367 of 379 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
Platform for Display: Mac Disc
Like many others, I'm a longtime Quicken for Mac user who was greatly disappointed with the release earlier this year of Quicken Essentials for Mac. (For a long list of its deficiencies, see the reviews - and one star rating - of Quicken Essentials for Mac here on Amazon - basically it's Accounting Lite and not a real program for adults with complicated finances.)
I had looked into prior versions of IBank but had been put off by its lack of comprehensive reporting features. This past weekend I was delighted to learn IBank 4 now has customize-able reporting. You can report on only one payee or category, or virtually any combination of accounts.
Although, in a sense I won't need reports as often - you can search by Payee, Category, or virtually any keyword in the main Document window for each account, and then see all your transactions. EDIT: I had said in the first draft of this review that you can't search for keywords across accounts but just now I stumbled upon the solution: If you put your active accounts into a Group (mine is called '2011 Credit Cards'), then enter a keyword in that Group window view - all of the transactions in any of that Group's accounts containing the keyword will pop right up in a list. I had also thought you couldn't search using numbers but that is also incorrect - I had just been going about it the wrong way. You absolutely can search for numbers in your accounts, either individually or by group, which is incredibly helpful if you reconcile by hand as I do...mystery transactions containing amounts like "12.87" or "5.34" are instantly available once entered in one of the search windows.) These search windows also make finding Payees and whatever you've written in the blissfully-not-truncated Notes field very easy. The search is instant, as opposed to the slow, clunky, single-transaction view offered by Quicken 2007.
There are a couple of features in IBank 4 that make me nearly weep with relief after my struggles with Quicken 2007. Firstly, you can CUT AND PASTE TRANSACTIONS!!!! It's so wonderful!! How many times have I spent hours trying to remove mistakenly-downloaded transactions from one of my accounts in Quicken. (If you accidentally import or your bank accidentally downloads transactions into the wrong account or re-downloads transactions, you could have hundreds of bad transactions that will take you literally hours to remove in Quicken 2007. Quicken 2007 won't allow you to select more than one transaction for deletion - ever; contains "are you sure" type prompts you can't turn off any time you try to delete a transaction; and contains no deletion-related keyboard shortcuts. It makes a tedious task, hitting an "are you sure you want to delete this: OK" button dozens, or hundreds, of times to remove error-filled transactions.) Of course, you could always restore your Quicken file from a backup you made before the bad data was entered, but then you'd also lose any other (good) changes you had made since that backup was created.
Quicken also will only allow the user to move transactions one-at-a-time between accounts...again, with no multiple transaction selection or keyboard shortcuts allowed. In IBank 4 deleting and moving multiple transactions takes literally seconds. Actually, it's so easy one worries about mistakenly altering something. Fortunately, the inclusion of an "UNDO [last action]" (coupled with "REDO") option in the Edit menu prevents disaster. You can also export your transactions to QIF or TXF format, or back them up whenever you like. Additionally, you can set up IBank 4 to back up your transactions whenever you quit the program. This means restoring from backup is an option here too.
Another vastly improved area over Quicken is the use of Categories in IBank 4. It's basically the same methodology - you use different Categories (Grocery, Restaurants, Books), but again you have a lot more flexibility. When I migrated over to IBank 4 I was able to reassign transactions with ease - IBank 4 will let you reassign current transactions to a new category if you decide to delete one of the old ones. Also, it's easier not to mistakenly re-create similarly named categories (mine are always 'Grocery' and 'Groceries') with IBank's easy pull-down window which autopopulates when you start typing. IBank's IPhone client (IBank Mobile) also helps create uniform Payees and Categories - no more variations on a business name and street address for the same location, since you use the same Categories and Payees for both versions of IBank. My better, more accurate reports are going to come in handy at tax time.
IBank Mobile is a piece of cake as well. Your data syncs with one click - in seconds and error free, creating a mirror copy of your desktop software. (This feature alone, which allowed me to ditch the various other IPhone apps I had cobbled together to use with Quicken, is worth the cost of admission.) It's the end of the year, I have three thousand or so transactions that I exported out of Quicken and imported to IBank 4 (which was a smooth, near-totally bug-free process, I might add). IBank Mobile imported them all in literally seconds, after the simple syncing setup between my IPhone and MacBookPro. It's going to be SO NICE not to have to use the IPhone Checkbook app to export each account manually to an email (which is not secure), then re-import by hand to Quicken 2007.
My jury's still mildly out - this product runs so quickly and is so easy to use that it's making me paranoid whether all my transaction data is still there - but as of now I have to say, I'm completely, utterly thrilled with IBank 4.
I'd give it five stars but it still has a little bit of functionality left to add. I'd like to see the developers add Class functionality (which is basically a way to sort Categories by subcategory). To some extent there's a workaround for this - you can simply add another Category as a subcategory of the one you're working with - but you can't then sort those subcategories independently. I had been using the Class capability in Quicken to track the different sales taxes I pay on various products, but I think for now I'm going to have to manually split transactions to track the sales tax. I'd like an easier, automatic way to do this, but for now I don't think that's available in either IBank 4 or Quicken 2007. This is a big deal for me, because I live in a state with VERY high sales tax and I need to track it for deduction on my Federal returns. (I buy things occasionally from outlets that don't charge sales tax, so I can't just apply x.xx% to every transaction to get my total; also, my state has a different sales tax rate for groceries and other incidentals.)
Note: I don't use my software to print checks or to download transactions from my bank (I'd really rather reconcile my accounts by hand, which means I can review each transaction more thoroughly). However, I tried importing some transactions just to see how it worked, and again - smooth, easy, crash-free.
[UPDATE, 11/30/10]: Apparently there's a way to integrate IBank 4 with Turbotax, through exporting your transactions into a specific format. To use this I assume you need to assign Categories to various portions of the tax code, and use that to generate your export.
Overall I'm very happy with this product, and I'm even more happy that it's currently being actively supported. Intuit has sent clear signals that it isn't taking Mac users' needs seriously, while IGG Software is actively soliciting input from users for further added features for IBank. So far, it's been well worth the money not have to spend so much hands-on time managing my finances, and correcting the errors Quicken 2007 kept baking into my accounts. Thanks IGG!!
[UPDATE, 12/3/10]: After having completely migrated my finances and used the product for a few days, I have more details. First, this program is staggering in what it does well - the reporting features are fast and comprehensive; I can see the 'big picture' of my finances at a glance, which is quite an unusual feeling for me. ;) I'm really happy with features like the automatic 'Scheduled Transactions' and the ability to add them to ICal.
On the downside, to some extent you can tell this is a program being developed by independent software programmers and not a gigantic corporate conglomerate like Intuit. It's got a couple of glitches - I had some trouble creating a Category in the IPhone client and so far I've had a couple of 'hangs' requiring me to hard-reset the program.
However - and this is a big however - nothing I've found so far has resulted in any data loss what-so-ever. I've now experimented with exporting and importing data from my backups, and I'm convinced this is not something I'm going to have to keep in the forefront of my mind.
So yes, it's not quite 100% in terms of stability, but in terms of functionality it's so far ahead of Quicken 2007 it's not even funny.
One other feature I'd like to see added is the ability to see one's Budget in the IPhone client (but you can see your account totals in real time if you've synced your phone; you can even see your running totals by Category). Obviously this is a minor quibble - Quicken doesn't even have an IPhone client.
IGG is running a software forum where you can report issues with the program and put in feature requests. So far I've found the developers responsive and quite reasonable.
I'm more than prepared to recommend this software package to all comers. I have seen some issues with folks who'd like to be able to reconcile statements with downloads on the fly, which is a feature I assume is available in Quicken for Windows (I can tell you it's not in Quicken 07 for Mac).
Again, this is a program being developed by programmers and not a giant faceless corporation, so I'm personally more than willing to wait for some of the issues to be ironed out as new features are developed.
[UPDATE, 2/17/11] I'm upgrading to five stars. This program is so easy to use, has not lost any of my data whatsoever, and is so fast that it's like a horrible nightmare to remember my experiences with Quicken 2007. Yes, I do still have to enter my sales tax by hand, and there are a few other features I'd like to see, but my expense tracking and account reconciliation is taking about 10% of the time I used to have to spend, thanks to the easy, fast search functions of IBank.
I realize other people's opinions may vary - I don't use this program to track stocks, for example - but for what I was looking for (a simple program to track my spending, reconcile my accounts and help me budget) this program has changed my life. As in, I've gotten a lot of it back, rather than struggling for hours trying to perform simple functions in Quicken 2007. Thanks IGG!!
279 of 311 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
Platform for Display: Mac Disc
After 20 years on a PC, couldn't be happier being a Mac user for the last 3 years. With Macs and Mac software, no aggravation, no frustration, and everything is beautiful, really visually pleasing.
Then, there's iBank. It's aggravating, frustrating, and sub-par in terms of looks and user experience.
However, after 3 years of searching and searching, 3 years of using trial or paid versions of just about every Mac home financial software out there, I have to say it is the best of a very bad lot.
It's not what iBank does or doesn't do that is the problem; it's *how* it does it. I could list 30 things that, each one by itself, is not any real problem. The problem is the combination of all the little things that add up to an overall experience of aggravation and frustration.
Example: It's very, very slow to respond. I'm on my 2nd click but the 1st one hasn't resulted in anything yet. Click on, say, Checking Account, and have to wait a period of time for the program to switch to that account. You'd naturally think that you could move forward and start clicking the + icon to begin adding a transaction because when you clicked the account name, something should happen, right? Instead, you have to wait and wait for that account to open. The additional clicks from trying to move forward at what should be a normal pace when actually iBank hasn't caught up to your 1st click yet causes the program to crash. (Crashing is one thing iBank does very well, and often.)
Example: Click after click after click just to accomplish one little thing. Let's do Apple stock this session. How many shares of Apple stock do I now have? Click on a Portfolio Report you've created. How well has my investment in that stock done over time? Click on an Investment Summary report that you've created. Let's add a dividend reinvestment for Apple stock. Click on that account to enter the transaction. 3 clicks and a total of 5+ minutes to get info you want and make 1 transaction because nothing is in the same place. I.e. cannot view everything about your Apple stock on one screen as you easily can in other such programs.
Another example: entering a transaction in, say, Checking Account and want to assign the expense to a category, but don't recall exactly how the category was named. Was that a sub category of Misc or maybe the Other Expense category? Or, is it a sub category of Food that I'm after? Can't click in the Category box to see all available categories and scroll to find the one needed. Must know exactly what the category name is, then enter the 1st letter for anything to appear in the Category drop down box. Enter M for Misc and the Misc category appears along with its sub categories as well as all the other categories beginning with M. Nope, not there. Let's try F for Food. Nope, none of them either. Well, let's go to the Category list and find out for sure which category I need. Ooops, must click Cancel in order to leave this Checking Account screen, and thus loose what was started. Click on Categories. Find the category needed. Oh, OK, that's what it's called. Now, back to Checking Account and start the transaction all over again. Wait...which transaction was I trying to add? This one or that one?
None of this wasted time and aggravation would be necessary if you could simply be able to see all available categories from within the category drop down box. Such a simple thing. Other programs are set up this way. Not iBank.
Another example: include in your 2010 monthly budget expenses, say, Christmas. Only need to budget for it for maybe 2 months - Nov & Dec. Except, iBank will not allow you to do that. Can only budget the way iBank programmers want you to budget, which is monthly, quarterly, or yearly. They will not allow you to budget a line item for any other period such as 2 months. So, it's impossible to set up within your 2010 Budget a line item for the Christmas category and budget $X in Nov and $X in Dec.
Another example: It's now Dec 4. Want to see how you did with your budgeting for Nov? Can't, you silly goose. iBank programmers don't want you to see how you did in any previous month as far as your budgeting v. actual. They will not allow you to change dates to view previous periods. Can view only the current month's budgeting v. actual.
Another example: when splitting a transaction and need to do some math to determine the split amounts, need to use the Mac's calculator as there isn't one within the software like there is with other such software. So, you have to click on the calculator icon in iBank which opens the Mac's calculator, then click on the calculator to select it, then do your figuring, then click back on iBank to select it, then double click in the area you want to enter the amount you just calculated. Click click click click, that's all you do in iBank is click. Other financial programs have a built-in calculator right where you need to do the figuring which eliminates the need for all those additional clicks.
I could go on.
iBank pretty much does what you need it to do. But, it unnecessarily adds so much time and aggravation to the process that dealing with your money becomes so much more of a chore than it has to be. And, it's not nice to look at nor well-laid out on top of that. Yet, it's still the best Mac home money software out there. You'd think by now someone out there would have gotten this right.