I have been a QuickBooks user since 1992. When it came out, it was a nifty product, relatively inexpensive at about $59 and did business accounting well. But, every time I upgraded the product after 1999, I ran into serious problems-like not being able to open the data file, download the transactions from the bank or get the payroll to work. And getting technical support from QuickBooks is almost impossible.
QuickBooks always found a way to force the upgrade and I had to upgrade from QuickBooks Pro 2006 to QuickBooks Pro 2009 because they stopped downloading the bank transactions. As a user you got the impression that company that produced nifty products has been taken over by crooks who fleece their customers. Intuit just abused its monopoly in business accounting software. So I stopped upgrading QuickBooks, unless I absolutely had to.
Then I got QuickBooks Premier 2012 [OLD VERSION] through the Amazon Vine program and with some trepidation, I decided to give upgrade a try. I was pleasantly surprised! For the first time in 13 years, the QuickBooks upgraded without major hiccups. Over the last one year, QuickBooks Premier 2012 has worked fairly well.
This time again, I got the opportunity to order QuickBooks Premier 2013 from Amazon Vine program. The installation process for QuickBooks Premier 2013 was very slow, took 12 minutes on an i7 computer with SSD and 8 Gb RAM. But it found and upgraded my 2012 QuickBooks data file after backing up.
Then there were some glitches. During the installation, QuickBooks Premier 2013 insists on an email address and then offers to sync the company file with Intuit servers! Even if you already have a QuickBooks account, clicking on "Validate" does nothing. When you click "Learn more about syncing" it takes to the blank page!
The upgrade to QuickBooks Premier 2013 is not as painless as the upgrade from QuickBooks Pro 2009 to QuickBooks Premier 2012 was. The registration process is long and cumbersome as if I'm a completely new user, even though I have been registering QuickBooks since 1993 with the same email address. You have to input your information all over again, as if you are creating a new account. Terrible.
QuickBooks Premier 13 starts quicker though. And it has a completely new look, in some ways, it is less cluttered and cleaner but the black icon bar is a rather jarring, at least to me. And you cannot change the color of icon bar, if you can, then I have not figured it out yet. Many personal preferences have to be reset again. Many of the problems are still not fixed, for example, you have to create new alias every time you download payments from certain payees like Square credit card. PDF printing is still a nightmare. Unless you can "Save as PDF" from file menu, printing anything to PDF printers like Adobe, Scansoft PDF Create, etc does not work. Technical support is nonexistent. Help topics are incomplete. Improvement compared to QuickBooks 2012 premier - it is faster.
QuickBooks 2013 comes in 4 versions: Online, Pro, Premier and Enterprise. On Intuit website, there is a table which compares the features of 4 versions. For most people, QuickBooks Pro 2013 version should be good enough and most cost effective, it works with QuickBooks payroll. Features of Premier version like creating business plan, consolidating reports from multiple company files, finding and locating inventory tasks etc. are not useful and worth extra money to me.
When it comes to business accounting software with the ability to do payroll, QuickBooks for Windows is pretty much the only game in town. Unfortunately QuickBooks Mac version is not as robust and lacks many of the features of Windows version.
Quickbooks Premier 2013 has some installation glitches, personal preferences have to be reset again, and some problems remain but it is a little faster. So if you already have an older version of QuickBooks, and it's working well, then you will probably gain very little by upgrading to QuickBooks 2013. For most people, QuickBooks Pro 2013 version should work and provide most buck for the bang.