Comparison of personal finance software on Mac OS X

This is the start of what may turn out to be a long haul, but as described in one of my blog posts, I want to choose some software to replace the use of gnucash on my Mac.

For a start I want to look at iBank, MyMoney, iFinance3, Jumsoft Money,  and Moneydance.

I am not personally interested in programs that just manage a budget or just manage bank accounts.  For me, they must be able to handle a share (stock, for US readers) portfolio, managed funds, and be able to work in multiple currencies.

There always seem to be plenty of threads on the internet with discussions about what Mac OS X finance program to use.  Here is an example:

http://ask.metafilter.com/83480/Personal-Finance-Software-for-Mac-Question-Deluxe-2008-Edition

Unfortunately, what I would really like is much more of a comparison between programs and also some indication of their reliability.  I’ve grown accustomed to the fact that gnucash’s basic engine seems very reliable.  I’m not at all convinced that every application gets this right, but hopefully over the next few weeks I will find out.

Any comments or links to other sources will be most welcome.  Expect this page to grow over the next days and weeks.

8 Responses to “Comparison of personal finance software on Mac OS X”

  1. Bob Arnold Says:

    Hi, Stephen. I want a portfolio tracking app to run on my Snow Leopard MacBook Pro. I think that is what you are looking for too. I have done a lot of reading in the last week. Here are the three most helpful sources I have found so far. I think you have already found the first one 🙂

    http://www.gnucash.org/download.phtml
    http://www.financesoftwarestore.com/mac-personal-finance-software-comparison.html
    http://www.macintouch.com/readerreports/applications/topic4065.html#d22jul2009

    I have never used any portfolio tracking software before. But Mac gnucash is flaky. Some windows are completely unresponsive. Even if you try to quit completely, they won’t die. Others windows only respond to keyboard accelerators but not mouse clicks. I tried to read in transactions from a Vanguard QFX file. That mostly seemed to go OK but then I couldn’t find any transactions. The transaction search window was one of the totally unresponsive ones. Quitting and restarting did not help. When you create a new account, it tries to insist on having a commodity, but luckily it lets you create an empty account without no commodities, just like the ones created in the account hierarchy by the welcome / quick start druid.

    Hey, I just went back to the MacInTouch thread about Quicken. Apparenlty iBank has released a fix for their QIF imports which solved one commenter’s serious import problems. Another person said that Moneydance had already fixed a bunch of QIF import problems and was more responsive that iBank had been. So that’s one less hurdle for a lot of users in getting away from Quicken.

    Have you done any looking since August?

  2. stephen Says:

    Bob,

    Yes, as you gather I’ve been using gnucash – back in my linux days – and have compiled it on the Mac and also used the download binary from Source Forge. Getting portfolio updating working properly requires some effort updating Perl libraries which I have done in the past but can be frustrating and sometimes difficult to work out what has gone wrong. Having said that I haven’t had the same problems that you seem to have experienced. However, I have had some problems which have emerged which are making me feel a little uncomfortable. A number of transactions have ended up losing their double-entry (effectively their category in the terminology of many other simpler finance applications, or another account in the case of a transfer), and I’ve been slowly fixing these.

    Thanks for the link to the finance software store site. There ratings very much match my opinions of having tried iBank, MoneyDance and some of the others. I have friends who use MoneyDance largely for the cross-platform support. It doesn’t really meet my needs and frankly I do find java apps often look rather out of place on the Mac. But then gnucash doesn’t have a Mac look and feel either! I was initially somewhat prejudiced against iBank almost because it was too glitzy, but at the moment that is my target, but it will be some time I think before I have all my accounts transferred and up and running in iBank.

    Stephen

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  8. Rob Says:

    Sadly, I’ve tried GNUCash on the Mac, and it was a joke. As mentioned by another poster, many windows aren’t responsive. It may not need X, but they didn’t even try to make GTK look like Cocoa at all. In fact, the keyboard short-cuts like Apple-W won’t even work. Moneydance, while I don’t love it, actually pretty much does look like a native Mac application – certainly the key shortcuts work. Also, GNU Cash shows only blocks where Japanese characters should be in accounts, etc. (Actually, just one block, which seems to indicate that it’s more than a font problem). Since GTK2 and OS X both support Unicode just fine, I am not sure what the problem is.

    Of course it’s an open source project, so I am not going to say they “owe us”, but the reality is that GNUCash on the Mac is at present a scraped-together barely working mess. It may be bare bones in some ways on Linux, but as you mentioned it’s very stable.

    It’s actually surprising that there isn’t a straightforward well supported cross-platform open source solution. There is Microsoft Money (Now free) for Windows, MoneyDance for cross-platform, various other apps as well. Still, I don’t like the “categories” vs “Accounts” and blurring of “payees” vs. accounts, etc. that many of the software targeting home users has. GNU Cash is straightforward at least: Credit here, Debit here.

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