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quicken for mac sucks

i’ve used quicken for windows to do my home finances for years. many more than ten years. and i’ve paid my bills online for more years than that. i used check free when it was a standalone product and i uploaded my payments on a 2400 baud modem. and my first versions of quicken came on floppy disks.

so i know whereof i speak when i say that intuit, the distributor of quicken for mac can. kiss. my. annoyed. ass.

quicken for windows was a dream, and is seamless, and worked perfectly. all of my accounts (checking, savings, money market accounts, 401ks, iras, etc.) were electronically linked to their respective financial institutions, and i never had to type in transactions. you just ran one update, everything was entered from all the different places, and you monitored it. so easy. so well done.

so, when i changed to using a mac, i expected the same experience. or perhaps even a better experience, since macs have such a superior interface, and all my other mac programs were the same, or better, than their pc counterparts.

my first clue came when i researched how to move my information over. nearly all major programs are cross-platform now, which means that while the programs are different on pcs and macs, the files they create are the same. so all of my microsoft excel files work on the mac, all of my word documents, all of my fonts, all of my .mp3 files, all my .jpgs and photoshop files and on and on and on.

except for quicken.

their files are not cross-platform. which means that to move your info over, i found that you have to use what amounts to a glorified text file and do a lot of hand manipulation on both ends, and then you end up with some info that you have to do more work on for it to hopefully mean anything.

so i decided to give it a try, and move things over. one account at a time.

it took most of a morning, and was much much harder than it needs to be, but i now have all the accounts i had on the pc version (checking, savings, money markets, credit cards, 401k). of course, most of them now require that i input transactions by hand (more on that later), but at least i have all of the historical info for all of my accounts.

the import (it’s called .qif format) was a nightmare. most of the morning was spent figuring out why my balances were off. turns out that each time i imported a file, it would add a price for that day (or another date) to all of my securities, and that price would change with each account i imported. wacky to say the least.

you may be amazed to know that the dow was at 400,000 in late 1969, with dodge & cox closing over $3000 a share! it’s also predicted that day’s s&p 500 would be over 100,000 at the end of trading. should have put those buy orders in!

anyway, after deleting those incorrect prices and all of the unlinked duplicate transactions in all of my accounts, i only had to make a balance adjustment in my checking account and all was well. after six or so hours of detective work, of course. and discounting the fact that this is an accounting program, and should therefore correctly balance things itself as part of its normal function.

and most of the syncing online is gone. just as intuit has different formats for the mac and pc versions of the software, they have different protocols for the mac and pc versions of what the banks use to sync with quicken. so intuit can charge everyone twice, once for the pc protocol and once for the mac protocol. which means, of course, that many banks that support pc downloading do not support mac downloading.

which means that i get to type lots of stuff in by hand.

i could install virtual pc on my new mac, and run the pc version of quicken software on my mac. but i don’t want to have virtual pc on my mac, as it runs counter to my entire reason for recently switching to a mac in the first place. i don’t want to have an area of my mac devoted to windows and have all of the viruses and spyware and keyboard loggers and whatnot on there.

so even though i have spent literally hundreds of dollars on quicken for windows upgrades over the past several years, i will not spend one thin dime upgrading the mac version that came free on my mac mini. not until intuit gives financial institutions a common platform, so that i can download financial information from every financial institution that the pc version can. why should i pay more for less functionality?

i have my historical info ported over, and i’ll enter transactions by hand as necessary into my free quicken 2005 for mac until version parity is achieved or the cows come home, whichever is first.

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