If you’re a freelancer, sole-proprietor or small to medium sized business, we’ve taken a look at the best free accounting software for Mac users in 2021.
If you’re here looking for free personal or home accounting software for Mac, then you may find our look at the best personal finance software for Mac useful too.
There you’ll find the best personal budgeting tools like the excellent Personal Capital (FREE) to keep your own personal finances in order.
The free accounting tools reviewed here are focused on small to medium sized businesses (SMB), sole-proprietors and the self-employed who need a simple accounting solution on a Mac instead of using spreadsheets such as Excel to manage accounts.
They’re all free forever meaning they’re effectively free for a lifetime with no need to pay unless you need added functionality and features.
In our research, we found that there’s increasingly less “accounting software for Mac” as more accounting solutions move online but there are still a few offline desktop solutions available on macOS Big Sur and Catalina.
Paid vs Free Accounting Software For Mac
We also strongly recommend checking out our look at the best accounting software for Mac all of which have currently have free trials and offer huge discounts.
We found that Freshbooks is the best accounting software for Mac and you can not only try it for free but also get 60% off at the moment.
There are many reasons we recommend using a paid accounting software over a free one:
- It’s complicated to switch from a free accounting software to a paid one later as your business expands. Exporting your data from one accounting tool and importing it into another isn’t an easy process and your carefully organized accounts can soon end up in a mess. You’ll save yourself a lot of time and stress in the long run by going with a paid option first.
- Paid accounting software doesn’t have to be expensive nowadays with costs starting at a few dollars per month and there are some huge discounts on some of the best accounting software out there such as 60% off FreshBooks and 50% off QuickBooks.
- If you want something that will grow with your business paid accounting solutions are far better equipped to deal with your needs as they become more complicated than the free solutions suggested here.
- Paid accounting tools allow you to give your accountant easy access to your accounts. Very few accountants use free accounting software so it’s much harder for them to assist you when it comes to managing and advising.
- Free accounting tools can often suddenly stop supporting certain features or regions leaving you in limbo. This happened with Wave recently when it suddenly announced it would no longer support users outside of the USA and Canada anymore.
You May Also Like:
- Best Accounting Software For Mac
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- Best Tax Filing Software For Mac
With this in mind, here then are the best free accounting software for Mac suitable for small businesses and the self-employed.
1. GnuCash (Best Offline App)
GnuCash is a free open source desktop accounting software which has been around for over 20 years and is still going strong on both Mac and Windows.
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 budgeting tool 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 your Mac, aren’t concerned about a polished interface and have time to learn it, GnuCash is a powerful option that doesn’t cost a dime.
- Mac desktop app
- Doesn’t store anything in the Cloud
- Free to use
- Works across platforms
- Multi-currency support
- QIF import support
- Suitable for both accounting and personal finance
- Lots of tutorials
- Dated interface
- No mobile app
- No support
- Limited features
- Lacks online banking integration
2. MoneyWorks Cashbook (Best For Bookkeeping)
If you’re looking for a simple, free desktop bookkeeping software for Mac then MoneyWorks Cashbook could be for you.
MoneyWorks Cashbook is a light version of the highly acclaimed MoneyWorks Gold for Mac and PC.
MoneyWorks Cashbook 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.
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 create customer databases on a Mac.
MoneyWorks Cashbook gives you a clear overview of how your business is doing with revenue, profit and costs clearly displayed in graphs and charts.
It’s also setup for taxes in different regions including sales taxes in the USA, GST in Canada and VAT in the UK (although it’s not MTD or HMRC ready).
Although MoneyWorks Cashbook is designed more as a bookkeeping solution for non profits such as clubs, societies, charities and associations, small businesses and freelancers can also adapt it for their needs.
If you’re looking for 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 need to sign-up for free MoneyWorks Cashbook subscription to get started.
- Free to use
- Desktop app
- 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
- No mobile app
- Requires signing-up for a subscription (free)
3. ZipBooks (Best For Invoicing)
ZipBooks is an online accounting package and is marketed as a free alternative to both QuickBooks and FreshBooks.
The reality is that although it offers a free version, it’s very limited and any serious freelancer or small business would have to upgrade to the Smarter plan for $15 per month to get anything on the same level as QuickBooks or FreshBooks.
However the free version allows you to do everything you’d expect from a simple accounting solution such as invoice, track expenses, and generally keep your own books in order for tax season.
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.
ZipBooks allows you to 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.
ZipBooks allows you to 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.
You can also 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 for example.
On the downside, the import and export options are very limited if you’re migrating from another software and currently, all you can do is import CSV files such as invoices.
You can get started with ZipBooks for free to see for yourself.
- Great for invoicing
- Good expense tracking tools
- Very easy to use
- Supports payment processing
- No native desktop app
- No proper data import or export options
- Costs per transaction via credit card or PayPal
4. Wave (Best For USA & Canada)
If you need a free accounting and invoicing software for Mac then Wave is excellent at creating invoices, tracking account history and managing customer transactions.
Wave is now focused on businesses based in the USA and Canada so it’s no longer suitable for UK based companies or other countries unfortunately.
Wave presents a clear overview of your accounts so that you can manage your income and expenses clearly.
You can also connect to other Wave products such as automated payroll and payments although this comes with a catch.
Like ZipBooks, Wave take a percentage of payroll and payments processing which is how it makes money but if you don’t use these features, you can still use the accounting part for free.
On the downside, the number of reports available in Wave is limited as are the personal budgeting features.
However, the free version of Wave also comes with 60 days free chat support and if you’re based in the USA or Canada and need a modern, free accounting solution that’s strong on invoicing, Wave is one of the best free accounting platforms out there.
- Good invoicing tools
- Slick clear interface
- Easy to use
- 2 months free chat support
- Double entry accounting
- Scans and uploads receipts
- Focused on USA and Canada
- Payroll and payment processing incurs fees
- No bill payment processing
- Limited reports
- No personal budgeting tools
- No time tracking
- Doesn’t track accounts payable
- No support for businesses outside US and Canada
5. Bx (Best For UK)
Bx is a modern free accounting and productivity software which works in any browser on a Mac. If you’re looking for the best free Making Tax Digital (MTD) accounting software for UK users then Bx is a serious contender.
Bx works via modules which you can add and remove depending on your needs such as invoicing and even project management.
Bx regularly adds new modules and allows UK users to submit VAT tax returns to HMRC directly and even has a handy Excel plugin to help you extract data.
The invoice templates in Bx are really tasteful and even allow you to send invoices to customers via WhatApp or SMS.
If you’re looking for a highly customizable free accounting solution on your Mac that includes project management tools, Bx is an interesting and modern small business solution.
You can get started with Bx for free to see for yourself.
- Customizable modules
- Project management software
- Submits UK VAT returns
- Time tracking tools
- MTD accounting software
- Module system takes some getting used to
- Focused on UK than US market