The market for accounting software on Mac is constantly changing so we’ve taken a look at the best accounting software for Mac in 2017. Dealing with invoices, payments, taxes and payrolls is time consuming and tedious but good accounting software can make it much easier for you to focus on actually running your business. Increasingly, accounting software for Mac is moving online such as the excellent Xero but here we’ve reviewed a balanced mix of both cloud based and desktop Mac accounting software. Note that if you’re just looking for something to manage your own personal finances better, you’ll probably find our look at the best Quicken For Mac alternatives more useful as it features the best personal finance apps for Mac. The Mac accounting apps reviewed here are suitable for all recent versions of OS X and macOS including El Capitan and Sierra.
In the past, the problem for Mac users used to be that it was difficult to find accounting software on Mac that measured up to the features found on their Windows equivalents meaning that Mac users had no choice but to run Windows on Mac using software such as Parallels. However, the good news is that there’s no need anymore to settle for accounting software that’s simply been poorly ported from Mac to PC. Most of the biggest accounting software developers have woken up to the fact that there are more and more Mac users running small businesses or professional accountants that have switched to Mac.
There’s now therefore plenty of choice but there are still some important issues you should be aware of before deciding which accounting program is best for you.
- Mac Accounting Software vs Online Accounting Software
Nowadays you’ll find that there is plenty of accounting software out there which claims to be “for Mac” but in reality is Cloud based and works via a web browser. Although there’s nothing wrong with this and cloud software even offers several advantages over desktop software, it’s important to understand that they don’t have a Mac desktop app or client. One of the biggest advantages of Cloud software is that it works on any device – so it doesn’t matter if you switch between Mac and Windows – and it doesn’t require software updates or any maintenance. The biggest disadvantage for most people is that it usually requires a monthly subscription rather than a one-off fee although if you add-up the number of upgrade costs when new versions of desktop software are released, you may find that the difference isn’t that big in the long run. Here we’ve reviewed both desktop and online accounting software so that you can choose which one is best for you.
- Cross Compatibility In PC/Mac Workplaces
If you need to give an accountant access to your accounts, then ideally they should also be working on a Mac. However, this isn’t an issue on software such as Xero which allows you to easily invite accountants to access your data file no matter what platform they’re working on. There is also however desktop Mac accounting software such as QuickBooks 2016 and MoneyWorks CashBook which have apps for both Mac and Windows and allow you to interchange files on both Mac and PC (although note that the latest version of QuickBooks for Mac 2017 has now moved online too). The problem is that this can be more cumbersome than it should be due to the different architecture of Windows and OS X. In general, if you’re going to be dealing with accountants or colleagues on different platforms, you’re probably better to go for an online accounting software on Mac.
- Integration With CRM & Third Party Apps
If you use project management software on Mac (such as one of these Microsoft Project for Mac alternatives) or use CRM software for Mac, it’s useful to check whether the accounting software you choose is compatible with it. This is particularly important for growing businesses to make life easier or if you intend on using your app closely alongside other apps installed on your Mac. A good example of a Mac accounting software that’s well integrated with a CRM tool is Accounted which integrates with the excellent CRM tool Studiometry for Mac. Apart from CRM apps, you may also want to check whether the software integrates with productivity apps such as Evernote, OneNote or one of the many excellent OneNote for Mac alternatives to make life easier.
- Customer Support
Any business application such as accounting software needs good customer support because when things go wrong, the consequences can be disastrous or extremely stressful for you and your business. Things to look for are whether the developer offers 24/7 support, type of support such as email, phone, live chat, premium support etc. Also useful are forums on the developer site where you can often get quick answers from other users about problems or issues you may be having.
- Additional User Support
Most developers limit the amount of users that can be using accounting software at one time or charge for each extra user you want added. Some don’t even support more than one user editing a file or account at one time. If you’re going to be collaborating with other users, make sure there are no such limits and check exactly what a license entitles you to. In this respect, Cloud software is often advantageous if large numbers of people are going to be editing the accounts such as Xero which allows unlimited users for free.
- Consider Using A Dedicated Payroll Service
If you want accounting software to handle payrolls on Mac, we generally recommend you use a dedicated payroll service instead. However this is changing slowly and now both Xero and QuickBooks both offer robust integrated Payroll software. Apart from these however, accounting software on Mac doesn’t handle payroll very well due to forever changing tax rules in different States and geographical regions. A dedicated payroll service will keep your tax tables up to date and tax returns current thus avoiding penalties and probably work out cheaper and less stressful in the long run. The disadvantage of this however is that the figures from the payroll service must then be entered manually into the accounting software you choose on your Mac unless it features third-party accounting integration.
With these things in mind, here we take a closer look at the top accounting software for Mac users in 2017.
- 1 Best Accounting Software For Mac
- 1.1 1. Xero ($9+ per month)
- 1.2 2. QuickBooks Mac Online 2017 ($10+/month – Special Offer: Up To 50% Off)
- 1.3 3. MoneyWorks Cashbook For Mac (Free)
- 1.4 4. MoneyWorks Gold ($499 – Free Trial)
- 1.5 5. AccountEdge Basic ($99 Mac App Store)
- 1.6 6. AccountEdge Pro ($399)
- 1.7 7. Accounted ($79.99 Mac App Store)
- 1.8 8. Express Accounts Plus ($129.99 Mac App Store)
- 1.9 9. Easy Books ($9.99+/month)
- 1.10 10. GnuCash (Free)
- 1.11 11. Accountek ($499+)
- 1.12 12. ZipBooks (Free)
- 2 Conclusion
Best Accounting Software For Mac
Xero for Mac is easily the best accounting app for Mac users in terms of interface, features and ease of use. One of the reasons for this is that Xero has been designed specifically to work on Apple devices and it’s the closest thing you’ll find to an official Apple accounting software. Xero promotes itself as “Beautiful Accounting Software” with over 1,000,000 users and there’s no denying it looks like an accounting app that’s been tailor made for the aesthetics of OS X and macOS.
The main dashboard is one of the most useful features as it conveniently summarizes the most important accounting data of your business in a snapshot. You can easily switch between tabs such as Accounts, Payroll, Reports, Contacts etc and within each tab, you can easily move around the different widgets so that you can customize it how you want.
The Accounts tab also provides a very succinct and clear overview of the status of your invoices.
Apart from good looks though, Xero offers some serious advantages over other accounting software on Mac.
One of the most valuable additions to Xero has been payroll accounting. Although we generally advise using a separate payroll software, Xero’s payroll system is extremely simple to use and constantly updated to keep apace of payroll law changes in each US State (note that a few States are still pending support by Xero).
If you don’t like Xero’s payroll feature however, it also offers third party integration with professional payroll software Deputy although it has now dropped support for Payment Evolution and Simple Pay.
Invoicing is very straightforward in Xero with slick customizable templates, convenient automated payment reminders and “PayNow” integration with PayPal so that you can get paid on receipt. This makes it easier to get paid faster, track payments and generally automate invoicing as much as possible. If you don’t want to use Xero’s invoicing system, it is also integrated with almost 100 other third party invoicing services.
Mobile integration is one of Xero’s strongest features and we like the way users can easily issue invoices the moment a job has been completed via the Xero Touch iOS app for iPhone and iPad. Xero Touch also takes photos of receipts so you can make your business as paperless as possible and with real time reporting, you can see exactly what employees or authorized users are invoicing for in real time out in the field.
There’s even now an app for the iWatch which alerts you to balance changes and new transactions.
Xero Pricing is divided into 3 different plans which vary mainly according to how many invoices, transactions and employees you want to add to the Payroll (if any). The great thing about all Xero plans is that you can invite as many other users as you want for free. This is in stark contrast to QuickBooks which limits the amount of users that can access your accounts depending on the pricing plan you’ve got.
The Xero Starter Plan starts at $9 a month but is limited to 5 bills/invoices and reconciling of 20 bank transactions but there’s no payroll or multi currency support included. The Standard Plan is $30 per month and allows unlimited invoicing/billing/reconciling and support for up to 5 users. Finally the Xero Premium 10 Plan starts at $70 per month and includes multi-currency support and support for up to 10 users. There’s also the Premium 20 plan for $90 and 20 additional users and Premium 100 plan for $180 per month which supports a maximum of 100 people.
Xero is very focused on the small business market and offers various incentives to get people on board although unfortunately, some deals are only region specific. For example UK startups get 50% off Xero for the first 12 months. Xero UK Pricing is also slightly different to the US with plans starting at £10 per month and up to 5 payroll employees for free for 3 months and and then £5 month thereafter plus £ per month for each additional person up to a maximum of 200 people. All plans allow you to manage and submit VAT online but the Standard and Premium Plans allow unlimited transactions and only the Premium supports multi currencies.
The only slight downside to Xero is that it’s still a relatively new player in the accounting market and not many accountants use it yet. You can however easily give access to any accountant to view and access your accounts and there’s an official list of accountants that use Xero. Xero also offers an online QuickBooks to Xero conversion service which simply requires you to upload a QuickBooks file and Xero does the rest.
Xero is the quality of accounting software that Mac users have waited too long for. It looks superb on both Mac and iOS, it’s ridiculously easy to use and it’s clear that a lot of TLC has gone into it. You can try a 30 day free trial of Xero first to judge for yourself and you can also watch an useful overview of the Xero dashboard below.
Looks tailor made for Mac
Clear, well designed interface
Allows an unlimited number of additional users for free
Excellent mobile integration
Can be used on any platform
Easy to use integrated payroll software
No native Mac client
Not widely used by accountants yet but easy to invite them in
QuickBooks is one of the most widely used accounting software packages by accountants worldwide with over 4 million users according to the developer Intuit. Intuit originally owned Quicken for Mac although they have since sold it to HIG (see our Quicken for Mac 2017 review for more). It’s important to be aware from the the start that QuickBooks used to be a desktop only application but QuickBooks For Mac 2016 was the last desktop version of QuickBooks for Mac ever to be released. QuickBooks Mac Online 2017 is based completely online with the advantage that you can run it on any platform including Mac, PC and mobile. Although you can still buy the desktop version of QuickBooks For Mac 2016, it isn’t as complete as QuickBooks 2017 and Intuit has said it will stop supporting QuickBooks For Mac 2016 by the end of 2019 anyway. It’s therefore highly advisable to go for QuickBooks 2017 as it’s clearly the future that Intuit are taking with the product and it offers more functionality than the old desktop version at no extra cost such as automatic downloading of bank transactions and multi-user access as you can see below.
Whether you choose to use the 2016 desktop version or the 2017 online version, QuickBooks For Mac requires you to sign-up for an Intuit account and login. QuickBooks has been in the accounting game a long time and has perfected a very clean, slick interface that makes it very easy to see your overall finances.
The QuickBooks for Mac 2016 desktop client offers a few advantages in terms of integration with OS X and macOS in the form of QuickView which sits in your Menu Bar and allows you to have an instant overview of activity on your accounts.
Management of QuickBooks is slightly more convenient in the 2016 Mac application too as you can have multiple Windows open rather than trying to do everything in browser tabs.
The big disadvantage of the desktop version however is in mixed PC/Mac environments such as Offices or homes with both Mac and Windows users. In the online version, giving accessing to accountants on PC on swapping files with PC users is easy. In the desktop version however, you must do what’s called round tripping in QuickBooks which means converting files from Mac to PC and vice-versa. There are no such problems if you want to view or edit QuickBooks on iOS though – QuickBooks for iPad and QuickBooks for iPhone are available although the functionality and features are quite limited.
QuickBooks integrates with your bank so that you can make payments online and download transactions automatically. However, be aware that this doesn’t always work with all banks even if in theory it’s supposed to although you should have no problems with major institutions such as Chase, Bank Of America and Wells Fargo. This is a problem that also affects Intuit’s Quicken For Mac products and can be frustratingly random with which banks it actually works with as there’s no official incompatibility blacklist. It can be incredibly frustrating, confusing and embarrassing for your business when QuickBooks reports that a payment has been made to a client and yet further investigation with your bank reveals that the bank wire hasn’t actually been made. This isn’t always the fault of QuickBooks – sometimes it’s down to the banks themselves breaking compatibility with third party software but we strongly recommend using Intuit’s Financial Institution Search to see if yours is officially supported. If you’re business accepts payments via third party services such as PayPal or Shopify, QuickBooks also integrates with them so that all your payments and invoices are automatically logged. This includes invoicing and QuickBooks also offers free invoice templates even for non QuickBooks users.
Although QuickBooks is no substitute for a tax filing software, it does make it very easy to track expenses so that you can download them and submit sales tax information. It is integrated with Intuit’s tax filing software TurboTax although we recommend reading our guide to the best tax software for Mac for more on this.
Most recently QuickBooks has integrated enhanced Payroll software which allows you to pay employees with free direct debit transfers directly from the application. You can actually pay federal and state payroll taxes direct from QuickBooks without any need for other tax software as well as print and file W2s. This comes an extra cost of $19 per month however and $2 per employee per month. There’s also a more expensive Full Payroll services for $49 per month which includes one-on-one tax consultation from Intuit which will pay any penalties on your behalf if taxes aren’t made on time.
Although you can purchase QuickBooks for Mac via other retailers, you’re much better off buying directly from QuickBooks Online as you can currently get up to 50% off for up to 6 months. There are three different versions – Simple Start, Essentials and Plus and you can see the difference between them below. All plans include the ability to send and track invoices, expenses, manage estimates and sync bank accounts but Essentials allows you to manage and pay bills and generate instant profit and sales report. Plus allows you to track inventory and prepare 1099s. Note that Payroll features come at extra cost for all plans.
QuickBooks is arguably the most professional accounting software out there for small businesses. If you use Quicken for Mac and are happy with it, it’s highly recommended although the switch from desktop to online may not please everyone.
You can also watch an easy to follow tutorial of what the latest version of QuickBooks 2017 can do below. You can also sign-up for a free trial of QuickBooks for Mac to see what you think for yourself. If you’re just starting out in business, we also recommend Intuit’s free How To Start A Business Guide.
Widely used by accountants
Lots of powerful features
Generally easy to use and navigate
Works on any platform
Switch from desktop to online may not be popular with Mac users
Online banking integration may not always work
Payroll costs extra
If you’re looking for a simple, free desktop accounting application for your Mac then MoneyWorks Cashbook could be for you. MoneyWorks Cashbook is a light version of the highly acclaimed MoneyWorks Gold (see next review below) for Mac and PC. It features much of the functionality of MoneyWorks Gold but is completely free to use although you need to sign-up for a free online subscription (note that it used to be available via the Mac App Store but now all MoneyWorks products are only available direct from the developer). If you want a free accounting app for Mac that’s suitable for use in a PC/Mac environment, then Cashbook is ideal as it instantly opens and edits files from either platform.
Cashbook supports double entry general or nominal ledgers, detailed reports and even allows you to compile a useful customer database. It’s also setup for taxes in different regions including sales taxes in the USA, GST in Canada and VAT in the UK. MoneyWorks Cashbook gives you a clear overview of how your business is doing with revenue, profit and costs clearly displayed in graphs and charts.
The Cashbook version is not really suitable for running a small business and is aimed more at organizations that handle cash such as clubs and societies. However but there are different versions of MoneyWorks which are suitable for small business use depending on the needs of your business (see comparison table below). Make sure you read the MoneyWorks features comparison overview before deciding which one you really need.
If you just want a simple free bookkeeping software for Mac to use a cashbook and general ledger, MoneyWorks Cashbook is an excellent solution considering it’s completely free. You can see an overview of how MoneyWorks Cashbook works below:
Free to use
Supports double entry ledgers
Customized for regional taxes
Supports online banking (depends on region)
Not suitable for small businesses
Doesn’t support multi-users
Interface a bit dated
MoneyWorks Gold is a vastly enhanced version of MoneyWorks Cashbook and an extremely powerful accounting software for Mac and Windows. MoneyWorks Cashbook is definitely suitable for small to medium sized businesses, you can interchange Mac and PC files instantly and it supports multiple users. If you include integration with MoneyWorks DataCenter, you can even have a Mac and a PC user editing the same accounts sheet at the same time on one server (although this costs extra). You can also limit the rights of individual users to edit documents similar as you can with applications such as Microsoft Word and Excel. Even better, your accountant has no excuse not to use it because for every copy you buy, MoneyWorks provide a free version for your accountant to use. MoneyWorks Gold doesn’t quite have the slick, easy to use interface of QuickBooks, but it still gives a non-nonsense clear overview of your accounts:
It supports most major accounting needs including Cashbook, Accounts Receivable, Accounts Payable, Sales and Purchase Analysis and more. Like the Cashbook version, MoneyWorks Gold also supports a huge number of reports and you can customize the tax rates for your region although some such as GST in Canada and VAT in the UK are already included.
There’s a huge price difference between Cashbook (Free) and Gold ($499 or $28.08 per month) and again, we highly recommend you check the Moneyworks product overview to see which one is right for you. To see whether MoneyWorks Gold is right for your business, there’s also a 45 day Moneyworks Gold for Mac free trial. Note that there’s also something in between MoneyWorks Gold and MoneyWorks Cashbook called MoneyWorks Express which unlike Cashbook, includes automatic invoicing but lacks the advanced multi-user functionality in MoneyWorks Gold.
More advanced features than MoneyWorks Cashbook
Support for multi-users
Suitable for small businesses and professional accountants
No payroll support
AccountEdge Basic is a slimmed down version of AccountEdge Pro, formerly known as MYOB and one of the most established accounting software packages on Mac. Having been on Mac for over 15 years now, AccountEdge products do feel a bit dated compared to software such as Xero and QuickBooks but it still retains a loyal following and is suitable for small businesses or cash based charities, clubs and societies.
AccountEdge is based on double entry accounting and includes inventory management, time-billing and mileage tracking. AccountEdge Basic is well organized and supports a wide range of accounting features such as Sales & Invoicing, Online Banking (support for OFX, QFC and QIF files), Invoicing, Reporting and Customer Databases. There’s even an option web store which you can sync with the app so that your inventory and accounts are immediately linked.
The interface in AccountEdge Basic feels a bit dated and there’s not much scope for customization of invoices which look a bit amateur for business use.
AccountEdge is also one of the few accounting apps on Mac that still supports writing and printing of checks.
At $99, AccountEdge Basic is a lot cheaper than AccountEdge Pro (see below) and because it’s available on the Mac App Store, there’s no messing around with activation codes, serial numbers and customer codes required in the Pro version. You can also install it on two machines so for example, you could install it on a desktop iMac and a MacBook.
You can watch an overview of the main features in AccountEdge Basic below:
Ideal for cash based clubs or societies
No flashy features or bloated interface
Allows installation on two Macs
Dated interface and features
No online banking integration
Invoice customization limited
No payroll or multi-user PC/Mac support
If you’re a more serious small to medium sized business then AccountEdge Pro does offer some serious advantages over AccountEdge Basic. One of them is support for both Mac and PC users to exchange files and work on accounts simultaneously. AccountEdge Pro also takes a slightly different easier-on-the-eye flowchart approach to accounting. Everything starts with AccountEdge Pro’s “Command Center” menu along the top of the interface which divides the application into 7 different areas – Accounts, Banking, Sales, Time Billing, Purchases, Inventory and Card. You can sub navigate through Recent and Favorite sub sections using the menu in the right sidebar.
AccountEdge Pro is strong on payroll functionality for each US state although as we stated at the beginning of this article, we strongly recommend using a dedicated payroll software for payroll accounting. The mileage tracking is another feature that AccountEdge Pro does better than the competition allowing you to accurately track distance covered in vehicles owned by your company. Time billing is also very well done with the option of allowing contractors and employees to log into the Time Tracker web app and record working hours which go directly into AccountEdge. However, if employee tracking is an important part of your business, there are better dedicated Time Billing applications for Mac such as Billings Pro For Mac which automatically generates invoices too.
One other nice feature of AccountEdge Pro is that you can extend it with add-ons such as the Checkout Point Of Sale add-on, the aforementioned Time Tracker and online store Enstore. There’s also a companion AccountEdge iOS app for iPad and iPhone although it’s very basic. If you use Shopify to sell your inventory, AccountEdge Pro is also integrated with that.
As stated earlier though, the overall look and feel of both AccountEdge Basic and Pro is quite dated though. The developer Acclivity hasn’t modernized it much since it’s original release on OS X though and it certainly doesn’t take advantage of the graphics potential and processing power in new Macs. You can try a free trial of AccountEdge Pro to see for yourself.
There’s some nifty new features in the latest version of AccountEdge Pro 2017 and you can get an overview of them below:
Well established on Mac
Supports online banking
Desktop app via the App Store
Switch files between Mac and PC
Limited reports features
Accounted is a surprisingly good accounting software for Mac that often goes under the radar. Accounted is a no-nonsense, easy to use accounting app which covers all the basic needs of a small business. Accounted is based on a double entry accounting system and has some interesting features such as check printing, support for importing from PayPal and the possibility to sync Accounted with Studiometry, a powerful Customer Relationship Manager and one of the best CRM for Mac software available.
Accounted is particularly suitable for those companies or freelancers that deal in multiple currencies. It not only supports a wide range of currencies but even automatically updates exchange rates.
The reporting features in Accounted aren’t particularly sophisticated or flashy but they’re comprehensive and give a clear balance sheet overview of the state of your accounts.
If your business relies heavily on PayPal transfers, then Accounted is an excellent choice due to PayPal syncing which is easy to setup with your PayPal address and works seamlessly. Accounted will import all of your PayPal transactions so you can immediately compile accounts of deposits and withdrawals. Accounted also still supports printing of checks.
There’s no online banking support though and all exporting of data is limited to text files. Even though there is QIF importing, there’s no exporting which makes it almost impossible to take your data with you if you choose to move to another application.
Accounted is overall, a very accomplished accounting software for Mac that does exactly what it says with minimum fuss, has some handy unique features and is definitely worth checking-out if you’re a Studiometry user. If you’ve been struggling with just using Excel spreadsheets to track your finances, Accounted is a much better, cheap solution.
Updated exchange rates
Easy to use
Integration with Studiometry
No online banking support
Very limited export features
Express Accounts Plus isn’t exactly the best looking accounting software for Mac but for those that don’t need glossy charts and reports, it’s extremely good at what it does. Express Accounts Plus is aimed more at professional accountants enabling you to track sales, record recurring orders and automatically update reports as invoices are paid.
The reporting features are particularly good with over 20 different reports to choose from but presentation of them is very basic. Express Accounts Plus also allows you to log-in via the web to update accounts and supports multiple users editing accounts at one time. The web app can be accessed from any device with an internet connection as it connects through an IP address.
On the downside, there’s no online banking support, no support for multiple currencies and it’s not customized for different tax regions.
Real time updating of reports on invoice payment
No online banking support
No regional tax customization
Easy Books is a British based, professional accounting software solution with, as the name suggests, a very user friendly and easy approach to the accounting. If you’re new to accounting or have just started a new business, Easy Books is an ideal way to get started in the often complex world of accounting. Easy Books used to be customizable according to your needs with in-app purchase add-ons after downloading it from the Mac App Store. However, it’s now moved to a subscription model meaning that you no longer have to add functionality to it and simply choose from a pricing plan instead. For example, you used to have to pay for add-ons for Transactions ($79.99), Time Tracking ($12.99), Invoicing ($32.99) and Online Syncing ($32.99) and it soon added up to quite an expensive application. Now you either subscribe to a plan – Bronze ($9.99), Silver ($11.99) or Gold ($14.99) depending on what features you need. If you’re a small business, you’ll need at least the Silver or Gold plan which support customer invoicing and time tracking. Gold also supports attachments and multi-currencies.
Easy Books is very easy on the eye, the iOS syncing is excellent and it automatically backs-up everything to the cloud. The iOS app in particular is one of the best and most functional we’ve seen in any accounting application and has recently been updated to allow you to take photos of documents to attach to your accounts.
If you need a simple accounting software with specific elements that’s tastefully designed, then Easy Books is worth looking at. However, many existing users have not been impressed by the move to a subscription model and some have felt held “hostage” by the developer over access to their data and need to upgrade in order to receive support. As mentioned earlier, subscription models are an increasingly common way for developers of all kinds of software to fund their work although it doesn’t always go down well with loyal users.
Most recently Easy Books has added useful support for adding PDFs and other documents to entries to help with referencing. You can watch how to duplicate and repeat transaction in Easy Books for Mac below which gives you a good idea of the overall interface, functionality and ease of use. If you’re new to accounting and have just started a small business, Easy Books is a great choice. For those seeking online banking integration and advanced accounting features, it will feel a bit limited.
Easy to use compared to a lot of accounting software
Excellent iOS app, integration and online syncing
No longer a desktop app, subscription only
No online banking integration yet
GnuCash is a free open source accounting software for Mac which has been around for over 20 years and is still going strong on Mac. Like most open source software, GnuCash is maintained by a dedicated group of programmers and accountants who regularly update the program.
GnuCash is quite complex and the interface isn’t exactly refined for Macs but if you’re comfortable with double-entry ledgers and bookkeeping, it’s definitely worth time investing in learning how to use it. It’s also designed to be used not only as an accounting app, but also a personal finance software for Mac users with support for stocks and mutual fund accounts. There are many powerful aspects to GnuCash including a Checkbook-Style register, Scheduled Transactions, Reports, Statement Reconciliation, Income and Expense account types and more. You can check out the full list of GnuCash features here but if you’re looking for a free accounting software on Mac, aren’t concerned about a polished interface and have time to learn it, GnuCash is a powerful accounting software that doesn’t cost a dime.
You can watch a basic overview of how to use GnuCash below:
Free to use
Suitable for both accounting and personal finance
Lots of tutorials
Lacks online banking integration
Accountek is a powerful business accounting software for Mac users which is available both as a desktop and cloud version. Accountek is certainly aimed atcompanies and you can use it simultaneously on both Mac and PC at the same time so there’s no problem with cross-platform incompatibilities. Accountek also provides custom made solutions and implementations for companies so if you’re looking to implement an accounting software across a large enterprise, it’s worth looking into. For very small businesses or sole traders it’s definitely going to be a bit too much.
Accountek offers a range of different services starting with the Connected Core Accounting service which costs $499. This is the most suitable for small business accounting and offers an auditable accounting solution but without inventory management or job costing. For the latter you’ll need the Connected Enterprise version which starts at $999. Finally, Accountek offers a cloud solution Connected On Demand which can be accessed securely anywhere but uses a subscription model starting at $45 per month. There’s also support for Payroll customized depending on whether you are in the USA or Canada.
Accountek is a very solid, robust enterprise worthy accounting solution for both Mac and PC users although you’re probably best contacting them directly to decide which of their solutions is best for you. You can also try a free trial of Accountek’s accounting software.
To get a better idea of how it looks and works, you can watch an overview of Accountek’s Core Accounting solutions below:
Scaleable from small business to enterprise
Clean, organized interface
Both desktop Mac client and online
PC and Macs can work on accounts simulataneously
Basic version is quite expensive
Payroll support costs extra
The final bookkeeping software for Mac we’re going to look at is a free cloud based solution ZipBooks. Although it’s an online accounting software, ZipBooks has been designed with Mac users in mind and is being marketed as a free alternative to QuickBooks and the popular Mac Canadian accounting software FreshBooks. Although ZipBooks is a recent arrival, it already has very similar functionality to both QuickBooks and FreshBooks but with a cheaper, more flexible pricing plan
ZipBooks is aimed at business-owners for invoicing and simple accounting processes so that you don’t need to be an accountant to organize your company’s finances. It’s ideal if you need to regulate cash flows, organize accounting files and use it’s online invoicing software to speed up billing and payment with ease. You can do everything you’d expect from a simple accounting software package for Mac such as invoice, track expenses, and generally keep your own books in order for tax season.
In general, ZipBooks feels considerably better tailored for OS X whereas accounting software such as QuickBooks was initially designed for PC users rather than Mac users. Getting started with ZipBooks is easy enough. You must first sign up for ZipBooks with an email address and choose a password. Alternatively, you can also sign-up through Facebook, Google, or LinkedIn.
If you’re only going to use ZipBooks yourself you can dive right in and get started but if you intend on using it with other people in your company or team, you can add as many team members as you need for free. You can create individual profiles and select permissions based on the role each team member has in the company. For example, you can allow a partner full access to your ZipBooks account, while only allowing other team members to manage invoices, customer profiles, and track their time.
Once you’ve done that, you need to create a project by naming it and then attaching it to a customer and setting a billing method and hourly rate. ZipBooks is a good choice for those that want something to run alongside project management software on Mac because it’s got some pretty good project time tracking and billing tools. You can bill by project, task, staff rate, or a flat amount. You can assign different projects to different team members by checking the box next to their user names.
You can track time spent on projects via the simple time tracker. The time tracker is definitely more straightforward than in QuickBooks at least which can be confusing and takes time to learn how to use properly. In ZipBooks you simply launch the time tracker, select the project and task you will be working on and make any notes you need. You can start and stop the timer to keep track of time while you work, or add time manually from the “time tracking” tab. There’s also a ZipBooks Safari Extension which enables you to track time directly from your browser.
Online banking is supported in ZipBooks although it’s not clear which banks it actually works with. ZipBooks claim you can sync your bank account to add expenses automatically or add a new expense manually by entering the date, amount, vendor, expense category, and the customer you will bill. These details, as well as any notes you make, can be gathered into an invoice when you’re ready to bill a client.
Creating estimates to send to clients is very straightforward too. Creating a new estimate is in exactly the same format as creating a new invoice, so if you’ve mastered invoicing, you’ll be able to create estimates very quickly. You can save as many invoices as you like for reference or send them to clients as needed. Once you’ve created an invoice and an estimate, you can create a client inside the invoice view and add tasks and/or items that you need to bill for. If you create a customer first and use the time tracker, you can also include project work and tracked time according to the rate that you set when you first created the project. ZipBooks provides a default template which includes most fields that you need to speed things up a bit.
One nice added extra of ZipBooks compared to QuickBooks is that you don’t have to pay extra to set up for a recurring invoice profile. If you send out lots of regular invoices to the same client every month, this can be very useful. You can create a recurring profile for free by selecting the client you wish to invoice, selecting the projects and tasks to bill them for, the hours you routinely work on for those project and how often you’d like to invoice them. You can set a limit on how many times you’d like a recurring invoice sent so you don’t accidentally bill them too many times.
You can integrate payment from PayPal, Visa, Mastercard and American Express although it does charge a payment fee processing charge. Accepting Visa, Mastercard and PayPal costs 2.9% + $0.30/transaction. However, even if you choose not to use ZipBooks’s payment processing partners, you can still use ZipBooks for free. When creating a new or recurring invoice, you can opt to accept credit card payment. Once an invoice is opened, your clients will be able to pay directly from their email inboxes. By using Auto-Bill, your clients only have to enter their credit card information once and it will charge them every time with the same card. If your clients accept payments by credit cards, this definitely saves hassle when it comes to chasing-up payments or relying on bank transfers every month.
After payment is made, you will also be sent a payment receipt. ZipBooks automatically sends out a receipt if the payment is processed by ZipBooks credit credit card integration to let your client know that you have received their payment. You can also send a receipt if you enter a manual payment.
As the year progresses, you can keep track of your invoicing, income and outgoings via the ZipBooks dashboard. This is useful for reviewing cash flows with simple interactive charts and graphs.
There’s also a handy overview of how much you’ve billed specific clients for so you can see at a glance who are your most profitable clients.
ZipBooks definitely looks good and works well on Mac and since it’s entirely cloud based, it allows you to access your information from Mac, PC or mobile via the browser. ZipBooks also provides generous free access to all features, including unlimited clients, unlimited team members and recurring invoice profiles. This can be a big advantage if your business is growing quickly but not making big profits yet.
ZipBooks is definitely worth considering if you’re open to cloud based software and want something completely free to start with. ZipBooks is ideal for small business owners that need a simple accounting software for Mac that’s easy to use. Even though the basic version is free (apart from the payment processing costs if you choose to use their payment partners) it includes all the essentials you need such as invoicing, time tracking, project and task management and the ability to track expenses and quotes. On the downside, the import and export options are very limited if you’re migrating from another software and currently, all you can do it import CSV files such as invoices.
No monthly subscriptions
Very easy to use
Lots of features for free
No native desktop app
No proper data import or export yet
Costs per transaction via credit card or PayPal
This article is by no means comprehensive is our selection of the best accounting programs on Mac out there. There are other options out there such as CheckMarks MultiLedger for Mac and Accounts by Nano Software (which is no longer being developed). Some of these Quicken alternatives for Mac can also double-up as accounting software if you want a personal finance and accounting app rolled into one but in general, they’re not suitable for the needs of small business accounting. In 2017, we’re huge fans of Xero because they’ve designed a n accounting software that’s genuinely aimed at Mac and Apple device users. It’s just great to use in every way and actually takes a lot of stress out of accounting. QuickBooks will remain a major player and is still one of the best accounting programs around although it remains to be seen whether Mac users will continue to stick with it now that it’s moved completely online.
We hope this article has helped you choose the right Mac bookkeeping software for your business but if you have any questions, problems or suggestions related to accounting software on OS X, let us know in the comments below.