QuickBooks Pro/Premier and Pro/Premier Plus – Understand the Key Differences BEFORE You Buy!

 In Better Business Finances, Post, QuickBooks Desktop, QuickBooks Tips and Training

Subscription to Netflix?


Subscription to Amazon Prime?


Subscription to QuickBooks Pro or Premier?

Not so fast…


Intuit has stated they are going to make a push to migrate many current QuickBooks Pro and Premier users into the QuickBooks Pro Plus and QuickBooks Premier Plus plans over the coming months. After all, recurring subscriptions are the name of the game in the world of software.

To remove any confusion right out of the gate…

The Plus version of Pro and Premier means it is a subscription that you will pay for each and every year.

Understand that this is VERY different than the traditional “buy it once and use it for several (or many) years” model that has been the norm for Pro and Premier for a long, long time.


Let’s first talk about what is similar in the QuickBooks Pro/Premier and Pro/Premier Plus versions:

  • They are both desktop based software. You download an installation package (or get an installation CD) and then install on desktops, laptops and servers as needed
  • Pro and Pro Plus are still limited to 3 users. Premier and Premier Plus are still limited to 5 users. No difference.


And now the key differences:

  • Pro/Premier – you pay for the software once and then use it as long as you like (understanding that Intuit only supports the software for 3 years)
    • Pro/Premier PLUS – you pay for the software EVERY year. If you stop paying for the software, you cannot access your QuickBooks data unless you turn around and buy a completely separate copy of Pro/Premier. Once you pay your renewal fee, you then get the latest version of QuickBooks (i.e. QuickBooks 2022, etc.)
  • Pro/Premier – does NOT include access to QuickBooks support or the automatic data backup service.  An unlimited support contract currently runs $299.95 and a subscription to the Intuit Data Backup Service currently runs $99.95 per year
    • Pro/Premier PLUS – includes unlimited access to QuickBooks support and a subscription to the Intuit Data Backup service for each year.
  • Pro/Premier – does not include access to the mobile app receipt management, a new feature in QuickBooks 2021. I see Intuit continuing this trend of making certain new features only available in the Plus versions. We’ll have to see how that plays out.
    • Pro/Premier PLUS – includes access to the mobile app receipt management feature.

You can read more about these differences on the Intuit site (be certain to read and understand all the footnotes!!)


I have put together this summary that outlines the variance in potential cost of the Pro vs. Pro Plus plans based on data currently available via the Intuit site (assuming a 2 user requirement):

QuickBooks Pro vs Pro Plus Cost Comparison


Here is a cost comparison of Premier vs. Premier Plus plans based on data currently available via the Intuit site (assuming a 4 user requirement):

QuickBooks Premier vs. Premier Plus Cost Comparison


Some observations to share based on the information above:

  • Did you notice the steep discounts being offered by Intuit in year 1 for the Plus plans? Most people will for sure. Sadly, most people will NOT notice that all subsequent year renewals of their subscription will be at the current list price. And when they get to year 2 and beyond, if they don’t renew, they don’t have access to their QuickBooks company file and accounting records without shelling out for another version of QuickBooks at that time.
  • I broke out the Intuit Data Backup and Unlimited Support costs as separate line items for easy comparison. Are they worth the extra cost outside of the Plus plans?
    • If it were me, there is no way I would trust my critical business data to the Intuit Data Backup program. Personally, I have found the support for this product to be exceptionally lacking. To me, there are far better alternatives such as Carbonite or BackBlaze that are far more robust and reliable. Yes, these are paid products that you’ll need to figure into your cash flow – trust me, your critical business data is worth it.
    • As for the support contract? I’ll let you be the judge on the value of that.
  • Note that any costs for hosting QuickBooks are not included in this analysis. If you are looking for remote, 24/7 access to your QuickBooks via hosting, that will get very expensive very quickly. At that point, the conversation may pivot to QuickBooks Pro vs. QuickBooks Online or QuickBooks Premier vs. QuickBooks Online. We’ll take that up in future posts.


So, which option appeals most to you? The subscription/Plus plan or the “traditional” buy it once/use it for several years model? I don’t see the “traditional” model being with us for too many more years – the writing is on the wall. We’ll see how that plays out.

Look forward to hearing from you…


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