Mac Finance Software

Do you like to manage your finances by using a program to create budgets, account ledgers, track progress and prepare reports?

If so you may have got started with Intuit Quicken (Mac or Windows) or Microsoft Money (Windows).

Personally I started with Quicken on Windows and moved to Quicken 2007 on the Mac when I rediscovered Mac computing with the Mac Mini.

The problem with Intuit’s Quicken however is that Mac support especially in Canada has been spotty. The Mac version of the software hasn’t been kept up to date with the Windows version and the update for Mac Intel processor computers, Quicken Essentials, dropped some features – most importantly the ability to download files from banks. Quicken 2007 is written for the PowerPC processor so it runs less efficiently in the Rosetta emulator which will not be supported in the next version of Apple’s OSX Lion due to be introduced in July 2011.

My requirements include:
– Mac software preference
– Also mobile syncing for iPhone/iPad desirable
– Personal and business capabilities
– Semi-automated account transaction data transfer
– Simple workflow with tax software

Some of the options for maintaining or moving forward with Mac Finance software:
1. Keep running Quicken 2007 on an old PPC Mac
2. Run Quicken 2007 in Rosetta on an Intel Mac but don’t upgrade to OSX Lion
3. Update to Quicken Essentials and lose bank file transfer
4. Convert to Mint.com
5. Update to iBank
6. Update to MoneyWorks Express
7. Update to iFinance
8. Update to GnuCash
9. Use an IOS app that is compatible with your Bank
10. Quicken and/or QuickBooks for Windows running on the Mac under Parallels or VMWare

1. Keep running Quicken 2007 on an old PPC Mac

This is an option especially in the short term to maintain the status quo but there are no updates and the inconvenience of having to use a separate computer to run this application and having the information less available.

2. Run Quicken 2007 in Rosetta on an Intel Mac but don’t upgrade to OSX Lion

This is more convenient but has the drawback of holding back any further operating system updates.

3. Update to Quicken Essentials ($50) and lose bank file transfer

Not an appealing option because of the expense, loss of features, doubtful future, and inability to download bank files.

4. Convert to Mint.com

This recent acquisition seems to be where Intuit is putting their focus so it has a future but it does involve trusting your sensitive financial data on a remote cloud service.
The information is available online and from an IOS app. Compatible with Quicken Turbotax software.

5. Update to iBank ($60)

This looks like a capable up to date (version 4) devoted Mac program from a US company with Canadian customization which supports QIF and QFX transactions so it could use the Quicken format downloads from Canadian banks. It has a built in browser to download your transactions. This software has been highly rated and won an Apple design award. There is also an OS version of the program.
The January 2011 Macworld review rated the program 4/5 mice.
iBank imported all the Quicken accounts in QIF format and can import bank downloads in Quicken QFX format.
I found one error when entering old dates for a custom report but in general everything worked well.

6. Update to MoneyWorks Express ($239)

This New Zealand company has a program with Canadian customization that works for primarily business and use. This software is expensive but does provide a free copy for working with your accountant.

7. Update to iFinance ($30)

This looks like a capable up to date Mac program from a German company with Canadian customization which supports QIF transactions so it could use the Quicken format downloads from Canadian banks. Includes an IOS app.
Macworld has done a review with a rating of 2.5/5.
The review rates the interface highly but says that data entry isn’t easy, account reconciliation is missing, and basic reporting functionality is lacking.

8. Update to GnuCash ($0)

This free program supports QIF transactions so it could use the Quicken format downloads from Canadian banks. Can be used for business and personal accounts. This is a universal application with versions for Mac, Windows and Linux. Doesn’t include an IOS app.

9. Use and IOS app that is compatible with your Bank

the following banks have IOS apps:
– TDCT
– CIBC
– RBC
– ScotiaBank

10. Quicken and/or QuickBooks for Windows running on the Mac under Parallels or VMWare

I am not an advocate of dual operating systems due to the view that I don’t want to allocate system resources for just one exception. This could be more appealing if there were multiple Windows applications I needed to use.
Quickbooks is popular and easy to use for small business accounting. Another possible option is to run the software on a dedicated legacy Windows computer but this has many of the same issues as using a separate legacy Mac.

Conclusion

The tradeoffs could be different for you if you have other specific prioritization of requirements. For me I want something I can run on my Macs, is being updated to keep it current, supports business use, and has mobile syncing capabilities.
In the near term Quicken 2007 on a legacy Mac maintains the status quo. Gnucash is free and can import Quicken data and bank data. iBank is highly rated, can import Quicken data, bank data transfer, and mobile apps. IOS banking apps allow mobile transactions but are not a replacement for personal and business finance (accounting) software.

Update

Intuit has just published their current policy regarding their products positioning with Apple OSX Lion. Their recommendation is to transfer from Quicken 2007 to Quicken Essentials or to mint.com. Mint.com is an online service and Quicken Essentials locks in your data without online banking support or transaction exporting. Intuit is reviewing their update plans for Quicken Essentials but seem more committed to an upcoming iPad app and Mint online service.

One Response to Mac Finance Software
  1. Kyle Timatha
    January 29, 2012 | 5:55 pm

    Coolpost, helped with my homework!! Thanksfor that.

Leave a Reply

Wanting to leave an <em>phasis on your comment?