When you get right down to it, small businesses face the same everyday essentials as any working stuff—get paid and pay bills.
Accounting software has long been available to try to make these daily duties as painless as possible. Mac-based businesses have several options—both as native applications and Web-based options—that bring varying abilities to the party. While the list below certainly isn’t meant to be comprehensive, it gives you a pretty good idea of what your options are, if you’re on the lookout for Mac-based accounting and business management offerings.
MYOB AccountEdge: One of the more robust accounting software for the Mac, AccountEdge is available in both single-user and network editions. Time tracking, invoicing, bill pay (including electronic payments), and report generation are all included.
Add-on applications can integrate with and expand AccountEdge’s capabilities—data transfer automation, customer relationship management tools and other products. (Acclivity; $299)
QuickBooks 2009 for Mac: Intuit’s small business accounting software is slightly more affordable than AccountEdge. It also includes time tracking, invoicing, bill pay, and reporting capabilities. It’s single-user only. Other nifty features include the ability to back up data using MobileMe, and integration with iCal. (Intuit; $200).
MoneyWorks Gold: A comprehensive accounting package for Mac-based small businesses, MoneyWorks Gold provides cashbook and general ledger support with departmental accounting, purchase and sales orders, accounts receivable, accounts payable, contact management, project database and inventory control, support for multiple currencies, custom reporting, multi-user networking and access control, and more.
Cognito Software also offers other MoneyWorks-branded products, if your needs are more modest or specialized, ranging from “Cashbook,” a basic general ledger app, to “Express,” an invoicing and ledger app, and “Datacentre,” a network server aimed at businesses that want to use Gold in a full-blown network environment. (Cognito Software; $599)
Billings 3: Marketcircle’s Billings 3 is a bargain, provided your needs are a bit more basic. This software’s specific focus is in time and expense tracking. It also generates invoices, lets you send statements, view accounts, set up recurring payments, and soon, track time and expenses on your iPhone. (Marketcircle; $40
iBiz 4: Another handy tool for keeping track of billable time, iBiz 4 lets you create customizable invoices, generate reports and statements, integrate contacts with Address Book and a lot more. The new version 4 release features iCal sync, animated graphs, and expense tracking; you can also manage a simplified backup and restore system. (IGG Software; $50)
Your accounting doesn’t have to be chained to one machine. These Web-based options let you access your information from anywhere you can get on the Internet.
QuickBooks Online:Intuit’s online version of QuickBooks offers a lot of options, even at the free level. All versions provide you with the ability to create and send invoices, charge sales tax, track payments, print checks, and track expenses, for example. Some of the more sophisticated features, like creating estimates, time-tracking and billing by customer, and importing data from the desktop version of QuickBooks are limited to the $35 per month QuickBooks Online Plus product. It’s also accessible on smartphones including BlackBerry devices and iPhones. (Intuit; prices start at free and range up to $35 per month)
Freshbooks: Freshbooks is an online invoicing service that’s available in three tiered versions. You can use it to create invoices, manage contractors, track expenses, and track time online—you can use an iPhone app when you’re away from the computer, as well. And a Dashboard widget keeps you tied to Freshbooks as well. (Freshbooks; prices start at free and range up to $39 per month)
Side Job Track:This is a basic job tracking, invoicing, reporting, and project management system intended for independent contractors who work part-time and want to keep track of what they’re working on. It’s simple, and it’s hard to argue with the price. (Side Job Track; free)