The best Mac accounting software won’t just be a facelifted version of PC software. It has to be designed with the Mac user in mind. If you’re an Apple person, all you want is great software, but you’re usually stuck with a poorly built Mac version that was originally designed for PCs.
Mac users value their Apple products because they’re well-built and easy to use–your small business accounting system should have the same strengths. Finding an accounting software that is built only for Macs is possible, but rare.
Software developers usually have a PC-first mindset given that PCs are far more popular than Macs overall. While accounting software with a Mac-specific UI are available, Mac users will find more options to choose from if they are open to online accounting software options.
Intuit’s QuickBooks for Mac is a small business accounting software that can be locally installed or hosted. Core functionalities include:
iCloud document sharing is also available–it lets you share your files between Macs connected through iCloud.
Pricing: QuickBooks Desktop for Mac starts at a one-time fee of $299.95.
AccountEdge Pro is a complete small business accounting and management solution that runs locally on your Mac. The solution is very straight forward to learn–offering ease of use when it comes to inputting sales, recording purchases, running payroll, or building your inventory.
AccountEdge Pro for Mac has long been a full-featured on-premise accounting system for Mac users. With the switch to macOS Catalina, AccountEdge is not able to offer a compliant version of the classic version of Mac. Due to the popularity of the system for the Mac, the developers have promised to release a Catalina-compliant version of the classic version in Fall 2020. The program is still available for Mac-users who have not upgraded to Catalina, by using a Parallels virtual machine environment, or via their hosted version.
AccountEdge features accounts payable, accounts receivable, general ledger, invoicing, time billing, purchase order management, payroll, and inventory management. Business Insights are available to Mac users only–this functionality calculates financial information and provides information on profits, operating balances, and turnover in the fiscal year.
Pricing: AccountEdge Pro for Mac starts at a one-time fee of $199 for single user access or $349 for multi user.
Xero is a popular cloud-based accounting solution that markets heavily towards Mac users. Some functionalities include:
Mobile apps are also available for the iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch to manage your financials on the go. Xero also uses Apple’s Touch ID to increase the security of your data.
Xero acknowledges that while many Mac users prefer a dedicated Apple software, it can be difficult to provide to provide the same features to both Windows and Mac users with separate options. Because of this, their web-based option is cross-platform compatible–mainly to avoid workarounds and to improve the ease of sharing data to PC users (such as an accountant your business may use).
Pricing: Xero’s pricing starts at $9/month for a limited plan that lets you send up to 5 invoices, enter 5 bills, and reconcile 20 bank transactions.
Zoho Books is an online accounting software that lets you manage your financials and banking, automate your sales and purchasing workflows, and even track time and create reports. Zoho Books includes accounting capabilities such as accrual accounting, good control over the chart of accounts, and the ability to create journal entries. Small business owners can create profit and loss statements and balance sheets to monitor the financial health of their business.
Zoho Books has a strong mobile accounting app that is available for iOS and Android devices. The iOS version lets you send invoices, estimates, and account statements to customers within an iMessage app. GPS and Apple Maps can help track mileage and turn it into an expense. Siri can also be used for reminders about transactions. Zoho Books even has an app for the Apple Watch.
Pricing: Zoho Book’s pricing starts at $9/month for the basic version. Yearly pricing is available as a discount over month to month pricing. Additional users start at $2/month.
Mac accounting software helps track your small business income and expenses through a program that runs local to your Mac operating system. This specific type of accounting software is meant to work exclusively for the Mac–meaning your business won’t have to worry about features being released that may only work on a Windows counterpart, or having to run a virtual desktop to use a Windows program.
The best Mac accounting software will appeal to what Mac users love most about their computers and mobile devices:
In recent years, accounting software that runs exclusively on a Mac is becoming harder to find. This is due to an increase in cloud-based accounting software. Since cloud-based accounting software runs via a web-browser (such as Safari, Google Chrome, or Firefox), the solution will work independent of whatever operating you are running on. Rather than cater exclusively to Mac users, many accounting software developers are turning to online accounting software that can serve all operating systems.
On-premise Mac accounting software should be optimized for using the latest iOS devices. This is because Macs are revered as high-end machines with a dedicated user base–ones that clamor for exclusives. These customers do not want to be treated as an afterthought to a Windows version of a program.
A mac accounting software that takes advantage of Mac-specific features will tend to have more success. This includes retina display optimization, the ability to connect via mobile applications on iPhone or iPad, and backup data in Dropbox.
Prior to the cloud, if a software developer wanted to market their product to both Windows and Mac users, they would have to create a product that worked on both. This lead to longer development times. Traditionally, developers focused their efforts on Windows accounting software (or PC-exclusive options that would not work on a Mac) have been more common.
Many software developers now choose to sell a web-based version of their solution–meaning anyone with a web browser, regardless of operating system, can access their program. Cloud-based options have many advantages over traditional on-premise options, such as cost savings, mobility, data recovery via cloud storage, and automatic updates.
Mac users will look for a dedicated accounting software for the following benefits:
Many iOS applications can work alongside one another. Developers that focus on Mac users will want to ensure their accounting software can connect to many of the apps Mac users already know and love. Some simple examples include calendars, email tools, and spreadsheets. It may also include other small business applications used for time-tracking or even payroll.
Macs can be known as a user-friendly system due to the drag and drop capabilities. Mac accounting software is no different–allowing you to easily drag customer data from one file to another, or connect it with a pending invoice or bill. Connections with your CRM or email tools will help even further. Since some software can be picky, you’ll want to ensure the contact details match exactly how the info is listed in any emails or CRM tools. This can help organize what info goes where.
Since MacOS has traditionally been a closed system, they are often considered to be more secure than their competitors. For many years, Windows PCs were susceptible to viruses while Macs were generally safe from this type of malware. While that may no longer be as true as it was years ago, Mac users still perceive their systems as being more secure against hacking and viruses. As such, they desire a product that they can feel secure inputting financial data into.
Mac users will want to look for an accounting software with multiple layers of security. This can at times include a hands-on customer support team that understands your Mac inside and out and can help diagnose any issue that may arrive.
The cost for basic on-premise Mac accounting systems start at $250-$400 (one time charge) for limited user licenses (more licenses add to the cost).
For online Mac accounting software, the price starts at $9/month for very limited solutions to $150/month for more full-featured systems. Cloud accounting software for Mac is usually billed on a subscription-based pricing model–meaning you’ll pay month to month for continued usage and included support.
Free accounting software for Mac is available but usually comes with very limited functionality. In most cases, you will be limited to only one user, so free options are generally used by very small companies or freelancers.
An example of a popular free accounting software option for Mac includes Wave, a popular cloud-based accounting software that works in any web browser. Wave works on both Mac and PC due to it’s web-based nature. It has a free iOS app for invoicing and receipts.