Today's Best Tech Deals
- Mac Accounting Software
- Best Accounting Software For Small Business
- Best Mac Accounting Software For Multiple Businesses Closing
Best Free Small Business Accounting Software: Wave Financial Not all small businesses need the extra features and support provided with paid accounting services.
- MoneyWorks Gold is a solid, full-featured business accounting application that is networkable, supports multiple users, and works on both Macs and PCs.
- After much research and analysis of accounting software, we recommend Xero as the best accounting software for Mac in 2018. Xero, which works on both PCs and Macs, is our best pick for Mac.
Picked by Macworld's Editors
Mac Accounting Software
Top Deals On Great Products
Picked by Techconnect's Editors
Intuit QuickBooks for Mac 2014Read Macworld's review
Cognito Software MoneyWorks Gold 7 (Mac)
Acclivity AccountEdge Pro 2014
Marketcircle Billings Pro 1.6
If home is where your heart is, then there’s a pretty good chance that home—or at least your Home Folder—is where you prefer to keep your business’ financial information. While there are plenty of excellent Web-based apps you can use for tracking your business finances, if you’re uncomfortable with the idea of working within a browser and keeping your business’ financial information in the cloud, a traditional Mac application is your best option.
I looked at four apps for managing your business invoicing and finances: Cognito Software’s MoneyWorks Gold, The Acclivity Group’s AccountEdge Pro, Intuit’s QuickBooks for Mac, and Marketcircle’s Billings Pro. The first three are traditional invoicing and accounting applications, while Billings Pro offers compelling features, but also requires additional software to complete the package. Though all of these apps offer excellent tools for managing your business finances, MoneyWorks Gold stands above the rest, for an excellent user interface.
Top choice: MoneyWorks Gold 7
If you’ve been around the Mac accounting game for any length of time you’re likely already aware of the more well-known players, QuickBooks and AccountEdge. The one application that probably hasn’t made it onto your radar—but should have—is Cognito Software’s MoneyWorks Gold (; $499). MoneyWorks Gold is a solid, full-featured business accounting application that is networkable, supports multiple users, and works on both Macs and PCs.
MoneyWorks uses a flowchart-like interface similar to what’s used by both AccountEdge and QuickBooks for Mac. The application’s interface consists of a sidebar with navigation links to MoneyWorks’ collection of financial tools and a larger main window that displays a flowchart that changes depending on which item you’ve selected in the sidebar. As is the case with both AccountEdge and QuickBooks 2014, the flowchart attempts to create a visual relationship between various business activities. While this makes all of these applications a bit more interesting visually, in practice I’ve rarely used the flowchart to figure out how the many aspects of a business are related.
Most of the tools you’ll use on a regular basis appear in the navigation section entitled Day-to-day. Here you can create quotes, sales orders, and invoices, reconcile your bank accounts, create and receive purchase order items, and review accounts payable. Each of these same tasks are also available in other areas of the application and selecting other Navigation options provides you with access to a deeper set of tools and features. For example, when you select Items and Inventory you have tools for receiving stock on items you’ve ordered, viewing a journal list of all the stock you have on hand, and building new stock items from items you have in your existing inventory.
MoneyWorks includes just under 100 reports, including sales tax reports for Canada and VAT reports for the U.K. If none of the application's existing reports fit your specific needs, you can create custom reports of your own. Reports are available either from the Reports menu or from the main application window when you’ve selected a specific navigation area. For example, selecting Chart of Accounts from the navigation sidebar provides you with links for a number of account-related reports.
Two features make MoneyWorks a standout: Multiuser network capabilities and cross-platform client applications. (Features also found in Acclivity’s AccountEdge product.) Sharing your MoneyWorks file on the network is as simple as opening the Sharing and Users settings and putting a check in a box to turn on sharing. (A Datacenter version allows access by iOS devices and multicompany hosting) By default the application allows access to anyone on the network, so to limit access you also need to password protect your data file. Once you do so you can add users and limit their access to features. Unfortunately, there is no group option for managing user access to data, so every user you create needs to have access managed individually.
Top contender: AccountEdge Pro
Depending on how you look at Acclivity’s AccountEdge Pro (; $399 new, $159 single user upgrade, $249 multiuser upgrade) it is either a little stale or as consistent as it has ever been. The basic idea behind the application’s flowchart interface has been around since it was first released well before Mac operating systems were named after cats. Little has changed about the way the AccountEdge looks in nearly a dozen years, but, in terms of accounting capabilities, it remains a solid application.
AccountEdge has long been an application that allowed you to do your business in a networked environment on both Macs and PCs and, like MoneyWorks, gives you control over who has access to specific parts of your company’s financial data. The program still provides excellent tools for securing your data while still providing access to your accounting and inventory data in a multiuser, multiplatform environment.
While not much has changed on the front end, AccountEdge has added a few new features for 2014, including the addition of master inventory items that allow you to create dozens of varieties with out having to create distinct inventory items for each variety. So, for example, you can create a category called Whole Bean Coffee that can then be broken down into more specific varieties such as specific roasts in caffeinated or decaf, all of which makes it much easier to manage your inventory. Acclivity has also rebranded and updated its AccountEdge Web front end, offering features in the cloud, including options for creating invoices and other transactions from a webpage.
The rest of the pack
Billings Pro 1.6.5
Marketcircle’s Billings Pro (; $0/$5/$10 per month per user plans, or $99 per year per user) is beautifully-designed application that uses a subscription-based service with some Web-based features, but with which you create invoices, estimates, and collect time-billing information using your Mac OS or iOS device. Everything you do is created and managed locally and then synced with using a database that is hosted on Marketcircle’s servers.
I’ve used the Mac and iOS versions of the original Billings application for years and, like many, was disappointed when Marketcircle dropped the standalone application in favor of a client-server subscription model. That said, after about a month of using Billings Pro instead of the standalone application, I found it to be better than the old standalone version.
Billings Pro is not an accounting application, but you can export Billings Pro data directly into QuickBooks for Mac or MoneyWorks 6. (At present, MoneyWorks 7 is not supported, but Marketcircle states that support is forthcoming.) What makes Billings a standout is integrated time billing and what are probably the most beautiful, customizable documents you will ever see in a program of this type. The key here, though, is time billing. While almost every business accounting package you’ll find offers a way to enter time billing information into time sheets, Billings Pro lets you track your time in the field, and create an invoice directly from the collected information. This may sound like a small deal, but it’s integral to the way many people bill for services, and a feature missing from all of the other applications mentioned here.
While I do love Billings Pro, it’s not perfect and requires you to discover the “Billings Pro workflow” before you can use it. In the Billings Pro world everything you do needs to be part of a project, so no matter what you’re doing, you have to set up a project first and then add Working Slips to those projects and bill based on information collected in the slip. This isn’t a huge problem, but may be an unnecessary step for some businesses.
QuickBooks Mac 2014
QuickBooks Mac 2014 got a full review in Macworld (; $250) last December... well, no surprise, there haven’t been any changes.
While this business accounting application has made it easier to get your data to and back from your accountant, it is still incapable of working in mixed Mac and PC environments. Sad, but true. But that doesn’t mean that it’s a poor accounting application. QuickBooks for Mac will take good care of your business finances, as long as you understand its limitations.
A new user interface gives QuickBooks a look and feel similar to Intuit’s Mint.com and the new Web interface for QuickBooks Online. This new look gives you a great overview of your financial status at a glance. While not everything you might want, QuickBooks for Mac 2014 still gives you what you need to take care of business.
Color me surprised. While AccountEdge remains an excellent application for managing your business finances, and remains one of my personal favorites, MoneyWorks Gold offers all the accounting features you’ll need, though it is more expensive than AccountEdge. And while it doesn’t offer any true accounting features, Billings Pro is the only invoicing application available that allows you to create invoices from time billing information you collect. For me, that’s a necessary feature missing from all of the other applications. QuickBooks, while good, still lags behind the others because it lacks the cross-platform capabilities necessary for any fully networked cross-platform business environment.
Editor's note: Updated on 4/10/14 to correct MoneyWorks Gold pricing.
Intuit QuickBooks for Mac 2014Read Macworld's review
Cognito Software MoneyWorks Gold 7 (Mac)
Acclivity AccountEdge Pro 2014
Marketcircle Billings Pro 1.6
Some businesses prefer using Macs, and that shouldn't mean they receive worse accounting software. Thankfully, Xero offers a solution for those businesses.
The problem with many Mac accounting applications is that the programs are basically stripped-down versions of their Windows counterparts, so for this category, we looked for easy-to-use, full-featured accounting software that works equally well on PCs and Macs.
After much research and analysis, we recommend Xero as the best accounting software for Mac in 2019. Xero is web-based, so the software is the same across both platforms, and it has a comprehensive suite of features, making it suitable for most small businesses, including nonprofits. Additionally, its mobile app caters to Mac users, as it can be used on not only the iPhone and iPad but the Apple Watch as well.
If you have multiple users, Xero offers the best value for your money, as it supports an unlimited number of users for no extra cost. Also, most of its features are available on all of its plans, including inventory tracking, which is often only included in premium plans.
Xero has a 30-day free trial that allows you and your team to try out all its features before deciding if it's the right online accounting software for your business. Another nice thing about the trial is that it gives you the option of using a demo company, in case you'd rather not take the time to import your data before you try it out.
Unlike accounting software programs that base pricing on the number of users each plan supports, all of Xero's subscription plans support as many users as you wish to add, so as your business grows, you can add new employees to your account for no additional cost. All plans include most features – even estimates, inventory tracking and recurrent invoicing. The exceptions are multicurrency, expenses and projects, which are only included in the top plan.
Here's an overview of the subscription plans Xero offers:
- The Early plan costs $9 per month. It's limited to five invoices and quotes, five bills, and 20 bank transactions.
- The Growing plan costs $30 per month. It has unlimited invoices, bills and bank transactions.
- The Established plan costs $60 per month. It also has unlimited invoices, bills and bank transactions, and it supports multiple currencies, which may be useful if you have an international clientele, and has expense management and project-tracking features.
There are no long-term contracts for Xero. You can change your plan to a cheaper or more expensive option to fit your business's needs without incurring additional costs. The ability to cancel your plan at any time without penalty means you won't be locked into a service for years, using software that doesn't meet your needs or that you don't like. There are also no setup fees or hidden costs.
Xero no longer provides payroll services with its mid- and top-tier plans, but instead recommends adding Gusto to your plan. Pricing starts at $39 per month, plus $6 per month per person.
Ease of Use
To find out if Xero is as easy as advertised, we tried the software ourselves by signing up for a business account. Registration was a breeze, and we were able to start using Xero right away.
The user interface is intuitive and gives you getting-started tasks that help you explore the software and use its core features. Plus, many pages have videos or guides that provide a quick tutorial on how to use that feature.
The dashboard uses simple dropdown menu navigation, so it's easy to add data, connect accounts, create reports, and find the tasks and information you're looking for. It displays key information with at-a-glance widgets that show you snapshots of bank balances, invoices owed, total cash in and out, outstanding bills, tasks, and more. One unique thing about Xero's dashboard is that these widgets are movable, so you can organize the display to your liking. You can also click on them to quickly navigate to certain parts of the software.
When looking for a small business software solution, it's important to find one with a good interface. Xero checks off that box. The software is highly usable, and the interface shouldn't confuse small businesses.
When we asked small business owners what the 'perfect' accounting software should do, the resounding answer was that it should save you time. Xero meets this requirement by automating processes, making accounting tasks as easy as possible to accomplish. In addition to standard accounting capabilities, here are some of the timesaving features Xero offers:
- Invoicing: You can send electronic invoices, which your customers can pay online. If your business provides customers with quotes or estimates, you can convert them to invoices with just a few clicks. You can also schedule the system to automatically send recurring invoices and reminders so you don't waste time chasing payments.
- Bank reconciliations: When you connect your bank accounts to the system, Xero automatically imports bank and credit card transactions. The software's smart reconciliation tool matches transactions and learns how to predict matches as you use this feature. You can also set it up to reconcile transactions in bulk based on rules, eliminating the need to individually categorize transactions.
- Inventory: The software includes inventory management tools and can track items in real time, showing you how many products you have in stock when you're creating an estimate, quote or invoice. It can help you identify your bestselling and most profitable items, and you can create and email purchase orders directly from the software and then copy the data to generate bills for payment or invoices for customers. Integrations are available if you have advanced inventory management needs.
- Mobile access: Using the Xero Accounting & Invoices app for iPhones and iPads, you can create and send quotes and invoices, attach documents to invoices, reconcile transactions, and get a real-time view of your cash flow. The iWatch version of the app shows you how many new transactions you have, your account balances, and whether your balances have gone up or down. Xero also has an app for capturing and submitting expenses, and another for tracking projects.
Xero offers free, 24/7 customer support by email or live chat. Outbound phone support is available if you have an issue that can't be resolved by chat or email. Its support teams are located around the world, so there's always someone available to help you, no matter what time zone you're in. The company prides itself on providing prompt responses; wait times are minimal.
We chatted with the company, posing as a small business looking for accounting software, and asked a long list of questions about Xero's capabilities. The representative we chatted with was helpful and knowledgeable. He answered our questions, offered links that could give us more information and encouraged us to take the software for a test drive.
Best Accounting Software For Small Business
Xero offers self-help options on its website, including a searchable database of step-by-step instructions, small business guides, video tutorials, podcasts, training opportunities and a blog. For example, if you're a QuickBooks user looking to switch to Xero, you can read an article with detailed instructions that walks you through the process, showing you how to import your QuickBooks data into Xero so you don't have to manually enter data and recreate customer accounts.
Overall, Xero offers exceptional customer service. The business's customer service representatives are prompt and friendly, and the company offers a wide assortment of resources to understand the software.
In addition to its timesaving features, Xero has an impressive selection of tools that help you manage your finances and run your business.
- Reporting: Xero takes the headache out of financial reports with a variety of reporting options, including a general ledger, aged receivables and payables, profit and loss, and a balance sheet. The reports are customizable so you can track the data that's most important to you. The software also includes budgeting tools.
- Expense claims: With the Established plan, you can record, manage, claim and reimburse expenses. The software allows you to add billable expenses to invoices and attach receipt images, making it easy to pass on expenses to your customers. The Xero Expenses app can snap pictures of expenses, assign receipts to a customer, or project and submit expense claims.
- Bill payments: The system allows you to schedule payments and to set up batch payments and recurring bills, helping you avoid past-due bills. When entering a new bill, you can start from scratch or save time by replicating and editing a previous bill.
- Manage contacts: Xero's profiles show you contact details and activity history. For example, you can see a customer's sales history, including how much they've spent with you, if any invoices are open and their average remittance time. You can connect to Gmail to add email correspondence to the activity stream, and you can add contacts to groups, helping you create targeted email marketing campaigns.
- Track projects: Included with the Established plan, the Projects feature allows you to track tasks, billable time and expenses, budgets, and payments to ensure the work you've done for clients is profitable. You can invite users to projects only or allow them to access other accounting features like invoicing. The Xero Projects mobile app can track time and job progress and create simple invoices.
- Integrations: Xero offers extensive third-party integrations, connecting to more than 700 applications for small businesses, such as payment processors and POS systems, time trackers, CRM software, inventory management programs, payroll and HR, and e-commerce platforms. It has an API, so you can create custom integrations for it if you work with a developer.
For Mac users, Xero is a tremendous option overall. As mentioned above, though, the Early plan is very limited, so even very small businesses will likely need to subscribe to the Growing plan.
If you want to customize the look of an invoice beyond adding your logo and changing the font, the process is more complex than it is in programs that give you a choice of premade templates.
Another drawback to Xero is that not all accountants use it. However, this is only an issue if you hire an outside accounting firm, as you may find your choices are more limited. To alleviate this issue, Xero provides a list of accountants who use its software on its website. The company also offers resources to help accountants export Xero data into QuickBooks, which is helpful if your accountant prefers that program.
Best Mac Accounting Software For Multiple Businesses Closing
Ready to choose your accounting software? Here's a breakdown of our complete coverage: