Recommend to me Mac accounting software?

I turn to the teeming wisdom of Doperland with a question. I’m looking for some accounting software that will enable me as a beginner to set up books for a small business. I’m on a Mac, and would prefer Mac software, though I’ll use Windows or something else on a virtual machine if I need to.

I’ve read that a number of packages keep their data in proprietary binary formats. I don’t want my data to be ‘trapped’ in one vendor’s clutches if I can avoid it; I’d like something that saves in XML/CSV/text as an option.

What’s out there? What have you used? What’s good?

I’ve used Quickbooks. There are a lot of annoying things about it but overall it does its job. You can export lots of data, but I don`t know if you can export all data. It doesn’t natively save it in that format.

I used Quickbooks when I was running a business, and it was fine. Other options are AccountEdge/FirstEdge, but I haven’t personally used them.

I downloaded a trial version of Quickbooks. Unfortunately, it’s for Windows only (not that the site makes the system requirements easy to find or anything), so I installed it in my Windows 7 VM. I also downloaded a trial version of Moneyworks, the accounting software referenced on the Apple site. I wonder what else there is for the Mac.

There is a Mac version of Quickbooks. That’s what I used.

The other two I mentioned (FirstEdge and AccountEdge) are also available for Mac.

I’m using Quicken in a virtual machine. The other option would be Excel, which I have in a Mac version along with Word, Power Point and Messenger, but I’ve never got around to learning Excel.

My only complaint about Quicken is that it’s one of those programs which has been designed to be so foolproof that it is actually inflexible. Learning to use it is a matter of learning how they expected you to use it and then adapting your needs to its capabilities.

The good news is that it is available in a Canadian edition, and can be set up to do Canadian taxes fairly easily.

Well, bother. I totally didn’t see that on the Intuit site. Is there just the one version then?

I use Quicken for my personal finances, and I don’t think it’s especially well suited to use for a business. I’m sure you could make it work, but that’s not really what it’s designed for, and you miss out on a lot of the stuff that business account software does for you. Excel would be similar – obviously you can do any kind of accounting you want with Excel, but you end up having to do a lot of things manually that you otherwise wouldn’t have to (e.g. creating invoices). It really depends on the kind of business and how complicated the finances are, though…

I think there’s only one version of Mac, but I haven’t been using it actively for a couple of years, so my knowledge may be out of date. Last I checked, the Mac and Windows versions were very different. The Windows version had more features and was probably generally better. But I didn’t want to deal with having to run it in Windows, so I used the Mac version and it was completely fine. I think they’ve improved it since I last used it (I was using Quickbooks Pro 6 IIRC).

I’ve been using Quickbooks to run my small business since about 2001. It’s got a lot of features I don’t use but I find it to be pretty great. My favorite part is downloading statements directly for all my accounts. I also like their Payroll Subscription service, which is like $300/year. That makes sure almost all my payroll taxes are properly accounted for (you can also use it for W2s and 1099s) and I can set up direct deposit for like $1/employee.

My least favorite part is that every 2-3 years you MUST upgrade (and pay for) to the latest version or things will go wonky. I envy Intuit for being bold enough to use this business model.

The file formats are proprietary. You can export some data into CSV but I don’t think it’s very detailed when you do. The good news tho is that you can easily send a copy of your books (in a Quickbooks format) to almost any accountant, because they have an accountant’s version of Quickbooks and would be able to use it.

I wouldn’t recommend Quicken for a business. I use Quicken for my personal stuff. It’s not in the least bit robust enough for business.

Well, I’m not planning on having employees, but it’s good to know that it can handle them. I’m mostly interested in the basic accounting functions, plus invoicing and receipts and customer tracking. And Canadian taxes, of course.

This. This is why I don’t want to use Quickbooks. I don’t want to reward a company for this kind of tactic. Even my Adobe apps, expensive and sesquipedalian though they are, don’t just stop working on the whim of the manufacturer. I might be willing to put up with it if it was explicitly marketed as a subscription service at a lower price per year. And if all the data was exportable.

Something to consider that I use and love

It is platform independent, can be used pretty much anywhere you have an internet connection, and is always the latest version. They also have a free trial.

Most accountants are registered with them as well and can interact with your books via their own master logins.

MoneyWorks. Been using it for years.

The big issue with this is that they stop doing tax table updates to the older versions. The software does not stop working, they just stop providing updated support for some features after a few years. I have customers using 6-7 year old copies of QB just fine. Also if you keep going along the upgrade path, they do give you discounts on the newer versions as they come out.