Learn about different choose your Quickbooks desktop product

Each version of QuickBooks is designed to address specific business needs. There are different QuickBooks products that can help you manage your business’ account efficiently. Here’s an overview of each product, service, and version so you can decide which is best for you.

QuickBooks Online

Our web-based product allows you to access your company anywhere in the world as long as you have an internet connection.

Example of QuickBooks Online Accountant Dashboard

With QuickBooks Online, you can:

  • Send and track custom invoices
  • Track income and expenses
  • Create and manage estimates
  • Sync bank accounts and apps
  • Manage and pay bills
  • Run instant sales and profit reports
  • Track inventory
  • Prepare and print 1099s

For more information on how to use the program, visit our Support site.

QuickBooks Desktop

Because QuickBooks Desktop is installed on your desktop computer and stores your data locally or on a network server, you can access QuickBooks Desktop offline.

QuickBooks Desktop example screen

In QuickBooks Desktop:

  • Product: Either QuickBooks Desktop Pro, QuickBooks Desktop Premier, or QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise Solutions (QBES)
  • Version: Designated by a year within a product (for example, QuickBooks Desktop Pro 2018 is a different version than QuickBooks Desktop Pro 2019)
  • Edition: Differentiation within QuickBooks Desktop Premier or QBES for different business types – for example, QuickBooks Desktop Premiere (product) 2019 (version) Accountant (edition)

In QuickBooks Desktop, you can:

  • Track income and expenses
  • Send and track invoices
  • Run reports
  • Send estimates
  • Track sales tax
  • Manage bills and accounts payable
  • Track time
  • Track inventory

For more information on how to use the program, visit our Support site.

QuickBooks for Mac

You can use QuickBooks Desktop on your Mac. Currently, the only supported year version is QuickBooks for Mac 2019. It doesn’t have any other edition or product.

QuickBooks Pro for Mac example screen

In QuickBooks Mac, you can:

  • Track income and expenses
  • Run reports
  • Track sales tax
  • Manage bills and accounts payable
  • Track time
  • Track inventory

For more information on how to use the program, visit our Support site.

QuickBooks Online Accountant

This version of choose your Quickbooks desktop product is designed specifically or accountants. It lets you easily connect with and manage your clients QuickBooks data. You get accountant-specific tools and reports to make your reviews easier.

In QuickBooks Online Accountant, you can:

  • Manage your client’s books
  • Access exclusive accountant tools

For more information on how to use the program, visit the following websites:

  • QuickBooks Desktop Accountant
  • QuickBooks Online Accountant

QuickBooks Self-Employed

QuickBooks Self-Employed is primarily for freelancers, independent contractors, and service-based entrepreneurs. We make it easy to track your income and expenses, separate business and personal transactions, and file your Schedule C. Get more details on QuickBooks Self-Employed.

In QuickBooks Self-Employed, you can:

  • Automatically track mileage
  • Separate business and personal expenses
  • Maximize your Schedule C deductions
  • Automatically calculate quarterly estimated taxes
  • Send and track simple invoices

It’s the right version of QuickBooks for you if:

  • You’re a sole proprietor (self-employed) and have no employees.
  • You use the same bank accounts and credit cards for both business and personal spending. We make it easy for you to separate your business finances.
  • You have business expenses and want to write them off as tax deductions to save money.
  • You only need basic invoicing features
  • You need help calculating quarterly tax estimates.
  • You want to make filing your Schedule C easier. We can send your Schedule C data directly to TurboTax to make filing simpler.

For more info, reach out to our support team.

QuickBooks Payroll

Intuit also offers various types of Payroll services that allow you to:

  • Create paychecks
  • Calculate taxes and net pay
  • Generate quarterly tax forms
  • Pay liabilities

For more information on how to use our Payroll services, visit our support sites:

QuickBooks Point of Sale (POS)

 POS accepts all types of payment (including credit cards, debit cards, and cash) and is reconciled inDesktop.

QuickBooks Point of Sale (POS) example screen

In QuickBooks Point of Sale, you can:

  • Track inventory as you sell and you receive files
  • Sync sales data with QuickBooks
  • Track UPC codes
  • Update prices and create discounts across departments
  • Connect with a cash register

For more information on how to use the program, visit our Support site.

Was this helpful?

Both QuickBooks Pro and QuickBooks Premier offer beneficial features and competitive pricing plans. The Ascent goes over the advantages of each to help you decide which is right for your business.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.

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. Image source: Author


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 2021 edition of QuickBooks Pro offers several new features, including:

  • Improved bank feeds
  • New receipt management tools
  • Ability to automatically send customer statements
  • Customizable payment receipts
  • Ability to create customer groups

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.

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. Image source: Author


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. Image source: Author


  • 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. Image source: Author


QuickBooks Pro vs. QuickBooks Premier: Pricing

QuickBooks Desktop pricing has changed for 2021, with Intuit turning to a subscription model for its desktop products.

What QuickBooks Pro offers

Intuit recently made the switch to subscription pricing for its desktop applications, which are now branded as Plus plans.  If you’re interested in payroll, you can purchase QuickBooks Pro Plus + Payroll for $574 for the first year, or you can add the payroll option to QuickBooks Pro 2021.

QuickBooks Pro's two pricing plans.

QuickBooks Pro is available with or without payroll. Image source: Author


What QuickBooks Premier offers

Like QuickBooks Pro, QuickBooks Premier has changed its pricing structure for 2021 and added a subscription option. QuickBooks Premier Plus starts at $299 for the first year, with the cost rising to $499 the second year.  For those who wish to forego the subscription, you can buy the standalone product for $649.

Pricing for QuickBooks Premier Plus and Premier Plus + Payroll.

QuickBooks Premier Plus is available with or without payroll. Image source: Author


QuickBooks Pro vs. QuickBooks Premier: Inventory & Sales

One of the biggest differences between QuickBooks Pro and QuickBooks Premier is its inventory management feature.

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.



The choice is yours

If you’re open to other options, be sure to check out our small business accounting software reviews.


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