May 6th 2010
By Chad Brubaker, CEO, www.emochila.com
As you read this article, odds are you are looking at it on a PC. That is because traditionally most accounting and tax software has been built specifically for PCs.
Why? PCs take up approximately 90 percent of the market share for computers, so it really doesn’t make sense for software companies to put money into developing products for the Mac operating system.
However, emerging technologies have now made it possible to use a Windows operating system on a Mac, or have both on the same machine! In fact, companies like VMware and Parallels allow you to run both systems at the same time without even rebooting. Because of this, the question of Mac vs. PC for accountants once again becomes relevant.
Generally, Macs are viewed as more luxurious computers. Regardless of the features, the price surely reflects that. Mac laptops generally start around $1,000 for a good model, whereas PCs cost more in the range of $750 for a good laptop. If cost is an issue for you, take that into consideration.
If you care about how your computer looks, Mac clearly spends more money on the aesthetics of the design (which is a factor in the higher cost). However, many PCs also look very sleek, so that aspect is really just a matter of personal preference.
As for actual functionality, Macs are generally laid out more simply, are easier to use, and are less prone to viruses. Yet, the reason they are safer and get fewer viruses isn’t necessarily because their operating system is more secure. Similar to software companies, people that build viruses focus on where they will get the most benefit. Because Macs only comprise 10 percent of all computers, hackers don’t waste their time with them.
In terms of programming or customizing your computer, you have more freedom to do that with a PC, while Macs are more rigid. Most accountants, however, don’t have time to develop software code for fun.
Basically you need to figure out what your basic specifications are for a new computer. If you want to be economical, buy a PC. If you can afford a Mac, and you have tried one and like how they function, spring for one. Just remember to put a Windows or dual-boot operating system on it so you can use QuickBooks, your tax software, and everything else you need for your practice. You can read more about Mac’s compatibility with other operating systems.