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Microsoft Money vs Quicken etc.
My switch to Microsoft Money is successful. The program is about as obtuse as Quicken is.. I would say just a tad better in the user experience, although the charting/reporting is pretty weak. No historical Net Worth Chart??? Sheesh.

Here's the deal. I wanted to download bank transactions from my bank rather than typing every one in by hand (which is what i've done over the last 10 years or so). I ran into an interesting compatibility matrix, ... which took some time to figure out:

  • Bank (Greater Iowa Credit Union) uses CU@HOME software for web stuff.
  • CU@HOME version provides downloads in: QIF and OFC.
  • QIF version of download says "ATM DEBIT" without any additional information - this does not work for me.
  • Quicken 2000 provides imports in QIF format only. So, needs to change.
  • OFC version of download says "ATM DEBIT" / "(Target)(1134114 QVR14 1234)" -- more information, helps identify what it was. This is good.
  • I purchased Money 2005 -- and find it imports in OFX format (but dropped OFC). OFX is an open standard that both Quicken and Money are heading towards... I returned Money 2005. OFX is a derivative of QFX, but Openized. Quicken is dropping QIF support in favor of OFX as well.
  • I tried some shareware accounting package that begins with the letter a -- which has support for QIF, QFX, OFC and OFX -- and it failed to recognize the OFC import. Unless I renamed it to OFX. At $30, it was like... eh... clunky to use. Bzzzt.
  • I purchased Money 2004 (thru Ebay) -- and thank goodness! It works! It imports OFC from my bank! ...

So .. Yay! i have a solution that does what I want now. I really appreciate that Money has TWO forms of marking transations -- Reconciled/C/Unreconciled, and Accepted/Unaccepted -- Accepted meaning, I the user have seen what was download from the bank, and I believe it is valid. It also remembers what I type in vs what is downloaded -- allows me to compare them and seperate transactions/merge transactions as necessary. They also do this auto-reconcile thing which works most of the time -- Sunny Likes.

So, this last time i went to update -- i just downloaded 4 files off the web, they got sucked in, i entered a few categories, i was done in 15 minutes -- compared to the 2+ hours I used to spend. I love it! and it pulls stuff for my Credit Card and 401k plan straight off the web. If my bank were a bigger bank (which had an OFX server), i'm pretty sure I could autosync with them too. :]


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