Not that I did not know this already, but QuickBooks is amazingly bad. And amazingly it is even worse for the Mac than it was for Windows.

I wanted to upgrade our old Windows version to the new Mac Pro version. So I bought and installed it. As usual on the Mac, the installation process itself was easy. And then the fun began.

First of all, I tried to import our old QuickBooks company data from a Windows version into the Mac version. This apparently, according to the fine print, is only possible if your copy of QuickBooks is from 2004 or newer.

The option of spending another $200 to buy an upgrade for the Windows version did not seem viable just for the need to import data from their own app into this app. So we found a less than legit version of a newer version of QuickBooks for Windows, installed it on a quarantined virtual machine instance in Virtual PC, imported the data, and then re-exported the data. This worked, allowing us to import QuickBooks data into the Mac version of QuickBooks.

At this point, things looked great and I thought the pain had subsided. But the fun had just begun. I then proceeded to try and enter a payroll item. It seem that the Mac version of QuickBooks does not come with integrated payroll, also found in another fine print item. Instead they bundle it with this really crappy app called Aatrix Top Play. The version that was installed automatically was a demo version, presumably part of the lame QuickBooks demo that comes with the PowerBook.

I find and install a separate version of this payroll app that appparently the QuickBooks installer is not intelligent enough to include automatically. Then I try to launch it. I get an error message. I go to their lame web site and find out that you have to disable File Vault in order to use their application. Their instructions imply that this is normal and acceptable. WTF? This is not a reasonable requirement to installing any app, much less one that I now do not trust. What a horrible piece of coding to not be able to work with one of the more important feature of Mac OS X. Of the more than 200 Mac apps I have installed, this is the first one to fail in this manner.

So my solution… create another user on the machine and install this awful app as that user. What a waste of time and effort. And not really a very cool solution at all. And companies wonder why Open Source software is getting such solid market traction. I thought I was paying to not have problems like this?

28 Responses to “quickbooks sucks for the mac”

  1. on 27 Jan 2007 at 16:42Leon

    i had the same problem. how do you export back from mac to microsoft.

  2. on 27 Jan 2007 at 17:40Dylan

    File -> Back Up to QuickBooks for Windows…

  3. on 01 Jun 2007 at 16:51Dale Lowery

    Actually, it gets even worse. I moved to QB Mac 2007 because I was so incredibly tired of the lame-o QB on the PC. HA HA HA! Gotcha! Where shall I start? With the fact that the new version doesn’t recognize bills I’ve just put in? Or maybe the fact that it arbitrarily pulls up bills that were paid up to 5 years ago and lists those payments as credits! Maybe you’ll find it entertaining to have to print your checks one by one (with 4 mouse clicks or return keystrokes to confirm each one) instead of batch printing. Or how about the inability to adjust the check to fit a standard window envelope? Granted this shouldn’t be necessary, but gosh, the post office gets kind of picky if they can’t see the address.
    Speaking of check printing, isn’t it cool the way that the minimal and arbitrary information that used to print on the lower portion of the check (one to a page) isn’t there any more? Possibly my favorite is the way that it aligns on my HP 1200 printer so that the first digit of the check amount prints right on top of the dollar sign. Saves me TONS of money! Those clever programmers are just such Nice Guys!
    Oh well, my time is free, of course, so it will be no problem to re-enter all of my transactions on the POS Windoze version. Even if I _could_ export this back to the PC, I don’t trust it enough to do so. Granted, the 2007 version for the PC is no Belle of the Ball, but at least it isn’t totally broken!

  4. on 22 Jun 2007 at 19:22MonkeyC

    This was a breathtaking experience for my company as well. I have to admit, perhaps we marched forward despite all the signs pointing back, but we gave up on aatrix software to even call us back to use their payroll software. We tried Checkpark’s payroll as well, only to be severely let down by the quickbooks “integration”. The generated iif files didn’t mark the exported transactions as payroll items, so they showed up as regular split transactions in Quickbooks. Print *crashed quickbooks pro* reliably. We could not generate a paycheck by hand, even if we calculated the numbers by hand!

    If anyone take jgnash or any one of the other open source java accounting solutions and wants to step up to the plate to give commercial small business payroll a run for their money, I’m in.

    It wouldn’t be difficult to keep up with annual payroll updates for the open source community.

  5. on 30 Jul 2007 at 15:58Arend

    I hate the program, it makes wrong calculations and it changes numbers i enter.

  6. on 30 Aug 2007 at 12:06Peter

    I have a great idea… lets come up with some accounting software that barely works on a PC and is not Mac friendly at all, is not intuitive, and costs $200 a year to upgrade. We’ll promote and hype the crap out of it as if no one can live without it…. we’ll make milions!!!

    Oh wait… someone already did that…. It’s called QuickBooks!

    Please, there must be a better way!!!

  7. on 26 Dec 2007 at 17:36Nick

    so my desktop was wiped out. i was suppose to take a vacation. i was looking forward to a great holiday season. then quickbooks happened.

    quickbooks crapped on my parade, wiped out my desktop, vacation and great holiday season.

    my accountant says there is a better way. MYOB. I purchased the software and have been talking to a teck in this country!!!

    imagine.. one or two if not three time zones away!…. no banjoes or cymbals in the back ground with funny hats and jewels! America I love it!!!

    being from New Orleans lots of things suck…. the Corps of Engineers, our high capacity drainage pumps, whores, and quickbooks. drainage pumps and whores can be a good thing… the other two…. terrorists!

  8. on 01 Jan 2008 at 10:44i whonder why

    maybe the mac sucks seems that is the answer to all the ” blank sucks for the mac” questions. DO you people want every software company to stop everything and develop fixes for the mac? Its easy just assume nothing works for the mac and its like a present when something does. gt a pc for business get a mac for um…. photoshop? but that is on the pc too….. oh well

  9. on 02 Jan 2008 at 11:51Dylan

    If you’re going to release a product for the Mac, charge money for it, and claims it works, then it should. If it doesn’t, you should be held accountable.

    Not that I can’t now run just about every Windows app on a Mac with Parallels, but having to open anything in Windows is just a dreadfully awful user experience.

  10. on 03 Jan 2008 at 13:56Carl

    I would rather just do everything in a spreadsheet than go back to using Windows.

  11. on 11 Jan 2008 at 11:54Joe

    I too am totally fed up with quickbooks. I totally agree, if you are going to charge money for a product, it should work! ive tried quickbooks for the mac (total POS) and bought quickbooks for the PC, and have had nothing but headaches.

    Its like they didnt hire an information architect OR interface designer for the development process. not to mention that it does all kinds of bizarre things with the information i enter.

    Intuit customer service is horrible too. I pay for thier payroll service, only to be hung up on when they cant figure out what the problem is! ive been hung up on at least twice when their indian call center operator cant figure out what is going on. im not sure if there is a language barrier, or if crappy customer service is just what quickbooks trains its employees to deliver.

    has anyone tried MYOB or any other accounting packages for mac (or even windows)?

  12. on 11 Jan 2008 at 12:52suzanne108

    The good news is that intuit refunded my money for quickbooks on the mac as well as quicken for the mac. The bad news is the time I wasted.

  13. on 16 Jan 2008 at 19:50Gary House

    The print on the 2008 QB Pro is too small for easy viewing on the monitor and the print is too small on the invoices. This should be and easy fix; but, with QB obscure directions called “Help” and their off shore telephone support saying they “are not qualified to answer my question,” I’m very frustrated about my little problem.

  14. on 11 Mar 2008 at 18:25bill bancroft

    I have had such a hard time with quick books, I hate it..

  15. on 12 Jun 2008 at 12:13Ron

    QuickBooks sucks, no doubt about it. I never used a Mac but it sounds like its even worse on the Mac.

    I have used Quicken for years and love it, then I was forced to using QuickBooks due to Intuit stripping down Quicken to force people to use Quickbooks (They took away ability to import transactions with splits into a checking account).

    When I switched to QuickBooks I couldn’t believe how bad it is, you would think its from an entirely different company than Quicken, its like night and day. Intuit must have their retarded developers working on QuickBooks.

    I’ll give just one example so nobody can say I’m just just badmouthing QuickBooks for no reason.

    If you have online billpay and online access to your account transactions will be marked as cleared when you go online, so far so good, just like it should do. Now you get your paper statement and go to reconcile, transactions that show cleared online are marked as reconciled automatically, you unmark them and do your reconcile then go back to your register, now the transactions that are cleared online are now marked UNCLEARED completely.

    Quicken handles reconciling perfectly, never had any problems with it. And thats just one example of 100 I could give, another annoying thing it does; Edit a transaction and click save… it prompts you “Transaction has changed, do you want to save it?” ????? No duh, thats why I clicked “Save”.

    I’m looking for alternatives now.

  16. on 24 Jul 2008 at 12:19Tom

    I wish I had investigated more deeply before thinking a switch would be a breeze. I HATE Quickbooks for Mac. There isn’t anything “quick” about it. I am switching back to the PC version as switching to Mac lost a lot of data that I really do not feel like rebuilding.

  17. on 22 Nov 2008 at 10:06Joseph Hollak


    I stopped by because I was searching the Interweb for some blogs on QuickBooks for the Mac.

    I realize your post is at least three years old now, but I’m curious, with the release of QuickBooks Pro 2009 for the Mac have things gotten better?

    Back in 2005 you had some strong feelings against QB for Mac.

    How has the app progressed in the past three years?

    Joseph Hollak

  18. on 22 Nov 2008 at 18:13Dylan

    @Joseph, it was such a terrible experience that he haven’t tried it since.

  19. on 27 Dec 2008 at 21:20Robert

    yes, I would like to know if someone used QuickbBooks Accounting Mac 2009 and still have the same problems?

  20. on 07 Jan 2009 at 17:39Ed

    I just recently switched from PC to Mac and I thought i’d bring my QB over with me since the guy selling it assured me that everything would go smoothly.”They’ve fine tuned QB 2009 for mac and our geek squad guy with do the transfer for you. It’s a breeze.” Well let me assure you that is not the case at all! Not that QB 2008 was great, but atleast I could make sense of most everything. I would say my experience with QB 2009 for Mac is a bit like trying to understand their Indian tech guy. They both Suck!

  21. on 22 Jan 2009 at 16:18Jeff

    Boy, you are not kidding that support at Quickbooks is TERRIBLE! I bought MAC 2009 last night, paid full price. Today, tried using it and it failed within the first few minutes – just locked up and got this stupid Crashbox – that also seemed to be hung up. Called them regarding it.

    For a simple $79 monthly service plan, they will help figure out why their crap software does not work. So, I buy this for $200, then need to pay another $79 to get it to work??

    I dont think so!

    Back to the store it goes!

  22. on 04 Feb 2009 at 15:27Rob

    I purchased 2009 QB for mac and love it! No problems at all. Of course Im using it on a MacBook Pro. But my question is does anyone recommend a payroll program I can out right purchase not lease?

  23. on 15 Feb 2009 at 13:16Steve

    We’re a small nonprofit that runs Macs (both OS 10.5 & 10.4). Our accountant uses Windows. You know what’s coming.

    Our previous disasters with QB2004 involved its trashing data if we tried to make backups. So it was virtually impossible for me to automate a backup that included QB. I was reduced to manual backups. Well, WTH. Who cares if they can’t make an off-site backup easily? Its only data. Then there was trying the demo of the 2007 (or was 2008) version, only to have it convert all our data and then refuse to convert it back before the demo expired. Of course, QB was no help at all. Fortunately our accountant had the data. though not totally up to date.

    Now, there’s QB for Mac 2009. I would like to hear from actual users regarding their experience:

    1) Is the widely reported desktop erasure bug really fixed? Did QB ever offer data recovery to anyone (i.e. have they ever stood behind their Mac product)?

    2) Does TimeMachine work with QB? Or does QB work with TimeMachine, I guess? Has anyone successfully backed up QB with TimeMachine and then reinstalled it from TimeMachine? Did it work? Was all data there and uncorrupted? Did the reinstalled QB still work normally”?

    3) Am I correct that there is still no easy interface between QB Mac and Filemaker?

    4) Other, more general comments on QB 2009 for Mac are also appreciated.

    We’ve considered MYOB. Frankly, as the defacto IT guy here, that’s my preference given Intuits’ rotten and long standing track record with its Mac QB iterations. However, its not only my choice, so . . .
    Any and all feedback from actual users is appreciated.

    You can contact me at:

  24. on 04 Mar 2009 at 19:46Ghostown

    I’ve got to add my two cents here. I’m an avid Mac and PC user (although I prefer Macs because they’re better, LOL). I use very sophisticated audio engineering software every day and teach it every day. I can open most any software application and within an hour or two, have a pretty good understanding how it works and be able to navigate through it and use it’s functions. Not Quickbooks (I’m using Quickbooks Pro 2007). This has got to be the least intuitive program I have EVER used. It’s absolutely terrible. All I want to use the program for is creating invoices and entering payments from customers. It would also be nice to use it for other things such as syncing it with my bank account and tracking profits etc…, but I can’t even figure out how to do very basic things with it. I have a friend that has been using it on PC (2003 Pro). He told me loves it and I told him he was high. So he offers to help me figure out a few things on my Mac. He’s been using the program avidly since 2003 and swears by it. We opened it up on my Mac and he couldn’t figure out how to do anything, and I do mean anything. It seems that the Mac version is completely different than the PC version. I don’t get it; why would they make the versions for Mac and PC completely different. You would think that the main differences would be some very minor things with the visual interface. My friend told me it didn’t even look like the same program. This is absolutely ridiculous. I can understand some minor differences, but the fact that my friend has been using the program for 6 years and wasn’t able to help me with anything is completely asinine.

    I use Pro Tools (an audio recording program) and I’m able to open up files between Mac, PC and different versions of the program absolutely seamlessly. Beyond that, I’m able to work on both the Mac and PC version and they are almost identical except for a few visual differences that one would expect to have between Mac and PC. It’s 2009 people, this is absolutely unacceptable. Holy crap this makes me mad! I want my money back!

  25. on 04 Oct 2009 at 19:05Leesa

    I use 2009 QB for Mac after using QB Pro 2007 on a PC. I agree with Ghostown that the two are completely different. I also hired a certified QB trainer to help me set up our accounts properly and she could not believe how different the two versions were either. One example: you can’t search for an invoice by its number when receiving payments like you can on the PC version. The thing that has me steamed tonight is something that an earlier poster mentioned about QB for Mac doing bizarre things with the information you enter. It arbitrarily messes with your balance after you reconcile. I don’t know where it came up with the previous balance it’s showing when I pull up reconcile. I can even pull up the previous report (also a more difficult task on QB for Mac than the PC version) and see what it’s supposed to be. Very frustrating! I guess I will have to force it to reconcile. QB for Mac does indeed suck!

  26. on 21 Nov 2009 at 13:06Mike

    I arrived at this site to see if anyone had any experience of Quickbooks 2001 working with Windows 7 and was horrified to see the problems folks are having with Quickbooks.

    I started with Quicken for DOS and upgraded to Quickbooks to use the payroll facility. I found the versions of the program did everything I needed on a PC with Windows 3.2, Win98 and now WinXP. When I no longer needed the payroll updates I was able to stay with QB 2001 and now have twenty years of records on it.

    My computer is now elderly and slow and was wondering if the QB 2001 will work with Windows 7 or if I should stick with Win XP on a new computer

  27. on 06 Mar 2010 at 20:23Chris

    Does anyone know if there is a class action for this piece of crap? I just lost 6 hours of data! I have been using QB2003 on pc and more recently, on my iMac with Parralells 3.0. I stupidly upgraded and my QB03 no longer worked. so I buy QB Mac 2010, first thing I discover is my old files are useless and, then it crashes 5 times before it just stopped working. I went online and entered my codes and it didn’t even work! Now, the phone is telling me I need to put my numbers in the website before i can call the idiots!

  28. on 18 Aug 2010 at 12:14Mike

    I haven’t solved my problem of running QB 2001 with Windows 7 since my posting last November.

    however I now have a more upto date computer but still with XP. Re-installed QB 2001 as well as the data and everything is running OK.

    I think I will be happy with that for now and put off the day for a more upto date QB and Windows 7.

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