The Dollars and Cents View: QBO Advanced vs. QuickBooks Enterprise

 In Post, QuickBooks Desktop, QuickBooks Enterprise, QuickBooks for Mfg + Distributors, QuickBooks for Service Businesses, QuickBooks Online (QBO)

Are you finding that the cost of QuickBooks Enterprise is starting to pinch your budget and cash flow?

In this article, I’d like to provide you with a head-to-head cost comparison of QuickBooks Online (QBO) Advanced vs. QuickBooks Enterprise and some important things you need to know.


Years ago, users of QuickBooks Enterprise enjoyed the “buy it once, use it for many years” approach.

That all changed in the fall of 2015 when Intuit moved Enterprise to a subscription only model. It’s a 12 month subscription, with the choice to make one annual payment (which is less expensive) or twelve monthly payments.

In other words, “no pay, no play” – if you don’t renew your subscription, Enterprise simply stops working and you have no access to your critical financial information.

QBO has been subscription-based ever since it hit the market, so now the two platforms are equal in that regard.


I’ve put together a handy little table that provides a comparison of the costs between:

  • QuickBooks Enterprise 5 user Silver subscription
  • QuickBooks Enterprise 10 user Silver subscription
  • QBO Advanced subscription (this version allows for up to 25 users)

Cost comparison between QBO Advanced and QuickBooks Enterprise

Let’s take a closer look…

  • The pricing shown for Enterprise reflects the 20% lifetime discount that I offer my clients as a QuickBooks Solution Provider.
    • The pricing shown is the annual payment option. Pricing for the monthly payment option is about 18% higher
    • I’ve purposely left out any references to Advanced Inventory/QuickBooks Platinum as businesses with inventory have a special set of needs. Here’s more info should you need help with inventory management and QuickBooks.
  • The pricing shown for QBO Advanced is the current monthly cost of $180 per month * 12 months. As shown in the table, QBO Advanced includes up to 25 users as part of the subscription price


Ask any QBO user, and they will tell you that one of the huge advantages of that product is easy 24/7 access from any web browser or the QBO app on any device. No hassles with remote desktop setups or other IT headaches.

In order to bring Enterprise into the same world of 24/7 access, your business really has two options:

  • Contract with a third party hosting company
  • Build out your own internal server, remote access software, and IT support to keep it all running

In this example, I’m showing the estimated costs of hosting QuickBooks Enterprise for both the 5 user and 10 user editions. These estimates are based on a $50 per user per month cost figure, which seems to be pretty common these days.

If you choose to substitute your own IT costs for hosting as you work through your own comparison, that’s ok too. Chances are, when you factor in the costs of your own hardware, software and support, it will be even more than those from hosting companies.


No, your eyes are not playing tricks on you.

When lining up a cost comparison of QBO Advanced vs. QuickBooks Enterprise, the savings to your checkbook with QBO Advanced are rather substantial.

Based on my quick “back of the envelope” calculations, the savings could range anywhere from $3,600 to over $8,000 per year.

Yes – that’s per YEAR!


I ‘m guessing the cost savings look very appealing, but I urge you to tap the brakes for just a second…

Beyond the need to ensure that QBO Advanced (and any potential add-ons your business may need) have you covered when it comes to features and functionality, there’s an even bigger issue up front for you to understand.

As of now, there is no direct path to take your existing Enterprise company data file and move it into QBO Advanced format.

Let me repeat that, as it’s super critical – as of now, there is no direct path to move your existing data from Enterprise into QBO Advanced (however, there definitely is a direct path from QuickBooks Pro/Premier into QBO Advanced).


For some businesses, they would be ready in a flash to leave their old Enterprise company file behind due to inaccurate information, corrupted data, and a host of other maladies that lie within. If you haven’t experienced any of the headaches of data corruption or out of balance reports in QuickBooks data files, consider yourself very lucky.

For others, this issue creates a real conundrum which forces them to figure out how to maintain access to their old Enterprise information for purposes such as sales history, year-over-year comparisons, audits, etc.

Fortunately, there are some third-party firms (with no relation to Intuit) that offer migration services from Enterprise to QBO Advanced or migration from Enterprise to QuickBooks Pro/Premier (where possible) to allow a single, non-subscription copy of QuickBooks to be installed for lookup of prior information. Bear in mind that the price tag for services such as these can easily run $3,000 and up depending on a number of different factors with your specific QuickBooks data file.


When you look at the dollars and cents of QBO Advanced vs. Enterprise, the cost differences are certainly compelling!

Are they enough for your business to consider a switch?





Recommended Posts
Showing 2 comments
  • Darren

    I have tried to convert companies over to QBO from DT Pro a few times over the last decade, and really regretted it because it just didn’t seem to function as well, seemed like a “dumbed down” version of the DT application, and occasionally (back then) encountered “down for maintenance” messages when trying to access it with a deadline.

    I would love to be able to run totally online. We have solved the hosting issues to run QB DT remotely, etc. so can go either way, but need the application to actually work and be available.

    Is the comparison between QBO Advanced and Enterprise DT suggesting that the online version is “as good” as the desktop versions are (or used to be in the case of Ent)?

    Maybe you have written elsewhere about the pros and cons of going online(cost aside). More concerned about function, reliability and features (though I like to save money too).


    • Scott Gregory

      Hi Darren:

      Thank you for your comments here – appreciate them.

      Some additional thoughts…
      – If your period of measuring the usefulness of QBO goes back a decade as you mention, I’d encourage a much tighter review period. Say the last 12- 24 months. The product really picked up steam during that time window. Prior to that, not so much.
      – Not sure when you were seeing down for maintenance messages – guessing that was a longer time ago too?
      – This particular article will be the first of several new ones that discuss QBO Advanced vs. Enterprise. I wanted to make sure folks knew about the cost differential, but also included the note about making sure that QBO + any add-ons meet specific business requirements. In some cases, I am seeing QBO + add-ons to actually be better than Enterprise. Every business has a unique take on this topic, so there is no one size fits all.
      – Here are a few other posts I have compiled comparing QBO Advanced and Enterprise – and this 3 part series here –

      One of the core consulting services I offer is helping businesses get a true evaluation of the pros/cons of both platforms so they can make educated decisions. Too many businesses are only seeing/hearing part of this equation, especially when it comes to what their outside accounting firm has to say in many cases.

      Hope this helps…


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.