Compare QuickBooks Desktop 2016 Products: 

Use the comparison chart below and read the reviews from our own tests to determine which version of QuickBooks Desktop or Online is the best fit for you and your business.

QuickBooks 2015-16

Desktop Pro

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Desktop Premier

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Simple Start

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Online Essentials

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Online Plus

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Xero Standard

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Software Type Desktop Desktop Online Online Online Online
Price $219.95 $349.95 $15 $10/month $30 $21/month $40 $28/month $30 $21/month
Best For Local Access with no Advanced Features like Forecasting & Planning Local Access with Advanced Features like Forecasting & Planning Basic Financial Tracking Remote Access without Inventory Remote Access with Inventory Remote Access with Inventory & Payroll
Number of User Accounts 1 1 1 3 5 9999
Free Trial
Unlimited Customer Support $299.95 $299.95 Free Free Free Free
Ease of Use
Managerial Features Extensive Complete Very Basic Beginner Advanced Advanced+Payroll
Number of Reports 100+ 150+ 20+ 40+ 65+ 40+
Online Access N/A N/A
Prints Checks
Creates Invoices
Uploads Bank Files
Tracks Inventory    
Helps Create Tax Forms    
Industry-Specific Reports        

Quickbooks Desktop 2016 (Updated October, 2015)

Scroll down for our reviews of QuickBooks Desktop Pro & Premier software. Click here to compare all QuickBooks products.

QuickBooks customers have two versions of the software to choose from, Online and Desktop. While Intuit has been trying to push customers toward the online version, many businesses and bookkeepers still prefer QuickBooks Desktop. Here’s a closer look at QuickBooks Desktop, how it works, and what its features are.

QuickBooks Desktop Software Overview

As the name implies, Desktop is software linked to your physical computer. You must purchase the software upfront, and it is also only accessible from the computer it’s installed on, since it is not cloud-based. Unlike QuickBooks Online, the desktop version doesn’t allow simultaneous access from multiple users.

Unlike QuickBooks Online, which includes 24/7 support, QuickBooks Desktop users will need to pay $219.95 for one year of support or $89 for a 90-day period.

Although QB Desktop is not as modern as its cloud based sibling, it is still the more powerful and full featured tool. Those features include the ability to create invoices, track sales and expenses, manage accounts payable, and create one-click sales and tax reports – also features that come with the online version. QuickBooks Desktop also offers features not currently available with QuickBooks Online including advanced inventory tracking, industrys-specific reports and the ability to calculate and rebill job costs and calculate discounts by customer.

Advantages and Disadvantages

While Intuit makes the case that QuickBooks Desktop is more limited, many QuickBooks Desktop users note that it is a much more robust product in terms of offering more report options, analytical capabilities, and future forecasting.

Some bookkeepers also like that Desktop lets you keep multiple screens open in the background, so you can easily switch back and forth between reports, bills, and vendors. That’s something that the Online version does not allow.

However, Desktop’s big limitation is that it’s not available in the cloud, and is connected to only one computer. For that reason, this product is probably best for businesses that have a fixed office location and won’t need remote access to QuickBooks, with a small number of employees who will need access, that don’t need their books accessible online, or that want more customized features.

The Role of Payroll

If you’re a Desktop user, you can activate a Payroll subscription to enable the payroll features in the QuickBooks software. You have three choices: Basic, Enhanced, or Assisted Payroll. If you already have Payroll as standalone software, it will export transactions to QuickBooks Desktop. 

Desktop Pro Screenshots
(Click Thumbnails for Larger Images)

This version is great for:

  • All small business owners who want a complete bookkeeping software and don't have the need for sales and expense forecasting, grouped tracking by class, or the ability to create a business plan with their bookkeeping software.
  • Anyone who wants a robust bookkeeping software for their small business, but does not need remote access to their books online.
  • Businesses that need inventory tracking and want to be able to set levels of inventory that will alert you to order more of that product  
  • Companies that need to track international sales in various currencies
  • (Online access is not available for and Desktop or Desktop Plus Software. If mobility is important, try one of the QuickBooks Online products)

Conclusion:

QuickBooks Desktop Pro is for those who want the comprehensive features of the best bookkeeping software for small businesses, but do not need the ability to forecast sales and expenses or create a business plan within the software. Desktop Pro includes more than 100 detailed reports and creates a copy of your business’ books on your desktop for easy access. Also, unlike the Online versions, this software will save a local copy of your books to your hard drive, which users will find especially valuable if your Internet connection gets disrupted or the Intuit website goes offline.

2016 Product UpdatesQuickbooks Pro offers a few new features and improvements in their 2016 edition.  One new feature is a "Bill Tracker" that provides an information summary for all the company's purchase orders and bills. For people that frequently have the "email later" flag on transactions that they never intend to email, QuickBooks has added the ability to remove some or all of these pending emails with one click. QuickBooks has also added an extremely useful "fiscal year-to-last month" date option for reports, which many people will find more useful than the "fiscal year-to-date" option. QuickBooks 2016 has also improved compatibility between QuickBooks Statement Writer and Microsoft Office 2013, so the patch that was required for previous versions is no longer necessary. The company has of course also added a number of other small improvements and bug fixes, but these are the primary changes.

2015 Product Updates: The new Homepage Insights (replacing the "Company Snapshot") gives you an easy way to view your main financial indicators like profit and loss, income and expenses, and top customers. Quickbooks Pro has also made improvements to their reporting formats, customization, commenting and sharing options. For people who use the Intuit Payment Network, the 2015 Quickbooks software isn't currently compatible- this is apparently being worked on, but the solution hasn't been released.

New for QuickBooks: QuickBooks Desktop software now lets you see invoices, billing dates, and other scheduled tasks in an integrated calendar view. They have also added the Document Center which will let you scan and attach receipts, estimates, and other documents to invoices and customer files. Another addition is a "Lead Center" that allows you to manage valuable business leads and transfer them easily into the "Customer Center" with a single click. Also with this new release, all Desktop software comes with Industry-specific report templates created by other QuickBooks users that you can populate with your own financial data in one click of the mouse. Keeping your exported reports in Excel up-to-date has been made easier as well. By connecting these files with your QuickBooks software, all you have to do is refresh the Excel file and your reports are automatically updated every time you need it. A few more additions to the QuickBooks software are covered in the detailed review.

Desktop Pro Features

Price

$219.95

Number of User Accounts

1

Free Trial

No, but

Unlimited Customer Support

$299.95

Ease of Use

Managerial Features

Extensive

Number of Reports

100

Online Access

N/A

Prints Checks

Creates Invoices

Uploads Bank Files

Tracks Inventory

Helps Create Tax Forms

Industry-Specific Reports



Desktop Premier Screenshots
(Click Thumbnails for Larger Images)

This version is great for:

  • Small businesses that need the ability to do just about anything with their bookkeeping software except access their books online
  • Anyone who wants all of the bookkeeping features of QuickBooks Pro, plus the ability to forecast sales and expenses, create a business plan, and use industry-specific reports, accounts, menus, and charts
  • Business owners who have some experience with QuickBooks or plan on hiring someone to help set up their books
  • (Online access is not available for and Desktop or Desktop Plus Software. If mobility is important, try one of the QuickBooks Online products)

Conclusion:

QuickBooks Desktop Premier is one of the most extensive QuickBooks products offered by Intuit. This bookkeeping software is truly all a small business could ask for with its robust feature set, including more than 150 detailed reports, industry-specific files, menus, and accounts and the ability to create sales and expense forecasts and business plans. An advantage of this software over the Online versions is that the Desktop versions will save a local copy of your business’ financials on your hard drive, which users will find incredibly useful if their Internet connection gets disrupted or the Intuit website goes offline (which happens on rare occasions).

2016 Product UpdatesQuickbooks Premier offers a few new features and improvements in their 2016 edition.  One new feature is a "Bill Tracker" that provides an information summary for all the company's purchase orders and bills. For people that frequently have the "email later" flag on transactions that they never intend to email, QuickBooks has added the ability to remove some or all of these pending emails with one click. QuickBooks has also added an extremely useful "fiscal year-to-last month" date option for reports, which many people will find more useful than the "fiscal year-to-date" option. QuickBooks 2016 has also improved compatibility between QuickBooks Statement Writer and Microsoft Office 2013, so the patch that was required for previous versions is no longer necessary. The company has of course also added a number of other small improvements and bug fixes, but these are the primary changes.

2015 Product Updates: The new Homepage Insights (replacing the "Company Snapshot") gives you an easy way to view your main financial indicators like profit and loss, income and expenses, and top customers. Quickbooks Premier has also made improvements to their reporting formats, customization, commenting and sharing options. For people who use the Intuit Payment Network, the 2015 Quickbooks software isn't currently compatible- this is apparently being worked on, but the solution hasn't been released.

New QuickBooks Features: QuickBooks Desktop software now lets you see invoices, billing dates, and other scheduled tasks in an integrated calendar view. They have also added the Document Center which will let you scan and attach receipts, estimates, and other documents to invoices and customer files. Another addition is the Lead Center that allows you to manage valuable business leads and, once they become a customer, transfer them easily into the Customer Center with a single click. Also with this new release, all Desktop software comes with Industry-specific report templates created by other QuickBooks users that you can populate with your own financial data in one click of the mouse. Keeping your exported reports in Excel up-to-date has been made easier as well. By connecting these files with your QuickBooks software, all you have to do is refresh the Excel file and your reports are automatically updated every time you need it. A few more additions to the QuickBooks software are covered in our detailed review.

Desktop Premier Features

Price

$349.95

Number of User Accounts

1

Free Trial

No, but

Unlimited Customer Support

$299.95

Ease of Use

Managerial Features

Complete

Number of Reports

150

Online Access

N/A

Prints Checks

Creates Invoices

Uploads Bank Files

Tracks Inventory

Helps Create Tax Forms

Industry-Specific Reports