Do You Need QuickBooks for Mac 2021? (Review)

A lot of new freelancers are surprised to find out that being successful depends as much on how they run a business as it does on the skills they are charging for. That’s where a good accounting software solution comes in, like QuickBooks for Mac.

Being a business owner doesn’t always come naturally. Sure, a lot of freelancers have a strong entrepreneurial mindset.

But many are just looking for a different, more flexible way of working, or an avenue to pursue their passion while making some money. For a freelancer or small business owner, QuickBooks for Mac is a solid option.

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What is QuickBooks for Mac?

QuickBooks for Mac is, as you might assume, the Mac version of QuickBooks.

So what is QuickBooks? It is a highly-rated accounting software from the company Intuit that helps organize your invoices, expenses, bills, cashflow, tax information, assets and more, so that all of your financial information is in one place.

QuickBooks for Mac was created with small and medium businesses in mind. The software is easy to set up and use and is reasonably priced.

Still not convinced you need accounting software at all? It may seem too expensive or overwhelming to learn. The truth is, understanding your bottom line can make a huge difference in how much money you make, how you spend your time, and how productive you are.

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In fact, a full half of finance professionals said one of the top benefits of accounting software is that it makes them more efficient at their jobs and frees up time for other things.

The other benefits were as follows: improves reporting and tracking, avoids costly manual errors, centralizes historical data and improves cash flow management decisions.

QuickBooks for Mac is a simple way to dive into a bookkeeping solution that will take your freelance business to the next level.

Pros and Cons of QuickBooks for Mac

A lot of creative freelancers—designers, writers, photographers, videographers, etc.—tend to be Mac users, so a bookkeeping service like QuickBooks for Mac that is built specifically with the Mac OS platform in mind is a plus.

On the other hand, there are a lot of other options available, and just like every tool you use for your business, there are both pros and cons to QuickBooks for Mac. When you’re making a significant investment like picking out accounting software, you want to be fully informed.

With that in mind, here are some of the top pros and cons of QuickBooks for Mac.

Pros:

  • Made just for Mac. QuickBooks for Mac has a completely separate coding base than the Windows desktop version, so it runs seamlessly on your Mac machine.
  • Performance tracking. With QuickBooks for Mac, you can run reports that show where you have been spending time, what services bring in the most money and which invoices still need to be paid.
  • Time tracking. Built right into the software, the time tracking feature on QuickBooks for Mac is useful not only for hourly jobs, but to make sure you are billing enough when you charge per project.
  • Mileage. For freelancers who travel or take in-person meetings, the QuickBooks for Mac mileage tracker is particularly useful. Every mile you put on your car can be deducted from your taxable income at the end of the year. Using software to continuously track mileage ensures you don’t miss out.
  • Easy to use. Nearly every user review of QuickBooks for Mac mentions how simple the software is to use. The interface is user-friendly to begin with, and online tutorials, user forums and videos make it simple to address any issues that arise.
  • Price. QuickBooks for Mac starts out at just $399, with no ongoing subscription or time commitment. It’s a sizable amount for a solopreneur, but subscription-based services cost far more over time.

Cons:

  • Made just for Mac. Wasn’t this just in the pro column? The Mac compatibility is a definite pro if you work on your own. However, if you use a professional accountant or have a team, the fact that QuickBooks for Mac works only with Mac computers can be a real pain.
  • Integration. Because QuickBooks for Mac is not Intuit’s flagship program, it does not seamlessly integrate with other Intuit products, such as the payroll software.
  • Flexibility. QuickBooks for Mac is not a cloud-based program. It lives on your computer and needs to be backed up regularly. Because it is not an online solution, you don’t need the internet to use it, but that also means you can only access the files from the machine QuickBooks for Mac is installed on.
  • Support. In 2016, Intuit announced that they would no longer support QuickBooks for Mac. They reversed this decision, but it is clear that the Mac version isn’t the highest priority for the company. For now, QuickBooks for Mac is fully supported, and an update was released just this year, but it’s important to know the history so you can make an informed decision.

Is QuickBooks for Mac right for you?

Now that you know the pros and cons, it should be easier to decide if QuickBooks for Mac is the right solution for your business. But it’s not the only option—Intuit also offers an online version of QuickBooks. There are reasons to use both, so let’s dive in.

4 Reasons QuickBooks for Mac is a good fit

1. You have a small team

Freelancers who work by themselves or with one or two other people will find QuickBooks for Mac easy to use and inexpensive in the long run.

2. You need security

The desktop version of QuickBooks does not live in the cloud, so you have complete control over your data. If you are security conscious or have a lot of NDAs, using QuickBooks for Mac makes a lot of sense.

3. You need inventory tracking

If you’re a service-based business, this is not an issue, but freelancers who ship products might want to choose QuickBooks for Mac, as the desktop-based software has a more robust inventory system.

4. You have a lot of data

Working in the cloud has its perks, but if you have a large volume of numbers to input, hundreds of clients or a huge history you would like to evaluate, working off your desktop will cause a lot less frustration.

quickbooks for mac

QuickBooks for Mac vs QuickBooks Online

QuickBooks Online is a great option if you’re looking for a little more flexibility. Some of the features included in the online version that aren’t found in QuickBooks for Mac are:

1. Mobile app

QuickBooks online comes with an app that can be downloaded right to your phone for use on the go. This might be attractive to freelancers who travel a lot or need quick access to their financial information even if they aren’t at their desk.

2. Add-ons

Unlike QuickBooks for Mac, the online version integrates with a variety of Intuit add ons such as Live Bookkeeping and Payroll. Perhaps even better, QuickBooks online can integrate with a variety of third-party apps, such as PayPal, DocuSign, Expensify, HubSpot and more.

3. Customer Support

If you are new to bookkeeping or frustrated by trying to learn about finances on your own, QuickBooks online gives you access to a lot more options for help. Professional advisors cost additional money, but may save you valuable time and reduce errors that can cost you in the end.

Alternatives to QuickBooks for Mac

Before investing in any accounting solution, it’s best to review all of your options. We have extensive reviews of both FreshBooks and Wave if you’re interested, but here are the highlights.

FreshBooks

FreshBooks gives you more room to grow as a freelancer. If you intend to eventually hire a team and scale, FreshBooks has options to add-on features without losing your data or having to switch to a completely different subscription.

FreshBooks is also cheaper up front, although there are only subscription-based plans available, so you’ll pay more in the long run.

Finally, while FreshBooks has all the basic features you’ll need to get started, QuickBooks for Mac definitely has more advanced features that allow for detailed reports, working with contractors and tracking inventory.

Wave

Wave is another alternative to QuickBooks for Mac. The main draw to Wave is that the basic account is completely free. If you want to accept client payments within the software (which I highly recommend), you’ll have the standard cost of processing those transactions.

While Wave doesn’t have every feature that QuickBooks for Mac does, it’s a solid alternative — especially if you need an accounting solution but do not have the funds to spend on it right now, Wave is a great option.

Conclusion

Whether you are completely new to freelancing or you have years of experience under your belt, the right time to get reliable accounting software was, well, yesterday.

If you are a Mac user, QuickBooks for Mac is an easy solution that you will never grow out of, unless your goal is to build an empire with more than two regular employees. It has every feature you can think of, and then some.

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Millo Articles by Kylie Burgener

Kylie Jackson Burgener is a mother of three and a freelance consultant, specializing in public relations, writing and content marketing. She is a cofounder of Measured Melodies, a leveled piano sheet music system for piano teachers and students. She lives in Raleigh, North Carolina with her family.
Read more from Kylie.