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 solutions. Since cloud-based accounting software runs on a web browser, the program will work on a PC or Mac. Rather than cater exclusively to Mac users, many accounting software developers are turning to online software that can serve all operating systems. Cloud-based options have many advantages over traditional desktop options, such as cost savings, mobility, data recovery via cloud storage, and automatic updates.
The best Mac accounting software is designed with the Mac user in mind and will appeal to what they love most about their computers and mobile devices. This includes intuitive design in form and function, aesthetically pleasing and easy to use, and allowing for easy collaboration with others.
- QuickBooks Online: Best overall small business accounting software for Mac users
- QuickBooks Desktop for Mac: Best desktop accounting software specifically designed to run on Mac
- Zoho Books: Best for self-employed business owners, such as gig workers and freelancers
- FreshBooks: Best for Mac users that want professional-looking invoicing and great time-tracking features
- Wave: Best free accounting software for Mac users
QuickBooks Online: Best Overall Accounting Software for Macs
QuickBooks Online is a web-based accounting solution that caters to small businesses and individual accountants. The software is praised consistently for its flexibility, ease of use, and robust set of features. We rank it as the best small business accounting software due to its project, class, and location tracking that can be customized for any industry.
With QuickBooks Online. you can perform a variety of bookkeeping tasks, such as bank reconciliation, tracking and invoicing time and expenses, accounting for inventory, and monitoring financial reports. You can also allow an external accountant free access to your QuickBooks Online account via their own version of QuickBooks Online Accountant. It has a powerful mobile app, which allows you to perform many of the same tasks as the web-based version, including uploading receipts and tracking mileage.
Our Expert Opinion
QuickBooks Online offers many features that are beneficial for small businesses. If you operate with five or fewer employees yet have complex transactions, this system could be an ideal fit for you. If you’re a sole proprietor looking for a smaller-scale program, QuickBooks offers that too. The various price levels allow you to add features as your business grows, and the powerful mobile app is great for businesses on the go. Due to its cloud-based capabilities, it can be used on any Mac or PC.
QuickBooks Desktop for Mac: Best Desktop Accounting Software for Macs
QuickBooks Desktop for Mac is a desktop-based software that allows users to create custom invoices, sync bank and credit card accounts, track expenses, manage accounts payable (A/P), process payroll, monitor cash flow, automate spending, and more. This accounting solution also provides specific Mac version features, which include the ability to embed a QuickBooks notification bar on a Mac menu bar, add payment reminders to iCalendar, and sync iCloud contacts.
Because of its complex features that allow you to track time and costs, it is a great option for project-based businesses. It is also ideal for businesses with three or fewer users and that don’t require the ability to access files from an internet browser. Unfortunately, its lack of customer support is a consideration for those who may anticipate needing assistance with the software. Phone support is only available with a subscription plan, and email support is not offered at all.
Our Expert Opinion
QuickBooks Desktop for Mac has a few Mac-specific features, which make this an attractive option for those who prefer desktop software. For example, iCloud document sharing is available, which is a convenient feature because it lets you share your files between Macs connected through iCloud. However, QuickBooks for Mac has fewer features than its PC equivalent and doesn’t integrate with as many third-party applications.
Zoho Books: Best for Self-employed Business Owners
Zoho Books is online accounting software that lets you manage your financials and banking, automate your sales and purchasing workflows, and track time and create reports. It is one of many Zoho apps, which include Zoho CRM, Zoho Inventory, and Zoho Projects. Zoho Books includes accounting capabilities like accrual accounting, good control over the chart of accounts, and the ability to create journal entries. Profit and loss (P&L) statements and balance sheets can be generated easily to monitor the financial health of your business.
Zoho Books also has a robust accounting app that is available for both iOS and Android devices. The iOS version allows you to send invoices, estimates, and account statements to customers within an iMessage app. GPS and Apple Maps will track mileage and turn it into an expense. Siri can also be used for reminders about transactions, and Zoho Books even has an app for the Apple Watch. Self-employed business owners will find all of these features—especially the powerful mobile app—useful for running their business.
Our Expert Opinion
Zoho Books is both affordable and easy-to-use, making this a great choice for freelancers and small businesses who are looking for a suite of tools that will assist them with other aspects of their business, such as project and customer relationship management (CRM). Because this is a cloud-based option, it can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection, and its mobile app targets Mac users with its iMessage and Apple Watch integrations.
FreshBooks: Best for Invoicing and Time-tracking Features
We recently ranked FreshBooks as the best overall invoicing software, and for a good reason: it was originally started as a way for small business owners to create professional invoices. FreshBooks gives you the ability to create and send invoices quickly on the web-based or mobile app and even choose your preferred currency. It has also added features like the ability to track hours and assign them to invoices, create recurring invoices, and track outstanding invoices.
FreshBooks does more than just invoicing, however, as it is also a powerful double-entry accounting system with excellent team collaboration and time tracking tools. It has exceptional usability and aesthetic properties that contribute to its ease of use. However, while it is an ideal choice for freelancers and independent contractors, it lacks a lot of functionality that larger, more complex businesses need.
Our Expert Opinion
FreshBooks offers a well-rounded, intuitive and attractive accounting solution that supports invoices and estimates, expenses, time tracking, and projects. Its iOS app tracks your mileage as you drive, allowing you to record trips as personal or business. This is not a common feature as most mobile apps don’t connect to your GPS but rather let you manually record your mileage. FreshBooks anticipates the needs of small businesses well, and while it may lack the inventory management features that a larger business may require, it is an affordable and user-friendly option.
Wave: Best Free Accounting Software for Mac Users
If you want the best pricing for accounting software without sacrificing quality, you might want to give Wave a try. Wave is an industry standout because it offers free software with no strings attached. You’ll find all of the basic accounting features, including invoicing, estimates, expense tracking, charts of accounts, journal entries, and even built-in lending for qualified buyers.
H&R Block acquired Wave in 2019 and, since then, it has added new tools that include improved bank reconciliation, a revamped onboarding process, customer statements, and cash basis reporting. While it seems that all online accounting solutions claim to be easy to use, Wave lives up to that claim by being one of the cleanest, most intuitive accounting programs available.
Our Expert Opinion
Wave’s exceptional user experience and its smart choice of feature options will accommodate sole proprietors, freelancers, and other very small businesses who want an online accounting service that allows room for growth. No matter how often you use it, you don’t pay anything for the core accounting tools. But Wave’s lack of a dedicated time tracking tool and a comprehensive mobile app might be a deterrent for service-based freelancers who would be suited better with the more sophisticated and fuller-featured QuickBooks Online. If you don’t need time tracking or full mobile access, Wave is an excellent choice for the smallest of businesses.
How We Evaluated Accounting Practice Management Software
- Mac compatibility: Desktop programs must run directly on the Mac operating system whereas there is more flexibility with cloud-based solutions.
- Cost: We looked at the cost of the software compared to the available features and whether it offers a free trial or introductory discount.
- Ease of use: An easy-to-navigate, accessible interface that doesn’t require a steep learning curve was a priority as we evaluated each software.
- Invoices: Since invoicing is a popular accounting task for small business owners, we considered the complexity of this function, including whether invoices can be customized and payment links embedded.
- iOS app availability: This is an important feature for businesses that are often on the go. We looked at whether a mobile app is available, and if so, which features it offers that are specific to Mac users.
- Bill tracking and payments: We placed importance on whether the accounting software will track unpaid bills and the ability to make online payments from within the software.
- Reporting: We looked at the quantity and customizability of available reports beyond the income statement and balance sheet. Reports that can be filtered by class and project were preferable.
- Payroll: Accounting software that integrates with a payroll solution and that can automate the required accounting entries after each payday was especially favored.
- Advanced features: Many of these accounting software solutions provide time-saving features such as receipt scanning, time tracking, and GPS mileage tracking.
Finding an accounting software that is built only for Macs is possible but rare. There are more options to choose from if you are open to online accounting software options, some of which can be customized for Mac users. While QuickBooks for Mac is the only desktop-based software that we evaluated, cloud-based solutions, such as Zoho Books and FreshBooks, have features that are specifically geared towards Mac users. The best accounting software for your business is the one that provides the features that you need at a price you can afford while also taking into account its ease of use.