We took a survey of what folks thought was the best and worst of QuickBooks. There were no suggested prompts — people just wrote out what they thought. So we read all of the comments, tallied them up by theme, and consolidated the results. There were a couple of surprises (to me, anyway).

50% of our respondents are using the QuickBooks Pro edition. 27% use Premier, and 18% use Enterprise. The rest use Online or Mac editions.

About 51% of our respondents use the 2013 version of QuickBooks. 26% use QuickBooks 2012. 14% use 2011 version, and the rest use prior (unsupported) versions.

First, the positive feedback from QuickBooks users:


QuickBooks is seen as easy to use and efficient at meeting most users’ accounting software needs.

The surprise? Almost no one mentioned affordability/price. That surprised me a bit…that a full-featured general accounting solution that costs under $200 didn’t get many kudos for its price, or cost-effectiveness.

How ’bout the dark side? Here’s how we tallied up what users said they didn’t like:


The feedback we got from users about their dislikes was much more varied than their positive comments. A lot of people had one particular, specific limitation or problem that was giving them fits, often having to do with invoicing.

It’s possible that the complaints about slowness, file size, and instability were all related, but we didn’t assume that.

Thanks for giving us your feedback last month. We try to keep our finger on the pulse of the user community.

52 thoughts on “What Users Like and Do Not Like About QuickBooks

  1. Great info! Any chance you will be making any of the raw data available?
    I’m primarily interested in actually seeing the percentages for each category as opposed to just trying to visually eyeball it.


    • Here are the percentage breakouts:

      What Users Like:

      Ease of Use 53%
      Efficient/Meets Needs 17%
      Reporting 12%
      Flexibility 6%
      Payroll 4%
      Interface with Apps 3%
      Help/Support 3%
      Stability 2%
      Affordable 1%

      What Users Don’t Like:

      Specific Features/Issues 28%
      Reporting 10%
      Software Instability/Crashes 10%
      User Interface 8%
      Help/Support Quality 6%
      Apps/Integration Issues 6%
      Slow 6%
      Price 6%
      Accounting Issues 5%
      File Size Issues 5%
      Too Complex 4%
      Corporate Attitude 3%
      Continuity between Versions 2%
      Support Policies 2%

  2. I sure wish that I had been invited to participate in this! I would have had suggestions and lots of feedback! 2 major things where I find QB 2013 Premier lacking:

    1. No Mac version of this software! I have to have a windows machine/vmware image just for this software!

    2. I can not create a Work Order for a customer PO that links to an Invoice so that I can track the remaining amount on a PO easily. Before you say that you can do this…..understand that as a consulting company I have consultants billing time and materials to these POs. Still good so far….however my invoice to the customer would have to have a single line item for a number of hours, no detail of what was billed for or anything! I can have a single line item from the WO and then manually add the details and zeroing out the hours. All of this should simply work considering I am using the “Professional Services” version of the product! I know that I am not the only person to have this issue with the product

    • Hi Robert,

      Yes, there are lots of things in Windows Premier and Enterprise editions that are not found in either the Mac or Online editions. Point noted.

      As to the issue relating to customer POs, that would fall into the “specific features/issues” category that we saw in our survey. And you were like most people there who had a specific gripe about how an element of accounts receivable worked. I thought that was interesting how A/R spawned the most negative comments, as opposed to inventory or payroll or something else.

      Thanks for your comments.

  3. Ugh – under 200 dollars? Where? If it was under 200 dollars I could afford to update it every year, not just every 3 years!

    • Replace it every year? Are you kidding? I’d be happy to do so if the new versions were stable, but we’re still having crashes with the 2013 version, which has been out for 7 months. It’s the most unstable and troublesome software, by far, we use in our business. If there was a reasonable alternative, we’d dump Quickbooks in a flash.

      • Hey Shovel,

        Sorry to hear of crash trouble. Have you gotten the latest update installed? The later updates are a lot better than the early ones, stability-wise.

        That lack of “reasonable alternative” is, I’m guessing, having to do with cost-effectiveness. Apart from the issues with crashes, I think that you get a lot of bang for your buck with QB.

        Thanks for your comment.

      • Premier Contractors. It used to be that yearly revised versions were cheaper, but now you have to buy the whole edition every year, as if you didn’t have a previous version.

  4. I do not at all like the way the user permission modules are set up. It lumps too many things together, for instance, in order to give my employee use of the customer reports for invoicing and creating statements, she also has access to view my bank deposits and share with the other employees. That personal company info should be separated into the sensitive area, don’t you think?
    Also, there is no way to track serial numbers of units we sell that we have to keep up with warranty dates.
    I would like to see some real internal function improvements that have nothing to do with doing everything online.

    • Kathy,

      In the Enterprise edition, you can set up “roles” which are much more detailed. In other words, you can limit access in much more specific ways. You’re right…in Pro and Premier you are using a pretty broad brush.

      Thanks for your comment.

  5. I’m with the other feature specific complaints. I love QuickBooks for its ease of use especially compared to Peachtree! However, client invoicing is always a problem. Specifically for contractor clients who do detailed estimates but can’t invoice from them because they don’t want to show that level of detail. Usually they resort to doing their ‘summary’ invoices in Word after they check QB to see what shows in the detail. Love to see something done in this area!

    • Hi Judi,

      Yes, that would be a nice feature, not only for contractors but for anyone who differentiates between what they want to show on the invoice and what they want in their internal books. Thanks for the comment.

    • Hi Judi

      How ’bout this: a contractor can use the “estimate” to create an in-house document showing all the details that they don’t want to show the client, and then you can create an invoice from that, bringing over the dollar amount and then it’s yours to customize and show just what you want to show and no more.

    • Judi
      This may be a “silly” question – but have you tried “Group” Items for Estimates/Invoices? QuickBooks 2013 will allow you to put (I think) 50 items in a “group” – you get to see all 50 items but whoever you send the Estimate/Invoice to only see’s a single line and total amount.

  6. We are having problems with 2013 Pro aborting on us. I have tried some things that were suggested on the website but it is still aborting.

  7. I’ve been using QB for about 10 years and I find it so easy that a monkey could do it… well, sort of đŸ˜‰

    QB has improved by leaps and bounds in that time and my only gripe these days (with 2013… I could go on about older versions) is the GUI and layout changes and that’s really only because it’s new and I’m a creature of habit. Since things have moved around, it takes longer to do the same tasks but that will pass with time. I feel that the customer/vendor setup area is a bit convoluted. For example, having a separate text boxes for ‘mr.’ ‘david’ ‘smith’, but maybe that makes it easier to search?? My favorite things about newer versions are the Collections Center, the ability to enter contacts without setting up a customer, and the ability to refresh reports in excel (although losing custom formatting is a bummer). I’m sure there’s more that I’m not remembering at the moment.

    Overall, I find QB to be very thorough and for someone without formal accounting training such as myself, it is a great asset and priced right. Personally, I don’t think it is necessary to upgrade every year and if we were forced to, then the price would be an issue. I think skipping a version or two is fine because the majority of changes within each upgrade are superficial and effect ease of use, not so much the functionality of accounting.

    • Hi Michele,

      Great observations. Yes, I think that separating out the parts of the name are for data search purposes, and also for general data handling ease if you export stuff. Thanks for your comments.



    • Hi Jorge,

      First, just to be clear, I am not with QuickBooks or Intuit. I’m a third party guy who does independent consulting (and blogging). I don’t want to put you out of business — quite the contrary, I hope you succeed! That’s why this blog is here, to help users be successful.

      30 is the max number of users Enterprise can have, so it sounds like you are in a no-man’s-land between 10 and 30. Sorry about that. Maybe you can talk to Intuit and try to work out some kind of per-seat licensing arrangement. I don’t know if they would be willing to do that or not but you could try.

      It’s not a bad idea to periodically investigate options, but I’m doubtful that you’ll be able to find another general accounting solution that can accommodate 15 users for less than what you’d pay for Enterprise. Most mid-level ERP systems are quite expensive compared to QuickBooks.

      Thanks for your comments.

      • Licenses are available at $500 per seat. 5 seat first year is about $2450 but the annual renewal is about half of that. I am not seeing a problem in incrementing. We have gone in 5 unit additions to maximize the flexibility of use in pricing. Keep in mind users are concurrent users. You may be able run remote access on TSS and use fewer licenses. Been doing it for years.

  9. The most grievous change with the update (fka Manufacturing & Wholesale) is that the inventory reports now combine the item number and the item description into one field when generating reports. Also, parenthesis are inserted into the description. For a program that was geared towards mfg. & whsle. and as our business is based on inventory management, this is a huge problem. We have found a laborious way to address this partially after exporting to Excel…however, this should not be necessary and is not satisfactory.

    • Hi Susanne,

      That’s strange that they would append the item number and description — I can see how that would cause problems for you. Like you said, those fields and the extraneous parenthesis can be parsed out programatically post-export, but that’s a hassle.

      Thanks for the comment.

    • Susanne,
      We had the same problem – many of our reports became unusable due to this change.
      You may have already found this solution to your problem, but in case not:
      Go to Edit / Preferences / Reports & Graphs / Company Preferences and under REPORTS-SHOW ITEMS BY: click on Name only.
      (Why QuickBooks would have made this default change is beyond me.)

      • Deborah… you just saved me a LOT of time. This feature has been extremely frustrating. Thank you for sharing the solution!

  10. New (2013) problem-QBNonProfit 2013 – with the 2010 version, when we added a new customer (in sales receipts) we could cut & paste the last & first names into the contact fields (on the same screen) and later when we ran a sales report, we could customize the report to get the contact name (first name then last). Then we could create an Excel sheet from that report and do a mail merge with a Word document.
    With the new version, entering the first & last names into the customer record does not automatically make that the “Contact Name” – have to go to another screen to do that.
    Do I have a setting wrong or is this a new (bad) feature?
    Mel Fisher, Accountant, Tellico Village Volunteer Fire Department

  11. We have the 2013 Enterprize Solutions for Manufacturing and Wholesale. We manufacture circuit boards with hundreds of tiny parts on them and I am the purchasing agent. If I go to Edit – Preferences, there are 23 different pages where you can set your preferences for those pages. There is no Purchase Order page. The “format” for the Purchase Order page is how ever the last user left it. Every time I open a PO or start a new PO, I have to readjust the columns. I am most concerned with the part number and the description. Our accountant is not at all interested in the description so she adjusts that column to be very narrow. If I open a PO that she looked at last, I have to make the Description field larger. I also have to readjust the Item Number column every single time if I don’t want to waste an inch of my screen for an item number that is big enough for a few dozen digits. It would be extremely helpful to all users if there was a way for each user to set their own Purchase Order formats and not have to readjust the coulmns every time they scroll through the item list to see the info that they need to.

  12. Are you certain that when you create a “custom” p o the format will not hold. Tell the accountant to broaden her horizons the concept of profit vs. overhead must prevail.

  13. 2 reasons I grumble about QuickBooks price:

    1. Since I use the payroll function, I have to buy a new version of QuickBooks every 3 years, even though it works fine.

    2. AND, I have to pay almost as much every year for the new payroll function.

    Yes, it’s cheaper than ADP or Paychex, but it’s still a lot of money to write paychecks and pay payroll taxes for 4 employees in 2 companies.

  14. Hi, first of all, above is great work, well done! I havn’t been using the program for long, but am struggling with some areas. It generally has to do with ease of finding items. We only stock approx 1000 items, but finding items takes too long… I have sumarised below.

    4 big gripes about Quickbooks so far:

    1) The price levels are so time consuming to adjust… a) it is very hard to find an item: it would be much better to have a search field so you can quickly find an item, or at least make the item list viewing box larger to fill the entire screen rather than a window in which you can only see 8 items at a time. Any better way to handle this?

    2) Adjusting quantities on hand: it is again very difficult to find an item to scroll down and scan the description by eye rather than to have a search field to find or narrow down the selection shown. Any suggestions?

    3) Invoicing: It would be so much simpler if you could look for an item in the description field as well. Reason being, I would like to use as “item” the same code that the supplier uses, however, if I do this there is no chance of finding items for invoicing, so I have to make up my own internal item codes (instead of using the universal code for the item) for each item as well an having to track the supplier item code.

    4) If the item list would also have the option of showing the manufacturer’s part number it would ease re-ordering significantly. Any suggestions?

    Any suggestions to above would be muchly appreciated.

    Thanks in advance.

  15. I am currently using qb enterprise 11.0 and i wish to know if there is a way to “lock” or “Disable” user/s from changing the item prices while creating invoices or sales orders?


    • Hi Glenn,

      If you click on Company / Users and Roles / Role List / Accounts Receivable, then expand the Customers & Receivables section, you’ll see “Change Item Prices”. Click on that and then change the Activity Access Level from Full to None. That should get you where you want to be.

      Thanks for the question.

      • Hi shannon,

        I’ve checked your instructions and found out that the restriction “change item prices” for that particular role is originally set to none. Stil, users assigned to that role can still change the item prices at will while creating invoices and sales orders.

        is there any other option that i can try?

        thanks so much.

      • Hi shannon,

        let me be specific.. whenever one of the users is creating a sales order or invoice, there is a column on the invoice that says “rate” and “amount”, this is what i am referring to. The user whose “change item prices” is set to none is unable to change the item prices in the item list but IS ABLE to change the value of “rate” and “amount” column during invoice creation.

        i have tried this…
        invoice/customize/customize data layout/column/screen – uncheck “rate”, but the “amount” check box under screen is greyed out. user still able to change value of amount during invoice creation. No joy…

        is there any way to disable this feature?

        thanks so much to anyone who can help with this.

  16. Have used, taught and brought many clients up on QB since 1993. I have had occasions to find glitches (Scan checks wont work with QB2012 running on an WinXP machine). Fortunately because that is a paid subscription, they would help me for free. When something REALLY breaks, support won’t address it unless I have paid support. Recently I had to deactivated online banking for a client and it just blew up and kicked me off. Fours hours later, after two hours of complaining to three different people, they fixed it.

  17. I have been using QB a long time and have 4 very busy medical imaging centers AND TRAVEL ALOT, I FOUND THE ONLINE to be my thing but one of my companies file is too large. I have tried to reduce it many time pls assist

  18. Hi Shannon,

    Have you shared the raw data of this survey anywhere? It will be an interesting insight. Pls let me know

    – Vidya

      • Thanks Shannon for such a quick response. Well, I was actually looking forward for a more detailed one, probably a quick one line summary of each comments by users (may be as a downloadable xls or pdf). It will be good repository to analyse the pro and cons of QB in one shot rather than troweling through the internet. Btw, also just interested to know how many took part in the survey.


  19. Pingback: Three Reasons You Don’t Like QuickBooks and One Reason You Do « QuickBooks and Your Business

  20. Hi, we have a food manufacturing company and use an enterprise software system that costs us $20,000 per year for support and $100,000for the latest upgrade which will be needed in a year or two. We need at least 30 users and the ability to trace lot numbers. I would very much like to see if Quick Books Enterprise might work for us.

    • Chris,

      Needs analysis isn’t our forte here, but it sounds on face value that you’re too big for Enterprise. The max users in Enterprise is 30, and in my opinion, that’s pushing it. Thanks for your question.


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