In my seemingly never ending quest to find comparable applications on the Mac that I have on my Windows PC, I searched for a personal finance package that could replace Microsoft Money.
It was actually a harder task than I thought, and I can’t definitively say that any of the software I looked at blew Microsoft Money out of the water.
As I have said before, I am looking for a program that:
- Allows for online download of transactions from institutions
- Keeps track of both bank and investments accounts
- Looks like a genuine Mac application (not a Windows port)
- Can generate simple invoices for business and keep track of accounts receivable (for my company Twin Roots).
But below are my findings. I didn’t have a ton of time to do an exhaustive check and review of financial applications for the Mac, so first impressions became *very* important.
- iBank 3.3.2: Well, this is the best of the bunch in my opinion. Not perfect by any stretch (e.g., not intuitive on manually entering securities in an investment account – have to currently use the "Move Shares" transaction, which is weird). But the interface is absolutely gorgeous in my opinion. Blows all of the other ones out of the water on that front. It handles investments. It downloads data automatically from some institutions (but not all major ones). It DOES NOT have simple business invoicing. I could get iBiz to do that if I want, and the cost would not be much more than Microsoft Money Plus Home and Business. It takes some getting used to, but this is what I consider a true Mac application.
Up and Coming
- Moneywell 1.4: From a potential curve, Moneywell wins. I love the “Envelope Budgeting” method. The interface looks nice. But, it currently cannot not track investments. No way to enter stock holdings, for example. This is coming, I think.
- Quicken Financial Life (QFL): Not out until Summer of 2009. And they would not allow me to be part of the beta, for whatever reason.
- MoneyDance 2008 (build 629): I think this would do what I want it to do, but, selfishly, I did not like the user interface. It felt too "Windows-ee" on the Mac, and if I am going to go to the Mac, I want to go all out.
- Cha-Ching 1.2.3: Interface had some nice appeal, but it does not support the tracking of investments.
- Fortora Fresh Finance: Does not support investments from what I could see. The interface seemed fairly nice though.
- SplashMoney: Again, does not support investments
- Liquid Ledger 2: This actually had some potential, but I could not find a way to download transactions from banks, get quotes online for investments and there were bugs seen when deleting accounts (like this mysterious 0 folder that appeared). The interface was fair.
- GnuCash 2.2.8: I could not locate the Mac binary since their wiki was down. First impressions, remember. So I might not have given this one a fair shot, but I had to move on.
- Quicken Mac 2007: I refuse to use any software that does not give me a free trial (at least one readily available on the Quicken Website). Plus knowing that QFL is coming out, there is something just not right about using this version, which, by all accounts, people don't like anyway.
So, in summary, iBank will be my Mac financial application, as imperfect as it may be. But it is by far the best and most complete financial software package out there for my needs (and if you include iBiz, it would match Microsoft Money in most, if not all, facets). I will wait and see what happens with Moneywell, and I am intrigued by the upcoming release Quicken Financial Life (although I am disappointed I cannot be a part of the beta).
If I am wrong about any of my impressions, I would appreciate you letting me know.