MacInTouch Reader Reports

Applications: Quicken and Alternatives

Older entries...

Jul. 9, 2011
Jul. 11, 2011
Jul. 12, 2011
Jul. 13, 2011
Jul. 14, 2011
Jul. 15, 2011
Jul. 16, 2011
Jul. 18, 2011
Jul. 19, 2011
Jul. 20, 2011
Jul. 25, 2011
Jul. 26, 2011
Jul. 27, 2011
Jul. 28, 2011
Jul. 29, 2011
Jul. 30, 2011
Aug. 1, 2011
Aug. 2, 2011
Aug. 3, 2011
Aug. 4, 2011
Aug. 5, 2011

Newer entries...

Previous Page...

Jul. 9, 2011

item.138596

Skot Nelson

So it turned out SEE Finance didn't have my balance wrong, so that "bug" I saw was not a bug. Maybe it was just a screen that hadn't refreshed yet... anyway.

SEE is a very good replacement for Quicken, but it operates on a fundamentally different premise than Quicken's ledger. SEE, as I've said before, is more of a database of transactions. You can make it look like a ledger, but you can also make it look like a bunch of other things.

So, having used SEE for a few months now here's what I personally see as its shortcomings:

- Transfers are definitely awkwardly implemented. They should be double-ended

- Reconciling basically sucks. The Quicken model of checking a transaction and *then* reconciling the full account later was great. On SEE, every time you check a transaction it's reconciled... and you can't check transactions, you need to use a menu command *and* go through a dialog box. Reconciling sucks.

- The interface is fairly monotone and would benefit from using visual cues to distinguish items from one another, primarily accounts. Bank Accounts, Assets, Liabilities, Credit Cards etc. all look the same in the main window, and I've often entered the first in a series of transactions in the wrong account as a result.

- The old "Portfolio" view from Quicken which let you enter prices for a series of securities for a single day was awesome. There doesn't appear to be a similar screen in SEE, and there should be.

- When I enter securities by *name* it doesn't auto match them. I need to enter the Symbol. Given that in Canada we don't really *use* mutual fund numbers, it makes it rather tedious to enter securities. I've made up some fake symbols but seriously... if I start typing the name and there's a match, it should work.

So, I quite like SEE, but these are gripes I have with it to this day.

Especially reconciling. Which absolutely sucks.

item.138598

Gregory Tetrault

Paul Ediger said:

"... I just can't think of a good way to separate, for example, airfare/business, airfare/personal, and airfare/reimbursable in a usable way without classes."

You're using an expense-based approach (airfare) instead of a category-based approach. The category: subcategory approach for the examples above would be:

1. Business travel: Airfare (or Business: Travel: Airfare)
2. Travel (I don't use subcategories for personal travel.)
3. Professional: Travel (or Professional: Reimbursible: Travel)

When you get a paycheck or direct deposit with the reimbursement, it gets categorized as Income: Pre-tax: Professional Reimbursement. You can use the memo field to indicate which expense was reimbursed.

item.138600

Gregory Tetrault

John Sandiego said about Moneydance:

"... If you get sloppy and enter John doe, Moneydance does not recognize this as a previously used payee."

This feature works perfectly in Moneydance 2011. If I previously wrote a check to John Doe, all of the following get auto-filled correctly:

1. john d >> John Doe
2. John d >> John Doe
3. JOHN D >> John Doe
4. JOHN d >> John Doe

Earlier versions of Moneydance were more case-sensitive when looking for previous payers or payees.

item.138620

Bill Helsabeck

At 50% off, I bought Quicken Essentials for Mac, even though I had "decided" to go with "See Finance" on *Lion*. To my surprise, QEM seems totally adequate. The electronic linking with my Schwab Credit card and my credit union work nicely... I was never able to get that going in Quicken 2006.

As a more than "basic" monitor of my finances (I will monitor investments on the Schwab web pages...), QEM isn't bad as I have come to believe. Perhaps it has been updated enough to become "acceptable". Give it a try. You may be surprised.

item.138633

Paul Ediger

John Sandiego wrote:

"I wish Moneydance entries in the Payee field were not case-sensitive."

That's a option in Preferences->General. I thought case sensitivity was off by default, but that may have been one I turned off right from the start.

"I agree with Harold Stoddard's statement that creating transfer transactions in See Finance is really no more difficult than creating other transactions. My point is, why is it necessary in the first place?"

Well, regular transfers are of course needed all the time for things like ATM withdrawals and moving money into a brokerage account. Now, if categories are not treated as transfers to expense accounts, and one rarely edits or deletes transactions, I might see SEE's method as acceptable (for me). But in my experience with Quicken, I have too often needed to edit or delete transfer transactions, whether to fix errors or to change the method I used to account for something. This would be a two-step, and I would argue error prone, process in SEE and since there's no link (correct me if I'm wrong) there's no "jump to the other side" to help.

"Again, my position is that there no reason that transfers cannot be entered just like garden variety transactions."

Cool. Although I would argue that entering transfers in SEE is not like entering normal transactions, given you have to use a helper for transfers. And in MoneyDance, all transactions really are "garden variety transactions." They're *all* transfers :-)

While we're talking transfers, I'll mention another problem with MoneyDance. It doesn't have a way to move shares from one account to another without selling. All MS transactions from Quicken are now SellXfrs, through an intermediate account, which causes problems for tracking the cost basis.

item.138649

Bob Wolfe

How many of the alternative to Quicken Essentials work with the online downloads from the Royal Bank of Canada? None. There is no alternative to Quicken for me, but I'm not complaining at all. I read the Intuit email as saying it will continue to work just fine with Lion

item.138650

MacInTouch Reader

John Sandiego said,

"I wish Moneydance entries in the Payee field were not case-sensitive."

Moneydance has an option to turn turn off 'case-sensitivity' of auto-complete transactions. Just open the preferences and uncheck "Case Sensitive Auto-completion" on the "General" tab.

item.138653

Andrew Lazarus

I think you are underestimating the usefulness of classes/tags. I can take categories like Clothing or Music Lessons, and use the class (or tag) to assign them to a particular member of the family. You don't want subcategies with a common name; in your schema, there isn't any good way to get total airfare across the different containing categories.

item.138654

MacInTouch Reader

John Grout wrote:

Compared to Apple's latest "new version" scam (Final Cut Pro X) and vendors who ship incomplete beta releases of new software as priced upgrades (e.g., LemkeSoft's GraphicConverter 7), Intuit deserves some respect for how they are positioning Quicken.

Whatever the foibles of GraphicConverter 7, lumping LemkeSoft into the same group as Intuit and Apple is ludicrous, if not insulting.

Thorsten Lemke essentially runs a one-man operation, is personally responsive to the needs of his customers, and his overall, long-time commitment to the Macintosh cannot be questioned.

Actions speak far louder than words, sales pitches, or empty promises, and it's clearly evident which sides of the fence Lemke and Intuit occupy.

item.138647

Mike Newman

I haven't written a check in at least ten years. I live in Thailand. For bills in the US I use my US bank's free bill pay service. They use EFT when possible and otherwise send a check. For bills in Thailand I use my Thai bank's free bill pay service. For bills not covered by the service (water, electricity and landline phone) I use good old cash and pay the bills at 7/11 or at the provider's counter service.

I recently needed to move money from one Thai bank to another. Unbelievably, the only reasonably priced option was cash. So, there I was walking through The Mall with 1.5 million baht in a stack of bank notes about 40 cm thick. (At least the bank provided an envelope to conceal the cash.) It was one of the most nerve wracking five minutes of my life.

Jul. 11, 2011

item.138660

Johann Beda

I have been using MoneyDance now for a half dozen years or so. I have been downloading transaction details from the Royal Bank of Canada for a similar length of time (chequing and savings accounts). I download them in .ofx format, but I cannot recall what setting on the RBC website I needed to set to get that format - often using "MS Money" format will give an OFX file that MoneyDance can use.

item.138671

Bill Schwartz

Bob Wolfe writes:

"How many of the alternative to Quicken Essentials work with the online downloads from the Royal Bank of Canada? None."

Moneydance support (which seems excellent) says that Moneydance uses exactly the same technology as Quicken to connect to financial institutions, so if they work with Quicken they will work with Moneydance. Back support, however, usually doesn't know that and will tell you Moneydance is not supported. Apparently what works is to ask for a direct connection via Quicken, not even mentioning Moneydance, and it will just work. The same may very well be true of all the other Quicken alternatives, but I'm not sure.

item.138678

Gregory Tetrault

Andrew Lazarus said:

"I can take categories like Clothing or Music Lessons, and use the class (or tag) to assign them to a particular member of the family."

I agree that it is sensible to use tags that way.

"...in your schema, there isn't any good way to get total airfare across the different containing categories."

I cannot think of a reason why anyone would need to total the costs of personal airfare, business (reimbursible) airfare, and professional airfare. However, this can be done using only categories and subcategories. (The subcategories "Travel: Airfare" and "Professional: Travel: Airfare" would need to be added to my original example.)

In Moneydance, select the report "Income and Expenses, Detailed." Click the Edit button. Choose the date range. In the row of buttons after "Select:" choose By Type. Check the appropriate subcategories in the list. In our example they would be Business: Travel: Airfare, Professional: Travel: Airfare, and Travel: Airfare. The resulting report subtotals each of the subcategories and gives a grand total at the bottom. If you click the Memorize button and name the report, it can be reused without having to reselect the subcategories.

item.138683

MacInTouch Reader

Bill Helsabeck said:

At 50% off, I bought Quicken Essentials for Mac...

I've seen a few statements like this. Where is this discount available?

item.138694

John Sandiego

I stand corrected. Moneydance does have a preference to turn off Case Senstitive autofills. (I shoulda looked more closely before enagaging keyboard.) ...

item.138715

MacInTouch Reader

Another Macintosh reader noted:

Whatever the foibles of GraphicConverter 7, lumping LemkeSoft into the same group as Intuit and Apple is ludicrous, if not insulting. Thorsten Lemke essentially runs a one-man operation, is personally responsive to the needs of his customers, and his overall, long-time commitment to the Macintosh cannot be questioned.

I could not agree with you more. Lemke is in a special class of dedicated developers. However, the down side that 'a one-man operation' can have is the dramatic pitfall potential, should that 'one-man' have a life event that removes him without warning from supporting his product.

As an example, many (most?) would agree that the best, the very best, text editor ever developed for the Mac was 'Tex-Edit Plus' by Tom Bender. However, as a one-man show, Mr. Bender was unable to develop a universal version of his priceless application. I still miss that text editor!

Jul. 12, 2011

item.138733

Michelle Steiner

I got my 50% discount on Quicken Essentials for Mac from an email that Intuit sent me, because I'm a registered Quicken owner:

Dear Valued Quicken Customer,

Apple is scheduled to release a new operating system this summer (Lion Mac OS X 10.7). If you are using Quicken for Mac 2005, 2006, or 2007 and ARE considering upgrading to this new operating system, please click here to see how it could impact your Quicken Mac product.

If you do not plan on upgrading to the new operating system or are using Quicken Essentials for Mac, please disregard this message.

If you have any questions, please visit our Quicken Mac Q&A.

Sincerely,

Aaron Forth
GM, Personal Finance
Intuit Inc.

(the link included a priority code that I suspect is different for each addressee of the message.)

item.138734

Ben Levi

Bill Helsabeck said:

At 50% off, I bought Quicken Essentials for Mac...

I've seen a few statements like this. Where is this discount available?

Here's the link.

item.138747

MacInTouch Reader

I recently received a response from Tom Bender that he is working on a Lion compatible version of Tex-Edit Plus, a simply great program.

item.138782

Lawrence Rhodes

I second the praise of Tom Bender for Tex-Edit Plus, though I might call it more of a styled text editor than a plain text editor. But don't give up hope; as I understand it, he intends to finish an Intel version now that Lion will kill his PPC code, he's just been busy with real life. Maybe he'll offer it on the App Store.

item.138785

Ian Wright

John Grout's throwaway line about Lemkesoft is most unfair. There may be issues with Version 7 but I've used GraphicConverter for many years (at least versions 3 through 6) and have been amazed at the great value it offers (it's still dirt cheap), the regular upgrade schedule and the overall quality of the product. It is exemplary software and incredible value for money. Hats off to Thorsten Lemke for his efforts over the years providing the best graphic 'Swiss Army Knife' tool ever, on any platform.

item.138798

Gregory Weston

Ian Wright says:

"John Grout's throwaway line about Lemkesoft is most unfair. There may be issues with Version 7 but I've used GraphicConverter for many years (at least versions 3 through 6) and have been amazed at the great value it offers (it's still dirt cheap), the regular upgrade schedule and the overall quality of the product. It is exemplary software and incredible value for money. Hats off to Thorsten Lemke for his efforts over the years providing the best graphic 'Swiss Army Knife' tool ever, on any platform."

I agree with you, but I also understand Mr. Grout's comment. GC 7 has a *lot* of issues. Not many very large ones left, but a host of little annoyances that make it a real chore to use compared to 6.x. I've had great experience with Mr. Lemke over the years, but that doesn't stop me from saying that even the latest 7.x build feels more like a beta than the betas he's had me test in the past, and the updates seem to have slowed. I suspect, given the age and complexity of GC, that the move to Cocoa might've been too big for one person to do all at once.

Jul. 13, 2011

item.138827

Flawn Williams

The email from Quicken pushing their Essentials package addresses itself to users of Quicken 2005, 2006, or 2007. But the FAQ at the Quicken site says only 2006 and 2007 can be imported into QE. What about us 2005 users? Is there an export option into QE? Do the other alternatives being talked about (MoneyDance, SEE, etc) import the QIF format file that Q2005 exports?

item.138846

Ian Wright

Thanks Gregory. Point taken!

item.138859

MacInTouch Reader

For Flawn Williams:

QE imports Quicken 2005 data just fine.

Jul. 14, 2011

item.138881

MacInTouch Reader

MoneyDance can import Quicken QIF, although it seems to prefer QFX as more reliable. It is also, as far as I know, the only program that can import Quicken Essentials.

item.138910

Mike Zeldin

For those using (hopefully only a very few) or about to try Quicken Essentials, the following information may be helpful: QE will not accommodate two users, each using their own Apple identity (accounts)in connection with imported data. Once one user has set up his QE accounts with imported data , a second user will not be able to import their data, even though that second user is signed on under their own identity.

I worked with Intuit tech support for four plus hours on this issue before reaching the conclusion this is an issue at this time. I did not experience this with Moneydance or with See. Our solution was to set up my wife's QE on a separate computer, a not very convenient work around. The tech support folks I worked with were very good and made an earnest effort by phone, on line, and email.

item.138937

John Sandiego

FWIW Moneydance imports data from Quicken Essentials flawlessly. You don't even have to export anything from QEM. Moneydance just does it, splits and all.

Jul. 15, 2011

item.138943

Paul Arends

I'm still using Quicken 2002 on a 3.06GHz Intel iMac with 10.6.8. Over the years I have had similar issues with Quicken. What I did is put the file in the Shared folder, put aliases in my folder and my wife's folder. I made sure permissions were set for both of us on the Quicken document and all of the contents of the Quicken folder in Applications. Seems to work OK. I think I am headed toward Checkbook Pro from Splasm.

item.138967

Gregory Weston

Mike Zeldin writes:

"For those using (hopefully only a very few) or about to try Quicken Essentials, the following information may be helpful: QE will not accommodate two users, each using their own Apple identity (accounts) in connection with imported data. Once one user has set up his QE accounts with imported data, a second user will not be able to import their data, even though that second user is signed on under their own identity."

I find this a very confusing comment. I had no difficulting importing twice (into different data files) while logged in under my own account. Is it not the multiple import aspect of this that's the problem but, somehow, something to do with using different accounts for them?

Jul. 16, 2011

item.139008

Mike Zeldin

Sorry for any confusion, but, in brief, QE will not allow the second of two different users, each using their specific Mac identities, to create a QE account via import.

QE tech support confirms this issue as a likely problem within "permissions" within QE. Of course, one user can "import" data into accounts under that user's Mac identity. But once user A has created account(s), user B is out of luck. As I mentioned, only a few will be affected by this issue.

item.139073

MacInTouch Reader

We recently upgraded from Quicken 2007 to Quicken Essentials for Mac. We used to pay bills through Quicken, and it cost about $10/month through Wells Fargo. It was fairly easy to use and was well integrated, easy to reconcile. I tried iBank and a few other alternatives, with the plan to migrate to Wells Fargo's Bill Pay service through their web site (free). None of the replacements/alternatives worked particularly well.

I bought Quicken Essentials for Mac when it was offered for 1/2 off, planning to use their money back guarantee if it wasn't worth it.

It looks like we're going to stick with it - there was a learning curve, but it imports transactions from various banks/credit cards well and the reconciliation it well implemented. It's definitely quicker and easier to use and the transaction search/reporting will work for taxes just fine.

The biggest obstacle was getting it to work between two different user accounts. I tried placing the .quickendata file in a Shared folder (worked with Q2007) as well as using group permissions... Essentials wouldn't work. We have a shared hard drive for iTunes/iPhoto/iMovie with "Ignore ownership on this volume" checked. Dropped the file there, and it works flawlessly.

item.139089

Dave Sell

I've been using Quicken Essentials for a couple of months. Seems to work OK for what I do, just keep track of basic accounts. But when I refinanced my mortgage recently, I went to set up a new loan and discovered that it won't track a loan. It seemed to be tracking my mortgage and car loan. But a closer look showed that it didn't split the payment anymore.

It can't set up a payment schedule. It doesn't keep track of principal and interest.

In fact a trip to the web site help section tells you that you must manually figure interest and principal each month to enter into the loan register. Really. It can't figure basic interest?
Wow.

Jul. 18, 2011

item.139157

Mike Zeldin

A MacInTouch reader said:

The biggest obstacle was getting it to work between two different user accounts. I tried placing the .quickendata file in a Shared folder (worked with Q2007) as well as using group permissions... Essentials wouldn't work. We have a shared hard drive for iTunes/iPhoto/iMovie with "Ignore ownership on this volume" checked. Dropped the file there, and it works flawlessly.

Thanks MacInTouch Reader! Your solution of importing from an external drive works just as you described. Once imported, everything works. Thanks for posting your solution.

item.139162

Flawn Williams

I converted several files from Quicken 2005 over to QE10 today. It reported that it couldn't import four transactions in one account due to illegal 'control' characters in the Payee lines, but wouldn't tell me which four were bad. Took some sleuthing to track them down.

I discovered that in an asset account window when I change the selection for 'Status' from 'Any Status' to 'Uncategorized' or any other status option, the numbers in the 'Balance' column disappear! A long chat session with someone in India ended with them maintaining that this is a feature. Wish I could have seen their faces when they said that....

Jul. 19, 2011

item.139216

Geoffrey Green

As a Quicken user since 1995 (I can tell you that I paid $8.75 in cash for cab fare on August 26, 1995; I've gotten a bit less detailed in my recordkeeping since then), I wasn't looking forward to switching to Quicken Essentials for the Mac. I'll get a few of my problems out of the way first. I'm annoyed that QEM has such poor investment tracking, but since I don't have any significant non-retirement account investments at the moment, it's not a practical problem for me at the moment. The reporting also is much weaker, and I hope that gets improved quickly (though I don't expect that it will, given Intuit's slow pace of software development).

However, that said, I've had a decent experience with QEM so far. It did a good job converting my data file which had made its way through four or five Quicken upgrades between 1995 and 2005 (the latest version I purchased). There were a few erroneous transactions involving current accounts, but they were easy to fix. All of my scheduled transactions made the transition. The program has a very different feel than classic Quicken, with the single-window interface including an account and reporting pane on the left side, but I've found that it works well. I didn't have trouble entering scheduled transactions, and the interface for choosing categories and subcategories for transaction is much smoother than the old iteration. There's now a field for transfers, so they're not shoehorned into the category field.

I haven't had any troubles downloading transactions from my bank account. The automatic category matching works better than it has in the past -- for example, Q2005 kept categorizing my monthly term life insurance payment as "snacks" for some reason, even though I kept correcting it and deleted any possible Quickfill transactions. It's now being downloaded correctly. Moreover, there were a number of niggling bugs in Q2005, some of which had been present for years, and those are obviously gone. I'm sure some have been replaced with new bugs, but they haven't bitten me yet.

I have never used Quicken to print checks, so I can't comment on that. I've also always used my bank's website or company websites to pay bills, so the absence of the bill pay feature in QEM hasn't affected me. Also, I haven't tried reconciling any accounts, and what I've seen looked confusing to me and very different from the way Q2005 handled reconciliation, so I'll report back on how that goes.

So, my recommendation would be that if you're not using classic Quicken to track investments, or if you're otherwise comfortable not tracking investments using Quicken, and you need to switch away from classic Quicken because of Lion, then QEM seems like an adequate substitute.

item.139224

Flawn Williams

After importing several files from Q2005 to QEM using their separate converter app (*slowly*), there were only a few things to straighten out. But QEM's implementations of reports and budgets are pathetic, far inferior to Q2005. So QEM is a no-go for me.

I downloaded Moneydance, and imported data files from the above-mentioned QEM conversions rather than direct from Q2005. That was fast and accurate. (I don't use subcategories or classes.)

But Moneydance also falls short in the reports area. I'm looking to have a net-worth table of account balances across a period of months, quarters or years, broken out by account, in a file where I have about twenty asset accounts. Moneydance can show me a squiggly line graph of total assets across the years, not broken out by category; but the corresponding numerical report only gives me Net Worth as of a single date. Q2005 has no problem giving me what I want and customizing it. I'm not talking about the tracking of investments here, just handling reports for asset and liability accounts which change over time.

Guess I'll try SEE Finance next...

item.139229

Don Handley

Thought I would share what happened to me when I decided to try Quicken Essentials (which I got free with a TurboTax order).

I had been using Quicken 2006 and did the export as instructed in the QE dox. Every single one of my accounts showed a hugely negative balance when imported into QE.

So, decided to just keep using Quicken until I absolutely had to switch. That came instantly, as Quicken crashed on startup. I did a clean reinstall of Quicken from my original CD and it still crashed on startup.

I am now using SEE Finance. It imported the Quicken file without a hitch.

item.139243

Colleen Thompson

Mike Zeldin warned

"For those using (hopefully only a very few) or about to try Quicken Essentials, the following information may be helpful: QE will not accommodate two users, each using their own Apple identity (accounts)in connection with imported data. Once one user has set up his QE accounts with imported data , a second user will not be able to import their data, even though that second user is signed on under their own identity."

First, to pick a nit, your Apple ID is something completely different. What you're talking about is your user account on the computer. An AppleID is an account on Apple's web site (among other online places).

Second, did you try installing two copies of QE, one in each user's user-level ~/Applications folder (you would have to create the folder as it's not there by default).

I'm not sure it would work, as it's pretty atypical for an app not to allow separate users to have separate data, therefore QE might be required to be in the default /Applications folder. Just wondering if tech support considered it.

item.139253

Gregory Weston

Flawn Williams writes:

"I discovered that in an asset account window when I change the selection for 'Status' from 'Any Status' to 'Uncategorized' or any other status option, the numbers in the 'Balance' column disappear! A long chat session with someone in India ended with them maintaining that this is a feature. Wish I could have seen their faces when they said that...."

That annoyed me when I first ran across it as well. Then I realized - having done customer support - that you couldn't pay me enough to spend several hours a day explaining to angry people why the starting balance on line 10 was not the sum of the starting balance and transaction amount from line 9. Presenting a running total is tough when you're showing filtered, likely non-contiguous subset of the data. "Feature" is not really the right word but I'll chalk that up to language barrier. I think it's an intentional and defensible design choice.

Jul. 20, 2011

item.139288

Mike Zeldin

Thanks, Colleen for the nit pick. I thought I was clear in referring to one's user (account) identity on the Mac. Apparently not clear enough. Tech support for QE did not endorse nor recommend the nesting scheme you suggest, and I would not use it in any event. Intuit should be able to make it possible for two users with separate identities to operate QE on one computer without various work-arounds, as is the case for Q2007, and Tech support agrees. Having solved the problem by moving converted data from an external drive and then importing it, as described by a MacInTouch Reader, all is well here.

item.139289

Gregory Tetrault

Flawn Williams said:

"... Moneydance also falls short in the reports area. I'm looking to have a net-worth table of account balances across a period of months, quarters or years, broken out by account, in a file where I have about twenty asset accounts...."

What you are asking for is not a net worth report. You want to combine multiple account balances reports. Moneydance can prepare an account balances report for a single date (such as end of quarter or end of year). It cannot combine reports. However, you can use each report's "Copy to Clipboard" button, paste the report tables into a spreadsheet, and arrange them however you like.

item.139297

Ben Levi

Don Handley wrote:

Thought I would share what happened to me when I decided to try Quicken Essentials (which I got free with a TurboTax order). I had been using Quicken 2006 and did the export as instructed in the QE dox. Every single one of my accounts showed a hugely negative balance when imported into QE.

I, too, initially had large negative balances when importing into QE from Quicken 2006. In scanning through the transactions, I realized that QE had duplicated a number of transfer payments (out of the account, so the #s were negative), which showed up easily because the duplicates were the only transactions that didn't have the Reconcile box checked. Deleting those duplicates brought the balance back exactly to what it should have been.

I'm thinking QE is a poor substitute for Quicken, but so far it's working OK for me, and I encourage Intuit to keep on adding features to QE, such as much better reporting.

item.139338

Robert Applebaum

I would second what Geoffrey Green stated. Of course, I waited till the last minute to make a decision, but I have been following the personal finance discussion closely. I have used Quicken 2006 for years, mainly for balancing my checking account. I loved its ease of use.

I downloaded IBank today and do not like it and find it difficult to use. I also downloaded QEM and found it to be better than advertised, if you just want to keep up with some accounts. In fact, the entry of transactions is actually smoother than Quicken 2006. I had no problems creating reports and doing a reconcilitation in QEM.

Incidentally, both programs had no difficulty in transferring my files from Quicken.

Jul. 25, 2011

item.140074

A Kaleberg

For an interesting take on what killed Quicken, see:

http://notes.kateva.org/2011/07/what-killed-intuit-quicken.html

(h/t Brad Delong's website)

Jul. 26, 2011

item.140224

MacInTouch Reader

Being a long time Quicken user and learning that Lion would kill Rosetta, I started looking for a replacement and had settled on SEE Finance - if they would only implement check printing, which has been listed as "Coming Soon" for months on their web site. I even emailed them back in June and got a quick reply that check printing should be available in a few months. I followed up by asking if their plan was to make it available before the release of Lion and received the reply "That's the plan".

After checking their web site for a version that has check printing and seeing that it is still "Coming Soon" I emailed them again. Today I received a reply that check printing was still on the list but since it was not being requested as much as other features, they could furnish no ETA.

As much as I want to like SEE Finance, without check printing it is a no go for me. I have to wonder how much implementation of check printing in SEE Finance will be vaporware. I wonder if they understand that by telling people that a feature is on the works a lot of people might not bother to ask for it again. I guess I'm just different.

Jul. 27, 2011

item.140298

Brian Weiss

MacInTouch reader said,

As much as I want to like SEE Finance, without check printing it is a no go for me.

When I was evaluating personal finance programs, I was surprised at how many (including SEE) did *not* offer check writing/printing. That was a total no-go for me. I use the bank's online bill pay extensively, but there are still some situations where I need to print a check and I consider that a minimum ability in any personal finance program. I wound up with iBank.

item.140347

MacInTouch Reader

I tried SeeFinance also. Purchased it, and loaded my Quicken data. But I just couldn't warm to it. I kept getting confused, and was also unhappy about the lack of check printing.

So, I moved on to Moneydance. It loaded 16 years of Quicken data just as well, with even less fixing. It has everything that Quicken does, full investments, bill pay, check printing, and seems "closer" to the Quicken way of doing things. You do have to accept that every entry is a double entry - a check payment is a deduction from the checking account, and an addition to the "category". But I think I'm going to stick with it. It is Java-based, so don't be surprised by the initial automatic download of Java with Lion. It's fast (once you turn off the "status bar chart" at the top of the window).

item.140384

Mark Alway

I settled on SEE Finance for my Quicken replacement. I love the fact that I can scan in my receipts and statements and attach them to transactions/statements in SEE Finance. I've been looking for a paperless workflow and had experimented with the Paperless application, but having it all in one application is perfect. So far SEE Finance support has been great and SEE Finance was the only application to import my Quicken history going back 1992 correctly. All the others, iBank, MoneyDance, etc. couldn't import my file. The only worry I have is with the 5-6 competing programs out there to replace Quicken is there will be some winners and losers over the next few years. I would hate to have to move software again with what I consider my "life" in that file.

Jul. 28, 2011

item.140458

Fred Weiner

Re:

It's fast (once you turn off the "status bar chart" at the top of the window).

Could I have a little more information as to what the "status bar chart" is and how turning it off is accessed? Thank you.

item.140468

Mike Weaver

I was able to import my Quicken for Mac 2007 files with no problem into SEE Finance. I'm still stumped about finding a program that will allow a yearly budget, allow rollover of the previous months category balances, and budget for existing balances, i.e., start a budget with a given month's budget and add existing category amounts to date. Say I have an existing category amount of $243 for clothing to date, and a budgeted amount per month of $25. I want to start my budget for the current month with $268 and then in subsequent months, add $25 to whatever balance exists - $268 plus $25 per month minus any expenditures. Quicken for Mac 2007 does this very nicely. I've looked at iBank, SEE Finance, and cursorily at Moneywell (which seems to do this, but in my opinion is kind of complicated)

Jul. 29, 2011

item.140641

Don Gillespie

My wife and I wanted to find a native app for our finances to replace Quicken 2007, which we knew would croak when Lion came out. We bought and tried, really tried, to use Quicken Essentials, but found it ugly, buggy and hostile. It's amazing to consider that Quicken was originally written for the Mac, and the Mac community helped put Intuit on the map. Now, all that's left of it is a ramshackle, gutted hodgepodge with an clumsy and almost adversarial user interface.

So, instead, we bought iBank 4 and have found it quite usable. It has some features, especially regarding the user interface, that Quicken never had. It also has some disappointing quirks. It does import QIF files exported from Quicken 2007 in one step, but there are some problems after import, such as no Tax flags or income types in imported categories. Everything showed up as expense type. While that's fairly annoying, the clean one-window with sidebar format is quite appealing. We can fix the categories.

We also tried Money Dance, another recommended Quicken replacement, but concluded that iBank is more comprehensive and user-accommodating. I expect improvements to it over time, especially if the company can keep their ears open to their customers, and provide good support.

item.140645

Julian Vrieslander

Like many others, I have been pondering alternatives to Quicken 2007. I have no love for Intuit, and I share many of the gripes reported here and elsewhere. But I decided to try Quicken Essentials via the current upgrade offer ($24.99, with 60 days to get a refund).

I downloaded QE version 1.6, and imported a Q2007 data file with 17 years of transactions in savings, checking, credit cards, IRAs, pension, brokerage, etc. I could not find any errors in the imported data.

My impressions of QE are mixed, but mostly positive. It seems adequate for my usage patterns. I don't need check writing, bill paying, budgeting, tax or investment analysis.

I manually record all all the transactions in my savings, checking, and credit card accounts, and reconcile every month. In earlier versions of Quicken. I had been manually entering transactions in my investment accounts - since I rarely trade, this was not a big chore. The current version of QE does not allow recording of individual investment transactions. It only tracks current share prices and total shares. So I can't see performance stats within the program. For me, tracking the totals in these accounts is sufficient.

I found some improvements in the user interface. Register views are cleaner and more customizable. Search functions are better, especially when using the Transactions view.

There are a couple of features that I will miss. The report generating features are not as complete as Q2007, although it does do a category summary report, which I use at tax time. I had Q2007 configured to automatically save backups to MobileMe at program quit time. QE will backup to MobileMe (or another designated directory), but I have to do it with a menu command.

For many people, QE is obviously not an adequate solution. But for me, it's probably the path of least effort.

Jul. 30, 2011

item.140673

Dana Baggett

I agree with Julian Vrieslander's comments. I was antagonistic towards Intuit and vowed I would not use any of its Mac products - tax prep or financial - after it failed so miserably to come up with a Lion replacement for Quicken for Mac 200x.

After trying competitive products, I finally settled on Quicken Essentials v.1.6x. It's adequate and vaguely resembles its venerable predecessors. I'm not going to cut off my nose ...

What is inexplicable to me is that Intuit didn't mimic more of Quicken for Mac in QE. Not port it over - I understand vaguely the problems with ancient code, etc. No other company could dare make their product a lookalike of Quicken for Mac without risking a law suit. But Intuit itself could. And didn't. It gave its competitive advantage away!

Those originally in charge of developing the Quicken Mac replacement product may have wanted to put their own imprimatur on it. It's the same reason that additions rarely resemble the buildings they are attached to. Hubris.

And pride does go before a fall.

item.140693

John Antolak

I have a mySmartCash account at Fidelity, which is their version of a checking account, but Quicken Mac 2007 treated it as a brokerage account. The Windows version could be set to treat it as the checking component of the brokerage account, which is really what it is. I purchased Quicken Essentials, knowing that it didn't handle brokerage accounts, but hoped that QE would be able to handle mySmartCash as a checking account, but alas, no. Any bills paid (cash withdrawn, and so on) from the mySmartCash account do not and will never show up. I could just not bother with downloading transactions, but I'm too used to that now to go back to manual entry and reconciliation. I guess I'll be returning QE and looking at the other options.

Aug. 1, 2011

item.140799

David Barto

I've been using SEE Finance for the past few months and am reasonably happy with it. Mind you I'd prefer to stick with Quicken as that has everything I need in one package, and I like the interface (especially end of month account reconcile). With that in mind, and that others are saying that QE does have everything required to track checking, savings, and CC accounts (about 95% of what I want) is there some 3rd party program devoted to the tracking of brokerage/stock assets?

What I'd like is something that could import data from the brokerage accounts, update and track net worth, and export tax records at the end of the year just like Quicken does now and have that be imported into TurboTax along with any tax information that QE would generate.

It would be nice if the program imported QIF records, or something equivalent to them, just because what I've got now is the ability to generate QIF data from the 401(k) accounts that are not available as direct downloads.

Anything like that, or is SEE just that 'path of least resistance' to getting to Lion?

Or does someone know (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) anything about an update to a Real(tm) Quicken coming soon from Intuit?

item.140829

Bill Schwartz

John Antolak writes:

"I purchased Quicken Essentials, knowing that it didn't handle brokerage accounts, but hoped that QE would be able to handle mySmartCash as a checking account, but alas, no. Any bills paid (cash withdrawn, and so on) from the mySmartCash account do not and will never show up...I guess I'll be returning QE and looking at the other options."

I had a very similar experience with Quicken Essentials and found it unacceptable to lose years of core account transactions in my brokerage account.

I found my solution in Moneydance. Now that I've made the transition, I prefer it greatly to Quicken. It imported everything, it's lightning fast and well supported, and it's quite mature after years of active development. It supports direct online bill pay as well as transaction download, and it has an extension technology to allow third parties to add functions.

It is Java-based, which has disadvantages for sure, but the developers have promised to support the Mac independently of Java if that becomes necessary. Overall, this was a very good move and I would encourage other Quicken refugees to give Moneydance a good look.

Aug. 2, 2011

item.140882

Gregory Tetrault

David Barto said:

I've been using SEE Finance...

What I'd like is something that could import data from the brokerage accounts, update and track net worth, and export tax records at the end of the year..."

Moneydance can import QIF files, directly download transactions from investment companies, display your current net worth on its main window, generate customized net worth reports with one click (after you've set up a template), and prepare year-end reports (that can be exported) of all transactions whose categories were marked as tax-related.

I don't use SEE Finance, but I suspect that it, too, can do most of the above.

item.140914

Rodney J

Re:

It is Java-based, which has disadvantages for sure, but the developers have promised to support the Mac independently of Java if that becomes necessary

I'm also a Moneydance user, but I think users should not be lulled into a false sense of security here.
Moneydance is 99.9% Java (maybe 100%), so the extent of developer support would be to provide a Java runtime on which Moneydance will run should Apple or Oracle stop supporting Java on MacOS.

However, should Java not be able to run on a Mac for technical reasons, I find it hard to believe that Moneydance can be re-written in Cocoa, at least not in the span of 1-2 years. We also know Java apps are not allowed in the Mac App Store.

item.140919

MacInTouch Reader

I have 27 years of investment data in my Quicken 2005 data file, much of it originating from many separate sources and none of which is available to my current broker. I tried Quicken for the PC, but found out I can, at most, import 18 months of data from my current broker. Therefore, if I want to use Quicken for the PC, I will have to enter the previous 25+ years of data manually into my data file.

I tried several other programs that I thought could import my QIF data files, but they handled my investment data incorrectly. I have the remains of some "Old AT&T" stock, which provides the "acid test" for these programs. Over the years, AT&T had multiple stock splits, spinoffs, (The 7 Baby Bells, Lucent, Agere, Avaya. etc.) mergers, and reverse splits and ultimately was swallowed by SBC - the "New AT&T". SEE Finance was the only program that imported this complex investment data correctly. Comparing, item by item, my SEE data agrees perfectly with the original Quicken data.

item.140935

Flawn Williams

I gave up quickly on Quicken Essentials as a replacement for Quicken 2005 and gave up almost as quickly on Moneydance, because of limitations in their reporting options. Now I'm using SEE Finance and getting conversant with it. I sent a feature request to SEE Finance (along with a spelling correction for one of their dialog boxes), and got a nice note back within 24 hours with a fairly detailed explanation of how I could do with the existing software what my feature request was trying to do in another way. One small step for SEE!

item.140949

MacInTouch Reader

I agree, I also gave up Quicken Essentials and moved to iBank. Great support, great flexibility, much better reporting than QE, overall a better program.

Aug. 3, 2011

item.140960

Bill Schwartz

Rodney J writes:

"I'm also a Moneydance user, but I think users should not be lulled into a false sense of security here. Moneydance is 99.9% Java (maybe 100%), so the extent of developer support would be to provide a Java runtime on which Moneydance will run should Apple or Oracle stop supporting Java on MacOS."

The developers have said the alternative would be native Cocoa and that they've already got the core code of Moneydance implemented in Cocoa:

http://moneydance.com/blog/archives/279

item.141007

Greg Meehan

My issue with all the Quicken alternatives is a fear that they will not be around in the long run. Quicken has more resources and even they have abandoned the platform.

My alternative for now is not to update to Lion. I have used the trial for iBank and looked at SEE, and I'm not real impressed - too many missing features.

I will be following the alternatives and will eventually have to decide which path to take. But not right now.

item.141056

Skot Nelson

Re:

Quicken has more resources and even they have abandoned the platform.

Your fear is valid, but I'd actually be *less* concerned.

Quicken is a publicly traded company that answers to shareholders. They may have left the market because it wasn't profitable *enough.* Those are the types of decisions publicly traded companies make.

A small developer may have been amazed by Quicken's profits.

Still: this is *exactly* why I think the various organizations developing software should get together, form a cabal and develop a standard data format. I want my data to have a long term life, even if my financial software doesn't. I ranted about it before and I won't repeat it all.

item.141092

Rodney J

Re:

The developers have said the alternative would be native Cocoa and that they've already got the core code of Moneydance implemented in Cocoa:
http://moneydance.com/blog/archives/279

That's great news. I stand corrected, and would like to repeat one of the comments on that page:

"If only Apple itself were as transparent and responsive about its development and support plans"

Companies like Apple and Moneydance have something lesser companies like Intuit don't have - Plan B.

Aug. 4, 2011

item.141098

Derek Bartholomaus

I really didn't know what I was going to do concerning Quicken. I was still using Quicken 2005. Based on what people were saying about Quicken Essentials I was really dreading it, but I decided to use the special 50% off sale and try it out and everything converted from my previous file (I have been using Quicken since 1998) just fine.

I never used Quicken for online banking or check printing, so that may explain why I haven't had any problems, but Quicken Essentials seems to do everything that I need it to do just fine.

item.141132

Russ Chapman

I have been following this thread for months and was very apprehensive about Quicken Essentials. I decided to take advantage of the 50% off deal and give it a try before my switch to Lion. I transferred 21 years worth of data and it went absolutely flawlessly.

After a week of heavy use I can say that there are many UI elements that are actually very much better than 2007. I can understand the complaints about the investment tracking, but that is not a big deal to me. The only thing so far that annoys me is the fact that it can't do loans.

Folks, it now *prints checks* just fine. Would I like it to be everything 2007 was... sure... but it isn't the demon that has been portrayed. I will say that Intuit is a horrible company for not making this product as good as the previous one, and I really hate supporting them, but the other options just aren't there yet.

Aug. 5, 2011

item.141155

Frank Miller

Derek Bartholomaus and Russ Chapman say that Quicken Essentials works fine for them, despite all the negative comments from others. Great, but it doesn't work for me, and for many others, for whom Quicken 2007 and predecessors worked well. First, no online banking. Second, pitifully poor reporting capabilities. Third, no investment transaction capability. Yes, for many of us, it *is* the demon as portrayed. I'm moving to MoneyDance. It's not as good as old Quicken, a little clunky (it's Java-based), IMHO, but it's good enough, getting better, and has great developer support.

item.141157

Stephen Hart

Like some others, I'm happy with Quicken Essentials.
There is one behavior, though, that drives me crazy. It's in filling in the date for a new entry.
After tabbing, from the month field to the day field, QE pops the cursor back into the month field.
If you type a two-digit day or month just a little too slowly, Quicken only accepts the second digit.

Anyone else seeing this? Any workarounds?

item.141185

Sam G

I previously used Quicken 2007 for Mac. After reading some user complaints I was not sure what to expect in Quicken Essentials.

I tried to use MoneyWell that I got from a MacUpdate bundle but couldn't get the data conversion to work with my Quicken 2007 file. I considered iBank but didn't like the look of the interface, so I used the 50% offer and I am happy with the Quicken Essentials product.

The data conversion worked flawlessly, although I only had about six years worth of files. I was most concerned with the ability to reconcile my accounts by downloading transactions from my credit union. This works just as it did in Quicken 2007. I tried to use the loans functionality in 2007 but the principle and interest projections never matched month to month with statements so I always entered that by hand anyway. Overall, I'm happy with Quicken Essentials.

item.141199

Gregory Weston

Stephen Hart comments:

"Like some others, I'm happy with Quicken Essentials.
There is one behavior, though, that drives me crazy. It's in filling in the date for a new entry.
After tabbing, from the month field to the day field, QE pops the cursor back into the month field.
If you type a two-digit day or month just a little too slowly, Quicken only accepts the second digit.
Anyone else seeing this? Any workarounds?"

Pause for a second or two after adding a new record, before you start entering any data. It seems that it's accepting input before it's really done configuring the record, and when it finally finishes it may screw up anything you snuck in ahead of time. The self-imposed delay is annoying, but I think it's slightly quicker than going back and fixing it after the fact. Also, of course, make sure you report this to Intuit.

item.141242

MacInTouch Reader

Frank Miller wrote: "First, no online banking."

There certainly is online banking -- perhaps you meant "online bill pay"?

Next Page...


MacInTouch Amazon link...

Talk to MacInTouch     Support  •  Find/Go