Evidence is emerging that AccountingWEB members are breaking their traditional computing habits and migrating from Windows to Macs in increasing numbers.
Since the PC began to infiltrate the profession in the 1980s, it has had what seemed like an impregnable stranglehold as most specialist accounting and tax applications were only available for DOS or Windows. Microsoft Office - and particularly the accountants’ best friend, Excel - cemented that relationship.
But Apple’s phenomenal success with the iPhone and iPad has eroded that hold, as has the rise of Cloud computing, which only needs a web browser to ensure hardware compatibility.
As Nigel Harris has documented in his Mac diary since he opted for a MacBook in 2009, it meets his needs and is less trouble to run than a PC. If he did need to run Windows applications, he could do so using VMWare or some other virtual machine system.
The increasing momentum behind the Mac came to light recently in our Paperless office debate on managing the tax workload. Three of the people who took part commented that they had gone paperless, using Macs.
For sole practitioner TaxTeddy, it was a simple matter of changing work patterns and buying a scanner to run alongside the practice iMac.
“There is nothing which cannot be stored as a PDF,” TaxTeddy argued. Working files are easily shared with associates by using DropBox, the tax reference library is entirely electronic and technical bits and pieces are stored as Firefox bookmarks or within Evernote.
“My diary and work schedule is kept electronically with BusyCal. As I backup using Apple's Time Machine and also into the Cloud with CrashPlan there is no chance of losing a file or document,” TaxTeddy added.
Larsswann is also now Mac-based and operates using a remote desktop connection hosted by Hosted Accountants. Andrea Scott is also Mac-based, but relies on VMWare to run her BTC and VT tax and accounting applications, and uses GoToMyPC to log in to the Mac remotely.
According to tax lawyer and gadget guru Anne Fairpo, the Mac/DropBox paperless approach is becoming a de facto standard for many starting up in practice, particularly if they also go down the iPhone/iPad route.
Having conquered software compatibility, the other advantage that users perceive with the Mac is the rarity of viruses and malware. But this is a myth. As one anonymous member warned way back in 2009, “The only reason there are so few is that Apple has such a small share of the market so no-one writes them yet. They call it security through obscurity.”
It therefore follows that as Macs get more popular, they will become bigger targets for hackers and crackers. Nigel Harris raised the issue in his most recent Mac blog post, which asked, Is the Mac still safe online?