Mac OS X Accounting Software for Canada?

For as long as I can remember I’ve been running the Reinvented bookkeeping through Quicken for Home and Business. This is a enhanced version of Quicken with some basic small business features — invoices, accounts receivable, etc. — added on. It’s easy to use, and although I get no respect from my accountant, it served my purposes well.

When I made the switch from PC to Mac several years ago, I was in mid-financial-year, so I bought a copy of Virtual PC for my Mac; this lets me continue to run Quicken for Home and Business, albeit in a somewhat glacial fashion, as Virtual PC has to constantly pretend to be a PC, which makes it quite slow.

In recent years my aforementioned accountant has been pressing me to move to a more adult bookkeeping solution, mostly because when I hand over the Quicken data dump at the end of each year they have to expend considerable manual efforts slurping the data into their Big Accounting System. There is also some apparent discomfort with the lack of “double entry” features, which I believe is related more to addiction than to real practicality, but I’ll play along.

And so, yet again, I’m looking for some basic accounting software for Mac OS X. That works in Canada. And imports digital data from my credit union. And that I can save files from that my account can import.

And those four features seem not to exist in any software I’ve been able to find.

QuickBooks was an early favourite. There’s no specific Canadian version, but they claim that the U.S. version supports unique Canadian features like the GST. But then I read the reviews. And made a couple of calls to Intuit (the company that makes QuickBooks) and found (a) that the U.S. version for the Mac I would be forced to use won’t output data that can be imported into the Canadian PC version my accountant would be using and (b) that the U.S. version doesn’t support import of Canadian financial institution data and (c) that “support” for GST isn’t exactly elegant.

So now I’m trawling for recommendations from others: are you keeping your accounts on a Mac in Canada? Are you happy? If so, what software are you using?


Anita's picture
Anita on November 11, 2011 - 10:20 Permalink

I have Express Accounts  — NCH Software  for my Mac. It is ok, it reminds me of Simply Accounting, some similar features, however it does not have Payroll. Not many accounting software for Mac do. Xero does but you have to subscribe and it is webbased. I like to buy a software application where I am not paying a monthly fee, that is why I chose Express Accounts and so far after testing many of the other software recommended on this discussion, I have resorted back to Express Accounts and will have to figure out how to continue doing my payroll for 1 employee…loved Xero for this.


Cory's picture
Cory on November 24, 2011 - 15:11 Permalink

There is a way to use Quickbooks or Simply Accounting on your mac without parallel operating systems, or emulators.  

A service found at allows you to use Quickbooks or simply accounting on your Mac or ipad.

Marie's picture
Marie on December 1, 2011 - 16:23 Permalink

I&#39ve been using MYOB/Accountedge. I refuse to run windows on my Mac not only that the combined cost to run both parallels and windows is unforgiving. I&#39ve been following this problem and wish quickbooks would come up with something as I prefer it&#39s user friendly design. In the mean time MYOB is working great aside from there help menu which is usually no help at all. Stick with MYOB it is the best option.

Aprmarie's picture
Aprmarie on December 5, 2011 - 00:07 Permalink

If your mac can accept a dual boot into windows… you can have quickbooks on the windows segment and log in when you need it. Alternately, I have an imac and have installed VMWare Fusion so I can switch between mac and pc software without rebooting… mac is awesome for graphics but business software still is developed more extensively for pc. Another option if you have a pc running quickbooks as well as a mac… you can remote from your mac using or microsoft remote desktop. Cheers.

Erin's picture
Erin on December 18, 2011 - 16:04 Permalink

OK, there are 2 &#39proper&#39 accounting applications for the Mac for Canadian business:

Both have trial versions and both supply you with a copy for your accountant in either Windows or Mac, if needed.



Hope this helps:)



Jim's picture
Jim on January 12, 2012 - 16:54 Permalink

Not just Canada. Lots of countries have a value added tax (GST/HST). In Europe its called VAT. There’s got to be SOMETHING out there.

Marilyn Benninger's picture
Marilyn Benninger on January 16, 2012 - 18:16 Permalink

There’s one more accounting system that is developed in Canada, works concurrently in a Mac and PC environment. It’s a great solution if your business is outgrowing entry level software like Wave, Accountedge and Moneyworks.

The company will supply a copy for your accountant in either Windows or Mac format.

Check out Connected Accounting at .


Lorraine's picture
Lorraine on January 19, 2012 - 21:35 Permalink

I have read this sad thread, trying to find solutions to this problem that seems to have persisted for longer than one would expect! I ran an NPO from 2003-2009, and kept an old PC alive just so I could get data from the accountant, and spit out reports into excel, import, reformat for the board on my Mac etc etc.

Now I am helping another NPO get set up from scratch. They have Macs only. No money (or interest) for PCs, or parallel, and I want them to be able to communicate seamlessly with the accountant who will be running a PC of course. Sooooo now I need to know if there are improvements in the world of accounting software that works well for NPOs for Mac (thinking Quickbooks Premium, or Simply etc) that has the coding functionality for reporting that is so essential to an NPO. Found this thread — very informative! Thanks to everyone for this!

I got this link from Quickbooks, Intuit, who in theory are releasing the Mac version soonish. (next couple of months maybe?)…

I have sent in my contact info to them. .if this can work, I will be one happy camper.

If anyone has ever used the American version of Quickbooks for Mac — can you tell me if it really can convert data from Quickbooks for PC effectively?

Étienne Pilon's picture
Étienne Pilon on January 27, 2012 - 17:12 Permalink

Here is a little and smart accounting software for Mac, you can build invoices, orders, Quotes, receive invoice, manage your clients and Suppliers, and lot more !

Étienne Pilon's picture
Étienne Pilon on January 27, 2012 - 17:23 Permalink

Very Simple accounting software for mac, windows AND linux.

It’s really canadian, both language (french and english)

If you have any question please just ask me ! :-)

Camilla Dietrich's picture
Camilla Dietrich on February 13, 2012 - 01:09 Permalink

Liquid Ledger has no support and crashes requently, losing any changes you made since your last save. Lots of bugs, especially in the investments area. Beware!!!

Paul's picture
Paul on February 19, 2012 - 02:56 Permalink

Wave has some problems and i might drop it after six weeks. The problem i found was cant add a new bank account for downloading.. To add a new bank or credit card account I had to delete the downloading from my bank then reconnect the downloading with the new account. Then it downloaded all the data I already had so i had a lot of duplicates to get rid of. Then it created closed accounts and new accounts on my identical checking, savings and credit card accounts even with identical account numbers. So in the end it created two sets of transaction accounts for the same bank account numbers: closed and open accounts which created havoc on my income statement and transaction records. Wave has some great attributes but be careful if you have to add a bank account for downloading. Be aware.

William's picture
William on February 25, 2012 - 16:57 Permalink

You are pay by Hansaworld so it doesn’t count your opinion… plus the software has so many problems when installed on a network + they have NO PAYROLL…



Bill's picture
Bill on March 4, 2012 - 23:33 Permalink

I am also still looking.

Bought a Mac last summer when the old PC died because the Mac was so much nicer to work with.

So I am still using Quicken with Parallels and looking for something better.

just pulled several links off this discussion and will check them out further but nothing just jumped out and said ‘buy me’ from the first quick look at them.

i am not enthused about uploading my info to an online site, want to keep it right on my machine and my backup system. Do want to download bank data, Do need to be able to ‘categorize’ entries and split them to different categories. Do need to track HST.

Accountant might like a downloadable ability but has been willing to work with my hardcopy as he usually visits me once a year and does a double check on the reliability of my input info.

Will keep an eye on this site to see if anyone else posts the ultimate solution and I will post if I find anything really good for me.

BTW sent an email to Intuit when I bought the MAC to ask if they had anything for me to update my Quicken to the MAC and they never bothered to even respond, and I am a cusomer already.

Matt's picture
Matt on April 1, 2012 - 02:00 Permalink

Definitely steer clear of HansaWorld — it’s total crap. I have the unfortunate experience of having to develop in HAL (Hansa Application Language) from time to time and I can assure you, the product is garbage from the programming language up. The compiler is garbage — hangs half the time and gives very hard to interpret messages the rest of the time — there is no debugger at all  — there are no modern features like a screen painter or any kind of IDE at all (you use a text editor for everything)

The database is a big hierarchical in-accessible blob and it has no proper locking mechanism (it locks the whole database for every update!)

Functionality wise, it’s probably OK for very small businesses, but its no “Enterprise” product as the name implies — basic stuff like stocktaking across multiple warehouses with multiple pickfaces and zones is just not handled well enough — its way too easy to enter the wrong date in the wrong place and mess everything up — field by field validation and context sensitive help are almost non-existent — I could go on all day. Also the server is NOT stable on OS-X and constantly freezes and slows down.

Steer clear, it feels like Eastern European rubbish and it is.

In short, Hansaworld sucks.

Jeremy's picture
Jeremy on April 13, 2012 - 16:06 Permalink

For anyone looking for a solution, the online software will probably be the way to go. For basic budgeting, the free service from Intuit at will suffice. For more advanced stuff, there is now an online version of Quick Books starting at $9/month for personal one.

Colin's picture
Colin on July 12, 2012 - 23:26 Permalink

I found what seems to be a good answer. It’s called “Squirrel” and is available through the Mac App Store.

I have not bought or used it yet, but the comments certainly sound promising. There is even a very positive comment from an accountant.

SARA's picture
SARA on August 31, 2012 - 14:13 Permalink

Having just gone through this annoying search myself I can say that the only way Canadians can access Quickbooks for Mac is by subscription. Very frustrating! I want to buy the software, not rent it at a ridiculous cost compared to my neighbours 1/2 hour away. I searched the Apple store and found I could order MoneyWorks (at twice the cost of the downloadable version available to my American friends….is there a theme here?). I ordered the software from Apple. Waited several days, heard nothing, called and found out the software was “on the truck”. That was Monday. Today is Friday and the email I just received from Apple announced “my order status is ….DISCONTINUED” What? Sure enough. Today I checked the Apple store and MoneyWorks has been removed from the Apple store and replaced with 2 very pricey options including QuickBooks for Mac at $229.00 (American version). QB for PC is downloadable starting at $79.00!!
The frustration never ends!

Daniell's picture
Daniell on September 11, 2012 - 12:16 Permalink

MoneyWorks works great and has an option for every type and level of business. Their CashBook program is cheap, has a free 30 day trial, and is good for any small business. They have more expensive programs for all the way up to government level usage. The programs work in lots of countries and have options exclusive to Canada. They also offer free programs for your accountant to use so he doesn’t have to convert anything to AccPac or whatever they use. And there isn’t any yearly fee like QuickBooks always stung you with.…

Rita's picture
Rita on October 17, 2012 - 19:38 Permalink

I have used AccountEdge for a bookkeeping customer of mine who uses all Mac. We went through several versions, old Mac with old version of MYOB, then moved to newer Mac and finally the new MacBook Air with latest version (I think) of AccountEdge and it all worked really well.

Kj's picture
Kj on November 2, 2012 - 02:56 Permalink

Thanks for your comments Rita! I am looking for most current/recent information and I would so appreciate suggestions as I am in process of purchasing first mac book. I am looking for a small business (Canadian) accounting software program and want to make it as simple as possible to transition from only ever using a PC. I have also invested in an iPad and want to utilize both within my practice. As this is a complete new set up for business, I don’t anticipate dealing with importing of info (which sounds as though it gives the most headaches)! Suggestions / comments appreciated.

Mike C's picture
Mike C on November 27, 2012 - 21:22 Permalink

Wow, I can’t believe these are all still problems. If you haven’t made the jump yet, I had a wonderful migration experience using VMWare. I connected my new iMAC to my LAN at the office & VMWare converted every single byte of XP stuff in 24 hours — perfectly. This allowed me to run XP and all the XP software I had to actually run on the MAC. In 2 years of using it — absolutely NO WINDOWS issues. As time passed, the only remaining program that I still have to run under VMWare is Quicken 2012, small business. It works fine, on-line updates from CIBC, Quick tax can read the Quicken data. I would just prefer to never have to deal with Windows again, but this combo of Cdn Quicken 2012 for business and VMWare on a MAC works great — no issues and very fast!

Gabriel's picture
Gabriel on April 15, 2013 - 04:24 Permalink

I have heard about someone in our accounting department bought a MAC Black Friday. She was a PC user until then. She finds no problem using Parallels desktop 8 for MAC and QuickBooks and had no issues.

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on June 22, 2018 - 14:26 Permalink

Just to tie a bow on this: in June 2018 I finally, after many years of using Quicken for Home and Business on a virtual Windows machine (via Parallels), migrated my bookkeeping to AccountEdge for the Mac.