Taking Stock of Financial Management on the Mac
To this day, the one critical thing that was lacking on the Mac was a good Money Managemernt or Financial Management program. Granted, there are a lot advertised but I said good.
We now have two programs to choose from both of which arrived this year in stellar form. iBank 5, in its current iteration arrived earlier in the year and Quicken 2015 just was introduced. Everyone though was waiting for Quicken to release something as Quicken is magically associated with a sound financial program.
Prior to the introduction of the above programs, all that we really had to provide automated and sound financial management was Mint.com. When I say automated what is important about this is the program downloads your transactions to your various accounts. To be a good financial management program this is a key requirement.
Mint, in some ways, does an admirable job of combining all your money products in one place to give you a total picture of your finances. Further, it will keep you up to date with your balances and transactions and provide you with various views of the state of your affairs.
The problem with Mint is that is in an online system and lacks the flexibility of local products that run on your Mac. In essence, although it is a very powerful service, it is lacking for many people who want more control over their finances.
Quicken Essentials to Bridge the Chasm
Intuit was in trouble on their Mac front and seemed totally unprepared for the switch to the Intel architecture. Quicken 2007, which was a PowerPC product was a powerful product. Intuit foolishly though decided to let in run on Rosetta, Apple’s emulation mode.
Apple never intended to keep Rosetta for long and pulled it leaving Intuit in serious trouble. They had nothing that would run on the newest OS and of course the user base reacted.
Quicken Essentials was thrown together very fast and was designed to run on the Intel architecture. However, as its name implies it was only meant to do essential financial management. It lacked the power to do that and was more a program that tracked your money.
Brilliantly, it could download your transaction automatically and it was heralded for that as nothing else could do that. Intuit’s initial goal was to move to a full fledged financial manager for the Mac which has now happened but this has taken years in the making leaving the consumer base very dismayed.
iBank the Alternative
With this strategic gap in the Intuit lineup iBank capitlized on the shortcomings through iBank but at best this was a poor competitor although they touted themselves as the solution to financial management on the Mac. They only became a viable alternative this year wherein you can buy yearly a plan to download your financial transactions.
The download capability works incredibly but it is $39 a year to be able to do this. However, iBank provides good reporting and views of your money to deem it a powerful financial manager. If you were to buy iBank today you cannot go wrong. There are other solutions to downloading your transactions but I feel they are too labour intensive but they are certainly available. Unfortunately, to go into detail is beyond the scope of this article but definitely keep iBank, with Direct Connect in mind when considering a powerful financial management solution.
Enter Quicken 2015
Finally, after years of waitng, Intuit via Quicken 2015 is a player in the financial management market. This is a powerful program. It is what people have been waiting for. One significant advantage of the program over iBank is it will download your transactions from your bank and Quicken nor the bank doesn’t charge for this. With iBank they do and it can add up.
The layout of Quicken 2015 is intuitive and simply beautiful. It’s reporting capabilities are flexible and varied and that’s exactly what you want in a good financial manager. The program costs $79.99 but it is well worth the price.
Financial Management has Returned to the Mac
If nothing else we Mac users can finally rejoice that we have good financial management products. For years we didn’t and it was a gaping whole.
Whether you use the new iBank 5 you will be well served. For my likes I prefer Quicken 2015. I’m a long time Quicken user and the program comes to me easily but it’s a clean program to use. I find iBank is nice but just a bit busy.
Regardless, both provide what the Mac user has so desired for such a long time. During the dry years we either had to compromise or run Windows Quicken in a virtual machine. No longer do we have to compomise nor run Quicken in a virtual machine.
The Mac is a nicely rounded out platform. It can do everything now plus it is far more powerful environment due to its architecture. Windows is now the barren land for the apps that you run there are rough in design and implementation. They work but nothing feels quite as nice as working with an app in the Mac environment.
No longer is the Mac devoid of a critical product area. It is about time but as we proceed hopefully this never happens again. I don’t think it will. Windows was once the place to be. No longer. The Mac is growing in market share and they have a platform that is hard to beat. The days are looking far brighter for the Mac than they ever had.