QuickBooks

What Is The Future for QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions?

Written by Charlie Russell

QuickBooks Enterprise SolutionsWhen Intuit talks about the future directions for their QuickBooks family of products they usually divide information into two groups, QuickBooks Online and  QuickBooks Desktop. However, I think that there actually are three groups, with QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions being separate from QuickBooks Pro and Premier. Today I want to talk about what I see as the future for QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions.

In my article “What is the Future for QuickBooks Desktop” I talked about why Intuit is so focused on QuickBooks Online, but how they also have a renewed commitment to “QuickBooks Desktop”, based on Intuit’s fourth quarter 2014 report to investors and their 2014 Investor Day presentation. In those presentations there is a lot of talk about “QuickBooks Desktop”, but I think that this is misleading. QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions is being treated differently than QuickBooks Pro and Premier.

Directions for QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions

When Intuit talks about the target market for QuickBooks Online they are looking at the smaller businesses – which also happen to be the target market for QuickBooks Pro and QuickBooks Premier. This is the area that they project the greatest growth in as a part of their research.

QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions serves a different market. In a general sense, Quickbooks Pro, Premier and Online are a good fit for companies under 20 employees. Once you get into larger companies you are starting to look for products that work well with larger databases, that have a greater focus on inventory control, and need a higher degree of control over user permissions. QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions is a better fit here, perhaps competing with products like Sage 50 and Intacct.

Intuit has been talking about how they want to hold on to the “desktop” user until they are ready to convert to the online product, and that they will only be doing incremental improvements to the desktop. So, is Intuit lumping Enterprise in with Pro and Premier?

I discussed this with Jim Kim, Intuit’s Group Marketing Manager for QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions, and here is what he had to say:

“As a company, we recognize the importance of Enterprise to our customers. It fits an important market need for customers that are too large or complex for Pro, Premier or Online. Furthermore, we believe Enterprise plays a strategic role in the marketplace.”

“While QuickBooks Online is the right choice for the vast majority of small businesses and while it also addresses multi-location and multi-device issues seamlessly, we don’t believe it’s a ‘one size fits all’ marketplace. SMB’s are a heterogeneous population of customers, and as such, Enterprise is there to target the high end of the spectrum.”

“We have every intention to continue to invest in the product aggressively”.

Powerful statements that separate QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions from QuickBooks Pro and Premier. However, will Intuit actually follow up on this?

Let’s look at some clues:

  • In the 2015 release of QuickBooks, many of the improvements that customers have been asking for were added only to Enterprise. There probably isn’t a technical reason why the transaction improvements were added only to Enterprise rather than all versions, other than to continue to make Enterprise more valuable.
  • Enterprise users are more likely to be heavy inventory users than Pro/Premier users, and in the 2015 release the major inventory improvements were all reserved for Enterprise.
  • The only major new feature that was added in the 2015 release was Advanced Reporting, which again is only available in Enterprise.
  • Intuit has been making big changes in technical support and “customer care” recently. They have outsourced much of this, and in their 2014 Investor Day presentation Intuit talked about how they are working to change customer support from a “call center model” to improved in-product help where a call isn’t needed. However, in the Fall/Winter 2014 timeframe Intuit brought all QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions customer care into the US. Support calls for Enterprise are now handled out of offices either in Oregon or Florida. In fact, with the exception of a small number of QA engineers, all engineering, marketing, and product management operations for QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions are handled domestically now.

But what about Intuit’s statements about how QuickBooks Online customers generate more income per year than QuickBooks desktop? It isn’t clear that Enterprise is being included with those “desktop” figures. In fact, at a conference earlier this year Catherine Fisse (Intuit’s Senior Product Manager for Enterprise) made a presentation where she said that while Enterprise represents 10% of Intuit’s QuickBooks customer base, it represents 75% of the revenue (although this may have changed in the last quarter, as enrollment in QuickBooks Online has been growing quickly).  Why? Not just because of the higher unit price, but because Enterprise companies utilize Intuit services (payments, payroll and so forth) at a higher rate than other desktop users. Sound familiar? That is the reason that Intuit said they preferred the online product over the desktop product in their quarterly financial report.

This is why I think that Intuit will put more effort into QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions, because Enterprise customers generate more income per customer company than Pro and Premier users. Intuit doesn’t want to lose those customers, and QuickBooks Online is a long, long way away from being able to satisfy the needs of these kinds of companies.

Enterprise Price Changes

To make this all more interesting, this week Intuit announced that they have changed their pricing policy for QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions. Instead of having you purchase the product and then subscribe to the full service plan as well as optional subscriptions for Advanced Inventory and Advanced Pricing, they have moved entirely to a subscription basis. Note that this only applies (at this time) to new users. Existing users will stay with their current price structure (as long as you keep your full service plan up to date).

The new plan has three levels, Silver, Gold and Platinum. Within each plan there is a scale of pricing based on the number of users.

  • Silver will provide you with the base QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions product, a Full Service Plan, and Advanced Reporting. Prices range from $1000 for a single user to $6300 for 30 users (prices may vary, check Intuit’s site for the most current pricing).
  • Gold includes all the features of Silver, and adds QuickBooks Enhanced Payroll for unlimited employees, with no extra fees. Prices range from $1300 for a single user to $6600 for 30 users – $300 a year extra when compared to Silver.
  • Platinum includes all the features of Gold, and adds Advanced Inventory and Advanced Pricing.Prices range from $1600 for a single user to $6900 for 30 users, $600 a year extra when compared to Silver.

A move to subscription pricing isn’t a surprise, it is one of the goals that Intuit has set financially. They want everything to be on a subscription basis.

Comparing the old to the new pricing structure is complicated because prices vary per the number of users, and full service plan pricing has been changing over the past year or so. Plus, there often is some sort of sale going on. Let’s compare using pricing for five users.

In the old pricing scheme you would be $3,400 for a five user license, with a full service plan price of $2,250 for each year after the first. You don’t have to get the full service plan, you could just buy a new product every three years. However, keep in mind that you must have a full service plan to be able to use Advanced Reporting, Advanced Inventory and Advanced Pricing. Also, the Advanced Inventory and Advanced Pricing products are additional subscriptions that cost an additional $1398 together. So for a five user system:

Level/Feature Purchase Pricing (old) Subscription Pricing (new)
Silver – Enterprise with Full Service Plan and Advanced Reporting $3400 first year
$2250 continuing years
$2800
Gold – all Silver features plus Enhanced Payroll $3688 first year
$2538 continuing
plus $24 per employee/year
$3100
Platinum – all Gold features plus Advanced Inventory and Advanced Pricing $5086 first year
$3936 continuing
plus $24 per employee/year
$3400

That is interesting – your annual cost (after the first year) goes up if you compare purchase pricing vs. subscription at the silver level, but if you want ALL of the features the cost goes down considerably.

Some additional points:

  • Existing customers on a Full Service Plan can remain on their current plan, they won’t be switched to subscription pricing.
  • Full Service Plan prices for existing users may vary from what I have here, depending on what your renewal date is. And, there is no guarantee that Intuit won’t raise the price for the plan in the future.
  • If you are a current “purchase” user, and you drop your Full Service Plan, you can’t get back onto the old pricing by trying to pick up your lapsed plan. You have to convert to subscription pricing.
  • There is no “cafeteria” plan where you can pick which of the added features you get – Enhanced Payroll, Advanced Inventory or Advanced Pricing. Want just Advanced Pricing but not the other two? You still have to pay the Platinum subscription price.
  • Another advantage to the subscription plans is that you may qualify to get “preferred rates” on the QuickBooks Payments service.

Incremental Updates

Another interesting aspect of the change to subscription pricing is that Intuit can now offer incremental updates of the product that include new features. In the old model they could only add significant new features (usually) at the annual upgrade each Fall. You only got bug fixes during the course of the year. With the subscription model they now will be able to offer new features periodically throughout the year.

Note that you will continue to have the option to not install one of these incremental updates, so unlike an online product you won’t be forced into the update if you don’t want to. That is important, given the track record for updates over the last year or two.

What Do I Think?

Intuit wants subscription income rather than “unit sales” – they achieve that if they get everyone on QuickBooks Online for the smaller business and QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions for the larger business (with the new pricing structure).

And, importantly, Intuit sees that they generate more revenue per user with their Online and Enterprise products than they do with Pro and Premier.

I’m encouraged by what seems to be ongoing support for QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions. It is going to be a long time before QuickBooks Online can come close to doing what Enterprise can, if it ever does. I don’t actually see Intuit trying to make QuickBooks Online comparable to Enterprise. They’ll let the add-on developers handle the “feature” shortage, but when you start adding up all of the fees you have to pay for these add-ons it is going to get expensive.

We’ll have to see how the “incremental update” process works. Intuit has to put a lot more effort into debugging these updates before they go out before I’ll be happy with that concept. Incremental updates also makes life tougher for accounting professionals who are supporting customers using Enterprise, as we’ll have new features coming out throughout the year rather than just once a year. We’ve already seen how confusing that can be with QuickBooks Online.


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About the author

Charlie Russell

Charlie Russell has been involved with the small business software industry since the mid 70's, and remembers releasing his first commercial accounting software product when you had an 8-bit microcomputer with one 8 inch floppy disk drive. He has a special interest in inventory and manufacturing software for small businesses. Charlie is a Certified Advanced QuickBooks ProAdvisor with additional certifications for QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Enterprise, as well as being a Xero Certified Partner. Charlie started blogging about QuickBooks in 2008 (Practical QuickBooks) and has been writing for the Accountex Report (formerly the Sleeter Report) since 2011.

Visit his CCRSoftware web site for information about his QuickBooks add-on products. He is also the author of the California Wildflower Hikes blog.

69 Comments

  • Great article Charlie.

    I also thought I heard Dan Wernikoff say on the Investor Call that only 30% of current Desktop QuickBooks Users are suited for conversion to QBO.

    Something else to mention regarding the new Enterprise Subscription pricing – if a client fails to be the annual subscription Enterprise will quit working.

    • Yes, he did say that.

      Yes, that is the nature of a subscription in most cases (although “QuickBooks Plus” subscriptions for Pro/Premier don’t work that way exactly). Enterprise users that use Advanced Inventory and Advanced Pricing already had to deal with that.

      • sir can you please tell me from which version of quickbooks enterprise annual fee start. is it start from quickbooks enterprise 2013 or 2014? Thanks

    • Nancy,

      > I also thought I heard Dan Wernikoff say on the Investor Call that only 30% of current Desktop QuickBooks Users are suited for conversion to QBO.

      …that statement doesn’t synch up very well with their marketing push, does it! Judging from how QBO is being marketed, if I didn’t know better I would think the Intuit’s view is that only 30% (or fewer!) of QBD users *are not* suited for conversion to QBO.

  • Thank you for all of the informative articles. Do you know if the updated Enterprise solution has a higher degree of user permissions than in the past? For example, I would like certain vendors related to employees and their benefits to be kept confidential to the employee handling all other vendor related matters. Do you know if they have segregated user access in this manner? Thank you.

    • “than in the past”, well, that depends on how for “in the past” you are looking…

      Nothing significantly changed in recent years. You can’t get down to the record level (such as, restricting one vendor in the vendor list).

      • If you’re specifically asking about user permissions in QuickBooks Enterprise, then the answer is no. They may have made subtle changes as features were added, but the overall permissions system is pretty much the same as it always was. Much better than what you get in Pro/Premier, but it doesn’t have the granularity that you’re looking for as far as employees or vendors.

      • I assume you cannot restrict certain items on the Chart of Accounts either. Correct? If that was possible, it could still help with what I’m trying to accomplish. Thanks again!

  • Another great article Charlie.
    A nice balance of fact and informed opinion.
    For what it’s worth you view aligns closely with mine on this subject – time will tell if we are both correct but there is a lot of evidence to suggest we are.
    Looking forward to catching up with you and many others at QB Connect and of course at Solutions14 where BizTools is exhibiting and speaking.

  • Well for us, if Intuit changes Quickbooks Enterprise into the subscription only model like Adobe did with Creative Suite, we’ll be moving to another brand. I don’t really like the idea of a company forcing me to buy upgrades that I may not want. With web hosted software you sort of expect to pay extra for the web server convenience, but if I am hosting the software on my servers and workstations then I expect a perpetual license option.

    An acceptable compromise would be to offer a buy-out license that converts your subscription license to perpetual license for whatever version you were on at the time of the buy-out.

    • The impact of the change depends on what features of Enterprise you were using, Jeff. If you use Advanced Pricing or Advanced Inventory you already have to pay for a full service plan each year, as well as the subscriptions for those two add-ons. This has more effect on those users who don’t use the add-ons and don’t have a full service plan. Those people would normally update every three years (to keep on a “supported” version).

      Note that this change only affects NEW users. At this time existing users who are on a full service plan will continue with their current pricing. Those existing users without a full service plan get to use their product for as long as they wish, although support (and services) retire after three years.

  • Great article. One thing I would like to see in future updates is transaction tagging. Because I work for a labor union, we have to track expenses in multiple ways for different reporting entities.

  • Charlie, liking your topics as always, ES is one of my favorites.

    We all want better functionality from ES. Why are some things, like granular security, not being taken care of? I assume that it’s because they don’t want to do it or it can’t be done, there’s no space for any other option.

    The Mid Market needs more functionality and ES will need to start delivering more features at an ERP level. Improvements regarding internal controls are a must. Requisitions management is something necessary if we talk about ERP, I wonder why QB is not or cannot be suited for this common business process; and yes, we have come out with different workarounds, but… There are so many required features that Intuit could deliver but doesn’t. I assume that in some cases the basic code cannot be modified in order to deliver these improvements because modifications would end up in stability issues…

    With subscription pricing the thing is that price went up like 300% overnight with no significant improvements, and if we add IT costs (local server setups and management or hosting service fees) it gets expensive. With this new ES pricing policy QB’s low prices (more for less) is no longer in our sales pitch.

    Is there any hint that ES will migrate to the cloud? Other ERP solutions for the mid market are cloud based, and even though they’re not as user friendly as QB, they are really minding the gap.

    QB was written 20 something years ago, I remember the one that came in floppies. Isn’t it time for a programming revamp? I’ve been in love with QB for 15 years now but things are changing quickly. I dislike the way in which market based business strategies have an influence over software functionality.

    • I hear you, Marco.

      I can only speculate on what they might be doing. In general, if I know of what their plans are in some area, I’m covered by an NDA until they release the feature. For the overall plan like you refer to, I’m not being covered by any NDA’s. But then, that means I don’t have any inside knowledge on that either.

      Yes, the product is old. I doubt that you will see a major rewrite of any sort as far as the desktop product. Just won’t happen in my opinion.

      ERP functionality – Intuit continues to add small incremental features heading that way, but in my opinion most of them are fairly simplistic. They continue to rely on add-on developers for the heavy stuff (MiSys Manufacturing, Fishbowl Inventory, ACCTivate, and so forth).

      I just don’t see “QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions” as we know it undergoing major shifts of those sort. Either Intuit will build something new (I doubt that in this arena), acquire an add-on to expand it (always possible), or acquire an online product to replace it. Or, just milk Enterprise as long as it sells, while focusing on the smaller market (which is where they see the growth).

  • Charlie,

    I wish I read your postings before spending 3 hours with Intuit’s QB Philippino call center today; to find out that my 5 License Enterprise FSP that I paid $1,002.00 for Oct/2013 is now $2,899.00 for 7 licenses due Dec/10/2014 and there is nothing I can do about it. I completely feel violated as a loyal customer. Even more so now that there are no options being presented by the trade that will compete with this 2000 pound gorilla called Quick Books. I guess I will have to accept the fact that it will cost me less to keep this “I’m so big we can do what we want vendor”, until I get big enough to part ways.

    Just as we entrepreneurs due when the government puts their hands deeper in our pocket, my change of habit may include not to renew their FSP and wait two to three years to upgrade to their f u subscription version, or find a replacement. Either way my QB customer satisfaction rating is at an all time low.

    FYI, If Intuit wants more revenue, all they have to do is create an integrated CRM component that works. I am a user and long time customer of ACT, and not a happy camper with them either.

    Joe French
    QB Customer since 2004

    • Joe, did your FSP lapse? If you are current then you should be able to continue with your older plan, although there are some variables involved. Did you go through the Enterprise support system? Enterprise support and service is all US based, so I’m not sure that you got through to the right people. You do have to call during “normal business hours” as otherwise you get routed to the regular support call center.

      You may want to work with a “diamond level” ProAdvisor, who has other support resources available.

      • I just got off the phone with Intuit (1hr 25 minutes and who knows how many countries). The cost of our full service plan for a 10 seat license has historically increased $200 per year. This year it is going from $1900 to $3200 and if I understand correctly we would be losing features. Essentially I was told that they wanted to encourage people to switch to the new pricing model with punitive price increases and that the price would continue to increase over time.

        We have wanted to abandon the QuickBooks world for many years now but this might be the kick in the pants we needed. Perhaps we should all pass along similar price increases to our customers and see how that goes. . .

        • Since I don’t sell Enterprise to clients (I don’t resell Intuit products at all) I tend to not be aware of all price increases (or decreases) that Intuit implements for certain situations. If you look at Intuit’s year end investor presentations it is very clear that they want everything to be in the subscription model. For SOME users, the new model actually can be a price decrease, generally for those people that have a high number of users and use all the addons. But for others, it is an increase. We’ll see how they do in sales…

          • Depending on the subscription you get, under the new system, there are multiple features being added. Payroll, for example. They are adding value, but not all customers want those added values. So it takes a bit of analysis in each case.

      • Charlie,

        Yes, our FSP is current. Due to the fact our business relies on QB so much, I bit the bullet and paid their extortion fee, as it looks like Dustin is feeling the same pain. We have few options to select from, and my fear is they are all going to SAAS-like models in the future. It’s just such poor business to force features down customers’ throats for the sake of increasing sales. Very short sited on Intuits leadership team. They should make their product BETTER, then have us pay for the features we like…that’s called capitalism. They just released products that did not increase their revenue obviously (adv inv, reports etc…), so they made us pay for them. I guess our business leaders are now taking a play from the our political leaders play book and going the route of socialistic business practices…which will not last long for Intuit! Their is more than one pie, as we’ll just bake a new one and leave them behind. Now I have to go back to work and raise my prices to pay for the 40% increased FSA charge I just received from Intuit!

        • I agree that it can be annoying when dramatic undesired changes happen. My thought is that Intuit is trying to level up with competition but they could do better than they’re doing. Intuit’s support is not stable, one day it’s excellent, the other day it’s quite nasty. Modules and add ons are something normal when we talk about ERP. Due to changes in Enterprise Solutions I’ve been evaluating the competition and believe me, Quickbooks ES still has some advantages, even in pricing. Check Acumatica out and you’ll see what I’m talking about. QB’s UI continues to be the best around. I hope Intuit makes a more committed effort to improve ES and everything related with it. Unfortunately SAAS and cloud are the big trend for the small and mid market and subscription model is now a standard.

          • Separating pricing from support from tech advances…

            Support should usually be good, as they have a dedicated Enterprise support team that is US based. Keep in mind that if you call in the “off hours” then you will often get the non-US based support which is handled by sub contracted outside firms, which usually isn’t as high quality. I should note that I don’t ever call their support staff so I can’t attest to the quality myself, but I know a number of the Enterprise support people, and they are good.

            Technology – from what I see on the outside, I firmly believe that there are resources being directed to advancing Enterprise. In fact, I also see resources for Pro and Premier being allocated still, as well. Online is getting a lot of attention, but the desktop isn’t dead yet.

        • We’ll see how new sales, and customer retention, works out with the new pricing schemes. If sales drop significantly then they’ll adjust.

          When the new pricing subscription plans were first explained to me, the intent was to not put pressure on existing FSP customers, to keep that in line, as I understood it. Apparently that is no longer the intent.

          • They made it quite clear to me that the sharp increase in FSP pricing was to push people to the subscription plan. I was also told that the price was going to continue to increase which would essentially turn the full service plan into the subscription plan.

        • I can live without the support and the upgrades provided by the FSP. In our experience, Google is a far better and faster way to fix most issues you need to call tech support for and the upgrades every year are so negligible they are not worth paying for. For us, having to pay $3200 a year to continue accessing the Advanced Pricing feature is a joke.

          • That is one of the dangers of the new plan vs the old one – if you are on the subscription plan, you have to pay every year, or you lose access to the program. With the purchase plan, you could continue to use it forever without paying for the FSP, although some services are sunsetted after three years.

  • Intuit is aware of prices vs. functionality for the mid market. I encourage ES users to take a look around and if you find something better please let me know.

  • Marco, That’s the problem. Intuit did just that, we can assume they have always known their competitors prices, and recently determined they can grossly inflate their prices WITHOUT reasoning, as we ES customers have no place else to go in the same price range…for now that is! I will remember this unethical practice of theirs, I will tell many, and if they change for the better, I’ll stay and convert back as a happy Intuit customer; as they listened to us. If they do not, I’ll be just one of many who’ll move on to a new product. I had no reason to look around before last month, now I am consumed by finding a replacement and I am patient.

    • Depending on what features you are looking for in Enterprise, some people will use Premier and then an inventory addon product like ACCTivate, MiSys Manufacturing, and others. However, you end up getting to be back in the more expensive range, and there can be issues on the number of users allowed. It is hard to make a generalization as there are many factors involved.

  • I also felt this like a slap on my face. I dislike market based business decisions that don’t consider quality as the fundamental drive. This could be an example of the mismanagement of an excellent product. When you have loyal customers like us complaining, definitely something is wrong at a management level. A smoother strategy would’ve been better.

  • My conclusion to this topic:

    When investing in business software, it’s convenient to look at the investment as a percentage of your overall yearly income/expenses. This means if you have a USD500,000 yearly revenue and you spend USD10,000 in software and IT, it represents 2% of your income…, sometimes business owners spend more on fishing trips, new cars and entertainment. I would like some input on standards and best practices regarding IT investment:income/expense ratios. As a consultant I’ve bumped into clients making a lot of money that don’t consider software investment as a priority and on the other hand I’ve seen small companies having no problem with prices…It’s a matter of perspective and knowledge.

    Also, this subscription model has been working in Canada for a while now. It would be good to have some statistics related with the market’s response to their transition. ES UK version is not in the market anymore, Intuit decided to stop producing it. My idea is that ES US version will be globalized more and more and therefore a more tight licensing model is needed.

    Regarding ES functionality:

    ES integrated with Method CRM (which is more like a cloud integral QB Platform) is looking powerful, very powerful. *Method allows you to have more users and less QB licenses.

    Doing some research related to this new pricing model issue I’ve been looking for QB add ons that can deliver more functionality, and it catched my attention that even though Quickbooks and Quickbase are both Intuit’s they don’t really talk to each other… I would like some input on that, please anyone.

    Thanks Charlie and everyone here.

    • I don’t know if QuickBase will ever talk to any QuickBooks desktop product. They aren’t interested in making a lot of their cloud products work with the desktop. They’ve recently been rolling out integration with QuickBooks Online and QuickBase, though.

      I would stick with Method for that kind of thing, perhaps.

  • We have Enterprise Solutions with the Full Service Plan for up to 10 users. In our case, our annual renewal increased 127%, to $3,299 from $1,450. That’s a helluva jump, especially when you consider that we’re not using the added features. As a small, privately owned business, we watch our costs. I’ll have a hard time justifying this to our owner. We used to consider QuickBooks to be a good value, but now they’ve caused us to consider other options.

  • I just hit F2 and noticed my total names is at 13,501, so I’ve been thinking about moving to Enterprise. In the past I’ve just started a new company file each year, but I have to keep going back to previous company files for historical information and that is time consuming.

    As part of a 3 person company we tend to watch our costs and after reviewing the costs for Enterprise I find it depressing how much more per year I have to spend to get additional name space.

    I see a number of people that offer discounts for Enterprise, but that’s just for the first year, and after the first year, you do and pay Intuit as they say. I just hate the feeling of being trapped. But unfortunately there are no real alternatives.

    How do others deal with the sticker shock of moving to Enterprise?

    • Charles, the cost of jumping to Enterprise is quite high, as you see. You have to decide if it is worth it, or if you want to use an approach like you have in the past – either creating a new file, or possibly truncating the file to not have all the old information. If the history you want to look at is just the past few years, not the entire life of your file, you may find that you can get away with something less drastic than just starting a new file.

  • Charlie, good article, but I think the rates you are using in your examples are fabricated. Just found out that our annual “subscription” rate will triple effective immediately, with no option to grandfather in under our existing plan. These new features that we are being force fed, we neither need nor want. QB customer service, historically a joke, can’t get any worse, althought I suppose no customer service at all (you can’t even talk to a customer service person any more) does qualify. Such a shame, QB is a good program.

    • William, the prices were accurate at the time the article was written, but there have been a lot of changes since then. It is a bit crazy, different people are being offered different renewal rates, depending on when their renewal is due. And they seem to be rapidly escalating.

      There is definitely a push on to get people to switch to the subscription model.

  • In my search to find the best pricing for my pending Enterprise upgrade I’ve been talking to many premier re-sellers. They are all speaking a similar chord saying that they feel like they been hosed by Intuit by going to this subscription model. Once customers are locked in the subscription Intuit is the only one that benefits and the re-seller is left behind.

  • Enterprise is being discontinued in the UK, I have just found out when I called to increase my users from 5 to 10. As of April this year Enterprise UK will not run payroll and if I want to continue using Enterprise, as this will be supported until 2017 at no extra cost, I will have to subscribe to Pro to run Payroll and continue to get the annual tax tables.

    I feel floored by this news, as I don’t want to go back to Premier with a line list max of 14,000 compared to Enterprise unlimited (F2 / right hand side of box / List Information / scroll down to Total Items), can go up to 10 users but only available to Enterprise users but Premier is not designed for this so will be clunky if all users are on at the same time, loss of the Remote function (I personally don’t use this) and advanced reporting. And most of all, the advanced user restriction function, this has allowed us to finally properly restrict access in subtle ways rather than the blanket “all or nothing ” restrictions Premier offered.

    I am a life long Intuit customer and I love Quickbooks. I have been advised that the move is to funnel customers to the Online version, which is not a patch on the simplist desktop version and should the subscription payments stop, the data would then be locked, with no way to save this, I see this as a cynical move to tie all customers into spending more and more money with Intuit forever. I am very worried about this move to Online, as if that becomes to only option I will jump to another product, as I can’t have my company held to ransom like that.

    I have been advised that there is a market outside of Intuit for user licences, apparently I can purchase these off eBay (for example) and enter them using Cntrl+R+P.

    Unbelievable.

    • Intuit announced the discontinuance of the UK version of Enterprise quite some time ago, actually.

      I’ve never gotten a good answer from Intuit about this, but I don’t really think that it is a move to funnel customers into QuickBooks Online, in this case. QuickBooks Online isn’t suitable for most Enterprise customers. If they were aiming to do that, they would stop supporting Pro and Premier instead (or in addition).

      I highly suspect that the issue is that they just aren’t selling that many Enterprise products in the UK. It is a cost cutting move – support for the UK version just costs more than they are getting. A lot of the enhancements that they are doing for the US version have to be reworked to get to fit to the requirements in the UK and they just don’t want to do it. Intuit has been consolidating all Enterprise development and support into the US.

      As far as a “market” for Enterprise licenses, that doesn’t have any bearing on your situation, really. That won’t affect payroll at all, and if you waste your money on that kind of license (via eBay, for example) you will often find that they are already registered to someone else, and won’t be usable.

  • I am amazed that my QB renewal went up 125% over last year. I called customer service well over 5x and was kept on hold 30-45 minutes in order to discuss my issue. Then I was switched to various other departments, on hold again 10-15 minutes while waiting to discuss my issue again. To NO avail. They told me the reason of my increase was due to the Advanced Reporting that clearly does not work! I am beyond frustrated with QB at this point, but I don’t have other options. Oh and don’t even get me started on the bugs in the latest release….. screen doesn’t fit so you can put in a class on the far right side of the screen, receiving payments and having to Alt+S to get to a new input and having to deal with signing up for QB receive payments online….. Such a disappointment. Good article!

    • Regarding the Alt+S. I found that it only occurs if the Customer List is open. I also reported this to Intuit a year ago. Anyway, If you close the customer list, then open the “Receive Payments” window on it’s own, it will work like it should and the enter key will activate the “Save & New” button.

  • I’m coming into this conversation late but our 2012 version of Enterprise is expiring on May 30, 2015 and this pricing is beyond belief. We have had the software since 1/2012 and paid $3750 at the time. I’m told a 10 user subscription will cost $4308/year. So my 3 year price is going up by $9174. In what universe does this make any sense? We aren’t getting ANYTHING more. We absolutely refuse to pay that and will continue on with 12 and look for other solutions. I have been using Intuit products since 1999 and have witnessed a steady decline that makes it difficult for accounting professionals to do their jobs. QB Online is the absolute worst to use-so clumsy and poorly designed. Intuit is truly forcing their client base to competitors.

    • Agreed. Intuit seems to be pricing themselves nearly (but not quite) up there with some of the more advanced service management software packages like Wintac and Total Office Manager which have 2-4 times as many features and better tech support from what I can tell.

  • We ran into an issue where the Payroll section quit working, and we lost data. Intuit refused to help unless we “renewed our subscription” at $3,200. I was furious, but I paid the renewal for Enterprise because I had no choice. I have decided that we are now going to replace Quickbooks Enterprise before years end. As a business person, I am getting fed up with companies who reward long standing customers with extortion. We don’t have to use QB anymore, there are choices out there.

    • That is the way Enterprise is set up as far as support – you either are a subscription user (the new pricing plan) or you were on a Full Service Plan (the old pricing plan), which you needed to get support.

  • That is the plan Charlie, as poor as it is. It is apparent that Quick Books is moving away from serving businesses in the 5-25 seat range. If you’re using a couple seats their over priced SAAS model can be justified. For those of use who have built processes into our business (8 users), requiring everyone to have access to QBE, we must have a concurrent seats regardless of their volume of use. When the cost was under $1500 a year for full support (server based), no problem. We can feel the pressure building as Intuit forced with a heavy hand, and expensive hand and that, a migration of ALL customers to SAAS. If anyone knows a product of equal power, please share.

    I feel like a cult member. I drank their cool aide and just have to accept the resulting pain of cost, raise my prices as a result, and the world goes around. Just a victim of circumstances. That’s Intuits Board’s end game for sure, by leveraging our limited choices in the market, we’ll keep drinking as the opportunity costs are greater to migrate out. So with that, they’ve forced us all to drink from their cup. For now I say. For now.

    Tip to Inuit’s Board, short term gains never are a good thing. Forgetting us loyal consumers who got you here in the first place is not good thing. Competition will even the playing field soon. We will remember this beat down.

  • Dear Mr. Russell

    thank you for simplifying the legacy quick books enterprise software owner vs the intuit desired subscription plan. I have been using enterprise for eight years and the attractive monthly payment scheme is mitigated by the the fear that 2 weeks after I stop paying a subscription intuit can stop me from accessing my data files over the last eight years ? it seems like financial extortion.

  • Just got off the phone with an Intuit senior support person after I sent an email to the Office of the President – voice of the customer. Sent the email after 2 different support people last week were not able to say where in writing (EULA, web, etc.) it mentioned what our license for Enterprise 15 and/or 16 allowed. They were emphatic that because we were ‘legacy’ customers our rights to 15 and 16 were the same as for 14, we owned the software and it would run on our desktop at any time in the future regardless of what plan we may or may not be paying Intuit for and having or not an internet connection.

    Today’s person said the total opposite. He said that from version 15 on ALL customers were switched to subscription license and that ‘legacy’ customers just had different pricing plans. In this scenario as soon as you stop paying your desktop software does not run and in our case we lose access to our data from 1994 onward.

    The EULA (http://smallbusiness.intuit.com/small-business/legal/index.jsp ) makes much reference to the type of license, but Intuit does not share that with us the license holders. I checked our renewal communication by mail, our product info in the software, etc. and nowhere does Intuit what type of license we own so that the EULA can be interpreted. It appears they unilaterally switched everyone to subscription without notification or consent.

    Fortunately, because we were worried about this scenario we are still running version 14. We will be switching to a different accounting system (most probably open source) before version 14 sunsets. Suggestions?

    • Personally, the 2014 version is the one I dislike the most. There are some stability issues in the database manager. If I have it running for any length of time I find that my computer system becomes more unstable, and other products run into issues. There are “memory leaks” and other problems. I’m currently running the 2015 product for my own business, and it is much more stable.

  • Any new thoughts or comments on Enterprise 2017. I’m on Pro 2014 and need to upgrade either to Pro 2017 or Enterprise 2017. Are the features on Enterprise worth the additional cost? I do use Payroll Tax Services which is an extra cost with Pro 2014 but included in Enterprise which shrinks the price differential. I would appreciate anyone’s experience and comments.

    • I can’t give you a specific response. Enterprise is more expensive than Pro, and you have to pay an annual subscription fee. Is it worth that? This depends on what kind of business you have, how many users you need, how large your item/customer/vendor lists will get, and more. There are tons of differences and tons of factors to take into account.

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