Money Matters

Mac accounting software guide for small businesses

Find out how the cloud has enabled Mac accounting software today and what you should look for when deciding on cloud accounting software.

You may have asked yourself this question when handling your small business finances… Is Mac accounting software a good option?

For any small business, accounting software is invaluable, allowing you to manage your business at every step, whether it’s invoice sending and tracking, taking care of tax and compliance, forecasting cash flow, or paying your people.

But one of the choices you must make before investing in software and hardware for your small business is – Mac or PC?

There’s a reason why Apple Macs are popular with small businesses.

Without getting too much into a Mac vs PC debate, you may prefer Apple devices because of their perceived ease of use and the perception that they are using a premium brand.

You may also feel Apple laptops, desktops and tablets are more low-maintenance and less susceptible to hacking.

Certainly, if your business has a lot of designers and creative professionals, you might feel that Macs and MacBooks are better options.

Digital graphic design software has always been associated closely with Apple software, and many creative types are fiercely loyal to the brand.

If you’re looking at doing your finances, though, then Apple software might not be so appealing.

When desktop accounting software dominated, it’s not wrong to say if you were a PC user, you would have better accounting software options than Mac users.

Very simply, this is because PC has always been the dominant system in terms of numbers.

Even when PC vendors shifted desktop software from PC to Mac in the past, often it didn’t take advantage of the joys of using an Apple laptop or device. Mac versions felt like an afterthought, lacking both features and customer support.

If you were a Mac user needing PC-specific business software, you could turn to virtualisation, which would allow a Mac computer to emulate a Windows environment and run Windows-based programmes.

But this type of technical fiddling is a lot of work for your average small business owner. You couldn’t be blamed if you felt you didn’t have the time for that.

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Cloud accounting software

Yet today, it’s more common than ever to see small business owners using MacBooks, iPads and iPhones to carry out their day-to-day financial tasks.

Why are Apple users today so confident in doing their finances on their systems? You only need to say one word – cloud.

Cloud and software as a service means that a lack of specific-Mac capable business applications is much less of an issue, as it’s easy for you to can access programs via their browser.

Priya Radosevic, a content strategist at Sage, was self-employed before joining the company. She ran her finances on her Mac with Sage Accounting.

A Mac user since 2010, she prefers Apple as she feels it’s a sleeker machine cosmetically, and because it runs much of the creative software, she’s better off than on PC.

She says: “I’ve been using Sage Start, which is web-based, so that hasn’t been a problem for Mac.

“My accountant uses another platform that’s tailored to his practice that allows me to upload all my documentation, which again is web-based.

“All in all, I would say that for my financial and business needs, my Mac hasn’t been a hindrance in any way.”

Radosevic adds that she solely used web-based software, which is becoming increasingly common. Adobe, for example, has its Creative Cloud, which is very popular with Mac creatives.

Like other successful technology companies, Adobe understood long ago that web apps should work across platforms to allow businesses to collaborate successfully.

If you’re a Mac user, you should understand that many of the features that will make accounting software attractive to you will be related to the cloud.

What you should look for in your Mac accounting software

1. Access anywhere, at any time, on any platform

It would help if you had cloud accounting software that allows you to do your finances from anywhere, at any time.

In industries such as construction, you don’t want to be tied to the office, which means your files must not sit on a local drive. You can work on any machine or device that has a web browser.

2. Reduces paperwork

With traditional desktop accounting software, there was still a need for paperwork, data-entry and admin. Having to print paperwork all the time is time-consuming, and frankly boring.

Mac users using cloud accounting software will reduce their reliance on paperwork, as any device with online access will let you easily find, search and send invoices.

You don’t even need to keep paper copies, as all documents will be digitalised and stored safely online.

3. Easy installation and upgrades

One advantage that many people see from using a Mac over a PC is the simplicity you get from installing software and things working ‘out of the box’.

Mac cloud accounting software does just this, without you needing to play around with files. And instead of worrying about backing up your software, all updates are done automatically.

4. Safe and secure

Mac users often boast that their systems are more secure than PCs. That’s not always the case, but vendors of note ensure online accounting software protects your financial data, encrypted, and served in onsite servers.

There is also no issue over financial data if your MacBook, iPad, or iPhone becomes inoperable or gets stolen. It won’t cause delays because you can choose a separate device to re-access your accounts.

That means if you happen to misplace your device or it’s stolen, while that will be a hassle, you won’t face a dreaded situation where you’ve lost years of business admin information, or are exposed to fraudulent activity.

5. Collaborative features

In the past, whether you were using a Mac or PC, it wasn’t easy to collaborate if you used desktop accounting software.

With the cloud, Mac accounting users from any business can access the same numbers and information, no matter where they are in the world.

It also makes it much easier than ever before to send files quickly to your accountant when required.

The final lowdown on Mac accounting software

It’s probably fair to say that if you’re using the cloud, there’s no such thing as accounting software that only works on Macs.

There used to be a clear difference between Mac and PC software when desktop software ruled the roost.

But cloud-based software has expanded to such an extent that it’s actually quite difficult to find a top-quality cloud accounting program that doesn’t do a good job with Mac computers.

So, if you’re a small business Mac user looking for accounting software, relax.

If you’re happy to use the cloud, you have a choice between a lot of good options, so make sure you pick the software that works best for your own specific business needs.

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