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Intuit’s Apple-exclusive desktop accounting software, QuickBooks Mac Plus (also referred to as QuickBooks for Mac), works well for a niche group of small-business owners for whom the following are true:
They rely on Apple computers.
They have three or fewer employees who will use the accounting software.
They prefer having their software on a computer rather than in the cloud.
They don't need mobile access to their accounting system.
QuickBooks Mac Plus features
Unlike earlier versions of QuickBooks for Mac, newer editions are subscription-based, and users will have to renew their licenses annually. They also will have access to free customer support, data recovery services and other capabilities, including the following:
Upload receipts and create new transactions or match receipts to existing transactions.
Schedule customer statements.
Create rules for automatically organizing customers into groups by customer type, location, balance, etc.
Export register to Excel.
Automatically categorize downloaded bank transactions.
Sort transactions by class.
Securely send emails through Gmail.
Organize saved transactions as pending, cleared, void, past due, etc.
Customize invoices, sales receipts, estimates, statements and purchase orders.
Overall, QuickBooks Mac Plus can work well if you’re just starting out. But if you’re planning to scale your business or anticipate more complex needs in the future, this version of QuickBooks may be limiting.
» MORE: Best small-business apps
Starts at $549 per year for one user.
Maximum number of users
Three; all users must be on the same network.
Ease of sharing with accountants
You can’t work in the file when your accountant is in it, and conversion can be tricky if your accountant uses a different version of QuickBooks.
QuickBooks Mac Plus has limited third-party integrations and can’t accommodate more than three users. While QuickBooks Enterprise has a higher user limit, it’s only available to subscribers with a Windows operating system.
Ease of use
QuickBooks Desktop software tends to have a less modern user interface than QuickBooks Online. Without cloud hosting, accessibility is limited.
QuickBooks Mac Plus starts at $549 per year for a single-user license. If multiple people need access to QuickBooks at the same time, you can purchase a multi-user license for up to three simultaneous users. The more users you select, the more QuickBooks Mac Plus will cost.
QuickBooks Mac Plus limitations
Less functionality compared with QuickBooks for Windows
QuickBooks Mac Plus isn’t as robust as its Windows cousin. Here are some areas where the Mac version falls short, compared with the Windows version:
There is no Accountant’s Copy, meaning sharing files with your accountant is more complicated.
It doesn’t integrate with apps from the QuickBooks App Center.
Not all banks let users download online bank statements to QuickBooks Mac Plus.
It doesn't include as many reports.
It can't break up inventory into units of measure.
It doesn’t support multicurrency.
» MORE: QuickBooks Desktop Pro review
Data integrity and security
Since QuickBooks Mac Plus lives on your computer rather than in the cloud, you’ll need to be vigilant about backing up your data on a regular basis. While it supports automatic backups, you are responsible for deciding where your company's backup file will be stored, and how often it gets updated.
Is QuickBooks Mac Plus right for your business?
Intuit’s QuickBooks Mac Plus is designed with a very specific customer in mind. For example, self-employed freelancers and creatives who prefer Apple products could do well with this version of QuickBooks, especially if they do all of their own bookkeeping. But a traditional company with a growing accounting department may find itself spending more and more time adapting to the limitations of this product as the team expands.
Unless you’re certain that QuickBooks Mac Plus is the best tool for your accounting needs, you may want to evaluate some other accounting options before making a final decision.
Pricing: $30 per month and up.
Contrary to QuickBooks Mac Plus, QuickBooks Online is cloud-based, more flexible and has a modern user interface. QuickBooks Online users can reconcile transactions on the go with the mobile app, easily share files with accountants and access more than 650 apps.
» MORE: QuickBooks Online vs. Desktop
Pricing: $13 per month and up.
Where QuickBooks Online’s highest-tier Advanced plan limits you to 25 users, all of Xero's plans accommodate unlimited users. Xero also features free inventory management and fixed asset management, along with more than 1,000 integrations. Xero has no customer support phone number; instead, it offers 24/7 online support.
» MORE: Xero vs. QuickBooks Online