I would like to thank Intuit for releasing Quicken 2013. It was what I finally needed to ditch Quicken (hopefully for good) and try a native Mac application.
I have been using personal-finance software since my first year of college. I remember getting a free copy of Bank Street writer Pro. From there I moved to a copy of Quicken. I’ve been using various versions of Quicken since. Things were easy for almost a decade. That all started to change after I bought my first Mac in July 2002. At that time I still had a Windows machine and didn’t switch to a Mac as my primary computer until late 2002 or early 2003. Back then I still had several machines so there was always a Windows box to run Quicken. At that point I’m using that software for so long there was no way I was going to stop. Microsoft Money didn’t appeal to me. By then the ability to download transaction data from banks and credit cards locked me in.
The problem turned out to be was using Windows less often as the Mac dominated my computer use. As I transitioned from Windows to Macintosh try to identify all the pieces of software that I used on Windows so I could find the equivalent Mac software. This is where I ran into a problem. Quicken for Windows is great. On the Mac not as much so.
After a time I made the decision to export my data from my Windows Quicken import into the Mac version. That was a generally painful process but I did succeed. I happily used the Mac version of Quicken for a year or so, maybe longer. The limitations became pretty painful. I am not going to go into the limitations of Quicken for Mac. They are well-documented all over the Internet. Let’s just say I wasn’t pleased. The only viable option I had which was to bring all my data back into Windows Quicken. That process was equally painful than the previous conversion. After moving back to a Windows version for a time (somewhere in the area of a year or more) I had a laptop or desktop basically for the sole purpose of running one or two pieces of Windows software. One of those was Quicken.
By the time Apple came out with Intel-based Macs most of my personal computing was all Mac except for some pieces software like a mentioned that didn’t have a Mac equivalent. For work however I was very dependent Windows centric software. Parallels and then later VMware fusion allowed me to consolidate down to one computer. I was able to use a Mac running a VM of Windows. That was a huge win for me and probably millions of other people. To this day I have a Windows VM on my MacBook Air. The reason I bring all this up is after the Intel Macs came out I was able to transition pretty much every application I use to a native Mac Application or to a web-based application. At my current job they have a bring your own device policy which allows me to bring my Mac and use it on company networks. I stopped needing a VM for work a little over a year ago when the exchange server was on got upgraded and outlook for the Mac work perfectly with it.
By this point the only reason I need a Windows VM regularly was to allow me to use Quicken. It is the last piece of software that I rely on Windows for. The problem was I really liked it and I hadn’t been able to find a replacement for it that was a native Mac app. I had used mint, the web service ironically owned now by Intuit but without the ability from you import almost 2 decades worth of data I was never going use it full-time. No other Web service allowed me the ability to import either. That got me looking at Mac programs that did personal finance. Surprisingly there were several I tried a few of them but none of them have the features that would equal Quicken. I probably went back and forth trying out applications on all for the past year or two with no success. During this time I had a growing desire to be able to use my smart phone to sync with my desktop bank software. It bothered me that years ago I could do this with my Treo and Quicken yet I couldn’t with a modern smartphone.
In late June hyper down and force myself to try iBank. It had the smart phone thinking that I wanted and the major features I was looking from Quicken. It wasn’t perfect but I thought it was a better choice than Moneywell or Money Dance. I spent several hours exporting my data from Quicken importing it and cleaning it up in iBank. I was all set to cut the cord from Quicken when I ran into some reconciliation issues using iBank. Turns out if you have transactions in your register with iBank that are from the same payee and for the same dollar value as a new transaction being downloaded the software will sometimes get confused and think you’ve already downloaded it and not suggest that it’s a new transaction even know the date may be different. I’ve never really had a problem with Quicken doing anything like that. The first time it happened with iBank it took me about 45 minutes to figure out what happened and fix it. It spooked me to the point where I didn’t really trust the software and fell back to Quicken.
That brings us to this month. By now I accepted the fact that I would be stuck with my one holdout piece of Windows software. I figured I have been using our virtual machine for years and it wasn’t such a huge deal to continue using one. It bothered me to do it but it was something that worked even if it was not very elegant of an option. I also figured at some point into it had to offer a smartphone app.
I got excited when I read about Quicken 2013 and the option for using your iPhone just as I had wanted. I went out and purchased a copy, and downloaded it right away. I didn’t do too much research online because they offered a 60 money back guarantee. I should’ve looked at reviews and forum posts before I bought it. Downloading and installing the new version was trivial. The problem was you it wouldn’t sync to the iPhone, or technically to their cloud service at all. I wasn’t a fan of the fact that they needed to sync my data to their systems before it could goto my smartphone in the first place, so it totally aggravated me to find out that because of that the data wouldn’t sync at all. At that point I went online to check out the forums and noticed lots of people with similar problems. There didn’t seem to be a solution other than Intuit was hard at work fixing the bugs. I deal with software development and if a major function of the software doesn’t work you don’t release it. I personally wouldn’t have purchased the upgrade without that function.
I was really pissed off. First I thought I should just downgrade. Then I decided enough was enough and it didn’t seem like there ever really was going to be a stable solution from Intuit so I decided to sync up my iBank file again with my current Quicken data and give it another try knowing the limitations that I learned in June. I also immediately requested a refund from Intuit. The only positive out of this experience was intuit was true to their word and I got a refund without any hassle. Now they might fix their bugs but at this point their lack of an up-to-date Mac version of their software that isn’t crippled and the fact that their new Windows software is still so buggy they convinced me to use to finally go all Mac and use iBank.
It has been only three weeks or so and I am still getting used to the new software. There are things I liked much better in Quicken but now that I have a handle on the transaction download issue I am pretty happy. Some of the bulk edit and change functions of Quicken I miss but I don’t use them that often to have that really be a reason not to switch. Am I at the point of no return? I hope so but don’t know. After 3 months you can’t retrieve your data from banks online anymore (typically so wanting to switch back after that will be problematic For now and hopefully for good I running all Mac.