when to upgrade quickbooks

When is it time to upgrade QuickBooks software? 2021 Update

When is it time to upgrade to QuickBooks Desktop Pro 2021?

Last week we had a prospect call in. They were a 75 person company, doing more than $50M in annual revenue. They were using QuickBooks Online. They had several versions cobbled together, they were running most of their reports in Excel, and were incredibly frustrated that their accounting system was holding them back from growth. It was far, far past the time to upgrade to QuickBooks Enterprise, but because no one had told them they had been experiencing pain all year long.

We’ve also worked with legacy companies that have been using QuickBooks or even Quicken products from pre-2000. These companies had maintained the same software and everything was working quite well. Until suddenly it wasn’t. Their computer crashed or got a virus and their QuickBooks became inaccessible. Because they were using such an old version of the software the usual methods for retrieving data or restoring backups were not available and they had to undergo a costly conversion and restoration.

So we wanted to make sure we keep our customers informed on some of the signs it might be time to upgrade to a larger, more robust version of QuickBooks, or at least get on the latest version of the software.


You Need Features in the Latest Release

Intuit released another version of its popular accounting software QuickBooks Enterprise on September 21, 2020. This is the yearly release of the product where they introduce new features. So it is a good idea to check in every September and see what new features Enterprise is offering. A few that were released this year:

  • .IIF File imports
  • Pick, pack & ship
  • Increased management of permission levels
  • Transfer of credits between jobs for a client
  • In-product data file optimization (though we don’t recommend using this feature)
  • Check to pay bill
  • Inactive items in Inventory Valuation Report
  • Reliable sick and vacation pay

Sometimes these new features can be big time savers for your business, so take a look and see if the latest version of QuickBooks Enterprise is going to better meet your needs. If so, then it is time to upgrade!


You are two or more years behind in product

It’s possible not to upgrade to the latest QuickBooks version even as Intuit releases new versions every year.  Because older versions of QuickBooks Desktop (QuickBooks Pro, QuickBooks Premier, and QuickBooks Enterprise) did not operate on a SaaS model and were locally hosted, once you purchased the software it was yours to keep and you never needed to upgrade again if you didn’t want to. We regularly speak with companies who are using versions from as old as 2002.

However, technology moves at a very rapid pace. Hardware and operating systems change, which means older products will struggle to keep up with a more modern computer. There are also new compliance laws each year. How Personally Identifiable Information must be handled continues to change. The release of the EMV Pin Pad meant a huge hardware change just in the last 2 years.

Furthermore, Intuit drops support for its QuickBooks software following a three-year cycle. This is known as their discontinuation policy. This means that your business won’t be able to get any technical support from Intuit and your software will lose some functions, including third-party features, which might be vital to your business operations.

Intuit typically advises users when their current software will be phased out and offers deep discounts for upgrading. Once that upgrade period has passed you’re going to pay full price for the upgrade and will typically need to engage a conversion specialist like Fourlane to assist with converting your data since the in-product upgrade feature will no longer work.

So, for example, if you purchased QuickBooks 2019, you should upgrade before the end of 2021. This will give you the latest features and ensure continuity of operations. However, if you’re using QuickBooks 2019, you may be able to get another year out of the product. Keep in mind, you will need to upgrade next year.

You are changing operating systems

If your company is planning to change its computer operating system (OS), then upgrading is mandatory. This is particularly important if you are shifting from Windows OS to Mac, as Intuit has now revived QuickBooks Desktop for Mac. You could ostensibly keep running your original QuickBooks and access it on your Mac with QuickBooks Hosting, but you may want to weigh the pros and cons of using native software.

If you do not upgrade at this time you will likely experience data corruption and file issues. It’s crucial to avoid these errors when your business relies on generating the right numbers for sales and productivity.

Our consultants have a detailed list of system requirements for each version and can help you determine which software will be best.


Your business is growing

In some cases, QuickBooks users of Pro or Premier may need to upgrade to QuickBooks Enterprise because the business has grown and the other versions can no longer sustain the amount of data processed in the software. QuickBooks Enterprise can handle a much, much larger volume of data, and has more advanced features available to help make sense of that data.

There is no hard and fast rule of exactly when you need to upgrade. There are some professional services companies that do 1-2 large transactions a month, don’t have inventory, and for them, QuickBooks Pro will work just fine. But here are a few signs you are more than likely ready for QuickBooks Enterprise:

  • You’re forecasting $1M+ in annual gross revenue for the next fiscal year
  • You have inventory (especially if you do any kind of kitting or make-stock)
  • You are processing more than 30 transactions/month.
  • You have 15 or more employees
  • You are processing payroll inside QuickBooks (some QuickBooks Enterprise editions include payroll so it can be much cheaper to go with an all in one package)
  • Your file size is larger than 150MB

If you don’t upgrade, the system might become sluggish with performance issues, which commonly happens when there’s too much data to process every day.

The file size limit for the Pro and Premier versions is up to 250MB only, but things really slow down after 200MB, especially if you are doing a high volume of transactions. The profile supported, which comprises customers, employees, and vendors, is up to 14,500 only. QuickBooks Pro and Premier also allow just three to five user access within the company. Enterprise, on the other hand, can support the tracking of 100,000 profiles and 30+ users across different sites. 

QuickBooks Enterprise also provides an online data backup of files, invoices, documents, and even graphics for Enterprise users. The file size limit for this software is non-existent. Your operations may cross the 1GB threshold but the QB Enterprise will still run flawlessly (although once you get above 3GB it may be time to do a manual condense)

Need help with your QuickBooks upgrade?

Contact us via phone, email, or live chat, and one of our specialists can help you determine if and when you need to upgrade and help you get the best deal on software.

1 thought on “When is it time to upgrade QuickBooks software? 2021 Update”

  1. I think it’s time to upgrade to the 2021 update! QuickBooks is a great tool and I’m excited to see what new features are included in the update.

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