The Best QuickBooks Products for Small Businesses 2022

QuickBooks offers several accounting products, and each product has three or four plans to choose from. Below, we compare top QuickBooks products, including their features, plans, pricing, and areas of focus, so you can find software that matches your business’s financial needs.
Best overall
Quickbooks
QuickBooks Online
Starting at
$25.00
/mo
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Cloud-based accounting software
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Plans for up to 25 users
Best for tax-conscious freelancers
Quickbooks
QuickBooks Self-Employed
Starting at
$15.00
/mo
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Cloud-based bookkeeping software
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Excellent quarterly tax estimation
Best general reports
Quickbooks
QuickBooks Pro Plus
Starting at
$349.99
/yr
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Desktop-based accounting software
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Sales tax and inventory tracking
Best for specific industries
Quickbooks
QuickBooks Premier Plus
Starting at
$549.99
/yr
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Desktop-based accounting software
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    6 industry-specific packages
Best for big businesses
Quickbooks
QuickBooks Enterprise
Starting at
$1,340.00
/yr
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Desktop-based accounting software
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Sales orders, job costing, and product cost tracking

Data as of 3/4/22. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

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The bottom line: QuickBooks Online is the best small-business QuickBooks product for accounting, especially for businesses that want easy collaboration with multiple users.

As a cloud-based accounting solution, it’s ideal for small businesses that need remote accounting access. And with four plans, it’s scalable for small businesses that want to add features like bill management as they expand.

But one of QuickBooks’ best features is its versatility, so if QuickBooks Online isn’t a good fit for you, we can help you find a QuickBooks product that is. For instance, QuickBooks Self-Employed is a cheaper, less fully featured version of QuickBooks Online for freelancers. Or, if you prefer a desktop version of QuickBooks Online, QuickBooks Pro Plus, QuickBooks Premier Plus, and QuickBooks Enterprise are three solid choices for midsize and large businesses—at least for PC-based businesses that use Microsoft Windows. Ready to learn more? Let’s jump in.

Compare the different versions of QuickBooks

Plan name
Starting price
Software type
Mac or PC
Get started
QuickBooks Online$25.00/mo.Cloud-based
Icon Yes  DarkBoth Mac and PC
QuickBooks Self-Employed$15.00/mo.Cloud-based
Icon Yes  DarkBoth Mac and PC
QuickBooks Pro Plus$349.99/yr.*Desktop-based
Icon No  DarkPC only
QuickBooks Premier Plus$549.99/yr.*Desktop-based
Icon No  DarkPC only
QuickBooks Enterprise$1,340.00/yr.*Desktop-based
Icon No  DarkPC only

Data as of 11/1/21. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
*For the first year only. Plan automatically renews annually at a higher price unless canceled by the customer.

Cloud-based vs. desktop-based QuickBooks products

QuickBooks offers two main types of accounting software for small businesses: cloud-based software and desktop-based software.

Cloud-based software

The QuickBooks cloud-based products are QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Self-Employed. You can access cloud-based software from any web-enabled device—your data isn’t tied to one location but stored on an external server for easy access. QuickBooks’ online software costs a monthly fee, not an annual one.

Online software works best for small-business owners who don’t own a desktop computer, travel frequently for work, and like the flexibility of paying for a service each month instead of as a lump annual sum. QuickBooks Online plans also allow for up to 25 users, which is more than most desktop plans allow.

Desktop-based software

In contrast, QuickBooks Desktop (which includes QuickBooks Pro, Premier, and Enterprise) is a software program you download directly to your desktop computer. If you want to access financial data remotely, you usually have to pay an additional fee for offsite hosting. QuickBooks Desktop plans also cost an annual fee per user, and most plans only allow for up to five users.

Desktop-based software programs like QuickBooks Enterprise work well for business owners with limited internet access, such as businesses that depend on metered satellite internet. QuickBooks for desktop also has a more complicated interface than QuickBooks’ online software. If you’re already familiar with business financials (including if you’re an accountant), QuickBooks Desktop plans give you heftier fiscal reports and more complex accounting features.

Past desktop users could choose between a one-time-purchase QuickBooks Desktop software (good for three years) or an annually renewing subscription. But as of 2022, QuickBooks Desktop’s single-purchase option has been discontinued. Now, all QuickBooks Desktop plans renew on an annual basis—you do not have the option to pay just once for three years of use.

Best Free Accounting Software Options
Wave
Best overall
ZipBooks
Best invoicing
SlickPie
Best for multiple businesses
NCH Software
Best bookkeeping
Expensify
Best expense tracking
Learn more about our top brands.

QuickBooks Online: Best overall

Quickbooks
QuickBooks Online
  • Starting at $25.00/mo.
  • Check
    4 accounting plans for scalability
  • Check
    Built-in data hosting, customer service, and mobile app
  • Check
    Plans with up to 25 users

Data as of 3/4/22. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

QuickBooks Online is the most versatile and well-rounded of the QuickBooks suite of products. Since it’s cloud based, QuickBooks Online is easy to access from any phone, tablet, or laptop. And if you frequently work remotely or travel to different job sites, QuickBooks Online’s fantastic mobile app will let you track mileage, send invoices, accept client payments, and check financial reports on the go.

As an extremely popular accounting solution, QuickBooks Online integrates with hundreds of the best third-party financial apps, from payroll companies like Gusto to point-of-sale systems like Square. Plus, with four plans, QuickBooks Online has a plan and price point for most small businesses.

QuickBooks Online’s most affordable plan, QuickBooks Simple Start, costs $25 a month and includes one user plus accountant access. And its most expensive plan, QuickBooks Advanced, starts at $180 a month and lets you add up to 25 users—that’s 20 more than most QuickBooks Desktop plans. (For a more thorough comparison of QuickBooks Online versions, check out the plan comparison tables in our in-depth QuickBooks Online review.)

Price check: QuickBooks Online sales and discounts
Money

When you sign up for a QuickBooks Online plan, you have two choices: activating a 30-day free trial or subscribing for three months at 50% off. You can only choose one or the other—for instance, if you try the software free for 30 days, you’ll pay full price if you decide to subscribe. QuickBooks offers frequent seasonal discounts, sometimes as deep as 60% off, so if you’re hoping to save a little cash, keep an eye on QuickBooks’ plans around the end of the year.

While we love QuickBooks Online’s accessibility, low learning curve, and simple scalability for multiple business types and sizes, it’s one of the pricier cloud-based accounting solutions. (In comparison to QuickBooks’ $25 starting price, Zoho Books and FreshBooks both start at $15 a month, Xero starts at $12 a month, and Wave Accounting is free for life.) If you’ve just launched your first small business and want to minimize expenses, QuickBooks Online might not be the best choice.

Pros
Pro Bullet Extremely user-friendly interface
Pro Bullet Fully featured mobile app
Pro Bullet Extensive third-party app integrations
Cons
Con Bullet Higher starting price than many accounting software competitors
Con Bullet Limited customer service

QuickBooks Self-Employed: Best for tax-conscious freelancers

Quickbooks
QuickBooks Self-Employed
  • Starting at $15.00/mo.
  • Check
    Helpful tax deduction insights
  • Check
    Multiple plans for TurboTax users

Data as of 3/4/22. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

QuickBooks Self-Employed shares many of QuickBooks Online’s benefits. As a cloud-based bookkeeping solution, it’s easy to use on the go: you don’t have to wait until you’re in front of the computer to check crucial financial data or enter a bill or receipt. But the most important aspect of QuickBooks Self-Employed for contractors, freelancers, and sole proprietors are its tax features.

For example, the app includes built-in mileage tracking, which is crucial for traveling freelancers who claim mileage or car expenses as a key tax deduction. The app also scans receipts and tracks expenses, which the software then sorts by tax write-off category. Plus, QuickBooks Self-Employed syncs with TurboTax (which is also owned by Intuit) to make tax filing a little simpler.

But if you want more than basic bookkeeping and tax deduction features, QuickBooks Self-Employed likely won’t work for you. Unlike the other QuickBooks plans (including QuickBooks Online), QuickBooks Self-Employed doesn’t have the extensive accounting tools QuickBooks is known for.

In particular, you can only generate annual financial reports, not month-to-month reports, which complicates making wise financial decisions that benefit your business. QuickBooks’ self-employed solution is also more expensive than some other self-employed accounting software—and it has fewer features, too. (Crucially, its invoices are fairly standard and not very customizable.) If you want to do more than file taxes, even as a sole proprietor, QuickBooks Online is honestly a better fit.

Pros
Pro Bullet User-friendly mobile app with built-in mileage and expense tracking
Pro Bullet Basic annual reporting for freelancers and contractors
Pro Bullet Extremely user-friendly interface
Cons
Con Bullet Higher starting price than many freelance software competitors
Con Bullet Limited accounting features
Find Your Money—and Keep More of It

With plans starting at $15 a month, FreshBooks is well-suited for freelancers, solopreneurs, and small-business owners alike.

  • Track time and expenses
  • Create custom invoices
  • Accept online payments

QuickBooks Pro Plus: Best general reports

Quickbooks
QuickBooks Pro Plus
  • Starting at $349.00/yr.*
  • Check
    Customer management features
  • Check
    Vendor bill payment
  • Check
    Mobile app access

Data as of 3/4/22. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
*Subscription automatically renews annually unless canceled by customer.

QuickBooks Desktop Pro Plus is QuickBooks’ cheapest desktop version. Its features generally compare to those of Quickbooks Online Essentials, which costs $50 a month and is similarly geared towards midsize businesses. Both Desktop Pro Plus and Online Essentials include:

  • Bill management, including direct-from-software bill payment
  • Cash flow management
  • Built-in time tracking
  • Mobile app access for receipt scanning, expense tracking, and invoicing
  • Sales tax tracking
  • 1099 contractor management, including contractor payments

Most notably, QuickBooks Pro lets you generate 100 or so customized reports—which goes far beyond standard financial documents like income statements. (To compare, QuickBooks Simple Start lets you see around 40 reports and QuickBooks Essentials, around 70. QuickBooks Self-Employed generates basic annual reports only.)

QuickBooks Pro’s more thorough reports are crucial for small-business owners who want to access financial tools that help them responsibly invest in and grow their businesses. However, QuickBooks Desktop software was made with accountants in mind. The software’s complex interface and in-depth information are definite barriers for non-accountant business owners.

Like QuickBooks Essentials, QuickBooks Pro Plus allows you to add up to to three users. However, with QuickBooks Online, user limits are built into the price. Whether you have one user or three, the most you’ll pay for QuickBooks Essentials is $600 a year. In contrast, QuickBooks Desktop charges the same annual fee for each additional user: one user costs $349 a year, two users cost around $699 a year, and three users cost around $1,050 a year.

In other words, if you want more than one person to access your financial software, QuickBooks Online will almost always be cheaper than any version of QuickBooks Desktop—including QuickBooks Pro.

Pros
Pro Bullet Excellent reporting features, including tax reports
Pro Bullet Built-in inventory management
Pro Bullet Some customer management features
Cons
Con Bullet Limited to 3 users, each with an additional yearly fee
Con Bullet Complicated interface with a comparatively steep learning curve

QuickBooks Premier Plus: Best for specific industries

Quickbooks
QuickBooks Premier Plus
  • Starting at $549.99/yr.*
  • Check
    6 industry-specific software plans
  • Check
    Up to 5 users (addt’l fee)
  • Check
    Extremely comprehensive reports

Data as of  3/4/22. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
*Subscription renews annually unless canceled by customer.

QuickBooks Premier Plus and Enterprise offer QuickBooks’ only industry-specific plans. With either QuickBooks version, you can choose one of six accounting plans tailored to certain types of businesses:

  • General businesses
  • Retail businesses
  • Nonprofits
  • Manufacturing and wholesale businesses
  • General contractors
  • Professional services

If you choose an industry-specific plan, you’ll get thorough financial reports customized to your industry. (The general business version still includes excellent reports—they’re just more broad.) For instance, the general contractor plan includes job costing and reports that organize costs by vendor. The wholesale version breaks down profitability by product, and the nonprofit version lets you generate donor contribution summaries and end-of-year donation statements.

You can also collaborate with up to five users with QuickBooks Premier Plus compared to QuickBooks Pro’s three-user limit. As with all QuickBooks Desktop plans, each additional user costs an annual fee—if you add all five users to your account, you’ll pay around $2,750 a year. (If collaboration without extra costs is important to you, providers like Xero include unlimited users with each plan.) 

QuickBooks for accountants
Info

All QuickBooks plans—even plans limited to one user—include free accountant access. You can work directly with a certified QuickBooks accountant (a.k.a. QuickBooks ProAdvisor), but most accountants should be familiar with both QuickBooks Desktop and QuickBooks Online. An in-person accountant can give you good advice on whether a desktop version or cloud-based version is right for you. If you opt for virtual bookkeeping services, you’ll probably use QuickBooks Online since cloud-based software makes collaboration easier.

Along with its higher price, QuickBooks Premier Plus has the same drawbacks as QuickBooks’ other desktop software. Most importantly, it’s definitely harder to learn and use than any QuickBooks Online product, so non-accountants will face a steep learning curve. And while the QuickBooks Desktop mobile app is fine, that’s really all it is—fine. For general contractors who travel between job sites and need fast, on-the-go account access, a QuickBooks Online plan could suit better.

Pros
Pro Bullet Industry-specific reports
Pro Bullet Built-in inventory management with each plan
Pro Bullet Industry-specific features, including job costing and sales orders
Cons
Con Bullet Complex user interface
Con Bullet Limited mobile access
Con Bullet Additional per-user fees

QuickBooks Enterprise: Best for big businesses

Quickbooks
QuickBooks Enterprise
  • Starting at $1,340.00/yr.*
  • Check
    Advanced inventory management features
  • Check
    Additional customization for each user
  • Check
    More extensive industry-specific reports

Data as of 3/4/22. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
*Plan automatically renews annually at a higher price unless canceled by the customer.

QuickBooks Enterprise offers around 200+ industry-specific reports to Premier’s 150+ financial reports. It also includes more advanced customizations and inventory management features. And with up to 40 users, it works best for big businesses that emphasize financial collaboration and can shoulder the higher cost of an enterprise-level solution.

But if we’re being honest, QuickBooks Enterprise’s features don’t justify its cost. According to the QuickBooks site, individual businesses interested in Enterprise can work out a customized pricing solution that presumably saves them some money. But without any sort of discount, and if you add all 40 users to your account, you’re looking at more than $52,000 a year.

Most midsize businesses can’t afford to (and don’t need to!) spend that much cash on accounting software. Frankly, most big businesses can’t either. Instead, Enterprise’s price is best suited to, well, enterprises. But with only 40 users and a focus on accounting, Enterprise is far from a total enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution.

Put simply, QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise doesn’t have enough features for international enterprises, and it doesn’t have a low enough cost to make it suitable for small and midsize businesses either. It might work well for some big businesses interested in industry-specific software and good customer service, but that’s about it.

Pros
Pro Bullet More reports than any other QuickBooks product
Pro Bullet Industry-specific plans with custom pricing
Pro Bullet Round-the-clock customer service
Cons
Con Bullet High starting cost and per-user fee
Con Bullet Limited features for the cost
Con Bullet Complex interface with limited mobile app functionality

QuickBooks for Mac: Honorable mention

Quickbooks
QuickBooks for Mac
  • Starting at $349.99/yr.*
  • Check
    Mac-specific desktop software
  • Check
    Built-in inventory tracking
  • X
    One plan only with limited features

Data as of 3/4/22. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
*Subscription renews annually unless canceled by customer

If you own a Mac, there’s just one QuickBooks Desktop version you can use: QuickBooks for Mac.

For the most part, QuickBooks for Mac has the same basic features as QuickBooks Desktop Pro, like built-in inventory tracking, invoicing, sales tax tracking, bill payment, and expense tracking. Unlike QuickBooks Pro, though, there’s only one QuickBooks for Mac plan (QuickBooks Mac Plus)—and it lacks most of QuickBooks Pro’s standout features.

You can’t use QuickBooks for Mac to pay vendor bills, upload bills, or customize vendor bill payment stubs. It doesn’t include a mobile app or any third-party integrations. You can add some QuickBooks products to your Mac-based plan, like QuickBooks Payroll and point of sale, but nothing else.

In short, even if you use a Mac desktop, we generally recommend QuickBooks Online over QuickBooks for Mac. The cloud-based interface works perfectly with both Windows and iOS, it includes a mobile app, and it syncs with upwards of 600 other financial apps.

Pros
Pro Bullet Clear interface built specifically for Mac users
Pro Bullet Basic accounting features, including inventory management
Pro Bullet Built-in customer service at no additional fee (weekdays only)
Cons
Con Bullet Only one plan with extremely limited features and upgrades
Con Bullet 3-user maximum
Con Bullet No mobile app or third-party app integrations

The takeaway

QuickBooks Online is easily the best QuickBooks product for small-business owners who want affordable on-the-go accounting. (Don’t just take our word for it—Intuit itself encourages users to switch from QuickBooks Desktop to QuickBooks Online.)

But if you don’t care for QuickBooks Online for whatever reason, QuickBooks’ other software products might work better for you:

  • QuickBooks Self-Employed’s three plans give freelancers basic bookkeeping features, including mileage tracking, quarterly tax estimation, and tax optimization assistance.
  • QuickBooks Desktop Pro Plus and QuickBooks Desktop Premier Plus offer thorough reporting for midsize to large businesses running on a Windows operating system.
  • QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise is a hefty accounting solution for larger companies. Nonprofits, construction companies, accountants, manufacturers, and retail businesses can all take advantage of its industry-specific plans.
  • QuickBooks Desktop for Mac can work for Mac users who prefer desktop-based accounting, but it has fewer features than PC-based QuickBooks Desktop plans and most QuickBooks Online plans.

Want to add another QuickBooks product to your accounting software? QuickBooks’ payroll solutions integrate perfectly with both QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Desktop. 

Related reading

QuickBooks products FAQ

How many versions of QuickBooks are there?

There are six main QuickBooks products for small, medium, and large businesses. The most popular cloud-based QuickBooks program is QuickBooks Online, a browser-based system for small-business owners who want a straightforward approach to bookkeeping and accounting.

QuickBooks’ other cloud-based product, QuickBooks Self-Employed, focuses on freelancers and contractors who want to maximize end-of-year tax-write offs. It works best for self-employed business owners who file their taxes with TurboTax, another Intuit product.

QuickBooks also offers several desktop versions of its cloud-based accounting software, including QuickBooks Desktop Pro Plus, Premier Plus, and Enterprise. These three products work with Windows operating systems only, so Mac users need QuickBooks for Mac if they want desktop-based accounting.

What is the best version of QuickBooks for small businesses?

For most small businesses, QuickBooks Online is probably the best version of QuickBooks. It has four plans, which means businesses can scale up to plans with more features and users as they grow. Its mobile app is great for on-the-go accounting and bookkeeping. And even its basic plan has more accounting tools than many competitors, including built-in receipt scanning, expense management, 1099 contractor management, and extensive financial reporting.

What’s the difference between QuickBooks Pro Plus and Premier Plus?

QuickBooks Pro and QuickBooks Premier are two different desktop-based QuickBooks products. QuickBooks Pro Plus is cheaper and simpler than QuickBooks Premier Plus, which means it covers all the bookkeeping basics but has fewer reports and limited users. In contrast, QuickBooks Premier Plus includes industry-specific reports and lets you add up to five users. QuickBooks Pro Plus and Premier Plus are both subscription-based plans that renew annually.

Is there a better accounting product than QuickBooks?

Yes, there might be a better accounting product for you than QuickBooks. In reality, though, the answer depends on what accounting features your business needs and how much you want to spend on accounting software.

For instance, while QuickBooks offers some of the most fully featured accounting programs, most of its products cost more than comparable accounting solutions for small businesses. Its invoices aren’t very customizable, and you can’t use any versions of QuickBooks to interact with customers the same way you can with FreshBooks’ or Zoho Books’ client portals.

But there isn’t just one version of QuickBooks—if QuickBooks Online doesn’t work for you, another one of the six different versions of QuickBooks could. Plus, QuickBooks isn’t the only accounting solution in the world—far from it. Plenty of QuickBooks alternatives can meet all sorts of business needs, including your business’s needs.

Disclaimer

At Business.org, our research is meant to offer general product and service recommendations. We don't guarantee that our suggestions will work best for each individual or business, so consider your unique needs when choosing products and services.

Kylie McQuarrie
Written by
Kylie McQuarrie
Kylie McQuarrie has been writing for and about small businesses since 2014. Prior to writing full-time, she worked with a variety of small-business owners (from freelance writers to real-estate solopreneurs), which gave her a front-row look at small-business owners' struggles, frustrations, and successes. Currently, she’s Business.org’s accounting and payroll staff writer. Her work has been featured on SCORE.org, G2, and Fairygodboss, among others.
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