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QuickBooks Desktop Premier Review

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Date Established
1983
Location
Mountain View, CA

Pros

  • Advanced features
  • Robust accounting reports
  • Excellent tax support
  • On-premise
  • Numerous integrations
  • Double-entry accounting

Cons

  • Steep learning curve
  • Limited payment gateway integrations
  • PC-only

Overview

Have you outgrown QuickBooks Pro (see our review) but aren’t quite ready for the feature set and steep price of QuickBooks Enterprise (see our review)? Enter QuickBooks Desktop Premier.

QuickBooks Premier is a full-fledged, locally-installed accounting software that has been around since the ’90’s. With more available users than QuickBooks Pro, QuickBooks Premier is better suited for medium-sized businesses. The other major difference between the two versions is that QuickBooks Premier offers six specialized industry editions in addition to the Standard Edition. You can choose from General Contractor, Manufacturing and Wholesale, Nonprofit, Accountant, Professional Services, or Retail.

While the industry editions can add a lot of value to companies in need of specialized features, if you’re just using the Standard Edition, the software is a bit overpriced. Basically, you’ll be paying $200 more than QuickBooks Pro in return for an added sales order feature, 15 extra reports, and access for two more users (that you still have to pay an addition $350 each for). The software also comes with a steep learning curve and limited customer support.

On the other hand, QuickBooks Premier has significantly more positive reviews than QuickBooks Pro and over 160 integrations. To see if the pros outweigh the cons for your business, keep reading!

Get Started With Quickbooks Desktop Premier

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Pricing

QuickBooks Premier’s pricing is a bit involved, so bear with me. I want to make sure you know all of the pricing details and additional costs before you decide to purchase this software.

There are two ways to purchase this locally-installed software. You can make a “one-time” purchase of QuickBooks Premier, or you can purchase a yearly QuickBooks Premier Plus subscription which includes tech support, automatic updates, and automatic backups.

If you go with the “one-time” purchase of QuickBooks Premier, support will end for the product three years after it is released. This means you’ll be forced to constantly update and repurchase the software. Fortunately, the product is often discounted on the Intuit site and can be bought directly from Intuit or from most local office supply stores (like Staples or Office Max).

Intuit offers a 60-day guarantee. You can return the program at any time within this period and receive a full refund. Representatives tend to promote this guarantee rather than advertising the fact that you can try the software before purchase. If you look hard enough, you can find a free 30-day trial version of Premier hidden in the depths of Intuit Community answers.

Warning: Use of free trials may inhibit users from being eligible for software discounts upon purchase.

QuickBooks Premier

  • $499.95
  • Track income and expenses
  • Manage Contacts
  • Send invoices and estimates
  • Manage and pay bills
  • Create Budgets
  • 130+ reports
  • Integrate with 170 apps
  • Track inventory
  • Sales tax and tax form capabilities
  • Sales orders
  • Optional industry editions

QuickBooks Premier Plus

  • $499.95/year
  • Track income and expenses
  • Manage Contacts
  • Send invoices and estimates
  • Manage and pay bills
  • Create Budgets
  • 130+ reports
  • Integrate with 170 apps
  • Track inventory
  • Sales tax and tax form capabilities
  • Sales orders
  • Optional industry editions
  • Built-in tech support
  • Automatic data backups

Extra Costs

There are several extra costs to be aware of before purchasing QuickBooks Premier:

  • Payroll: Payroll costs between $29/month – $109/month, plus an $2/mo per employee.
  • Tech Support: If you buy the Premier license instead of the annual subscription, you’ll have to pay extra for technical support. Support costs $89.95/three months.
  • Additional Users: Each additional user license costs $350.
  • Upgrades: Upgrading your existing Premier license is $499.95. If you purchase a QuickBooks Premier Plus subscription, annual upgrades are included.

Other additional costs may include live bank feeds, automatic data encryption backups, and QuickBooks cloud-hosting services.

Get Started With Quickbooks Desktop Premier

Cloud-Based Or Locally-Installed

QuickBooks Premier is a locally-installed program, although internet access is required for certain functions (like payroll). You can purchase QuickBooks cloud-hosting at an additional cost.

Hardware & Software Requirements

QuickBooks Desktop Premier is only compatible with Windows (versions 7, 8, 8.1, and 10) and Windows Servers 2008 R2, 2011 SP1, 2012 R2, and 2016. Certain features require internet access; Internet Explorer 11 is the only supported browser.

Other hardware requirements include:

  • 2.4 GHz processor (minimum)
  • 4 GB RAM (minimum), 8 GB RAM (recommended)
  • CD-ROM drive (for CD installations)
  • 1080×1024 screen resolution

Visit the QuickBooks Community for a full list of system requirements.

Specific Size Of Business

QuickBooks Premier is for small to medium businesses looking for strong accounting and support for up to five users. The industry-specific features may also make the software ideal for contractor, manufacturing and wholesale, nonprofit, professional services, accounting, or retail businesses.

For larger businesses, there is also QuickBooks Enterprise (see our review) which offers more advanced inventory and supports up to 30 users. Read our Complete QuickBooks Product Comparison Guide to learn the differences between each of these products.

Accounting Method

Both accrual and cash-basis accounting.

Ease Of Use

QuickBooks Premier has a notoriously steep learning curve and the set up process is much more involved than some of its cloud-based competitors. Users with no previous accounting experience may have a difficult time, but if you put in the time and effort to learn, QuickBooks Premier becomes easy and rewarding to use.

Features

QuickBooks Premier is an incredibly developed software with tons of in-depth features, making it impossible to cover everything. So, instead, here are some of the most notable QuickBooks Premier features:

  • Dashboard: QuickBooks Premier doesn’t have the kind of typical dashboard you’d find with other cloud-based accounting options. Instead, there is a home page where you can access nearly every feature using the icons or the customizable menu screen on the left. If you’re looking for an actual dashboard, the Income Tracker and Bill Tracker will give you an overview of your income and expenses.

QuickBooks Premier Review

  • Invoicing: QuickBooks Premier offers eight templates. The templates aren’t particularly appealing, but they get the job done and you can customize them to suit your needs and style. There is no option to autoschedule invoices like there is in QuickBooks Online. However, you can set recurring invoices and attach discounts, notes, and files to invoices. You can send invoices via email or snail mail; there are three shipping integrations (FedEx, USPS, and UPS) as well. Additionally, you can create packing slips and send invoices in batches for faster invoicing.

QuickBooks Premier Review

  • Estimates: QuicKBooks Premier makes it easy to create estimates and convert them into invoices. You can also attach estimates to projects.
  • Sales Orders: One of the main features that sets QuickBooks Premier apart from QuickBooks Pro is the ability to create and manage sales orders. You can send sales receipts as well.
  • Contact Management: You can record basic contact information for customers, vendors, and employees. In addition to the normal contact fields you’d expect, QuickBooks Desktop Premier also lets you save maps and directions, attach expenses, and create projects for each contact. The customer center lets you easily view a contact’s information and history.

QuickBooks Premier Review

  • Expense Tracking: You can track expenses in QuickBooks Premier by either enabling live bank feeds or manually importing your bank statements. QuickBooks has a strong bank reconciliation feature and makes it easy to categorize transactions by setting bank rules. You cannot categorize multiple transactions at once. Unlike most companies, QuickBooks does not use Yodlee for their live bank feeds, and as Yodlee is known to violate some banks’ terms and conditions, QuickBooks gets extra points for using their own bank connector.
  • Mileage Deductions: You can track your mileage and other expenses deductions.
  • Accounts Payable: QuickBooks Premier allows you to manage your bills. You can create recurring bills and view them in the Bill Tracker — a nicely organized dashboard that breaks down important expense information.
  • Chart Of Accounts: QuickBooks Premier provides a default chart of accounts that can be customized to suit your business’s needs. You can import a chart of accounts as well.

QuickBooks Premier Review

  • Inventory: You can add items, set low inventory alerts, and run a number of inventory reports.
  • Project Management: You can create projects in QuickBooks Premier, but each job has to be attached to a specific customer. You can add a job description, job type, job status, and start/end dates. You cannot create tasks, though the to-do list feature is a good work around.
  • Time Tracking: You can track billable and non-billable time by manually entering hours worked or by using the built-in timer. You can also create weekly time sheets and easily create invoices for billable time.

QuickBooks Premier Review

  • Reports: QuickBooks Premier has around 135 reports. You can mark certain reports as favorites for easy access. If you opt for an industry edition of QuickBooks Premier, you’ll get a few additional reports specific to that industry.
  • Budgeting: You can create yearly budgets in QuickBooks Desktop Premier. You can base budgets directly off of last year’s data or can create a budget from scratch.
  • To-Do Lists: You can create to-do lists for each customer. Tasks include call, fax, email, meeting, and appointment. You can also set different priority levels for each task.
  • Calendar: There is a calendar where you can schedule tasks and view your to-do lists.

QuickBooks Premier Review

  • Letter Templates: So long as you have Microsoft Word, you can create custom letters within QuickBooks. With over 45 templates to choose from, there’s a letter for every occasion.
  • Print Checks: You can order and print checks straight from QuickBooks Premier.
  • Journal Entries: If you have accountant access, you can create journal entries.
  • Tax Support: QuickBooks Premier supports the following tax forms: 1096s, 1099s, W-2s, and W-3s.
  • Sales Tax: You can have an unlimited amount of sales tax rates and combined tax rates. You can also attach default tax rates to items and customers.
  • Multi-Currency Support: QuickBooks Premier does offer multi-currency support. However, enabling multi-currency support prohibits you from using the Insight, Income Tracker, and Bill Tracker features.
  • Importing/Exporting: You can import files via .xls and .iff, though the feature is not as developed as you’d expect. You can export most information and create whole backup company files.

Get Started With Quickbooks Desktop Premier

Customer Service & Support

QuickBooks has a reputation for poor customer support. In the past, the support team has been known for extremely long wait and hold times. However, QuickBooks wait times have significantly improved over the last few months. When you reach a customer service rep, they are generally kind and helpful, but there is an inconsistent level of QuickBooks knowledge from person to person.

Phone support is the main form of customer support. This services costs an extra $89.95/three months for users without a Premier Plus subscription. There is no email support available.

Here are some other places where you can look for help:

  • Phone: You can reach the QuickBooks Desktop team at (877) 683-3280.
  • Live Chat: There is a basic live chat feature on the QuickBooks Premier website that predominantly focuses on sales-related questions.
  • In-Software Help: The help section inside QuickBooks Premier helps you navigate the software and provides basic how-to information.
  • Help Center: There is a help center for all QuickBooks Desktop products where you can find how-to articles and information on getting started, managing income and expenses, and more. There is an FAQ section here as well.
  • Community Forum: If the help center doesn’t have what you are looking for, the QuickBooks Community may have answers. You can search past inquiries or ask questions on the community forum. Both Intuit employees and fellow customers can answer any questions posted, and new questions are responded to relatively quickly. The search bar is a bit difficult to navigate, and it can be hard to find articles specifically for QuickBooks Premier, but it still may be worth a look.
  • Resource Center: QuickBooks has a great resource center where it advises and teaches business owners about the following topics: bookkeeping, cash flow, inventory, invoicing, taxes, payroll, mileage tracking, financing, and expenses.
  • YouTube: You can find videos on the QuickBooks YouTube channel, but the QuickBooks Premier specific videos are few and far between. However, there are many CPAs (Certified Public Accountants) and other tech gurus who post viable QuickBooks Desktop Premier demos and tutorials on YouTube.
  • QuickBooks Blog: QuickBooks has a blog where it posts articles about recent updates and ongoing giveaways. The blog is focused mostly on QuickBooks Online so it can be hard to find information regarding QuickBooks Premier.
  • Social Media: Intuit has a combined Facebook page for all its QuickBooks products. This page features updates and helpful advice articles, and a few customer comments (generally answered within 24 hours). Responses are usually helpful and always kind (despite a few incredibly angry customers). QuickBooks also has a general Twitter account and a customer service Twitter account.

Negative Reviews & Complaints

QuickBooks receives 1/5 stars on Consumer Affairs, with over 700 registered complaints. These complaints cover every QuickBooks product (as well as Turbo Tax and Mint). Few of the reviews apply specifically to QuickBooks Premier. For the most part, users seem happy with QuickBooks Premier, although there are a few recurring complaints.

  • Difficult To Learn: Several people say that the software takes awhile to learn, and a few find it difficult to navigate at times.
  • Glitches & Slow Load Times: Several users experience slow load time, especially while starting the software. Other mention occasional glitches and error messages.
  • Too Expensive: One of the biggest complaints is that QuickBooks Premier is too expensive. Users also dislike having to pay for upgrades again and again.
  • Weak Permissions/Controls: QuickBooks Premier is fairly forgiving, meaning it’s easy to make adjustments and edit past entries. Some business owners and many accountants complain that the software makes it too easy for people who shouldn’t be making adjustments to alter information; they wish there were more permissions to prevent this.
  • Poor Customer Support: Unsurprisingly for a QuickBooks product, several users report poor customer service and long wait time (though, in Intuit’s defense, there were almost an equal number of people who praised the software’s customer service).

Positive Reviews & Testimonials

Intuit as a company receives an A+ rating on BBB. QuickBooks Premier specifically receives 4.1/5 stars on Amazon, 8.2/10 stars on Trust Radius, and 4/5 stars on Software Advice. The majority of users seem satisfied with the software and find that it simplifies their bookkeeping processes.Here are some of the aspects they love the most:

  • Easy To Use: The biggest praise is that the software is easy to use.
  • Easy To Learn: Despite the complaint that the software is difficult to learn, many users found the opposite to be true. They say the software is easy to learn and well-laid out.
  • Great Features: Several users positively comment on the features found in QuickBooks Premier. In particular, users like the invoicing features, bill management, and reports.
  • Good for Accountants: For many accountants, QuickBooks Premier is the program of choice. They appreciate its feature set and how easy it is to teach to new clients.

Integrations

QuickBooks Premier has over 160 integrations available for users; however, there are very few payment gateways.

Interested in accepting online payments from your customers? Read our comprehensive merchant account reviews to learn the pros and cons of popular providers and see which payment processing option is best for your business.

Security

As locally-installed software, data security is primarily up to you (unless you are using QuickBooks hosting). QuickBooks offers online resources for learning how to protect your computer and gives a list of firewall and antivirus software compatible with QuickBooks Premier.

Read our How to Keep Your Locally Installed Accounting Software Secure post to learn about protecting your data.

Final Verdict

There’s a reason QuickBooks is so well-known — they do accounting and they do it well. QuickBooks Premier is no different. Strong double entry accounting, easy bank reconciliation, journal entries, a strong chart of accounts, and more make it a great choice for accountants and other business owners who value traditional, locally-installed accounting. The software also offers invoicing, time tracking, project management, expense tracking, and just about any other feature you could wish for.

However, the great feature set doesn’t negate the fact that QuickBooks Premier is significantly more expensive than QuickBooks Pro. And the only differences? You get sales orders and (up to) five users instead of three, and you have the option to choose an industry-specific version of the software.

If you are in contracting, manufacturing and wholesale, the nonprofit industry, accounting, professional services, or retail, QuickBooks Premier could be a wonderful choice to help your run your business. If not, the extra $200 may not be worth the cost for a solution that’s almost identical to QuickBooks Pro.

With either option, you’ll find improved support wait times, numerous integrations, and the same great features. Whichever you choose, be sure to take advantage of the free trial to get acquainted with the software. If you need extra help deciding on the perfect QuickBooks product for your business, check out our Complete QuickBooks Product Comparison Guide.

Get Started With Quickbooks Desktop Premier

Read Our QuickBooks Pro Review

Read Our QuickBooks Online Review

Read Our QuickBooks Enterprise Review

Chelsea Krause

Chelsea Krause

Head Accounting and Invoicing Writer
Chelsea Krause is a writer who has specialized in accounting for two years. She has a BA in English & Creative Writing from George Fox University and studied at the University of Oxford as well. She has been quoted in Forbes and her work appears in Startup Nation, Small Business Bonfire, and Women on Business.
Chelsea Krause
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