As you look for the right accounting software for your business, you may be considering QuickBooks. With a number of products—both online and desktop—available for small business owners, QuickBooks is a tried-and-true provider.
If you’re interested specifically in a QuickBooks desktop product, you may be trying to decide between QuickBooks Pro vs. Enterprise. Although both of these products can be effective and useful accounting solutions, it’s important to know the differences between the two to determine which will be better suited for your business.
Generally, the main difference between QuickBooks Pro vs. Enterprise is functionality. QuickBooks Pro is the most basic and simple version of QuickBooks Desktop, designed for smaller businesses that only require a few simultaneous users. Enterprise, on the other hand, is the most extensive (and costly) Desktop product that QuickBooks offers—meant to accommodate larger or quickly growing businesses that need the very most functionality from their accounting software.
Therefore, if you’re trying to decide whether to upgrade to QuickBooks Enterprise from Pro, or simply are choosing between QuickBooks Pro vs. Enterprise for the first time, you can use this comparison guide to help you determine the right solution for your business.
As a small business owner with a budget to adhere to, one of the first aspects of QuickBooks Pro vs. Enterprise that you’ll want to consider is cost. In fact, in comparison to other QuickBooks products, namely QuickBooks Online, both Pro and Enterprise are priced quite differently.
Whereas QuickBooks Online is available at a monthly cost, QuickBooks Pro has a one-time cost, and QuickBooks Enterprise has an annual subscription cost. This being said, to utilize QuickBooks Pro, your business will have to pay the one-time fee of $399.99. For QuickBooks Enterprise, on the other hand, you’ll pay a minimum annual fee of $1,577, which, as we mentioned earlier, makes this by far the most expensive product in the QuickBooks suite.
Additionally, the annual fee of $1,155 covers one user for the QuickBooks Enterprise Gold version—one of three Enterprise product solutions. QuickBooks also offers their Enterprise product in Gold and Platinum, which cost $1,577 and $1,940 for one user, respectively. If you require more than one user to utilize QuickBooks Enterprise, the cost per additional user will continuously increase with each of the three product offerings.
Moreover, although QuickBooks Enterprise is most typically thought of as a Desktop solution, you do have the option to purchase any of the three QuickBooks Enterprise plans with hosting, meaning your software and files are stored in the cloud (like QuickBooks Online), not locally on your computer. QuickBooks Enterprise with hosting, however, is priced differently than QuickBooks Enterprise Desktop.
Instead of a straightforward annual subscription, QuickBooks Enterprise with hosting is priced as an annual subscription, billed monthly. The three options, Silver, Gold, and Platinum, therefore, are priced as such: $175 per month, $206 per month, and $373.69 per month for one user. Just like the QuickBooks Enterprise Desktop version, the price for each plan will increase with added users.
With such a disparity in cost between QuickBooks Pro vs. Enterprise, you’re probably wondering exactly what the functional differences are between the two platforms—what does QuickBooks Enterprise have that Pro is missing?
We’ll go through an overview of each of these QuickBooks products, as well as explore the distinguishing advanced capabilities that QuickBooks Enterprise can offer over Pro.
Here are the main differences between QuickBooks Pro vs. Enterprise:
Although the most basic of the three QuickBooks Desktop products, QuickBooks Pro is a fully functional software with all of the accounting maneuvers you or your business accountant might require. QuickBooks Pro is simple, doesn’t require previous accounting knowledge, but nevertheless, is robust, powerful, and can help you manage your business performance and expenses.
With QuickBooks Pro, you’ll be able to organize all of your accounting needs—from paying invoices and bills to viewing profit and loss statements to managing sales and other taxes. QuickBooks Pro can be installed on up to three computers and can be utilized by three users simultaneously.
Additionally, QuickBooks Pro can offer these notable capabilities:
Whereas QuickBooks Pro is the most simple of the Desktop offerings, QuickBooks Enterprise is the most advanced. In fact, according to Intuit, QuickBooks Enterprise has six times the capacity of the other QuickBooks products and can support up to 1 million list items, users, and vendors. Comparing QuickBooks Pro vs. Enterprise in that regard, Pro can only track up to 14,500 items.
Therefore, QuickBooks Enterprise is truly designed for larger small businesses, as well as those that are growing rapidly. On the whole, QuickBooks Enterprise can scale up to 30 full-access, simultaneous users, integrate with more than 180 apps, and offers three different plans (Desktop and Hosted).
QuickBooks Enterprise is available in Silver, Gold, and Platinum versions. Each of these versions has increasing functionality, at an increasing cost. The first plan, QuickBooks Enterprise Silver, includes the QuickBooks Enterprise software, QuickBooks Priority Circle Program, U.S.-based customer support, online backup data storage, and advanced reporting.
The next version, QuickBooks Enterprise Gold includes all of the features of Silver, plus QuickBooks Desktop Payroll Enhanced and QuickBooks Enterprise Platinum additionally offers advanced inventory and advanced reporting.
On the whole then, comparing QuickBooks Pro vs. Enterprise, QuickBooks Enterprise stands out in terms of the customization and advanced functionality it provides—including industry-specific features for contractors, manufacturing and wholesale, non-profits, and retail businesses.
This being said, some of the most significant advanced capabilities QuickBooks Enterprise can offer are:
Just as if you were comparing QuickBooks Pro vs. Premier, it’s worth considering more specifically why business owners choose to upgrade to Enterprise over Pro, despite the significant cost difference. At the end of the day, business owners decide to go with QuickBooks Enterprise because they need the advanced capabilities it can offer that Pro can’t.
Here are some capabilities that, after considering QuickBooks Pro vs. Enterprise, might lead you to choose Enterprise:
QuickBooks Enterprise offers an advanced pricing module with even more functionality than Premier. This module allows you to set up price levels based on items, customers, classes, and sales reps, as well as for a date range. You can also set price overrides. Additionally, the Enterprise advanced pricing module gives you the ability to set up quantity discounting, setting a price by quantity entered or purchased. You will, however, need the QuickBooks Enterprise Platinum edition to access the advanced pricing module.
QuickBooks Enterprise, unlike Pro, supports a mobile app for warehouse teams. A warehouse employee can fulfill sales orders, scan barcodes, and add and deplete quantity—all from the QuickBooks app on their phone.
Like the advanced pricing module, QuickBooks includes the advanced inventory module in their Platinum version and it includes the following capabilities:
Additionally, this module allows you to auto-assign classes, impacting transaction entry efficiency with both sales and expenses. There is also the ability to assign a default class to items, accounts, and names.
On the assembly side, QuickBooks also offers distinguishing features. You can utilize variable builds to swap out a similar component if the one on the assembly item is not in stock—without having to edit the original assembly item—and then you can see the exact shortage on a report. In addition, you can do “exploding BOMs,” or build all sub-assemblies to complete a finished good.
In terms of purchasing, QuickBooks Enterprise gives you the ability to set a default markup and track minimum and maximum quantities. It also has a feature called auto-purchase order generation, meaning you can batch purchases from a couple item-based reports.
A favorite QuickBooks Enterprise feature that deals with items is enhanced inventory receiving (EIR). This feature allows you to track accounts payable when you haven’t received the items by splitting the bill from the item receipt and entering the bill—while not showing the items as received yet.
QuickBooks Enterprise is the only QuickBooks Desktop product that can do roll-up reporting or consolidated reporting. Moreover, Enterprise has a committed costs by job report, as well as a shortage report by item for build assemblies.
Additionally, the QuickBooks Enterprise advanced reporting module, included in all three plans, gives access to all of the data fields and tables inside your QuickBooks file to report on, across an unlimited range of reporting needs.
Whereas QuickBooks Pro can only accommodate up to three users, QuickBooks Enterprise can accommodate up to 30, as well as provides you with 14 predefined user roles. Enterprise also allows you to set your individual user permissions to control access for up to 115 different activities, including the ability to keep a usr out of a certain bank account.
Plus, Enterprise has many of the QuickBooks Accountant edition features built-in, can support files that grow to 1GB in size, and therefore, should move your data faster than in other QuickBooks editions.
If you’re comparing QuickBooks Pro vs. Enterprise and find you need more than Pro offers, but don’t need a solution as advanced (or costly) as Enterprise, you might consider QuickBooks Premier.
Like QuickBooks Pro, Premier is a desktop software—but offers more flexibility and functionality. QuickBooks Premier can handle up to five simultaneous users, forecast sales and expenses, manage inventory tasks in the inventory center, create customized inventory reports—all of which Pro is lacking.
Additionally, Premier can create sales orders, track costs for products and inventory, and allows you to set product and service prices by customer type. Premier also includes industry-specific features—for contracting, manufacturing and wholesale, non-profit, professional services, and retail—like Enterprise does.
Moreover, Premier is available at a one-time cost of $649.99—and this is without a discount, which QuickBooks sometimes gives—making it much more affordable than Enterprise.
Therefore, if you want a middle-ground between Pro and Enterprise, QuickBooks Premier might be the software you’re looking for.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for a QuickBooks accounting solution that’s more flexible and accessible wherever you go, you might consider QuickBooks Online. Although comparing QuickBooks Online vs. Desktop, QuickBooks Online may not be as powerful as the Desktop versions, it’s still a robust system and, in fact, offers capabilities that Desktop does not.
For example, QuickBooks Online includes the ability to automatically schedule and send transactions and create custom bank rules, as well as unlimited time tracking, unlimited reports-only users, and multiple budgets per fiscal year. Additionally, as QuickBooks Online is a cloud-based solution, you have the ability to access it anywhere you have internet, not just on specific computers.
Plus, QuickBooks Online allows you to choose from their three plans: Simple Start, Essentials Plus—each available at a monthly cost, $25, $50, and $80, respectively. QuickBooks is also currently offering 50% off all of their Online plans, making this solution even more affordable.
Therefore, if you want to stick with QuickBooks and would like more flexibility with your accounting software, you might consider QuickBooks Online as an alternative to QuickBooks Pro vs. Enterprise.
Alternatively, if you’re not committed specifically to a QuickBooks solution, you might consider Xero accounting software. A quickly growing competitor to QuickBooks, Xero is a cloud-based software offering affordability, flexibility, as well as impressive functionality.
Like QuickBooks Online, Xero is available in three plans on a monthly subscription basis. The plans, Early, Growing, and Established, cost $9 per month, $30 per month, and $60 per month respectively—making Xero a particularly worthy solution for smaller businesses.
Additionally, although Xero may not have some of the more detailed features of Pro and Enterprise, it’s functionality is greatly comparable to QuickBooks Online, but offers more in terms of invoicing services, inventory tracking, bank reconciliations, bill pay management, expense records, and reporting tools.
Moreover, Xero allows unlimited users access (for no extra charge), integrates payroll with all three plans, and can connect with over 350 other apps.
Therefore, Xero is certainly a QuickBooks alternative to consider, especially if you’re looking for a lower-cost, more flexible solution compared to QuickBooks Pro vs. Enterprise.
Ultimately, if you’re trying to decide between QuickBooks Pro vs. Enterprise, you’ll need to consider what your specific accounting needs and budget are, as well as how those needs may change or grow in the future. Although QuickBooks Enterprise is substantially more expensive compared to most solutions, it can be the right one for you if you need (or will need) the functionality it offers.
However, if you don’t need the more advanced features of Enterprise, sticking with QuickBooks Pro, Premier, or even looking at alternatives is going to be much more cost-effective for your business. At the end of the day, with the countless accounting solutions available for small businesses, you’re bound to find one that will serve your business best.
Stacy Kildal is a contributing writer for Fundera.
Stacy Kildal is owner/operator of Kildal Services LLC—an accounting and technology consulting company that specializes in all things QuickBooks. From 2012 to 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 U.S., Singapore and Canadian versions.