There seems to be a lot of confusion regarding this issue, so I'll do my best to try and explain how it works.
The key thing you need to know is this - QuickBooks Pro and QuickBooks Premier data files ARE interchangeable - as long as they are of the same YEAR. Remember - Premier refers to all the industry-specific version of QuickBooks too, such as Contractor, Manufacturing and Wholesale Edition, Accountants Edition, etc.
Keep in mind that there are certain functions in Premier (i.e. sales orders and certain industry-specific reports) that are not available in Pro, so even though the underlying data is compatible, you wouldn't be able to access sales order data or these industry-specific reports when using the data file in QuickBooks Pro.
Here are some examples that I think will also help clarify:
- QuickBooks Pro 2012 and QuickBooks Premier 2012 files - these are interchangeable with each other, since they are of the same year of QuickBooks (2012) - limitations on certain functionality mentioned above still apply.
- QuickBooks Pro 2011 and QuickBooks Premier 2012 files - these are NOT interchangeable, since they are NOT of the same year of QuickBooks. The QuickBooks Pro 2011 computer would have to be upgraded to QuickBooks Pro 2012 in order for the files to be interchangeable.
- QuickBooks Pro 2012 and QuickBooks Premier 2011 - these are NOT interchangeable, since they are NOT of the same year of QuickBooks. The QuickBooks Premier 2011 computer would need to be upgraded to QuickBooks Premier 2012 in order for the files to be interchangeable.
BEWARE - If your plan is to shuttle data files between two different computers via flash drives, DropBox or other plans, that plan is a recipe for disaster.
Just because the data is compatible between different versions of QuickBooks that may happen to be installed, it doesn't mean it is a good idea to use it on different computers. You would be much better off considering a hosted solution to your QuickBooks files in this case.
OK, NOW WHAT ABOUT QUICKBOOKS ENTERPRISE FILES?
Glad you asked!
Here is the scoop on them:
- QuickBooks Pro files are NOT compatible with QuickBooks Enterprise files, regardless of whether they are the same year or not.
- QuickBooks Premier files are NOT compatible with QuickBooks Enterprise files, regardless of whether they are the same year or not.
As you can see, QuickBooks Enterprise files are on their own level, and they are not compatible with the others.
DOWNGRADE A QUICKBOOKS ENTERPRISE FILE TO QUICKBOOKS PRO OR PREMIER?
For more insights on the nuances of this situation, you will want to read my article moving from QuickBooks Enterprise to QuickBooks Pro or Premier.
- Key differences between QuickBooks Pro, Premier and Enterprise
- Frequently asked questions about upgrading QuickBooks