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When it comes to running a business, tracking your revenue and expenses is crucial for your bottom line. Accounting software is designed to help you do just that — but at what cost? This guide explores the products and costs of one of the biggest and best names in small-business accounting: QuickBooks.
If you’re shopping for QuickBooks as an accounting solution, you can choose between desktop and online software systems. Cloud-based options store all of your data online for quick, easy access from anywhere, while desktop software keeps your books and accounts on one machine.
As you can see, pricing varies across the QuickBooks family. While cost is an important consideration, it shouldn't be the only deciding factor when evaluating your accounting software options. Each software version has its pros and cons, so factor in your current needs and workflow before making a final decision.
What does QuickBooks Online cost?
Intuit’s online accounting tools are offered on a monthly subscription basis, starting at a base rate for a single user and scaling up depending on the number of users. First-time users can typically receive a discount for the first few months of service.
QuickBooks Online is one of Intuit’s most popular versions of accounting software and comes in four different tiers depending on your business needs.
Basic accounting tools on a single-user license.
All Simple Start features for up to three users, plus bill management and time tracking.
All Essentials features for up to five users, plus project tracking and project profitability tracking.
All Plus features for up to 25 users, plus analytics and insights, dedicated account team, online training and more.
QuickBooks Online users can switch plans or cancel at any time without having to pay any installation, set-up or termination fees. Intuit also offers mobile apps for accessing QuickBooks Online on the go.
» Read our full QuickBooks Online review
If you’d like to outsource your account management, you can reach out directly to Intuit for a free consultation and customized price quote for its Live Bookkeeping service, starting from $200 per month after the first month’s cleanup fee.
» Read our full QuickBooks Live Bookkeeping review
QuickBooks Self-Employed is a “lite” version of the Online product, designed specifically for self-employed freelancers, contractors and sole proprietors. This tool is ideal for people who earn income from a variety of sources, but does not scale well for business owners who hope to expand their operations down the line.
Sole proprietors, freelancers, contractors, people with side hustles.
QuickBooks Self-Employed Tax Bundle
Business owners who want to create easy tax documents and automatic quarterly tax payments to the IRS, with one state and federal tax filing included each year.
QuickBooks Self-Employed Live Tax Bundle
Business owners who want all the features of the regular Tax-bundled account, plus access to CPA assistance throughout the year as well as a final review before tax filing.
QuickBooks Self-Employed can be accessed on the web or via a mobile app, and simplifies the process of separating personal and business finances with a single swipe left or right.
» Read our full QuickBooks Self-Employed review
What does QuickBooks Desktop cost?
The QuickBooks Desktop software family is ideal for business owners who prefer programs that can be directly installed on company computers.
If you’re unhappy with your QuickBooks Desktop purchase, you can request a refund within 60 days of purchase by calling 888-729-1996 and presenting a dated receipt or purchase confirmation.
Several QuickBooks Desktop products are available either as one-time purchases or on annual subscription. The one-time purchase versions do not include support or data management, while the annual subscription bundles customer support, data backups and recovery, and automatic software updates into the yearly rate.
QuickBooks Desktop Pro and Pro Plus
This tried-and-true version of QuickBooks has been around for some time. Small-business owners who prefer to work on software that’s installed on their computers will appreciate the simplicity of the program, which most accountants and bookkeepers should be familiar with. Up to three users can access the system at the same time.
QuickBooks Desktop Pro
From $399.99 for a three-year license for one user.
Customer support, advanced features, payroll (if needed).
QuickBooks Desktop Pro Plus
From $299.99/year for one user.
Payroll, remote access via hosting (if needed).
» Read our full QuickBooks Desktop Pro review
QuickBooks Desktop Premier and Premier Plus
This version of QuickBooks is more robust than Desktop Pro, and will suit businesses that want the ability to forecast revenue and expenses for the future. Premier users also have access to industry-specific features.
Again, the Plus version will include around-the-clock access to customer support as well as automatic data backups and recovery, while owners of the regular Premier version will be responsible for managing their own resources.
QuickBooks Desktop Premier
From $649.99 for a three-year license for one user.
Customer support, payroll (if needed).
QuickBooks Desktop Premier Plus
From $499.99/year for one user.
Payroll, remote access via hosting (if needed).
» Read our full QuickBooks Desktop Premier review
QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise
QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise is one of Intuit’s most robust business accounting products. While the software system is desktop-based, the cost is based on the plan and number of licensed users needed and includes a host of additional services such as advanced reporting and 24/7 priority access to customer support.
QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise comes in four tiers:
From $1,275/year for a single user, paid annually.
Online backups, priority customer support, no payroll.
From $1,655/year for a single user, paid annually.
QuickBooks Payroll included.
From $2,035/year for a single user, paid annually.
All Gold features, plus advanced inventory and pricing.
From $4,020/year for a single user, paid annually.
All Platinum features, plus Salesforce CRM and QuickBooks Time Elite integrations at additional cost.
QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise will likely be too robust for the average small business, but can be a great fit for companies anticipating significant growth in the future.
» Read our full QuickBooks Enterprise review
QuickBooks Desktop for Mac
As the name suggests, this version of QuickBooks is specifically designed for Apple users. However, QuickBooks for Mac has several limitations that make the program less robust than its Windows counterpart.
Users can’t integrate QuickBooks Payroll or QuickBooks Payments, for example, and you'll have to convert the data file into another format when sharing your books with an accountant.
As well, there are no mobile apps available for this program, so you will be able to update your books from your office computer only. Finally, QuickBooks for Mac can only support up to three users.
QuickBooks Desktop for Mac
From $399.99 one-time purchase for a single user.
Given all of the caveats, business owners shopping for Mac-friendly accounting software may do well to evaluate an online version of QuickBooks for the same functionality at lower cost and greater flexibility.
» Read our full QuickBooks Desktop for Mac review