QuickBooks for Mac is QuickBooks Desktop accounting software specifically designed for business owners who use Mac computers. You can purchase QuickBooks for Mac for a one-time fee of $399.99 and use it to track all of your business finances. Mac users can also use QuickBooks Online versus QuickBooks Desktop.
QuickBooks for Mac is packed with features to help you organize your income and expenses. You can pay bills, invoice customers, track inventory, and pay 1099 contractors. You will also have access to detailed reports to make tax time a breeze.
What’s New in QuickBooks for Mac 2020?
The 2020 release of QuickBooks for Mac includes some updated and new features like a refreshed reporting module, a new and customizable dashboard, dark mode, electronic invoicing and payment acceptance, bounced check feature, and text searchable image uploading.
Unfortunately, the new features Intuit included in the latest version of QuickBooks for Mac don’t address the problems users of earlier versions experienced. In addition to the old bugs, there are new issues as well. Among the issues reported by users are the software bogging down, slow load times, corrupted data, unexpected software shutdowns, and freezing when working with long journal entries.
How QuickBooks for Mac Works
QuickBooks for Mac is similar to QuickBooks for PC in terms of how it works. After you purchase the software, it must be installed on your computer before you can use it. Once installed, you will need to provide some details about your business and have a few documents handy to get your business set up properly.
What You’ll Need for QuickBooks for Mac Setup
Questions You Will Need to Answer
Once you have completed the setup process, you are ready to track all your business finances in QuickBooks for Mac. For your convenience, you can download the QuickBooks Set Up Checklist to your computer.
QuickBooks for Mac 2020 is capable of completing all of the day-to-day tasks you would need to perform in the course of running your business.
1. Track Sales & Income
You can record a sale from services or products in QuickBooks for Mac by creating a sales receipt or an invoice. If your customer pays you at the time that you provide the goods or service, create a sales receipt. However, if your customer prefers to be billed, you will create an invoice instead. Both sales forms can be emailed to your customer directly from QuickBooks so that you don’t have to print and mail them.
2. Track Bills & Expenses
There are several ways to keep track of your bills and expenses in QuickBooks for Mac. To make things easier, QuickBooks for Mac allows you to connect your bank and credit card accounts to your company file so that your transactions download automatically into QuickBooks for Mac.
If you prefer not to have the live connection between QuickBooks and your bank account, you also can enter all vendor bills manually and print checks directly from QuickBooks for Mac. The third option of entering necessary transactions is to import billing details from an Excel spreadsheet into QuickBooks for Mac
3. Track Inventory
QuickBooks for Mac will keep track of all product purchases and sales. This means you can create a purchase order and send it to your supplier. When the goods arrive, you can mark them as received against the original purchase order directly in QuickBooks.
As you sell items in your inventory, QuickBooks will reduce your quantity on hand automatically. In addition, when you reach the minimum order quantity, you will receive an alert to remind you to place an order. Several detailed reports are available for you to run and gain insight into your purchases and sales by product and customer, among other options.
4. Run Payroll
If you have employees, you can turn on the Intuit Payroll services from within QuickBooks for Mac. Payroll processing in QuickBooks for Mac starts at $29 per month. The payroll service through QuickBooks includes:
- Payroll check calculations
- Check or direct deposit payments to employees
- Year-end W-2s for employees
- Payroll tax forms and filing
5. Accept Online Payments
In QuickBooks for Mac, you can accept online payments from your customers. When you enable the Intuit Payments feature, it will put a “Pay Now” button on all invoices you email to your customers. They can pay the invoice immediately using a debit card, credit card, or e-check through their bank. Turning the payments feature on in QuickBooks for Mac 2020 requires you to click a button or two. There are two plans to choose from when you sign up for Intuit Payments.
Intuit Payments Pricing Plans
Bank Transfer (ACH)
Card - Invoiced
3.5% plus 30 cents
3.3% plus 30 cents
Card - Keyed
3.5% plus 30 cents
3.3% plus 30 cents
6. Run Key Reports to Gain Insights
Similar to QuickBooks Online, QuickBooks for Mac has several detailed reports you can run to gain key insights into how your business is doing. The reports available include but are not limited to profit and loss, balance sheet, and statement of cash flows.
Who QuickBooks for Mac Is Right For
The QuickBooks for Mac software is only compatible with computers with an iOS operating system. If you use a PC with a Windows operating system, QuickBooks for Mac will not work for you. However, there are alternatives to QuickBooks for Mac that are discussed further down in this article.
QuickBooks for Mac is only accessible on the computer that you installed the software on. This means you won’t be able to access the data while away from the office unless you sign up with a service that can provide a secure remote connection to your QuickBooks computer.
You can have a maximum of three users in your QuickBooks for Mac file at the same time, provided you have purchased three user licenses.
You should consider QuickBooks Online before deciding whether QuickBooks for Mac is right for you. QuickBooks Online is cloud-based software that is accessible by both PCs and Macs from anywhere on the internet. QuickBooks Online is available in a variety of editions with varying levels of features which can grow with your business. Before buying QuickBooks for Mac, try QuickBooks Online free for 30 days with no credit card required.
QuickBooks for Mac Costs
QuickBooks for Mac starts at a one-time fee of $399.95. You can add payroll processing and payment services at any time for an additional fee. Unlimited tech support is included for the first 30 days. At the end of the 30 days, you will need to purchase a service plan to contact technical support for assistance whereas, with QuickBooks Online, support is included with your subscription.
QuickBooks for Mac Features
When it comes to features included, QuickBooks for Mac is packed with features that go well beyond the basics of tracking income and expenses for your business. In addition to tracking accounts payable (A/P), accounts receivable (A/R), inventory, payroll, accepting online payments, and having the ability to run detailed reports, QuickBooks for Mac 2020 can also perform some advanced transactions.
1. Batch Invoicing
With batch invoicing, you can save a lot of time by completing one invoice and sending it to a group of customers. This is ideal if you sell the same products and/or services to a number of customers in the same time frame.
Example: You’re a real estate investor, and you own several buildings with tenants that pay monthly rent. If we assume that you have 10 tenants that pay $1,000 a month for rent, you can create one invoice and send it to all 10 tenants at the same time.
2. Electronic Invoices and Payments
New to the 2020 version is the ability to send electronic invoices to your customers and allow them to pay the invoice with a bank automated clearing house (ACH), credit card, or e-check payment according to their preference. Accepting payments electronically for invoices also reduces manual input. When your customer pays the electronic invoice, the payment is automatically applied to the correct invoice in QuickBooks.
3. Customized Chart of Accounts
Like most QuickBooks products, when you go through the initial company setup, QuickBooks will create a chart of accounts for you based on the industry you selected for your business. You can customize this list further by adding additional accounts that you need to track your income and expenses. You can remove accounts that you don’t need.
Example: You’re a web designer, and you want to keep track of your initial consultation fee separate from the income you earn for the actual web design work. You can create an account called “Initial Design Consultation Fee” to keep track of this separately.
4. Custom Products & Services List
To keep track of all income earned from the products and services you sell, you need to add these items to your products and services list in QuickBooks for Mac.
Example: Using our example above for design consultation fee, you can set this up as an item on your products and services list. This makes it easy to bill customers because you can select the “Design Consultation Fee” from the product drop-down list when you create your invoices.
5. Track Multiple Locations & Departments
If you need to track income and expenses for multiple locations or departments, you can do this in QuickBooks for Mac. The feature you will turn on is called class tracking. Once you set up all your locations and/or departments, you can tag all income and expenses with the appropriate “class.”
Example: Going back to the real estate investor that owns several buildings, you’d like to track each building as a separate class to be able to run profit and loss reports to see how profitable each location is. You would set up each building as a class and then tag all income and expenses to the appropriate “class” or building.
6. Budgeting & Forecasting
QuickBooks for Mac includes a robust budgeting and forecasting tool that allows you to create annual budgets for all income and expenses. In addition, you could create a budget for a specific customer or job and then run budget vs. actual reports periodically to check your progress.
Budgets can be created from scratch, or QuickBooks will populate the previous year’s actuals as a starting point, and then you can make any necessary adjustments for the current budget year.
7. 1099 Tracking
If you hire independent contractors, you can track payments made in QuickBooks for Mac easily. At the end of the year, you can also generate the information you need to provide the 1099 forms and reports that must be provided to the contractor and your local tax authority.
8. Multi-user Access
QuickBooks for Mac 2020 allows you to give up to three users access to your QuickBooks data. QuickBooks for Mac comes with a license for one user. However, you can purchase additional user licenses up to three. As the business owner, you will be the admin user, and you will be able to purchase up to two additional licenses to give access to your bookkeeper, certified public accountant (CPA), or tax professional. Keep in mind that the data is only accessible from the computer or network server where you installed the software unless you have set up remote access.
9. iCloud Document Sharing
iCloud document sharing is a feature that was new with the QuickBooks for Mac 2019 version. This feature allows you to move QuickBooks files from one Mac to another. You can share files between multiple Macs connected through iCloud.
10. Updated Reporting
The 2020 version of QuickBooks for Mac includes a refreshed reporting structure. This new and improved structure has additional customization capabilities, an improved level of usability, better presentation options, and easier navigation menus. The new reporting screen offers a slide-out panel with three tabs that allow you to select customization settings for your reports.
The reports in QuickBooks for Mac 2020 are also real-time, meaning changes to the report structure and data will reflect in your reports immediately without having to wait for processing time. This would be helpful when balancing your accounts for closing, reconciliations, and other data comparison tasks.
11. Email Tracking for Customers and Vendors
QuickBooks for Mac allows you to send emails to customers with estimates, invoices, and other documents attached. In addition, you can also email purchase orders and other documents to vendor suppliers. This new feature added to QuickBooks for Mac 2020 tracks all emails sent to vendors and customers so that you can review this data at any time.
12. Past Due Stamp on Invoices
With QuickBooks for Mac, delinquent customer invoices will now have a “Past Due” stamp on them in QuickBooks so that you can see which invoices are outstanding easily. If you email the invoice to the customer after the due date, he or she will also see the “Past Due” stamp, which should prompt your customer to make a payment. See an example of this below:
13. Process Bounced Checks
One of the great new features introduced with QuickBooks for Mac 2020 is the ability to record all aspects of a bounced payment transaction easily and accurately. This new tool allows you to enter information about the returned payment, including any bank fees charged to you and any fees you will charge the customer. The bounced check function will record the payment as returned in the customer’s account, mark the previously paid invoices as unpaid, record bank fees, create a customer invoice for your bounced payment fees, and adjust your checking account to reflect the transaction.
14. User Interface
The 2020 version of the software has an improved central dashboard feature that allows you to see the information that is most critical to your business decisions. The updated dashboard allows you to customize your data ranges, widgets, and layout so that you can see what you need to know when you need to know it.
The dashboard feature is a handy tool to get quick answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs). Depending on how you customize your dashboard, you may be able to answer questions about the financial health of the business without having to run multiple reports as you may have had to do in the past.
The Mojave version of iOS came with the option to view your desktop in “Dark Mode,” which dims your display to be easier on your eyes. QuickBooks for Mac 2020 has allowed Dark Mode to carry through to your QuickBooks interface if you have Dark Mode enacted in your operating system settings.
15. Text Searchable Images (iPhone only)
With this feature, you can upload images to your QuickBooks for Mac, which becomes a searchable attachment. Using your iPhone camera, you can upload pictures of bills, receipts, invoices, purchase orders, contracts, and tax forms. QuickBooks will make the text in your images searchable, making it easier to find what you’re looking for quickly.
QuickBooks for Mac User Reviews
QuickBooks for Mac user reviews are mixed. Unfortunately, most QuickBooks for Mac users find it lacking in some very important areas, such as:
- Risk of data file corruption and data loss when attempting to use QuickBooks for Mac on the macOS Catalina with the 15/16 version. Users must purchase the 19/20 upgraded version to use Catalina.
- The software freezes during long journal entries and journal entries cannot be imported.
- QuickBooks for Mac is often slow to load and can shut down unexpectedly, requiring a full computer restart to reopen the software.
- There are 20 keyboard shortcuts in QuickBooks for Mac in comparison with 90-plus keyboard shortcuts in the PC Desktop version of QuickBooks. You cannot create your own keyboard shortcuts in QuickBooks for Mac.
- Some users have reported that not all of their bank and/or credit card accounts will import transactions, sometimes just one account will update and the others do not.
- Once QuickBooks for Mac has several thousand transactions in its database, it will begin to bog down and cause a random shut down of the software occasionally.
- There is no mobile access for the QuickBooks for Mac while there is for the PC Desktop versions.
- The 19/20 versions of QuickBooks for Mac are not backward-compatible. This means if you are working in the 19/20 version of QuickBooks for Mac and need to send a QuickBooks file to someone who is working in the 15/16 version of QuickBooks for Mac, the older version of the software cannot read the newer file version.
- When using multi-user mode, reports can sometimes show inaccurate data.
While most users find the interface pleasant and easy to use, the drawbacks in relation to data and software operation far outnumber the positives.
Pros & Cons of QuickBooks for Mac
Like most software products, there are pros and cons to using QuickBooks for Mac 2020. While it is user-friendly and packed with features, it is not accessible easily and is limited when it comes to customer support and the number of users to whom you can give access. In addition, the negative reviews outline some pretty serious issues that Intuit should address as soon as possible.
Pros of QuickBooks for Mac
- User-friendly: Like most QuickBooks products, QuickBooks for Mac is easy to set up and navigate even if you don’t have a bookkeeping or accounting background
- Great features for a low cost: QuickBooks for Mac includes many features at an affordable one time cost of $399.99; A/R, A/P, inventory tracking, and 1099 reporting are just some of the features included in QuickBooks for Mac
Cons of QuickBooks for Mac
- Lacks features: The Mac version of QuickBooks has been feature-poor in comparison to the PC version for many years
- Lacks integrations: Unlike the PC version, QuickBooks for Mac falls very short in the area of integrations; the Mac version does not have any apps or parallel applications that it can integrate with
- Buggy: QuickBooks for Mac is regularly reported as being very buggy with regular errors and crashes, causing the user to restart the application and occasionally losing recently entered work
- Limited tech support: When you purchase QuickBooks for Mac, it comes with unlimited tech support for the first 30 days; afterward, you must purchase a support plan to get help or hire a QuickBooks expert
- Maximum of three user licenses: QuickBooks for Mac comes with one user license and the option to purchase up to two additional licenses if you need to give other users access to your data
- Poor support: The onboard help files are not very helpful and can be very frustrating when searching for a specific topic
- No payroll: There is no payroll module you can pay extra for and use with your Mac version of QuickBooks; if you also need payroll features, you will have to subscribe to the online payroll service from QuickBooks or another payroll service
Alternatives to QuickBooks for Mac
If you’re looking for basic accounting software, there are many small business accounting software packages available. Most of the desktop and cloud solutions will meet your general bookkeeping needs like A/R, A/P, and bank reconciliations. If you need more advanced features like inventory tracking and payroll, you can often add that module to an existing software package or purchase an integration.
When evaluating alternatives to QuickBooks for Mac 2020, we looked for basic accounting functionality, including A/R, A/P, bank reconciliations, and basic financial reporting like profit and loss (P&L), balance sheet, and statement of cash flows.
QuickBooks for Mac Alternatives
There are not many solutions for small businesses looking to have a macOS desktop accounting software solution. Many accounting software developers are moving their product offerings to the cloud, making the operating system of your computer virtually obsolete. However, peppered in between all the cloud-based accounting software options for Mac users are a few desktop products to choose from.
QuickBooks Online for Mac users is a great cloud solution for those who want to take their accounting online. Being tied to a desktop computer can be very limiting. Changing over to a cloud option that works with any operating system through a web browser and an internet connection, allows you to work when and where you need to.
QuickBooks Online offers five subscription tiers. While not every tier includes everything you need for a full-cycle bookkeeping setup, it is a pretty robust offering overall that is widely used and very scalable.
It’s important to note that not all of the necessary features are included in the lower subscription tiers. For example, bill management like A/P is not offered in the Simple Start tier and Inventory Tracking features are not available in Simple Start or Essentials.
Pricing for QuickBooks Online normally starts out at $15 per month for the Self-Employed tier and tops out at $150 per month with the Advanced option. However, for a limited time all tiers are 50% off their normal price.
Connected Accounting and enterprise resource planning (ERP) is available for both local installation (desktop) or cloud-based use. This software offers Core and Enterprise tiers to choose from. The Core option will meet or exceed your basic accounting needs.
While the Core Accounting module is a standalone product, Connected can also work with Enterprise and On-Demand modules from the software developer as well as various plugins.
The starting price for Connected Accounting is $499 and includes a perpetual license, which means you can use the software indefinitely with the one-time payment of $499.
Xero is a cloud accounting software. It comes with all the features you need to run your business and stay on top of your financial situation.
Because Xero is popular web-based accounting software, you can use more than 700 tools and apps with your Xero software, including solutions form customer relationship management (CRM), point of sale (POS), time tracking, payroll, and more.
Xero has three subscriptions to choose from, starting at $9 per month and going up to $60 per month.
QuickBooks for Mac Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is there a Mac version of QuickBooks?
There is a Mac version of QuickBooks, and the latest edition is QuickBooks for Mac 2020. You can purchase QuickBooks for Mac for $399.99 and install the software on your Mac computer.
Is QuickBooks for Mac discontinued?
Intuit announced that it was discontinuing QuickBooks for Mac and would support the 2016 version through May 31, 2019. However, due to feedback from several QuickBooks customers who use QuickBooks for Mac, Intuit renewed its commitment to these customers by releasing QuickBooks for Mac 2019 and QuickBooks for Mac 2020.
What’s the difference between QuickBooks for Mac and QuickBooks Online?
There are several differences between QuickBooks for Mac and QuickBooks Online. QuickBooks for Mac was designed for Mac users and must be installed on a Mac computer. In contrast, QuickBooks Online is a cloud accounting software that doesn’t require installation and can be used on a PC, Mac, or any mobile device with an internet connection and a compatible browser.
What’s the difference between QuickBooks for Mac and QuickBooks for PC?
There are several differences between QuickBooks for Mac and QuickBooks for PC. Although many of the basic features are the same between these two popular versions of QuickBooks, there are many differences. For example, QuickBooks for Mac does not integrate with other software packages or applications. However, both products have a starting price of $399.99 and include many of the same features like the following:
- Track and pay bills
- Create and send invoices
- Track inventory
- Track and pay 1099 contractors
- Detailed reports like P&L, balance sheet, and cash flow statement
Now that you know what QuickBooks for Mac is and how it works, it’s time for you to make a decision. If you need access to your data 24/7/365, choose QuickBooks Online. However, if you don’t need mobile access to your data, and you want an affordable way to manage your income and expenses, choose QuickBooks for Mac.