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QuickBooks Pro vs. Enterprise: The Ultimate Comparison Guide

Stacy Kildal

Stacy Kildal

Contributor at Fundera
Stacy Kildal is owner/operator of Kildal Services LLC—an accounting and technology consulting company that specializes in all things QuickBooks. From 2012-2017, Stacy has been named one of CPA Practice Advisor’s Most Powerful Women In Accounting. Stacy is one of the three hosts for the QB Show and has also been featured frequently on Intuit’s Accountant Blog, Community "Ask the Expert" forums, at various Intuit Academy To Go podcasts, as well as hosting a number of Intuit Small Business Online Town Hall sessions. She is a big fan of working mobile and has been recognized by Intuit as being an expert on QuickBooks Online, having written Intuit’s original courses for the US, Singapore and Canadian versions.
Stacy Kildal

If you’re reading this article, the chances are pretty good that you’re already a QuickBooks Desktop loyalist. You might be deciding whether you should upgrade from QuickBooks Pro to QuickBooks Enterprise. Intuit says Enterprise has six times the capacity of Pro, providing users with “more flexibility and more functionality.” We’ll walk you through all the factors you should consider when deciding whether QuickBooks Pro vs. Enterprise is right for your business’s accounting needs.

QuickBooks Pro vs. Enterprise: The Basics

As you might already know, QuickBooks Enterprise is the most expensive of QuickBooks’s suite of accounting software options. It is best for bigger businesses or businesses that anticipate significant growth occurring in the near future. QuickBooks Pro, on the other hand, is a much simpler and therefore more affordable product. It’s the most basic version of QuickBooks Desktop and it’s best for small or mid-sized businesses that don’t require more than a few simultaneous users.

When you open up QuickBooks Enterprise Edition, it looks a whole lot like QuickBooks Pro. You’ll see the same homepage and the same dropdown menus, and the program solves for the same business feature needs: invoicing, payables, sales tax, expenses, item tracking, reporting, customer and vendor tracking, and online banking. The core accounting maneuvers any business owner would want exist in QuickBooks Enterprise.

If you’re already using QuickBooks Pro, a move to Enterprise is really just an upgrade of the file into a totally familiar bookkeeping platform. It looks like the screenshot below—in other words, it’s not a huge shock to the system for any conventional QuickBooks Pro (or QuickBooks Premier) user.

quickbooks pro vs enterprise

The Perks of QuickBooks Enterprise

All of that being said, under the hood—in some key preferences and beneath some menus—QuickBooks Enterprise opens up a much larger world of accounting solutions. The real question you have to ask yourself when considering making the switch from QuickBooks Pro vs. QuickBooks Enterprise is whether you have a need for the additional workflows QB Enterprise offers. Let’s take a deep dive into these features.

To start, here are some key workflows that QuickBooks Enterprise solves for:

  • Sales: Advanced pricing module, mobile sales order fulfillment, customization of cost forms
  • Inventory: Multi-warehouse tracking, FIFO valuation method, serial/lot tracking, bar code scanning
  • Reporting: Non-posting cost report, assembly shortage report, advanced reporting module
  • File size and cache: Supports file size up to 1GB, up to 30 users simultaneously in file, up to 800 employees
  • Enhanced user security

Sales Workflow Advantages

Do you need to offer customers discounts based on quantity purchased? QuickBooks Enterprise offers an advanced pricing module, which is basically QB Premier’s price levels on steroids. It is much more of a point of sale-type focus. For example, when you sell 11 units of an item at once, you can set a price that is different from when a customer buys 5-10 units in one order:

quickbooks pro vs enterprise

See several screenshots below. Advanced pricing—which is an add-on module that costs extra—allows users to set up price levels based on items, customers, classes, and sales reps, as well as for a date range. You can set price overrides, too.

quickbooks pro vs enterprise

quickbooks pro vs enterprise

quickbooks pro vs enterprise

Quantity discounting allows users to set a price by quantity entered or purchased. This is way more point of sales functionality. Find out more here with regard to advanced build assembly features and to see advanced pricing in action.

quickbooks pro vs enterprise

When dealing with sales order fulfillment, QuickBooks Enterprise now supports a mobile app for warehouse teams. A warehouse employee can fulfill the sales order, scan barcodes, and add and deplete quantity—all from their phone and never need to be in the QuickBooks Enterprise file.

Enterprise also offers an advanced inventory feature set (another add-on module which comes with an additional cost) that includes the following capabilities:

  • Row shelf bin tracking
  • Bar code scanning
  • First in, first out valuation method
  • Serial number tracking
  • Lot number tracking

Users can also auto-assign classes. This will impact transaction entry efficiency with both sales and expenses. There is also the ability to assign a default class to items, accounts, and names. It is set up in preferences:

quickbooks pro vs enterprise

QuickBooks Enterprise offers more great features on the build assembly side, too. The screenshot below highlights some assembly features. Variable builds means a user can swap out a similar component if the one on the assembly item is not in stock—without having to edit the original assembly item. The user can see the exact shortage on a report. Users can also do “exploding BOMs,” or build all sub-assemblies to complete a finished good.

QuickBooks Enterprise also gives users the ability to set a default markup and track minimum and maximum quantities, for help with purchasing:

quickbooks pro vs enterprise

Speaking of purchasing power, QB Enterprise has a feature called auto-purchase order generation. Meaning users can batch purchases from a couple item-based reports.

quickbooks pro vs enterprise

 

quickbooks pro vs enterpriseA favorite QuickBooks Enterprise feature that deals with items is enhanced inventory receiving (EIR). Say there’s a product out on the water on some big container, and the vendor has already sent the bill. So, a user needs to track accounts payable but hasn’t received the items or won’t for a couple more weeks. EIR allows users to split the bill from the item receipt and enter the bill, but not show the items as received yet. Brilliant!

For many, QuickBooks Enterprise is worth the cost for this one feature alone, but when you combine it with the advanced inventory, purchasing, and pricing features above, it propels the software to mid-market stratosphere.

Reporting

QuickBooks Enterprise is the only QB Desktop product that can do roll-up reporting or consolidated reporting. It uses Excel, and while rudimentary, it does offer several reports across multiple company files. You will find the feature under the reports menu—here is a short video to see it in action.

Even better, QuickBooks Enterprise has a committed costs by job report, as well as a shortage report by item (for build assemblies):

quickbooks pro vs enterprise

More critical is the advanced reporting module. It is an extra cost, but it offers pretty hardcore reporting, right inside of QuickBooks Enterprise. It essentially gives access to all the data fields and tables inside of the QuickBooks Enterprise file to report on, across an unlimited range of reporting needs.

It is a bit too complicated for us to dig into here, but here is a video in which Woody Adams, QBOShow.com co-founder, explores the feature in-depth, as well as other tutorials on this incredible feature. Again, you might decide to get QuickBooks Enterprise just for this one superpower!

quickbooks pro vs enterprise

quickbooks pro vs enterprise

User Access

QuickBooks Pro offers user permissions across nine different modules to prevent users from accessing what they should not be accessing. However, QuickBooks Enterprise blows this out of the water, with the ability to keep a user out of a certain bank account, for example. Here is a video on QB Enterprise’s user-restriction capabilities that QuickBooks Pro simply cannot match.

quickbooks pro vs enterprise

File Limitations

Finally, let’s talk file size and cache, and a few other miscellaneous benefits of QuickBooks Enterprise. QB Enterprise can support files that grow to 1GB in size. QB Enterprise has many of the Accountant edition features built into it. Data should move faster in Enterprise.

Deciding Whether QuickBooks Pro vs. Enterprise Is Right for Your Accounting Needs

As you’ve likely gathered by now, QuickBooks Enterprise offers many additional features and perks as compared to QuickBooks Pro. But that doesn’t mean that QuickBooks Pro isn’t a thorough and powerful accounting solution in its own right—because it is. There’s a reason why so many small businesses have at one time or another utilized QB Pro.

There are a few questions you’ll need to ask yourself when deciding whether QuickBooks Pro vs. QuickBooks Enterprise is right for your business. One of them is what your current accounting needs are, while also considering how those needs might change based on your future expected growth. If you anticipate significant growth in the near future, you may decide that QB Enterprise is what you’re looking for in an accounting solution.  

We did not discuss QuickBooks Premier in this article, but it’s worth mentioning that QuickBooks Premier offers several features beyond QuickBooks Pro, including sales order fulfillment, change orders, industry-specific reporting, and a few other reports. It also includes estimate to purchase order, build assemblies, and multiple unit of measure. If you need an accounting solution that’s more robust than QuickBooks Pro but you don’t think you’re quite ready for QuickBooks Enterprise, QuickBooks Premier might be just what you’re looking for. For a detailed comparison of the entire QuickBooks family, here is a QB Matrix for a deeper look at what each product offers.

Thanks to Woody Adams for his help on this article!

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.
Stacy Kildal

Stacy Kildal

Contributor at Fundera
Stacy Kildal is owner/operator of Kildal Services LLC—an accounting and technology consulting company that specializes in all things QuickBooks. From 2012-2017, Stacy has been named one of CPA Practice Advisor’s Most Powerful Women In Accounting. Stacy is one of the three hosts for the QB Show and has also been featured frequently on Intuit’s Accountant Blog, Community "Ask the Expert" forums, at various Intuit Academy To Go podcasts, as well as hosting a number of Intuit Small Business Online Town Hall sessions. She is a big fan of working mobile and has been recognized by Intuit as being an expert on QuickBooks Online, having written Intuit’s original courses for the US, Singapore and Canadian versions.
Stacy Kildal

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