QuickBooks for Mac 2014 review: Full of small updates, still no Windows file compatibility
By Jeffery Battersby
At a glance
If this is your first look at the new QuickBooks for Mac 2014 you’re likely to think it represents little more than a change of paint on an app that is substantially the same as its predecessor. While that’s not entirely true, it’s also not too far from wrong. But QuickBooks’ new paint job isn’t the only thing that’s changed about the app. QuickBooks for Mac offers a number of small new improvements that should help enhance the application’s value and give you a better clue as to how your business is doing.
I know the question you’re going to ask first and the answer is, “no.” There is no file level compatibility between the Mac and Windows versions of QuickBooks and, after asking this question of Intuit for more years than I care to count, I’ll be surprised if the answer will ever be, “yes.” That said, Intuit has made it easier to send data to and update data from your accountant.
Earlier versions of the app required that you use QuickBooks’ Roundtrip feature to create a backup of your Mac data file that could be restored in the Windows version of QuickBooks. Unfortunately, while your accountant worked on your file you couldn’t make any changes to the data on your Mac. Now QuickBooks for Mac allows you to import journal entries, which is essentially the debit and credit information for every transaction you create. This lets your accountant make changes to your data while you continue using QuickBooks. When your accountant is done updating your data you simply import the journal information.
While this new feature makes having your accountant update your company data far less onerous than the roundtrip method, finding information on how to perform the task was challenging and, in the end, requires that your accountant own a copy of QuickBooks for Accounts.
QuickBooks for Mac’s Home Page is a flowchart interface that has been around for some time now. While it has a new, lighter color, the tools it offers are exactly the same as what you’ll find in the last few versions of the app. But there is now a new Snapshot feature that is part of the Home Page that I found to be quite useful.
The Snapshot aggregates all your company information in a single view, giving you a clear overview of your business’ current financial health. A small, colored header at the top of the Snapshot displays a list of your current open estimates, un-billed time, open invoices, overdue invoices, and info on invoices that have been paid in the last 90 days. Below this bar appear graphs and other detail information about your account balances, income and expense breakdowns, accounts payable and year-over-year income and expenses comparisons. Double-click any Snapshot item and you drill down into the data driving the information you see.
While I found the Snapshot extremely useful—I often find myself using QuickBooks Online’s version of the same feature—I’m not happy with some of the design decisions made for the tool. For example, because of small text size and a mottled background, text used in the graphs appears to be blurred.
One other new feature I found useful in QuickBooks for Mac is a tool called Set Up and Go, which provides helpful video overviews of how to get started with QuickBooks’ most-used features.
As has been the case for the last several years, there’s not too much that’s too different about the latest version of QuickBooks for Mac, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. QuickBooks remains a solid business accounting application that will help you keep an eye on your business. Nope, there’s still no cross platform compatibility with the Windows version of the app, so if that’s something you need you’ll need to look elsewhere for your accounting needs. Otherwise, QuickBooks for Mac 2014 should help your business stay on solid financial ground.
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