This Christmas I stopped using Quicken Essentials and switched to iBank from IGG Software, Inc. Why did I switch? Quicken Essentials is a program that is lacking in features, has confusing registers and to make things worse, difficult and complicated way to reconcile your accounts.
If you use Quicken Essentials to download transactions and do not use it to enter transactions to track your spending, the registers do not become a complicated mess when you reconcile to your statements. To me this is not the preferred method of using a program like Quicken, iBank or any of the others.
Quicken Essentials’ difficulty starts when you use it to enter transactions to record your activity and then download transactions from your bank accounts and credit card accounts prior to doing a reconciliation. After the download, all hell breaks loose. You have no idea what was added or what was matched without inspecting each transaction with a blue dot. Also, if you do not know what the balance on the account was before the download, you have no idea if it changed, which is the only way to determine if new transactions were added. This is a major headache.
If you have more than one account or an account with many transactions, it turns the download and checking into a lot of unnecessary work. Eventually you will put off using Quicken Essentials or delay keeping your records up to date because of the difficulty to get things done quickly and efficiently. Why give yourself an unnecessary headache. Life already has too many of these without adding one that can be avoided.
If you are using Quicken 2007 and do not plan an changing your Mac or upgrading to Lion or later, leave well enough alone. If you are getting a new Mac with Lion or plan to upgrade, choose iBank. It does what quicken 2007 does and adds some additional functionality.
Stay away from Quicken Essentials unless you enjoy complexity. I am not even going into the missing features that were part of Quicken 2007 and dropped in Quicken Essentials, such as tracking your loans or brokerage accounts.
Intuit has really abandoned Mac users with this junk. It is so bad, they announced that they were updating Quicken 2007 to run on Lion. My question is, if Quicken Essentials is worth anything, why update such an aging program?