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Does anyone have experience of using a MacBook Pro? Are they worth the extra money and will the usual software used by accountants, excel, VT, payroll software etc able to be used on it? What is their advantage over say a Dell laptop for £500?

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By Matrix
30th Jun 2018 15:02

No you can't use VT or desktop packages like Moneysoft on a Mac unless you run a parallel operating system.

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By Sheepy306
01st Jul 2018 01:20

You can’t really compare a MacBook Pro with a £500 Dell.

A Dell XPS is often said to be the PC equivalent, but like the MacBook Pro there’s quite a range of them from say £1k to £2k or so.

Are they worth the money? Rather depends what you’re using it for. For me, I run my whole practice on an XPS 15 with a maximum spec and absolutely yes they’re worth it.
I considered a Macbok Pro but for me the hassle of running a parallel system rather defeated having an Apple, plus I simply didn’t have the time to learn a new system.

A number of people on here use Macs, not sure if that’s just casually or as a main workhorse, so i’m Sure they’ll be able to advise on that.

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Teignmouth
By Paul Scholes
01st Jul 2018 10:28

Moved to all Mac 7 years ago and would never go back, Parallels works fine to run Windows stuff, but there's no need these days as you can run Cloud software or use an hosted solution, similar question 3 months back:

https://www.accountingweb.co.uk/any-answers/to-mac-or-not-to-mac

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By Glenn Martin
02nd Jul 2018 13:32

I always had bad luck with windows laptops and they rarely lasted beyond 2 years.

The last one packed in when it upgraded from Win 8 to Win 10. I never went too cheap really, the last one I had was a Samsung which was £600.

In the end my wife got me a MacBook Air for about £850 which has been great. Its nearly 3 years old and still runs like it did out of the box. Battery life is still over 10 hours and is very robust.

I have a lot of other apple stuff so it all syncs great. I use Taxcalc cloud connect which will run on my MacBook and also I use Brightpay which again will run on a Mac.

Mac versions of Office are now as good as the windows ones pretty much. Everything else is cloud anyway now so they are fine.

Its definitely the best laptop I have had for a long time. Not sure you need to go for the full Mac Pro though.

I notice a few people have bought the iPad Pro (Big screen one) and use it with a keyboard so laptop type functionality + with tablet style ease of use touch screen etc.

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By Glenn Martin
01st Jul 2018 14:30

I always had bad luck with windows laptops and they rarely lasted beyond 2 years.

The last one packed in when it upgraded from Win 8 to Win 10. I never want too cheap the last one I had was a Samsung which was £600.

In the end my wife got me a MacBook Air for about £850 which has been great. Its nearly 3 years old and still runs like it did out of the box. Battery life is still over 10 hours and is very robust. I have a lot of other apple stuff so it all syncs great. I use Taxcalc cloud connect which will run on my MacBook and also I use Brightpay which again will run on a Mac.
Mac versions of Office are now as good as the windows ones pretty much. Everything else is cloud anyway now so they are fine.

Its definitely the nets laptop I have had for a long time. Not sure you need to go for the full Mac Pro though.

I notice a few people of bought the iPad Pro (Big screen one) and use it with a keyboard so laptop type functionality + with tablet style ease of use touch screen etc.

Thanks (0)
By Glenn Martin
01st Jul 2018 14:30

I always had bad luck with windows laptops and they rarely lasted beyond 2 years.

The last one packed in when it upgraded from Win 8 to Win 10. I never want too cheap the last one I had was a Samsung which was £600.

In the end my wife got me a MacBook Air for about £850 which has been great. Its nearly 3 years old and still runs like it did out of the box. Battery life is still over 10 hours and is very robust. I have a lot of other apple stuff so it all syncs great. I use Taxcalc cloud connect which will run on my MacBook and also I use Brightpay which again will run on a Mac.
Mac versions of Office are now as good as the windows ones pretty much. Everything else is cloud anyway now so they are fine.

Its definitely the nets laptop I have had for a long time. Not sure you need to go for the full Mac Pro though.

I notice a few people of bought the iPad Pro (Big screen one) and use it with a keyboard so laptop type functionality + with tablet style ease of use touch screen etc.

Thanks (0)
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By daniel_
02nd Jul 2018 09:56

If you need VT then you'll need to have windows. Macbook Pros will only run macOS.

Windows equivalent would be something like a Lenovo Thinkpad T480 (or T580 if you need a numpad). Thinkpads are solid machines and designed for business use. They're tough, built to be repairable and are generally quite light and thin.

They're more expensive than an entry level dell laptop, I find the main differences are speed/performance, built quality, battery life, weight, size and the feel of the keyboard/touch pad.

If these things don't matter that much to you, then an entry level laptop would be fine. General office work isn't that demanding of PCs. Either way, make sure it uses SSD storage and not a HDD spinning disk as these are painfully slow by today's standards.

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Replying to daniel_:
Teignmouth
By Paul Scholes
03rd Jul 2018 10:16

"If you need VT then you'll need to have windows. Macbook Pros will only run macOS."

People have been posting on this and other threads for years about running VT on Macs?

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By D V Fields
02nd Jul 2018 21:28

Recently purchased the MacBook Pro and have Bootcamp configured (sadly) to run Windows. Windows is needed because some accounting software is not available under Mac OS (e.g. SAGE - although why you’d want to .....another story).

The reason for changing is that with my desktop Dell XPS and previously Dell Dimensions I could rely on them to continually fail (e.g. Blue Screen of Death) and got to the stage where I could set my watch by it.

I am pleased to return to Mac and my aim is to phase out windows as much as possible and of course use Cloud based software at times. (Got to move with the times even if reluctantly). So far Excel and Word are fine. You can use the same file on both. If you use VBA Excel then you may find some of your coding (e.g. I have some functional add-ins) may not be supported under the Mac version. It is generally the case that you are more likely to be able to use a ‘Windows” file with Mac than the other way around.

Bootcamp is Mac’s software to enable you to partition your Mac into a Mac partition and a Window’s partition. The Windows partition will require a copy of Windows to be installed. It is not an emulator and thus you fire up Mac or Windows. However from the Mac you can access the Bootcamp directory to work on files; the same is not true the other way around.

With a decent spec and hooked up to a widescreen monitor the MacBook Pro has become a portable desktop more powerful than my old Dell machines (almost combined).

The advantage over a Dell laptop for £500? Processing power.

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By In a Daze
02nd Jul 2018 12:37

I have a Microsoft Surface Pro with a few accessories. It is a very powerful bit of kit.

This suits me as it can be used as a laptop,tablet and with the docking station it can be used like a standard PC it did cost nearly £2350 with all the accessories but worth every penny.

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By In a Daze
02nd Jul 2018 12:39

Double post

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counting
By Counting numbers
02nd Jul 2018 12:52

I made the switch to a MacBook Pro a few months ago and I haven’t looked back. I have a windows setup on it so no issue with excel or word, however, I like to use Google Drive to access Google spreadsheets/docs. It’s very easy to use and very light so I don't feel like my I’m carrying around a tank anymore. I was able to get up and running very easily and I particularly like the touch bar on the keyboard.

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Replying to Counting numbers:
Teignmouth
By Paul Scholes
03rd Jul 2018 10:15

Quote:

I made the switch to a MacBook Pro a few months ago and I haven’t looked back. I have a windows setup on it so no issue with excel or word, however, I like to use Google Drive to access Google spreadsheets/docs. It’s very easy to use and very light so I don't feel like my I’m carrying around a tank anymore. I was able to get up and running very easily and I particularly like the touch bar on the keyboard.

Many people still think of "Google docs" as they used to be years ago. These days I hardly ever use Excel or Word (I have the Mac versions) preferring instead the Google app versions.

The main benefit of these is collaboration, ie you can have several users all working in them, sharing them or just leaving comments, which has been a real plus with a couple of my spreadsheet clients and saves having to email around various versions of spreadsheets.

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By paulwakefield1
05th Jul 2018 11:44

If you use the more powerful features of Excel and, in particular "Get and Transform" aka Power Query, these are not available in the Mac version. There are in fact quite a few differences between the two Excel versions.

I specifically mention Get and Transform as I think it will be an increasingly important feature and may also possibly help moving to MTD.

If you're running Parallels then that gets around the issue but, for me, rather defeats the object.

As for longevity, I've never really had an issue with Windows machines myself. I do think there is an element of you get what you pay for. My Lenovo laptop is still going strong after 6 years but it wasn't cheap - in my view anyway :-). There is equally no doubt that Macs are nice machines.

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By Charlie Carne
05th Jul 2018 17:00

I work from home with a cheap Acer Veriton Windows desktop PC that cost me less than £300 (ex VAT) in 2014. I then spent much more money on two 24" monitors. After more than four years, that PC is still perfect. When I'm out, I use the cheapest Microsoft Surface Pro that cost less than £600. The advantage of a desktop is that is very cheap, can be left on without overheating, it's easy to connect multiple, large monitors and will last for years. The laptop then also lasts longer, as it's only used when I'm out and is not on all day, every day.

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By Urszula82
05th Jul 2018 17:41

Hello,

MacBook Pro is great, smooth, sleek and very intuitive. It comes with Apple apps, but any other softwares you have to buy separately. Take a look at what you’re using in the company, because some softwares might not be compatible with Mac.
Ms Office works perfectly fine and there are minor changes between excel Mac & excel Windows. I’d be more vigilant around accounting software you currently use and if you can operate from Mac.
Hope this helps.

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David Ross
By davidross
05th Jul 2018 19:19

My wife and I have used MacBook Pros for some years (I prefer the previous version to its replacement) and we run Moneysoft Payroll under Parallels Desktop. That is the only Windows software we use (and only because we have to, as we cannot find anything that matches Moneysoft Payroll).

As I said in a previous thread, I have been using Excel since 1984, 6 years before it worked on Windows

Bootcamp is all very well but you have to re-start to use it. By contrast Parallels shares the same folders (so you can save files to the Mac and then work on them, email them etc from with the Mac OS)

Best of all Worlds - when in the office I plug into a Samsung 4k 23" screen

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By reconynge
06th Jul 2018 08:31

I've been following posts like this and using spreadsheets for MTD with puzzlement.

My thought process is this: do we as a profession still use quill pens, ink and ledger books? No! Thus the question should be, rather, what tools do I need to run my practice in this century, not the last one? Accordingly, at Accountex if any vendor offered a desktop-only version of their wares, I walked away. "Desktop applications are last century's quill pens: what is there in the cloud for this century?" is our approach and it serves us well. Alongside this is the recognition that many offerings (desktop and cloud) are bloated and it is very easy to over-complicate matters using all the fancy tools at your disposal. What is really needed?

Going, now, to the original question. PCs versus Macs is an age-old chestnut. In many cases it goes down to personal choice, but for us the return on investment means Apple products win every time. The longevity of Macs are simply amazing. In the office we have a ten year old iMac desktop still going strong and on the road an eight year old Macbook Pro. No PC-based technology matches that, hence the ROI we get with the Macs.

Keeping things simple, while perfectly possible, neither of the Macs run Windows. On the road, the Pro hooks into our data server which is mirrored in the cloud. Libre Office is the workhorse for documents and spreadsheets; sync.com for encrypted cloud access for our clients; Xero for accounts, etc, etc.

The clear-out we had a few years ago on all the "stuff" we use, and how, has meant we are leaner and more efficient in our daily tasks with increased productivity, less on-costs and higher ROI.

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By Foxy
13th Jul 2018 14:53

I use a 9 year old (!) Dell Latitude E6400 with a large screen and about 2 years ago bought a MacBook Pro.
The Dell is connected to a big hard drive for backup etc and runs all the usually desktop software. the two use OneDrive (and Google Chrome) so everything is synched on both machines. I don't travel with the Dell any more.

The MacBook:
Pros: Light, long battery life, looks good in front of clients, generally runs well, very quick.
Cons: Expensive, no docking station, runs Microsoft Office but there are still lots of annoying differences between the OSX version and the Windows version, screen is beginning to fog round the edges where it rubs on the cover, some older software won't run on the Mac.

Switching between the two is ok but there are a lot of minor annoyances; for somethings Windows is better!

If I bought a new machine I'd go for a high-spec Dell.

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