Acclivity’s AccountEdge is rarely a surprise. Run the install and open AccountEdge and what you’ll find is a solid bookkeeping application with a broad set of tools for managing your business finances. What was once an outlier in the Mac accounting world, an alternative to QuickBooks Pro, has slowly and steadily become the quiet, efficient, thoughtfully updated standard for managing your business’ books.
As has been the case with the last several versions of AccountEdge, the biggest changes to the application are under the covers. The user interface remains nearly the same as earlier versions of the application, using a Command Center interface to organize all your financial tasks into eight major areas: Accounts, Banking, Sales, Time Billing, Purchases, Payroll, Inventory, and a Card File containing a collection of all your contacts. Each of these Control Centers are accessed using buttons at the top of AccountEdge’s main window. Clicking one of these buttons reveals a flowchart of related buttons you use to perform specific tasks.
AccountEdge 2011 offers up an excellent set of accounting and business management tools that should suit the needs of most any business. Time-billing, payroll, and inventory management are built into the application. AccountEdge’s inventory tools let you take several individual inventory items and combine them into a single package that you can sell as a single inventory item, and the program’s payroll features can be linked with applications such as Redcort Software’s Virtual TimeClock ( ) and Marketcircle’s DayLite ( ) CRM application. The program’s data files work with both Windows and Mac versions of AccountEdge and you have the option of purchasing a network edition of AccountEdge so that more than one user can access your accounting, inventory, and billing information at one time.
AccountEdge includes 18 new features and enhancements, chief of which is a new, free iOS application that gives you field access to your AccountEdge data. The AccountEdge iOS app leverages your Dropbox account to synchronized data between your iOS device and the main database stored on the Mac in your office. The iOS devices sync with your main database automatically each time the app is opened, but while the app is open every subsequent sync needs to be handled manually. I was also disappointed to find that every sync of the Mac application needed to be handled manually. Acclivity states that automatic syncing is on its way, but until then you need to make sure you sync your mobile data on a regular basis.
In addition to AccountEdge Mobile, AccountEdge 2011 also offers a subscription and Web-based TimeTracker service with which your field employees or contractors can enter their time billing information. Pricing on this service is based on the number of users who will be using the service and ranges in price from $10 per month for a single user to $100 per month for up to 50 users.
There are also several other new features, most of which you’re unlikely to notice unless you’re looking for them. For example, the program now includes an expanded notes field that lets you add more text than you could in earlier versions and the program’s setup assistants have been updated to make it easier for new users to set up their accounts. While these are the kinds of shrug-inducing changes that may not catch your attention, they are representative of the ways that Acclivity continues to update AccountEdge, paying attention to small details in order to make AccountEdge something truly great.
What I’d still like to see from AccountEdge 2011 is more versatile form creation tools, something similar to what you’ll find in Marketcircle’s Billings ( ). Acclivity has improved AccountEdge’s form tools, but they still lack the kinds of easy-to-use page layout and editing features that are required to make your quotes, invoices, and statements as professional as possible.
Macworld’s buying advice
AccountEdge 2011 is a business class accounting package that is constantly updated, offers up a powerful and versatile set of accounting tools and is designed to make managing your business finances easy. Integration with third-party business and CRM applications, web-based time tracking and mobile tools are just a few of the features that put AccountEdge 2011 head and shoulders above any other business accounting application.
[Jeffery Battersby is a regular contributor to Macworld. Get more Jeff than you want on the Revenge of the Fanboy! podcast (http://revengeofthefanboy.com) and at jeffbattersby.com.]