In June 2012 I wrote two blog articles on the theme of The Accountant with a Mac. These detailed my reasons for buying a MacBook Air as my work computer. At the time Macs were a rare sight in the business world, especially for accountants, where Windows applications were standard.
Four and a quarter years later my conclusion is a resounding yes. Macs are great and can definitely thrive in a modern Windows centric office network environment.
Pros and cons of having a Mac
The pros – Style, ease of use, speed, simplicity, power, full MS office compatibility.
The cons – The initial cost, the limitations (slowness….) of a Windows network, the faff of having to dual boot Windows to use Windows only programs and being the exception when trying to implement IT consistency.
My MacBook Air, a mid 2012 model with an i7 processor, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB solid state hard drive is still a very capable laptop, with a residual value of probably 30% to 40% of its original price. It is still one of the fastest laptops in the office. It has worn well, but annoyingly has developed a few marks on the display, almost as though the keyboard has been rubbing it. All quite odd.
My Mac now heads off into semi-retirement as a home office computer, with a life of websites, music, photos and video.
Changing times – Xero and The Cloud
Perhaps the biggest change in the last four years has been the rise of The Cloud and in particular cloud applications like Xero. If your application is cloud based then it does not matter whether you are a Mac or a PC. The Xero team all demo their software on Macs.
So, if Macs are so great, even in a Windows based office environment, why am I returning to The Dark Side?
The next few years will see dramatic changes for the Accountancy profession, with HMRC introducing Digital Taxation. This will see the end of the traditional annual tax return and individuals and businesses will interact directly with HMRC through as yet non-existent digital platforms.
The role of an accountant will change from being the person who collates tax information, populates the return and files it with HMRC, to a Trusted Advisor who manages a client’s digital tax account, connecting multiple data sources, making sense of the information and planning clients affairs in an ethically tax efficient way.
To reposition ourselves, Dafferns will have to decide which software provider we as a firm will partner with and to do this and evaluate alternatives, we need IT consistency across the partner and manager teams.
So for the time being, I am returning to the world of Windows and the time has come to buy a new laptop. The question is, what PC to buy…
To be continued…