Yes, it is true...
The only way you can now purchase QuickBooks Enterprise software is via the subscription pricing model. You can read more about this change to QuickBooks Enterprise subscription pricing in my previous blog post.
As a result of this change, a number of common questions have surfaced, so I wanted to take this opportunity to get them answered for you.
Q: How do I get QuickBooks Enterprise if I don't want to be part of the subscription program?
A: The only way to get Enterprise is via the subscription program. There are no other options available to you - if you do see QuickBooks available (especially older versions) out there on the web, exercise EXTREME caution. They are likely pirated/bogus copies of the software.
Q: Are there discounts or promotions available on the QuickBooks Enterprise subscription program?
A: I offer QuickBooks Enterprise at a 20% discount price for EVERY year of the subscription program - this discount program is offered every day. Beyond that, there are other promotions that may run at other times of the year. One of the common promotions that has run in the past is 40% off the subscription price of QuickBooks Enterprise - however, that promotion was ONLY for the FIRST year of the subscription period.
Q: Is it true there are three different levels of subscription available for QuickBooks Enterprise?
A: Yes, that is true. Currently, there are the Silver, Gold, and Platinum subscription levels of QuickBooks Enterprise. The Silver level is the "traditional" version of QuickBooks Enterprise. The Gold level includes all Silver features plus a subscription to the QuickBooks Enhanced payroll service. The Platinum level includes all Gold features plus a subscription to the QuickBooks Advanced Inventory module.
Q: Is QuickBooks Enterprise now "in the cloud" since it is subscription based?
A: This is one of the biggest areas of confusion - the answer is NO, it is not "in the cloud". While the pricing for QuickBooks Enterprise has changed, the software itself is still installed locally on desktops, laptops and servers, just like it always has been.
If your business doesn't want to be in the "IT business", you can always have QuickBooks Enterprise set up with a hosting company. This will provide you with anytime, anywhere access to your QuickBooks Enterprise. Generally for budgeting purposes, you would expect to pay about $50 per user per month for this hosting. Some services cost more, some less, but this figure is a good starting point. Keep in mind that you're NOT paying for your own IT in the case of hosting. The hosting company is providing it for you.
Q: How long is the subscription period for QuickBooks Enterprise?
A: When you sign up, the subscription period is for one year. You can choose to make one annual payment to cover it, or break things down into monthly payments (but you are still on the hook for a full 12 months). Currently, there is no discount or price break if you pay annually, so I tell my clients to keep their money in the bank and opt for the monthly payment plan. As mentioned above, my discount plan for Enterprise entitles you to 20% off the subscription price EVERY year of your subscription.
Q: What happens if I cancel my QuickBooks Enterprise subscription?
A: A couple of things happen if your QuickBooks Enterprise subscription is cancelled:
- You would still owe the balance on your account if you cancelled before the end of the annual period (see the note above)
- You would not be able to access your critical accounting and other information, as the software stops working after a 14 day period. And that would be a huge problem!
- VERY IMPORTANT NOTE: No matter what, your QuickBooks company data file is always yours, even if you opt to have your QuickBooks Enterprise hosted. The problem crops up if you don't have the software to access your QuickBooks company data file. No software, no access to it. So, while you still own it, the value of it becomes questionable at that point.
Q: Can I downgrade from QuickBooks Enterprise to QuickBooks Premier or QuickBooks Pro to get away from the subscription pricing?
A: Not directly. There are no "magic buttons" inside the software that will allow this to happen. However, there are third party companies that offer this downgrade as a paid service. One such example is QuickBooksUsers.com QuickBooks Enterprise downgrade service.
Naturally, you'll want to ensure that taking this step makes sense for your business. You may be sacrificing speed, functionality, user security, and/or concurrent user access by downgrading out of QuickBooks Enterprise. Learn more about the key differences in QuickBooks Enterprise, Premier and Pro versions in my handy reference guide.
Q: Are there alternatives to QuickBooks Enterprise?
A: I put together a separate article that discusses the alternatives to QuickBooks Enterprise in more detail. As you'll see in that article, most of the alternatives are going to cost you significantly more than Enterprise and they usually add layers of complexity to your business that you may or may not need or want. But the choice is yours as to which software you choose to power your business.
Q: I am currently happy on an older version of QuickBooks Enterprise - should I continue to renew my Full Service Plan (FSP) again to avoid the subscription plan?
A: Here are some additional insights into the conversation surrounding the "should I renew" or "should I not renew" my QuickBooks support plan. It is essential to understand that if you do not renew your support plan, when you do go to upgrade your QuickBooks Enterprise at a future date, you will become part of the subscription program at that time.
Q: Does my QuickBooks Enterprise subscription include access to QuickBooks support?
A: Yes, it does. You have full access to the QuickBooks support desk as part of your subscription.
I know I didn't get all the questions here, but the ones above I'm asked regularly. Hope you find it helpful!