Quickbooks 2021 – Read before you buy!

2022 Update – Late in 2021 Intuit announced that Quickbooks 2022 will not be sold as a perpetual license. Since sales of QuickBooks 2021 have ended we no longer have a one-time purchase option. The rest of this article is here for historical/archive purposes. Sorry!

Intuit recently announced changes to the way they’re selling Quickbooks Desktop – Pro, Premier, and Accountant. (Quickbooks Enterprise has already gone through this transition, and Quickbooks Online is its own thing with a myriad of options that isn’t changing as part of this either.)

Quickbooks has always been offered in several flavors:

Quickbooks Pro covers basic accounting for businesses of all sizes, it’s intended for up to three users, and handles account registers, payables, receivables, quotations, basic reporting, and importing from most banks with online services.

Quickbooks Premier allows up to five users, has “Editions” that you choose during setup to customize for your business type (Manufacturing & Wholesale, Non-profit, Construction, Professional Services, Retail), Purchase Orders, Sales Orders, Inventory, and advanced reports. You can move company files between Pro and Premier at any time, if you open a Premier company file in Pro you won’t be able to see or use the extra Premier features.

(There’s also Quickbooks Accountant and Enterprise, but they’re not part of these changes.)

Any version of Quickbooks can have Payroll services added on for an additional fee.

What’s New

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Quickbooks 2021 can be bought as a one-time purchase only from resellers (like us) or Intuit’s website. With a one-time purchase you’ll have the 2021 program and will be able to use it as long as you have a computer that it’ll run on. We generally recommend upgrading every three years, as bank feeds, payroll, and other add-ins usually don’t support older versions.

Quickbooks 2021 Pro and Premier will  also be offered as “Plus” packages – if you go to your local big-box store and buy Quickbooks 2021 off the shelf it will be a Plus offering. We’re concerned that many customers (and store employees) won’t know what this means.

This is a big deal:

Quickbooks Pro/Premier Plus is a 12 month subscription. You can run the latest version of the Quickbooks software, when the subscription period expires you have two choices:

-Pay next year’s subscription fee
-Stop using the software

Intuit makes a mention that “you own your data,” which is technically true, no one is going to reach out and delete your files, but after your license expires your copies of Quickbooks will stop working and you won’t be able to access your company file unless you copy it to another computer that has an active license of Quickbooks. (We generally have access to all of the recent Quickbooks versions so we can help with a conversion to another accounting system without needing to buy another year’s license)

Quickbooks Plus includes a some benefits:

-Unlimited QuickBooks support (daytime hours). Not convinced of the value of this as we only contact support a few times a year for multiple clients.
-Quicbooks online backup. We’re still evaluating this as to whether we can monitor and manage that backup, include other files, etc. Most of our clients have other online backups (or save a QBB backup to OneDrive for Business) so this isn’t compelling.
-Discounts on hosting – Quickbooks partners with Right Networks to resell their remote desktop hosting services. Though they’re officially supported by Intuit, there are many other hosted desktop providers out there and unless you’re already leaning towards Right Networks I’m not sure this is “the thing” that would drive you to Plus.
-Always have the latest version, which is good but over the last few years Quickbooks versions have been very lean on new features or upgrades. 2021 looks to add automated statement sending as its main draw
-Quickbooks Mobile App – seems like a tool for adding receipts and expenses remotely, if you need to do that sort of thing

Naturally, Intuit is offering BIG discounts on QB Plus 2021 to make it more attractive, but remember that next year’s bill could be about double.

For most businesses we still believe that buying Quickbooks desktop every third year is the best balance between stability, cost, and being up to date. Over the next few years we’ll see if they add enough to the Plus packages to make them worth it. (We also advised against Office 365 until Microsoft added enough extra to make it compelling). At this point the Quickbooks switch seems mainly designed to get businesses onto the hamster-wheel-of-yearly-payments.

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Here’s a link to Intuit’s official Quickbooks page discussing these changes: https://www.firmofthefuture.com/content/what-to-expect-with-quickbooks-desktop-2021/