As a longtime user of Quicken I was intrigued when the folks at Intuit's Quicken group called to pre-brief me on an new product announcement. I was hoping for a SaaS version of Quicken. What I got was an improved version of Quicken for the Mac, announced today.
That's a small step in the right direction. Marcus Aiu, Senior Product Manager of Quicken, calls Quicken 2015 for Mac "an upgrade for Quicken Essentials users" that represents the next step in its goal to "get the Mac product up to the point where can migrate Quicken Mac 2007 users over to a more modern platform."
That's music to my ears, as Quicken on the Mac has long been a poor cousin to its Windows counterpart -- so much so that five years after moving to a Mac I still have a Windows laptop lying around for the sole purpose of running Quicken for Windows.
Quicken 2015 for Mac, $74.99 and available only via download until October, sports a new user interface that's similar to Mint, Intuit's free cloud-based financial management tool.
For example, the new Quicken dashboard displays accounts on the left side of your screen and a report summary screen on the right. A few other changes of note include:
- A drop-down on transaction line that can be edited on the fly.
- The ability to track investments.
- A transactions and portfolio view similar to that of Mint.
- The ability to break out and print taxable transactions, such as capital gains, for the year.
- Compatibility with the Quicken Companion Mobile App, including the ability to view charts and to use it to take a photo of a receipt and attach it to a Quicken transaction.
So what does the Windows version have that Quicken 2015 for Mac doesn't?
- The ability to see a calendar view of transactions and bills and your net worth over time.
- More sophisticated reporting capabilities.
- The ability to provide investment performance information and projections.
- Support for Quicken Bill Pay
"In six months we’ll have more capabilities," Aiu promises.
Like some other users I have a love-hate relationship with Quicken. I have many different accounts, and something is always getting bolluxed up with the various downloads. I have one bank account where, if I don't turn off Quicken's renaming rules, it incorrectly relabels every transaction. I've been unable to resove this with Quicken or the bank and have given up.
Another issue: Requests for responses to challenge questions commonly stall downloads. And more recently One Step Update stopped downloading transactions for five bank accounts associated with my primary financial institution. I've been manually downloading activity updates and importing them for months. Then, suddenly this month, it started working again.
I want all of these problems off of my plate. By moving to a SaaS version of Quicken, more of these back-end plumbing problems and glitches will become Quicken's problem. Instead of spending my time going back and forth between Quicken tech support and that of my financial institution I want you, Quicken, to talk to them directly and work things out. As the consumer I don't want to be in the middle anymore.
And I'm not any more worried about the privacy of my data in a Quicken cloud than I am with online banking with Fidelity. Quicken is considered a financial institution, and as such is obligated to follow the same regulations as any bank.
I've toyed with using Mint, but it's really a statement reporting and viewing tool. You can't build custom reports to track, say, rental property income and expenses, and hammering in and reconciling future transactions to project where I'll be at the end of the month just doesn't work very well.
But while I'm waiting for Quicken Cloud Edition I'm going to take hard look at Quicken 2015 for Mac. I may not be able to move to the cloud. But I may be able to retire that Windows laptop.