My wife wants to start her own side business and you-know-who has been drafted to help. Drafted as in unpaid. My job is to track the money, both incoming and outgoing, and that calls for a simple accounting system.
I missed the QuickBooks for Mac sale over the weekend. $175, but normally around $250. Rather than pay Intuit to continue to ignore Mac users (Quicken Essentials hasn’t been updated in about a year; so Intuit is back to their old habits), I decided to look around.
Guess what? The full featured Easy Books bookkeeping system for Mac, iPhone, and iPad is free. Almost.
Not So Easy Books
Right off the bat let me explain that though it’s my responsibility to find a bookkeeping system to help my wife’s new venture, I’m not an accountant. All I want to do is track what comes in and what goes out.
And, to be honest about it, Easy Books caught my eye because of the price tag. It’s free for Mac and iOS devices.
What I found was a little more full featured than I expected. This ain’t Quicken.
It’s a double-entry accounting package, complete with customer invoicing, balance sheet, P & L, a variety of account types including assets, liabilities, bank accounts, credit cards, and much more.
Built in are sales invoices, estimates, statements, a bunch of financial reports for products, services, taxes, as well as the standard P & L, cash flow, transactions, and more.
Easy Books even runs multiple businesses, so you can use it for a business and personal finances at the same time.
On the surface, Easy Books looks like any modestly featured Mac accounting system. From a single screen you can select accounts, statements, invoices, and reports– all with a click.
Now, get this. Easy Books syncs data from Mac to the also-free iOS version of Easy Books. So far I’ve found it a bit difficult to set up and I attribute that to the fact that I’m not an accountant, and what I’m doing more akin to indentured servitude to keep my wife happy.
*Not So Free Books
Also, I don’t claim to understand the business model of free apps, but this one is takes on the new in-app purchase trend. Easy Books is billed as free on both Mac and iPhone or iPad.
Here’s the deal. Easy Books is free but has limited transaction entries. If you want more transactions, that comes with a hefty price tag. If you want invoicing and time tracking, each is priced extra, too. And, as I found out in the fine print, even the online sync capability comes with a price tag (per month or per year).
While I like what Easy Books does so far, and the total of all the components is still less than QuickBooks for Mac, it’s more clear to me that free doesn’t really mean what it used to mean.