Guide to QuickBooks on the Mac


QuickBooks is a critical tool for many small businesses, and one of the more frustrating issues for switchers to figure out as they come to the Mac from a Windows PC. While the options for running QuickBooks on the Mac are improving in 2009, there are also good reasons, and good solutions, for running QuickBooks for Windows on the Mac. In the articles detailed below, I attempt to guide you through all you might want to know about QuickBooks on the Mac.

QuickBooks 2009 for Mac

quickbooks_mac In this latest release, Intuit (s intu) has updated QuickBooks 2009 with a revamped user interface and streamlined access to frequently used aspects of the seminal accounting software for the Mac. The addition of the new home page and various “centers” provide an overview of the most common workflows associated with running a business. This new version also features integration with the Lightspeed Point of Sale system. It still has the Mac-specific goodies like online backup straight to your MobileMe account and syncing with Address and iCal. You can read our look at QuickBooks 2009 for Mac to get the big picture.

QuickBooks Online

logo_plus Intuit’s latest online release promises compatibility with the Mac and the Safari web browser. Previous versions relied on ActiveX controls embedded in Internet Explorer to deliver a rich interface. Of course, this left Linux and Mac users out in the cold. While there is no firm release date for this new release of QuickBooks Online, Intuit is promising that it is not far away. In the meantime, there is limited support for the iPhone to access some features now. QuickBooks Online is not the right solution for everyone, but it does have some advantages for those that can live with its constraints. Get our overview of QuickBooks Online to decide if it might be right for you.

Reasons to Choose QuickBooks for Windows

quickbookswindows In some cases, the features missing from the Mac version will not allow you to make a complete move over to the Mac. Maybe you are a professional accountant, or rely on the advanced features of QuickBooks Premier. Maybe you need multi-user access and features beyond what the online product has to offer. You can get a rundown on the major reasons to stick with QuickBooks for Windows here so that you can make an informed decision.

Running QuickBooks for Windows

If you have to run QuickBooks for Windows, you might as well know how to do it. We cover all the major methods that are available to run Windows software on your new Mac. In this article on running QuickBooks for Windows, we run through everything from Boot Camp to Remote Desktop to Virtualization. You will have everything you need to decide how to run QuickBooks for Windows.

Virtualization Tips & Tricks

The method that I prefer for running Windows software is to use virtualization software. This article covers a few tips and tricks for setting up your Virtual Machine and configuring it to take best advantage of the Mac environment you are using to host Windows. Read up on some ways to help ensure a smooth transition to running QuickBooks in a VM, and cover important topics like setting up the VM, making sure to quit the right things, and backups for your company file. You can read our tips for running QuickBooks in a VM and see what works for you.


In my years as a consultant, I have found that QuickBooks was often the most challenging part of switching a business over to the Mac. While I cannot claim that this guide is exhaustive, I do think that you will find a lot of valuable information to help you make good decision about how to handle QuickBooks as you transition over to the Mac. For some of you, that may mean continuing to run the Windows version, while still enjoying all the goodness of the Mac in the many areas where it really shines. There should be at least a little something for everyone here. Please let us know how you fare in the comments below.


Jaime Lee Puskar

I have exhausted myself trying to find an alternative solution to using QB for PC on a Virtual Machine on my Mac – and after two years I’m giving up. I use Parallels on my Mac to turn it into a PC ONLY to use Quickbooks – seems to run fine but it’s just a real pain – it make the entire machine run very slowly. But if anyone has found a better solution – please share :)


Thank you for this- I am ready to throw my PC into the drainage ditch across the road! It’s plenty deep enough to effective kill the thing! I have been a Quicken/Quickbooks user for 15 years. I have been hesitant in the past to switch from PC to MAC BECAUSE of Quickbooks but now I see hope! The constant OS freeze ups and issues is driving us crazy, this is a basic business use machine- no games.

Your writing style is really very easy to follow- thank you!


Can I import a custom invoice into quickbooks 2010 imac version?


I am in Australia but cannot dowload or purchase through QB any QB software for my Mac. Online says that the QB for Mac is supported in Aust. but when I go to the download/purchase area I cannot go any further due to only U.S address can be entrered in. Any options for me anyone??



I’m new to quickbooks (and running my own business) and would like to know if there are any guides out there similar to the “Dummies” series. On Amazon, I noticed a few of the reviews specifically noted that the Mac version is not covered. Would I be making a mistake getting the Dummies book? I’m using Quickbooks 2009.

mike review

Research and Markets noted that report highlights include: Consumer reviews and ratings for virtually every product or service available can…


My graphic design office is of course an ALL MAC operation. We have found that the ONLY(!) solution to using QB to run the office is QB for PC through a VM.

It was not so important that we were missing certain features present in the PC QB version, it was more that our timetracking software and connection to the bank statements was NOT possible through the Mac version. QB for Mac worked fine within its own world, but trying to connect or import from anything else – forget it.

As a graphic designer, I was also very leery of how the invoice LOOKED with really bad templates. However my office administrator has figured out how to customize the invoice to LOOK the way a graphic design office should present themselves. (That makes me the happiest of all!!)

The timetracking method we use is (which we track on our macs) and all data comes in wonderfully. The VM also facilitated being able to properly import bank statements from the bank (in the first place) – and then seamlessly into QB. Not to mention that transferring information – back and forth – with our accounting firm is now a no brainer.

Yes, I lost a few sleepless nights knowing there was a PC in my office, but with all associated accounting issues and wasted admin time having simply vanished, sound sleep has returned.

My Mac = QB + PC + VM

remote bookeeping service

We have run into several companies running QuickBooks on a Mac and we have yet to find one that likes it. Many of them complain about time tracking, multi-user needs, and getting their professional accountant what he or she needs.

In my opinion, use the Mac to draw pretty things and use the PC to track how much it costs to draw those pretty things.


I’ve enjoyed your recent series on Quickbooks. I find myself in that very predicament. I’ve been using QB on the PC for a couple years now for side businesses, and one of them is poised to take off. In that business, we have decided to be an all-Mac shop. So should I put PC QB in a VM, or go with the Mac version…. I think that my decision has been made for me though…since we’re in such serious bootstrap mode, the $79 copy of Fusion is going to be cheaper than the $199 version of Mac QB. So, that’s what I think we’ll do.

Just my two bits.

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