Edit: After half day, my wife’s Mac started having the same problem. I have then applied the solution that I found in the Apple
Top Finance Apps for Mac
Having switched to Mac about four years ago the only application I miss on Windows is Microsoft Money. I spent years entering transactions, tracking investments and sticking to budgets and at times it really was money saver and eye opener into the abyss that were my accounts.
Since I have pretty much given up on finding the perfect finance application for OS X and had reverted to using an old fashioned spreadsheet. The good news is personal finance applications, perhaps inspired by the global credit crisis have taken a leap in improvements. Here are my top four picks of what is currently available for OSX (In no specific order).
Squirrel is a basic accounts package yet manages to pack in the essential features I am looking for in a personal finance application. It can import all the major statement file type and features tags and categories. The big winner for me is the ability to handle scheduled transactions and budgets thus offering the ability to model and plan your finances.
The application is visually attractive and the budget categories are graphical showing your spending over the month. My only main negative is you are unable to enter directly into the screen ledger, instead a data entry box appears at the bottom of the application. This is not a big issue but I did find myself double clicking on the entry in error on a few occasions (see below). The reviewed version is 0.7 with 1.0 being the final release version.
A big plus is the (currently) free iPhone application that allows you to easily sync transactions with the desktop application. It should be noted that you will need a licensed version of the application to enable access to the sync options.
Squirrel is a promising application that is currently in the process of development and testing thus it only ?13.50 during the development process. [Link to Application website].
Cha-Ching 2.0 (Beta)
I first looked at Cha-Ching last year when it was in beta for version 1. They have now released a beta for version 2 that offers syncing over wifi with an iPhone application. Ch-Ching is a really nice application visually and is very easy to use. Pluses include the ability to enter split transactions and a scheduling system that offers a range of different time frames for frequency. I am hoping that Cha-Ching will allow the automation of scheduled transactions and the ability to schedule transfers (between accounts) in the near future.
One area of Cha-Ching I really liked is the visual budget allowing a single page look at where you on in your budget for both income and outgoing areas. The budget works on tagged transactions which again works really well.
One aspect of the software that excites me is the ability to sync data. If you have a two people running a joint account keeping any personal finance application up to date is tricky at best. Although it would be great if the application could offer Mac syncing across a LAN the ability to run Cha-Ching on my wife’s Mac and then I can sync my transactions from via my iPhone is a very close second. The iPhone version of the application is only ?1.79 available now from the Apps Store. The cost of the full application has not been announced but version 1 retailed around the $40 price mark. [Link to Application Website].
iBank is probably the more sophisticated of the applications I have been playing with over the last few days. Like the others it offers scheduling and statement import /download. iBank offers a detailed budgeting system as well as the ability to sync with an iPhone. iPhone syncing is a little different that other sync options. iBank requires a MobileMe account to syncbut the BIG benefit is you can sync your transactions when on the road.
iBank offers an automated backup service on startup (again to Mobile Me). Smart Import rules make importing a statement simple and the brilliant ‘Memorized Transactions” will come in very handy. iBank offers some great investment and portfolio features that although are a big attraction to me will probably be a big plus to many.
iBank has been around for a few years and thus has the benefit of being a well featured and reliable personal finance application. [Link to Application Website]
Having the same name as the Microsoft application I used for many years on PC Jumsoft’s Money has a lot to live up to. As well as all the standard accounts features such as (account management, budgeting, data import etc) Money has a number of really nice additional features. These include the ability to create different account types and thus supports credit cards etc. It also offers the ability to create a range of professionally styled invoices which is really handy if you do any sort of home business work. The application also offers a great range of professional looking reports.
The budget options are really great offering a quick visual view of the current state of play. Money is a full featured personal finance application with the support for investments and portfolios it even offers a coverflow style view of accounts and transaction types.
Money has a number of very strong, tested and mature features. The scheduled transactions system in Money is the best of the applications we tested. As well as income and expenses Money offers the ability to schedule transfers (this is a biggy for me !!) better still the application will automatically add the scheduled transaction to your account on the day it is due. Adding transactions to Money is quick and easy and the app picks up categories from the first few letters, and ignores captilisation (which is very useful in avoiding category duplication eg category 1 and Category !).
The Reporting and Budgeting systems in Money are completely customisable, and really easy to use you are basically able to get any information from the system with a bit of tweaking of a report. The visual budget is fantastic! and can show a range of timeframes including, Weekly, Month, Year, Month to date etc.
One great aspect of Money is the “Smart Account” system that allows a number of criteria to be applied to transactions with the output appearing in account form. This is particularly useful for tax return time. Money 3 offers remote backup to MobileMe, given how crucial accounting software can be an automated backup is a life safer at times. Money also offers the ability to password protect individual accounts within the application.
The latest version allows great customisation of invoice design, and general UI improvements. Money is a solid reliable application that offers support for all types of account (Current, Loan and Credit cards) as well as tracking investment and multi-current support.
The only negative I have for money is the lack of iPhone sync support. [Update : Jumsoft are currently developing a portable app for Money] Money is a well developed extensive application that covers all areas of home finance as well a few business style features (such as invoicing). [Link to Application Site].
The most important issue (for me) in a personal finance application is the ability to monitor my situation and predict problems or overspending within particular budgets. This year we have been adding our transactions to a spreadsheet and using this to build a budget. The solution works but is time consuming and doesn’t offer the visual aspects of a dedicated application nor the ability to create quick reports.
We have tried a number of personal finance applications since switching from PC to Mac and to date most of them lacked the essential functionality we need despite having a number of really great features.
Some of you might have raced to the last paragraph to see what application I rate as the over all best. The bottom line is we have selected five applications each of which suit our needs and offer a full personal finance management solution and from this point the final choice is personal preference. Both Cha-Ching and Squirrel are still in Beta and look very promising but if you offer any sort of service that requires invoicing then it is hard to go past Jumsoft’s Money 3.
I am planning to continue with the trial versions for a few more weeks, with the vast improvements demonstrated in Cha-Ching 2 (Beta), the new application on the block ‘Squirrel’ (beta) the future of personal finance applications for OSX is definitely looking very promising.
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