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The Indefinite Article.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Teh Suxxors: Quicken

So I thought I was going to do the right thing for once and get Quicken and get my financial stuff organized. Quicken sucks.

I have really basic needs and mostly track on three accounts: checking, savings, credit card. I haven't imported the retirement stuff into Quicken yet. The money goes in the checking account and out to savings and credit. All of my financial institutions offer .qif files for download and they import into Quicken easily enough. However, Quicken doesn't seem to offer a way to tie a withdrawal from the checking account to a payment in the credit card account. If I put the category of [Credit Card] in the withdrawal, an entry on the credit card account automagically appears and vice versa. Since I didn't read page 64 of the user guide beforehand I didn't know this when I went through and categorized the last year's worth of transactions and wound up with a year's worth of duplicate payments in the credit card account record. Then when I saw them in the credit card account record, I deleted them on the credit card side without realizing (b/c I didn't read pg 64) that the checking account entry would be deleted too.

For me this breaks a clear rule about how an application should work: it should not do stuff to a document (account) that the user is not focused on without user permission or at least a one-time click-through.

Additionally, this application behavior is useless to me because I want Quicken to be a vehicle for understanding what my financial situation is. The raw data comes from bank data, not data entry on my part (even though applying categories is very laborious). In Quicken I can't tie a withdrawal from one account on one day to a deposit on another account that may not post for another couple of days. The workaround would be to delete the payment entries in the credit card and savings accounts but this would defeat the purpose of the data imports--having the same records as the banks, only all in one place.

Other things about Quicken that suck:
  • Sorting transactions: doesn't work
  • Find: works like a word processor from 1999
  • User interface: bad blend of old-fashioned grids and "make it look like a web browser" underlined text

There are some decent things about Quicken, and I think that it is pretty tightly focused on the kind of person that regularly balances a checkbook and validates their own data entry against bank records.


  • I understand completley.
    I have tried using quicken 3 times.
    Once in 2000.
    Another in 2002.
    and again this year.
    Credit, Checks, and any other type of transaction is a pain in the ass.

    By Blogger taggart, at 12:24 AM  

  • i am with you and taggart on this one; i have tried quicken on several occasions; every attempt has ended in frustration; i think they got an old-school data-entry model thing going that just plain suxxors

    By Blogger pablo, at 3:00 AM  

  • that's why carol and i kept a hand-written account spreadsheet for so long. now, though, we're just using an excel spreadsheet to track the bills we pay and using the online bill pay through the credit untion to pay them. i think there are only two bills that we write checks for, anyway.

    By Blogger Killy, at 10:16 AM  

  • Ironically, Killy, if you hand-write all that stuff in, then Quicken may work well for you.

    I'm sorta working on a php script to parse .qif files. I've gotten it to read and whatnot, the next steps are to put it in a db with an account number and make a category table and whatnot.

    By Blogger Adolph, at 9:30 PM  

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