iBank and Moneydance fail

iBankI’ve been looking for a substitute for PC Quicken that I could run on my Mac. I figured, “How hard can it be to create something with the features I need?” Too hard, I guess. Quicken’s own Mac version falls short in a lot of ways, too, but that’s another story.

I tried Moneydance. It doesn’t download all of the accounts I need.

I tried iBank. It came a lot closer, especially if you’re willing to pay for their “direct access to banks” subscription. However, they haven’t figured out what it means to reconcile an account without  a paper statement.

How 20th century of them.

Twenty years ago, my local bank rearranged their printed bank statements. Until then I’d been downloading transactions and using the paper statement to reconcile them. The new arrangement made reconciliation too slow and difficult.

I switched banks. I went to one of the big regional banks that could afford to interface cleanly with online banking software. I think I was using Managing Your Money software at the time. Or it might have been Quicken on OS-9.

When Mac’s OS-9 went to OS-10, all my software stopped working. Intuit abandoned its Quicken Mac software, though it retained its Mac version of TurboTax. I switched to Windows for several years, and did my accounting on Quicken. I still do, using a VM.

Reconciliation Done Right

The point of reconciliation is to compare the bank’s perceived balance against your own perceived balance. It helps you find errors both in your own records and in bank records. Fraud by financial institutions (or their employees) is as alive and well as ever. It’s worth your while to check their records against your own.

Modern statement-less reconciliation takes the account’s balance as reported online and compares it with your record of cleared transactions. If you’re downloading cleared transactions from the bank or credit card company, then the two should match.

They don’t always.

Sometimes I’ve put a transaction into the wrong account. Sometimes the institution double-reports a transaction (I see this a lot on my Target credit card). Reconciliation helps me check and clean up my records.

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