivers far more advanced features.

When a reputable company offers multiple accounting software products, it can be mind-numbing to pick one, especially when all the products are top-class. That’s the case with QuickBooks Intuit. QuickBooks enthusiasts or current users will agree that products from this accounting software provider are outstanding. From the buyer’s perspective, the quality of these products is music to the ears, until one lands on the QuickBooks website only to find multiple near-identical accounting products.

When you have to compare QuickBooks Enterprise vs. QuickBooks Online vs. QuickBooks Pro, where do you start? In this article, we’ll walk you through a detailed comparison of these three QuickBooks products. We’ll look into the features to expect from each software product, their price differences, deployment, and compare their functionalities to help you make an informed buying decision.

quickbooks comparison

One thing you should know, owing to the evolving digital world, Intuit is directing vast chunks of its investments to online products. This doesn’t mean that the desktops are not good, but going by this trend, QuickBooks online products will get better and more advanced than the desktop solutions. To date, the company corners 80% of the U.S. market for accounting software and much of the accounting future belongs to the cloud; hence, Intuit’s SaaS strategy makes sense. In any case, all three QuickBooks products here have cloud capabilities, so you’re on the right track. 

Deployment

QuickBooks Online (QBO) is a reliable cloud-based accounting software primarily designed for small businesses. Being a SaaS product, QuickBooks Online is accessible anywhere, anytime and on any device including your mobile phone. Its cloud-based architecture means that you do not need to install the software, plus its updates are automatic, hence it’s easy to maintain.

On the other hand, QuickBooks Pro and QuickBooks Enterprise are essentially deployed as on-premise solutions, with support for various devices such as Mac and Windows. However, the vendor has revolutionized the way these solutions are deployed. Notably, QuickBooks Pro can be deployed in the cloud, but the process always encompasses further hosting setup, and it may necessitate the skills of a professional developer.

On the other hand, Intuit offers QuickBooks Enterprise with Hosting, which is an innovative option that allows users to deploy QuickBooks Enterprise in the cloud, making it accessible anywhere, anytime, and on any device including Mac, Tablet, and Windows.

Target Users

Another major aspect when comparing QuickBooks Enterprise vs. QuickBooks Online vs. QuickBooks Pro is to think of target users. 

QuickBooks Online is an easy to use accounting solution ideally perfect for small businesses with a small workforce of up to 5 employees. The software doesn’t come with all the bells and whistles, but it still powerful enough to help small businesses accomplish basic accounting tasks. 

Moreover, QuickBooks Pro is a robust accounting solution designed with SMBs users in mind. The platform offers a suite of reliable tools that include core accounting functionalities such as project accounting, account receivable & payable, payroll management, and expense management. QuickBooks Pro is ideally perfect for businesses that have outgrown the QuickBooks Online and only require less than three simultaneous users.

QuickBooks Enterprise is a comprehensive accounting suite explicitly designed for medium businesses and large enterprises. The solution provides incredibly advanced features such as invoicing, time tracking, project management, and inventory management, and can be configured to support up to 30 users. The set of features makes QuickBooks Enterprise suitable for global brands in manufacturing, Contracting, wholesaling, retail, nonprofits, and professional service sectors.

Pricing

The cost of accounting software varies based on various factors such as the number of features and the type of deployment. In summary, here is the price comparison for QuickBooks Enterprise vs Online vs Pro:

QuickBooks Enterprise Pricing

Now, let’s take an in-depth look at the plans for each QuickBooks type:

QuickBooks Online Pricing

quickbooks pricing

QuickBooks Online is believed to be the most affordable QuickBooks version. QBO is available in four options, namely: Simple Start ($10/month), Essentials ($20/month), Plus ($35/month), and Advanced ($60/month). From a single user point of view, the QuickBooks Online is cheap, but remember, this option doesn’t come with all the bells and whistle. This means that when you finally expand and add more users, this version may not offer excellent value for money.

QuickBooks Pro Pricing

quickbooks pro pricing

Because QuickBooks Pro is an on-premise software, its pricing structure is different from that of QuickBooks Online. QuickBooks Pro is available in two plans: Pro and Pros Plus. The Pro plan costs a one-time fee of $299.95 and includes technical support only for the first month. On the other hand, Pro Plus offers the best value at $299.95 annual subscription with unlimited 24/7 technical support.

QuickBooks Enterprise Pricing

If you manage a large enterprise you’d quite probably want to know the cost of QuickBooks Enterprise. As mentioned earlier, QuickBooks Enterprise is quite expensive compared to the other two versions. At, $1115/year, QBE is clearly a product for organizations with deep pockets. However, as expensive as it is, the QuickBooks Enterprise offers all the bells and whistles you would want in a bookkeeping/accounting software, and it has six times the capacity of QuickBooks Pro.

Features

Keeping accurate financial statements and organized finances makes it easy to establish the financial health of a business. However, to accomplish this, businesses should consider implementing a solution with all the things that accountants value most in accounting software.

QuickBooks Enterprise Features

Proper inventory management helps you gain in-depth visibility across your supply chain. It’s vital for business owners to keep a watchful eye on their inventory to curb potential problems like missed sales, lost customers, and overstocking. QuickBooks products offer inventory management as one of the core features. However, the depth and quality of the inventory feature vary from product to product.

Inventory management

QuickBooks Online is ideal for basic inventory management. The software enables you to track and manage a limited number of inventory items. Besides, you can easily create sales or purchase orders, which automatically deducts from or add to your total inventory. Alerts can be set to notify you when inventory levels fall below the recommended value.

In addition to the inventory features offered by QuickBooks Online, QuickBooks Pro comes with features such as the ability to manage inventory reorder points. Like the QuickBooks Online, the Pro version is mainly built for small business that only needs to manage limited inventory items.

Of all QuickBooks products, QuickBooks Enterprise is, without a doubt, the most powerful in terms of inventory management. With added flexibility and the ability to hold more than 100,000 inventory items, QuickBooks Enterprise is designed with enterprise-level businesses in mind. The software makes it easy to track sales order fulfillment, update inventory levels in real-time, and locate inventory tasks – all from a single dashboard. Also, QuickBooks Enterprise simplifies inventory management using bar code scanning, bin location tracking, FIFO costing, and serial number tracking.

Invoicing

Let’s face it; whether you are a brick-and-mortar retailer or eCommerce entrepreneur, you deserve to be paid on time for your effort. The need for prompt payments, accentuate the importance of having a proper invoicing system in place.

QuickBooks Online, pro, and Enterprise have great invoicing capabilities. With QuickBooks Online, you can create and send smart invoices straight from your mobile device. The platform offers a set of templates that enable you to customize invoices with your accent colors and logo. When customers view or pay invoices, QuickBooks Online sends you instant notifications, plus the automated reminders let your clients know when a payment is due. The invoicing system works in tandem with the built-in payment allowing customers to pay invoices anywhere, anytime. Other salient invoicing features include next-day deposits, automatic matching, invoice incrementally, and add billable hours.

QuickBooks Pro and Enterprise have one incredible feature that is not offered by QuickBooks Online: the invoices status tracker. This feature provides in-depth visibility into the statuses of your invoices, enabling you to stay in control of your cash flow and speed up collections. Even better, QuickBooks Pro and Enterprise versions support batch invoicing. The batch invoicing feature, allows you to send multiple invoices, for the same product or service, at once with a single click of a button.

Reporting & analytics

Reporting and analytics are the bedrocks of today’s business, which drive proactive decision-making. QuickBooks products come with reliable reporting and analytics tools that make it easy to consume the available financial data. So, how does QuickBooks Online compare to QuickBooks desktop versions, in terms of reporting and analytics features?

QuickBooks Online provides robust reporting and analytics features that enable to generate comprehensive reports. The software comes with 65+ built-in reports that help you determine where your business stands. The reports focus on the dashboard view but don’t dive deep into aspects such as financial projection, business health, and job costing. Also, owing to the lightweight nature of QuickBooks Online, it only supports limited industry-specific reports.

With QuickBooks Pro, you can create 100+ one-click sales, tax, and financial reports. One advantage QuickBooks Pro has over QuickBooks Online is that with QuickBooks Pro, you can create unlimited industry-specific reports.

On the other hand, QuickBooks Enterprise allows you to create more than 150 industry-specific reports. With this product, you can use all your QuickBooks data to generate reports and implement ODBC-compliant solutions to create custom reports. Better still, QuickBooks Enterprise is the only desktop product that can consolidate or roll-up reports from numerous company files.

Customer support

Customer support comes in handy when you run into trouble installing or using a software. QuickBooks encourages a DIY attitude amongst its users, and often pushes users towards the knowledge base, before offering support via human agents. The solution provides plenty of training videos, tutorials, comprehensive FAQ sections, and a helpful blog.

With QuickBooks online and QuickBooks Pro, human agents are often based overseas. However, the solution has US-based representatives, but these are newbies and rookies. On the other hand, QuickBooks Enterprise’s priority circle provides benefits such as priority customer service and a dedicated customer success manager to handle all product-specific questions and needs.

Mobile Apps

Basically, QuickBooks Enterprise and QuickBooks Pro are locally installed, which means they do not offer mobile Apps. QuickBooks Online is the winner here as it offers native mobile applications for both Android and iOS devices.

In summary, QBE has more features, plus its features are more powerful and customizable. However, in terms of accessibility, QuickBooks Online has the edge over the other two products, thanks to its cloud-based architecture.

Other QuickBooks Versions

If, after comparing QuickBooks Enterprise, QuickBooks Online, and QuickBooks Pro, you didn’t find a solution that is fit for your needs and you are convinced that QuickBooks can help you derive the benefits of accounting software, you may want to consider, other products from QuickBooks.

QuickBooks Premier

QuickBooks Premier is a full-fledged, on-premise accounting software designed primarily for medium-sized businesses. The solution is ideally perfect for companies that have outgrown the QuickBooks Pro version and are not big enough for the high prices and comprehensive features set of QuickBooks Enterprise. 

It’s a robust solution that supports more users than the QuickBooks Pro. The best part is that QuickBooks Premier provides all the features of QuickBooks Pro plus other unique features such as business plan creation, forecasting, an analysis tool, inventory assemblies monitoring, and remote access. The application makes it easy for users to pay bills, print checks, and track their expenses. 

QuickBooks Premier offers a Standard Edition and provides other modules that are specifically designed for general contractors, retail, professional services, accountants, nonprofits, and manufacturing & wholesale. In terms of pricing, QuickBooks Premier is more expensive than QuickBooks Pro. The solution is available on two plans: Premier Plan, which costs a one-time fee of $499.95 and the Premier Plus Plan, which requires an annual subscription fee of $499.95.

QuickBooks Accountant

QuickBooks Accountant is a comprehensive accounting software primarily designed for professional bookkeepers and accountants. It is a powerful solution that combines all the features of QuickBooks Premier, Pro, and Enterprise into a single platform. Besides, QuickBooks Accountant adds extra features such as inventory report filter, multi-monitor support, and 1-click transfer of credits. 

What makes QuickBooks Accountant stand out is that it provides accountants with a comprehensive toolbox with all the features they need to accomplish journal entries, trial balance, categorize transactions, and make inventory entries. The solution is available in two versions; the QuickBooks Online Accountant which is free and QuickBooks Accountant Desktop Plus which costs $349 per year.

Unlike QuickBooks Premier, Enterprise, and Pro, QuickBooks Accountant doesn’t offer a free trial. Instead, users must be registered on the QuickBooks ProAdvisor program to get access to this solution.

Factors to Consider

Like many other software solutions, the QuickBooks products are not one-size-fits-all accounting software. As a result, there are things that you need to put in mind when buying a product from the vendor. Here are the factors to consider: 

How to determine the best solution for your business

To determine the best QuickBooks version for your business, you need to ask yourself a few questions:

  1. What are your current bookkeeping/accounting needs?
  2. Do you anticipate significant business growth in the near future?
  3. Which software offers features to complement these needs? Compare the features offered by the three products and weigh them against the prices. Is there a feature that you cannot do without? 

Once you find the definitive answers to these questions, then it will be easy to decide whether QuickBooks Enterprise, QuickBooks Online, or QuickBooks Pro is right for your business.

When is the right time to upgrade?

It’s good to note that Intuit stops providing updates and support for a particular QuickBooks desktop edition after three years. When a version becomes obsolete, you can use it to execute basic tasks like entering banking transactions, but you’ll get no more technical support or automatic software updates. Besides, the edition will be incapacitated, and some features such as payment processing and payroll management will no longer be available. 

This means, if you buy the 2019 edition of QuickBooks desktop, you will need to upgrade the version in 2022. However, you may want to update the edition more frequently, say yearly, especially if Intuits releases new features that are deemed indispensable for your business. 

Besides, you need to make a decision when to upgrade to a more powerful QuickBooks version, particularly if your business is proliferating. For example, if you are using QuickBooks Pro, when is the best time to upgrade to a Premier or Enterprise version? Some of the things that justify an upgrade include:

  1. If your inventory tracking needs are getting complex.
  2. When you reach the stipulated data limits for item lists, the vendor, and customers, and still need to hold more. 

More importantly, when a new edition or version is released, do not rush to upgrade your software. This is because, like many other solutions, the new QuickBooks releases are not stable and may require several fixes within the first few months. It advisable that you implement a new version or edition, six months after its release.

Choose the Right QuickBooks For You

With the detailed information above, we hope you can make a more informed decision when comparing QuickBooks Enterprise vs. QuickBooks Online vs. QuickBooks Pro. As you have likely noticed by now, QuickBooks Enterprise provides numerous additional perks and features compared to QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Pro. However, its remarkable capability doesn’t make it the best QuickBooks accounting software for every business. There are reasons why QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Pro remain the products of choice for many small and medium businesses.

In our opinion, QuickBooks online is a great software for startups with less than five employees. We believe that with the right cloud accounting success tips, small businesses can use QuickBooks Online to get started, track accounting data, and streamline decision making. For small businesses with less than 20 employees and need three or fewer simultaneous users, QuickBooks Pro can be a good fit. The solution offers all the core accounting functions including invoicing, generate financial statements, and record bank transactions.

Finally, if your business has made commendable strides, and has 20 to 250 employees, we recommend using QuickBooks Enterprise. This desktop version of QuickBooks offers all the features that QuickBooks Online and Pro have, and includes other advanced features such as faster processing, granular user permission, advanced reporting, supports more transactions, and more.

Daniel Epstein

By Daniel Epstein

Daniel Epstein is a senior financial research analyst at FinancesOnline and the architect behind our Fintech and ERP content division. His main areas of expertise are blockchain technologies, cryptocurrencies, and the use of biometrics in fintech solutions. His work has been frequently quoted by such publications as Forbes, USA Today, Entrepreneur, and LA Times. With more than 1,800 solutions scrutinized in the last 5 years spent on our team he always prioritized offering readers an unbiased perspective on modern financial technologies.

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