QuickBooks comes in a gamut of editions, offering options for organizations at both ends of the small-business spectrum. QuickBooks Pro handles the basic needs of most businesses, whereas Enterprise Solutions (the most robust and powerful edition of QuickBooks) boasts enhanced features and speed for the biggest of small businesses. On the other hand, the online editions of QuickBooks offer features that are available anytime you’re online.
This tutorial focuses on QuickBooks Pro because its balance of features and price makes it the most popular edition. Throughout this book, you’ll find notes about features offered in the Premier edition, which is one step up from Pro. (Whether you’re willing to pay for these additional features is up to you.) Here’s an overview of what each edition can do:
• QuickBooks Online Simple Start is a low-cost online option for small businesses with very simple accounting needs and only one person running QuickBooks at a time. It’s easy to set up and use, but it doesn’t offer features like entering bills, managing inventory, tracking time, or sharing your company file with your accountant, and you can download transactions from only one bank (or credit card) account.
• QuickBooks Online Essentials allows up to three people to run QuickBooks at a time and lets you connect to as many bank or credit card accounts as you want. As its name suggests, it offers essential features like automated invoicing, entering bills, and controlling what users can access.
• QuickBooks Online Plus has most of the features of QuickBooks Pro, but you access the program via the Web instead of running it on your PC. Up to five people can access your data simultaneously.
• QuickBooks Self-Employed is an online edition that’s designed for freelancers and independent contractors. It helps you pay estimated quarterly taxes, categorize your expenses to match those on your Schedule C tax form, and track your self-employment income and expenses.
• QuickBooks Online apps let you run QuickBooks Online on your computer and other devices. For example, you can run the QuickBooks Online Windows App ( http://quickbooks.intuit.com/accountants/resources/features-quickbooksapp ) or QuickBooks App for Mac to run QuickBooks Online on your computer without opening a browser window. Or you can download apps from iTunes or Google Play to run QuickBooks Online on your iPad, iPhone, or Android device.
• QuickBooks Pro is the workhorse desktop edition. It lets up to three people work on a company file at a time and includes features for tasks such as invoicing; entering and paying bills; job costing; creating estimates; saving and distributing reports and forms as email attachments; creating budgets; projecting cash flow; tracking mileage; customizing forms; customizing prices with price levels; printing shipping labels; and integrating with Word, Excel, and hundreds of other programs. QuickBooks Pro’s name lists—customers, vendors, employees, and so on—can include up to a combined total of 14,500 entries. Other lists, like the chart of accounts, can have up to 10,000 entries each.
• QuickBooks Premier is another multiuser edition (up to five simultaneous users). It can handle inventory items assembled from other items and components, generate purchase orders from sales orders and estimates, apply price levels to individual items, export report templates, produce budgets and forecasts, and work with different units of measure for items. Plus, it offers enhanced invoicing for time and expenses, and includes a few extra features like reversing journal entries. When you purchase QuickBooks Premier, you can choose from six different industry-specific flavors (see the next section). As with the Pro edition, Premier can handle a combined total of up to 14,500 name list entries.
• Enterprise Solutions is the edition for midsized operations. It’s faster, bigger, and more robust than its siblings. Up to 30 people can access a company file at the same time, and this simultaneous access is at least twice as fast as in the Pro or Premier edition. The program’s database can handle more than 100,000 names in its Customer, Vendor, Employee, and Other Names lists. It can track inventory in multiple warehouses or stores and produce combined reports for those companies and locations. And because more people can use your company file at once, this edition has features such as an enhanced audit trail, more options for assigning or limiting user permissions, and the ability to delegate administrative functions to the other people using the program. And if you subscribe to Enterprise Solutions Platinum, you can use Intuit’s Advanced Inventory subscription service to value inventory by using first in/ first out (FIFO) valuation.