Businesses that need to run multiple company files with QuickBooks Desktop are hesitant to move up to QuickBooks Online because they have to pay for a full subscription for each company file. Intuit is addressing this with their new QuickBooks Online Multi-Company discount pricing structure that they have introduced this week.
There are many reasons why some QuickBooks Desktop users don’t want to move up to QuickBooks Online. Pricing for multiple companies has been a big issue for some. If you purchase a copy of QuickBooks Premier, for example, there is no limit to the number of company files that you can create. There is a surprising number of small businesses that operate this way, with multiple files.
If you move up to QuickBooks Online you find that you have to pay full price for each separate company that you create. That can add up quickly for some businesses!
What Intuit is introducing this week is a QuickBooks Online Multi-Company discount, where you pay full price for your first QuickBooks Online subscription but then a significant discount for additional subscriptions, up to a maximum of 15.
Available Through Accounting Professionals Only
This special offer works through the “bill my firm” (wholesale) invoicing option in QuickBooks Online Accountant. You have to be an accounting professional registered to use QuickBooks Online Accountant to take advantage of this pricing.
The accounting professional will be billed the full wholesale price for the first company file for a client, and then only $5.00 per QuickBooks Online subscription for the second through 15th added subscription for this client. This is a significant discount.
If you aren’t familiar with the wholesale program, if you log in to QuickBooks Online Accountant and click the Create icon to create a new client, you have the option to have the client billed directly, or to have the bill sent to you so that you can bill the client yourself.
If you choose the wholesale discount option you get a discount on the subscription. Currently you pay $20/month for a subscription (that goes up to $25/month on October 15 this year). If you choose this option then it is up to you how much to charge your client.
A few notes about the new pricing program:
- This is only available through QuickBooks Online Accountant. It is not available directly to end users.
- This is only available to USA-based accounting professionals. I believe that the main focus here is in converting QuickBooks Desktop users, and the majority of those are using the US versions.
- This only applies to QuickBooks Online Plus subscriptions. The lower-priced subscriptions are not included.
- All of the subscriptions have to be made for the same client. You can’t use any of the reduced-price subscriptions for another client.
- There are no limits to how many clients you can sign up this way.
- You can add from 2 to 15 additional subscriptions per client. You must choose the number of additional subscriptions at the time that you make the initial subscription.
- It is very important to note that the additional subscriptions must be activated within 30 days of the activation of the initial subscription.
- This price is locked in for five years. After that, the subscriptions revert to the full wholesale price.
- As far as I understand it, the client only gets this price if they remain associated with the original accountant.
- This is probably a limited time offer, but Intuit doesn’t have an official end date set at this time.
Which Clients Are Eligible?
There are restrictions on which clients are eligible for QuickBooks Online Multi-Company discount:
- This must be a new client. This offer is not available to businesses that already have a QuickBooks Online subscription.
- Clients that have QuickBooks Pro, QuickBooks Premier, or QuickBooks Mac are eligible.
- QuickBooks Enterprise users are not eligible.
- Companies that have a “strategic partnership” with Intuit most likely will not be eligible.
- Clients that are using a “competitive product” are eligible. This could be another desktop product or another online product.
This offer is available right now through QuickBooks Online Accountant. Note that some accounting professionals have already had access to it, as Intuit has been testing the concept for a few months. I expect that Intuit will be sending out notices to registered accounting professionals in the near future. You can see their announcement at the Multi-Company Switch and Save Offer page, and in the near future you will see a “card” for this on your QuickBooks Online Accountant dashboard.
Does the QuickBooks Online Multi-Company Discount Make Sense?
This is a very interesting program, I’ll be very interested to see if it gains wide acceptance or if it fades away quickly.
Certainly, the prior pricing structure for QuickBooks Online was one of the issues that prevented businesses from moving up to QuickBooks Online. If you run multiple companies (and a lot of people do), this new pricing structure will help considerably. But I don’t know if this is enough to get people to convert! There are a lot of reasons why existing QuickBooks Desktop users won’t change to QuickBooks Online.
I guess if you are a QuickBooks Mac Desktop user this could really help, since QuickBooks Mac is being discontinued in a couple of years.
Intuit did test this, and since they are continuing the program past the test it must have been successful. I’m concerned, though, that there is a five-year limit to the discount for clients. If I need multiple companies now, what makes Intuit think that I won’t need multiple companies five years from now? And since the accountant is billing the client, the accountant is faced with either having to charge that client the higher price later on or just having to absorb the additional cost. An interesting conundrum.
What do you think of this new pricing structure?