What You Need to Know About QuickBooks 2021
Intuit will promote its QuickBooks Desktop Plus subscriptions this fall in anticipation of the QuickBooks 2021 release. We can expect more features and, possibly, a new pricing structure for various QuickBooks accounting software products.
When Will QuickBooks 2021 Be Released?
Intuit hasn’t announced when they will release the QuickBooks 2021 suite. We can make an educated guess that we’ll see a September release, based on the past few releases dates. Intuit released QuickBooks 2020 on September 16, 2019, and QuickBooks 2019 on September 17, 2018. Our best guess? A good estimate for the QuickBooks 2021 release date is September 14, 2020. The past two releases were on Mondays, and this year, the closest date on a Monday is September 14.
What Will Change in QuickBooks 2021?
QuickBooks 2021 will offer several significant new features and upgrades focused on time management and productivity. We can expect to see:
- Improvements to bank feeds
- Automated invoicing
- Customizable receipts
- Grouping and filtering options for customer management
- Changes in retail availability
- Unlimited customer support included in subscription plans
- Automatic data backup at recovery included in subscription plans
- Automated expense tracking through the QuickBooks Desktop Mobile App
- Add-on cloud access to desktop version
Let’s dive into a few of the most anticipated features that Intuit has announced so far.
Improved Bank Feeds
QuickBooks Desktop users who use the Bank Feed feature can download their transaction history from financial institutions. Ideally, this process is seamless and should work with any financial institution that offers QuickBooks compatibility.
In reality, many users have reported errors and glitches with Bank Feeds. Intuit has taken these complaints to heart, making several improvements to the Bank Feeds feature that should eliminate these issues.
Intuit says Pro and Premier users will be able to download financial data from participating banks through April 2024.
Ability to Send Statements Automatically
Similar to the existing feature that automates the process of attaching purchase orders into invoices, Invoice is introducing an automated statement function. This feature will do exactly what it sounds like: send recurring customer statements automatically. This automation will save users with multiple customers a great deal of time and effort. Currently, they need to work through a manual process of creating and sending statements to individual customers each month.
Customizable Payment Receipts
QuickBooks 2020 allows users to send multiple invoices or receipt attachments in a single email. In the QuickBooks 2021 release, users can customize these recipes.
Intuit says this function will help users gain a clearer picture of their accounts receivable and payable. The update should streamline the receipt process in general.
Rule-Based Customer Groups Creation
QuickBooks customer grouping features will see an upgrade in the 2021 version. Rule-based groups will provide further filtering and sorting options.
QuickBooks 2021 Desktop Subscription Models
Intuit says QuickBooks Desktop customers will unlock additional value, support, and service offerings with the new subscription model. QuickBooks Desktop Pro and Premier Plus subscriptions include benefits customers won’t be able to access if they choose the one-time purchase option.
One-time purchase customers won’t have access to newly announced features, including unlimited customer support, automatic data backup and recovery, receipt automation, and access to the add-on cloud-based remote access available to Pro and Premier Plus users.
Differences Between QuickBooks Desktop Pro and QuickBooks Desktop Premier Plus Subscriptions
QuickBooks Desktop Pro and Premier Plus subscribers will use the same interface as those who opt for the one-time purchase option. Apart from the different payment models — subscribers pay by the month and never own the product — the primary difference is the more limited set of benefits for one-time purchase customers.
Migration from Pro or Premier QuickBooks Desktop to QuickBooks 2021
QuickBooks Pro and Premier QuickBooks Desktop products who want to migrate to one of the new subscription plans can easily switch. The subscription-based QuickBooks Desktop versions will import financial and historical data from these products.
Why Is Intuit Offering New Subscription Plans?
Intuit says customers who shift to a desktop subscription will always have access to QuickBooks' latest supported version. Subscribers benefit from the exclusive features mentioned above, as well as up-to-date security patches as needed.
Intuit also says the company will be prioritizing its resource investment into its subscription offerings with a goal of establishing them as best-in-class, best-value desktop options.
Intuit says their shift to a subscription model is partly in response to the preferences of many of their millions of small business and accounting customers.
What Happens to User Data When a User Cancels a Subscription?
Customers who download QuickBooks subscription products will always own their data. If a customer cancels a subscription, they won’t be able to access the software but will retain their data files, which users can open on a machine with an active license.
The same is true when a subscription expires and a customer reactivates it. Users will still have access to their financial records.
Customer Anticipation for QuickBooks 2021
In years past, industry leaders and QuickBooks customers have waited eagerly for the next iteration of the popular accounting software. Is the same true for the 2021 version?
While QuickBooks hasn’t released much information beyond the basics, many firms hope the new line of products will address many of their concerns. Customer wish lists include a long list of features and functions that they would like to see QuickBooks address or improve in the next upgrade, including:
- More robust reporting capabilities
- Transaction templates
- Item categorization
- Volume discount features
- Better inventory control, including mobile warehouse functions
- Batch transaction entry
- Various usability issues.
Financially, Intuit may be in for some tough months moving into 2021. Small business owners have been hard hit by the economic downturn created in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
The company is already targeting customers who need help working through issues related to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans issued by the federal government in 2020. Perhaps we’ll see additional discounts on Intuit products, including QuickBooks, in response to the anticipated economic slump.
If you’re worried about learning how to use QuickBooks 2021, don’t worry. It’s not too early to pre-order QuickBooks 2021 for Dummies.
Will Pricing Increase for QuickBooks 2021?
Intuit hasn’t released final price points for either their one-time use licenses or subscription plans. We do know that customers will be able to find only the annually renewed QuickBooks Desktop subscription products in physical stores.
Customers who want to make a one-time purchase will need to buy directly from Intuit on the QuickBooks website, through a sales representative over the phone, or from an online retailer.
Intuit indicated that when they release QuickBooks 2021, users will likely see a 25 percent discount for their first year of Desktop subscriptions and a 10 percent discount on one-time license products.
QuickBooks 2021 Black Friday Deals
Intuit usually offers significant discounts as the holiday shopping seasons beings after Thanksgiving. Last year, customers found Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals on QuickBooks 2020 from November 20 through December 1, 2019.
While we can’t predict precisely what kind of deals customers can expect in 2020 for QuickBooks 2021, it’s likely the discounts will reflect similar savings. For Black Friday 2019, Intuit offered:
- Seventy percent off the first three months of QuickBooks 2020 Small Business Online editions service, including the Simple Start, Essentials, Plus, and Advanced versions.
- Up to 70 percent off QuickBooks 2020 Payroll
- Seventy percent off the first three months of QuickBooks 2020 Self-Employed, Self-Employed TurboTax Bundle, or Self-Employed TurboTax Live Tax Bundle
- 33 percent off the first year of QuickBooks Pro Plus 2020
- 40 percent off the first year of QuickBooks Premier Plus 2020
- 50 percent off QuickBooks Point of Sale Software and a free PIN pad with purchase
We can expect that QuickBooks deals for Black Friday 2020 will include deep discounts on the new subscription models.
Do I Have to Upgrade to QuickBooks 2021?
If you use a monthly or annual subscription to access QuickBooks Desktop, upgrades are free of charge and offered to subscribers when the update becomes available. For instance, subscribers could access QuickBooks Desktop 2020 when Intuit released it in September 2019.
Going forward, Intuit is likely to require subscribers to QuickBooks Pro and Premier Plus plans to upgrade in order to keep using QuickBooks. Many QuickBooks products and QuickBooks add-ons require upgrades every three years.
What Happens if I Don’t Upgrade?
We expect QuickBooks Desktop customers who own their products outright to continue using their products after Intuit releases the upgrade. This has been the case in years past. However, these customers will likely need to pay for a customer support plan if they want to have access to support resources.
You can find out more about how Intuit has typically handled upgrades and what to expect in terms of customer support on the company’s support forum.
Should I Wait to Purchase QuickBooks for the first time until QuickBooks 2021 Is Released?
Prior to the 2021 versions, it made sense to wait until the next release after a certain point in the year. Intuit offered customer support for three calendar years with these plans.
This meant that if you purchased QuickBooks Desktop between the September release and December 31, you would not be eligible for as many months of customer support as if you waited to buy in January of the following year.
With the new subscription model benefit of unlimited customer service for Pro and Premier Plus subscribers, this tactic isn’t necessary unless you opt for the one-time use purchase. We expect Intuit to offer similar customer support options with one-time licenses as they did with previous versions.
This situation can leave some buyers in limbo if they want to make their purchase in 2020 before the new release. Intuit suggests calling their support team at (800) 568-0073 to discuss options.
Does QuickBooks Roll Out a New Version Every Year?
Yes. You can expect to see upgraded versions of QuickBooks each fall, as well as updates throughout the year. This is true of the core QuickBooks offerings as well as add-ons for specific tasks like payroll.
Returning from 2020: QuickBooks Cash
Expect to see Intuit promoting its recently launched business bank account, QuickBooks Cash, as part of its QuickBooks 2021 launch. Several prominent financial service providers have started to offer their own bank accounts, surely to save on the fees they lose when partnering with third-party banks. QuickBooks Cash is part of the Green Dot bank family.
Intuit’s QuickBooks Cash targets small business owners. The accounts are free to open with no minimum deposit requirement. There’s also no monthly service fee.
Like similar offerings, QuickBooks Cash is a bit different from typical bank accounts, primarily because it is an online-only product. Other than accessing funds through ATMs, customers can’t interact with the bank in person.
Here are some initial details:
- QuickBooks Cash has a higher-than-most introductory APY at 1 percent.
- Account holders receive a physical debit card to use for purchases and ATM transactions. Not surprisingly, the debit card reconciles seamlessly with QuickBooks.
- Customers have access to their cash within 30 minutes of deposits, even those made on holidays and weekends.
- QuickBooks Cash accounts include a goals-based savings tool feature, Envelopes. Business owners can set aside money and partition it across categories like quarterly taxes, employee bonuses, supplies, and so on.
- QuickBooks Cash Flow Planner gives account holders a dashboard view of their finances, including incoming and outgoing funds tracking.
- AI enhancements predict cash flow over 90 days and can alert business owners of an upcoming potential concern. The tool also makes recommendations for navigating the issue.
New QuickBooks Cash customers will need to work through an approval process, which can take several days.
Enhance QuickBooks Desktop 2021 with Cloud Access
Before signing up for Intuit’s QuickBooks cloud hosting for QuickBooks Desktop 2021, take a good look at the fine print. After all, you’re dealing with private financial data. Secure, dedicated servers for cloud hosting are a must.