I’ve been looking for nearly a year for a Mac application to manage my finances. Quicken? Please. Intuit seems to loathe Mac users with their infrequent, overpriced, and bug ridden updates of Quicken for Mac.
With Microsoft killing off Money, Intuit gets to rule the money roost for PC users—but without my money. I want a dependable, secure Mac application to manage my money wherever I go.
Over the past two years I’ve tried nearly a dozen money apps on my Mac. Some are simple, elegant, but inevitably don’t do enough to keep me happy. Hey, what can I say? I’m blonde and high maintenance.
Other money apps are highly complex with a learning curve that only a CPA would appreciate. I don’t mind growing into an application with plenty of features, I just don’t want to have to learn them overnight.
As I survey the list of money applications for Mac users and compare them to what Intuit appears to want to do with Quicken online, a few things become clear. I want my money management to go where I go. Mac or iPhone. I want each device to synchronize data. I’ll store data online only if it doesn’t cost much.
The former is just plain logical and a growing trend. Mac money app vendors have learned that they need an iPhone counterpart that syncs back to the mothership.
The latter bothers me. I don’t want to pay Intuit $10 a month to manage my money online. It’s my money. It’s my data. Intuit may dream of a recurring revenue stream for future Quickens, but it won’t recur from me.
Maybe, just maybe, if Intuit had created a robust, regularly updated, stable, and feature laden Quicken for Mac users, I would have upgraded more frequently. They didn’t, so I didn’t.
I’ve been using CheckBook, which I adore for elegance, simplicity, and the obvious it just works attitude. Categories, accounts, imports, what else could you want?
I want to be able to use my iPhone to track my expenses while I’m out and about. Sorry, CheckBook. That’s the future.
I tried the beta version of Cha-Ching. Hey, this was nice. Mostly. It’s not as feature laden as some, but came with accounts, and, importantly, an iPhone version which would synchronize both ways—Mac and iPhone.
Beta is beta for a reason, and Cha-Ching caused me more than a little grief with a few updates which decided to use some kind of new math. Unfortunately, the math wasn’t in my favor and it took forever and a day of retail therapy to get through the problems.
What I found was almost what I wanted. Synchronization between my Mac and iPhone. It wasn’t pretty, but it was a glimpse of the future. My journey continued.
Jumpsoft’s Money is very nice. Account. Budgets. Invoices, even. Reports with graphics. Money is where I’d like to be in a few years. But no iPhone synchronization.
NoThirst’s MoneyWell is highly recommended, capable, attractive, and seemed simple enough that I could master it with some effort.
MoneyWell takes an envelope approach, which I like (easy to figure out), connects to most banks, and imports Quicken files. Alas, the developers are still working on MoneyWell for the iPhone.
The top dawg in the race to own my financial heart, not to mention manage my money, looks like iBank, the highly touted and popular money manager for Mac.
iBank is complex, but basic balancing and checkbook features are easy to set up, including multiple accounts. So far, so good, right? iBank pulls data from my bank accounts, displays expenditures in graphic color, and gets into more esoteric functions like taxes, stocks, portfolios, and loan management.
Those are areas I want to be able to move into with whatever app I choose, but I need it to be a graceful, pleasant experience. I’m not going to night school to be a CPA.
Synchronization with my iPhone and Mac requires MobileMe. The iPhone sends data to MobileMe which sends it to my Mac and back again. That convoluted process does provide for an online back up, which has advantages.
Convoluted is not where I want to be. Click. Sync. Done.
The race is on, though, as more Mac financial application developers have figured out that Mac users want to manage money on the iPhone, don’t really want to do it via a web-based application, and synchronizing is a must.
So far, no one has scored access to my money. Cha-Ching is close. iBank is moving that way. MoneyWell is promising. I want seamless, effortless sync between money on my Mac and money on my iPhone. Is that too much to ask?