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Moneydance Evaluation Report
Old 11-12-2010, 03:41 PM   #1
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Moneydance Evaluation Report

In case you are considering switching from Quicken to MD, here's been my experience so far...

I recently took another look at alternatives to Quicken, since I was so frequently annoyed at how Intuit could get away with releasing an app that had so many problems. Even if another app has less features, it could be more relaxing to use.

After my first look at Moneydance, I decided it was too primitive. I took a second look, and it grew on me. Also, I found that their tech support is excellent, and got answers to questions on their forum quickly, even on a Sunday.

REPORTS AND GRAPHS COMPARISON

The main things I do with my financial app is check my spending, look at performance of my different funds, and look at net worth over time.

Here's the spending graph for the two (ignore the yellow line in the MD graph):

QuickenSpending.jpg
SpendingMD.jpg

You cannot filter as easily based on the text in the description field, but MD has a much better system of tags than does Quicken.

There's no performance graph in MD, but you can prepare a performance report. I liked Quicken's graph, since you could see at a glance how the different funds were performing.

Here's the net worth vs. time graph for the two apps:

NetWorthQuicken.jpg
NetWorthMD.jpg

Quicken has a way of storing reports in different categories, whereas all MD's reports are in one place. You can of course use names to categorize them (e.g. "TAX: Knitting Income Report"). This is an example of how MD is simpler. Quicken had a bug in which things got saved to the wrong folder, and saving a report could give it a new name.

CONVERTING FROM QUICKEN

I've used Quicken since 1991. There were many file corruptions and rebuilds. At one point I eliminated all data prior to some dates in an effort to fix some bugs and slow loading (it didn't fix them). I think that this was the reason that the conversion to MD was not simple.

I've learned that the conversion problems lie on Quicken's end. One user reported exporting from Quicken and then importing back in to Quicken and having the same problems I found.

In any case, here's how it went for me. I exported from Quicken (to a QIF file), and imported into MD. All of my accounts and categories were there. However, the balances were not correct on most accounts.

The main problem was that for many transactions, transfers from one account to another was duplicated. For example, if I moved $10,000 from the Total Stock fund to the 500 Index fund, I'd see one BUYXfr transaction (that is purchase stock using funds from the Total Stock Fund) and another Xfr transaction (that is, transfer $10,000 to the cash account of the 500 Index fund). As a result of this duplication, the Index would have a cash balance of $10,000 instead of zero.

The other problem was related to the accounts which, in Quicken, I had eliminated older transactions. When these were imported into MD, the source of the funds for those transactions came from the cash balance instead.

To fix these, I put Quicken in one window and MD in another, and went through the accounts (about 40 altogether -- many of which have been closed long ago), and if the balances didn't agreed, I looked for the problems described above. For most accounts there were only one or two problems.

Bottom line, figuring out what the problems were, asking and getting answers to questions on the MD forum, learning the app, and making the changes, took me 4-6 hours of work to get the accounts total to match what it was in Quicken. It would have been easier if the tech support team had a document that describes all the problems one might encounter along with their solutions.

It wasn't as tedious as it sounds, and it was rewarding as each account was solved.

WHERE I GO FROM HERE

I was planning to run Quicken and MD in parallel until 1/1/2011, but now that I have the data in MD, I see no reason to do that.

Bottom line: MD seems simpler, but more straightforward. They have a responsive tech support team. I haven't yet encountered the kind of bugs and inconsistencies that were so common in Quicken.
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Old 11-12-2010, 04:40 PM   #2
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Excellent review. Thank you.

What about downloading transactions from your financial institution? How do they compare?

I haven't had any issues with Quicken lately, so I'm not looking to move. Like you, I have data going back to 1991, so the thought of doing a migration is very daunting.
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Old 11-12-2010, 04:47 PM   #3
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I did some downloads, and it worked as expected. That is, it was similar to Quicken in the you get a list of the downloaded transactions, and you approve (confirm) each one. It did a good job of guessing the category (e.g. Groceries for Safeway).
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Old 11-12-2010, 07:04 PM   #4
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Darn! I just bought Quicken Premier and barely learned to use it. Will see how long until I start to pull my hair out with it.
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Old 11-13-2010, 02:58 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
Bottom line: MD seems simpler, but more straightforward. They have a responsive tech support team. I haven't yet encountered the kind of bugs and inconsistencies that were so common in Quicken.
Thanks, Al, this is good to know.

I think my biggest Quicken issues lie in my Fidelity data account with transactions all the way back to 1986. If I was going to transfer over to MoneyDance then I'd restart that file at 1 Jan 2011 with our current assets. I'd probably not worry about transferring over old mortgages or unused checking accounts, either.
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Old 11-18-2010, 05:56 PM   #6
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Update

I've been working more with MD, and the honeymoon period is ending. That is, I'm discovering some problems. Many are related to the transfer of data from Quicken, so if you are thinking of switching, it may be best to start with a fresh slate. For example, Quicken did not export the description info for transactions in some accounts.

But MD has some bugs of it's own. Today I discovered that File/Save As will overwrite files without any warning dialogs, prompting this response from the MD tech support rep:
Wow. You're correct, I re-created this issue on my installation of Moneydance. I've created a bug ticket for this issue and given it our highest severity rating, as well as emailed our lead developer Sean. I'll follow up with him in the morning.

Thank you for letting us know about this bug. We'll post on this thread when we have more information, or when a fix has been released.
At least they are responsive.

Also, it may be that the VanguardAdvantage transactions may actually be more work with MD. Still getting support on that issue.
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Old 11-22-2010, 06:36 PM   #7
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I spent about 7 hours getting all the downloads to work. The problem was with the old quicken data imported into MoneyDance.

Recommendation: Start from scratch, and when you download data, simply set a start date before which data should not be downloaded.
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