Just finishing two full years with SEE Finance and I’ve kind of had it with the inflexible reports. So I’m looking for something new again. I thought I had a comparison spreadsheet for this two years back but I can’t find it.
NO cloud storage, sharing anything. Just me and my internal drive
NO account creation! Don’t make me create an account to access my data on my drive! This is a deal breaker for me on many apps lately.
Must handle multiple accounts
Must be able to pull a single report from multiple accounts
Must be able to drill down into a report - SEE fails at this - this is my biggest complaint
Multiple windows are a plus - SEE also fails at this
Investment tracking is a plus
Direct account downloads are a plus - but it should at last allow imports
NO need for a mobile app or sharing across computers
I find data entry and searching to be pretty good in SEE but the lack of report functionality kills me.
I have two machines:
Sierra (which I need to upgrade to HS)
Big Sur - this one may be able to go one OS higher
I have skimmed over Randy’s list and am thinking of these:
SEE will export in a few formats so hopefully I can find something that imports one of them.
I have been so frustrated I am seriously tempted to go back to Q2007.
I have gone through the other threads and don’t see many comments on these 4 packages so I thought I’d ask again.
I know you want a special-purpose app, but I’ve been managing my personal finances with Excel spreadsheets for over 30 years. I currently use three files:
Budget. A column for each month. A row for each category of income/expense. I highlight cells with estimates in yellow, and use no highlight for actual values. I duplicate the file every year (right around now, in October), so I end up with one file for each year.
Checkbook. Mimics a paper register. With a few extra columns, where I can tick off those line items I’ve logged on my portfolio sheet (see below), items that have shown up on the bank’s web site, and those that I’ve seen in my monthly statement. Along with three columns of running totals - all transactions, those that have appeared on the bank’s web site, and those that have appeared in monthly statements.
Porfolio. Probably the most complicated one. Tracks my investments. A line for each security. Columns for its name, ticker symbol, number of shares held, current price, current value, and percentage of total holdings.
It includes two entries for cash - my spending money (which I don’t count toward the portfolio value) and investment money (which does, and doesn’t get spent).
And then a separate tab that lets me track the value over time, including some nice looking graphs.
These three sheets cover everything I need for my household finances. For me, I have no need to anything fancier than that. (I pay my bills using the bank’s web site or I write paper checks when that’s not an option.)
If there is interest, I can create anonymous template versions of these (with all personal content stripped away) to share with the world.
You should probably add Moneydance to your list. I have found the formatting of reports to be a bit sticky. If you mean drilling down to be seeing the register entries that constitute a summary item, Moneydance will do it.
It meets your other criteria. You only need to register and pay a subscription fee if you intend to download account data via the Internet directly; loading from .qfx and other export files works fine with no registration or subscription required (that’s how I use it). You can have only one account register open at a time, but there are no problems with reports spanning accounts.
I track my investments in a separate file from my current accounts because of some data corruption years ago.
Moneydance has quite a generous trial, based on the number of transactions you enter by hand before requiring that you purchase it. So, it is easy to run it in parallel with other financial software to see if it meets your needs.
I’m a MoneyDance user, from 2007-2020, then I used SEE for a year, and came back to MoneyDance - I liked SEE Finance at first, particularly the relatively full-featured iPad app (no reports or import, though), but then I started seeing different things on Mac and iPad, so that was enough for me.
But one thing MoneyDance doesn’t have is reports where you can drill down from summaries to more detail. It’s easy to create new reports, but reports are not a strength IMO.
I am worried about changes in bank software causing increasing problems with Moneydance. I use it to keep the financial records of a small nonprofit group. Our account is in Citizen’s Bank and it stopped offering downloads of anything but PDF statements a few months ago, so I can’t download transactions in .qfx or other forms. I called the bank to complain, and they said they were having problems with Quicken and that they had never heard about moneydance. That did not make me feel optimistic they would ever do anything to serve Moneydance customers.
The nonprofit has less than five transactions a month, so it’s not a big hassle, but I worry the banks my squeeze Quicken out by changing their systems.
I’m another spreadsheet user. I will out of principle not get one of these odd finance apps. In fact it all started with a simple ASCII text file around '94 so I could use GNUplot to plot balances and expected progression (investments).
I’m sure this is not as convenient as those apps that auto-enter through an interface with your bank. And I know I end up spending more time due to manual entry.
But I am just as certain I easily make up for that time by having something
I can at any time access from any Mac or iOS device (and is well secured nevertheless)
where I own my data and don’t have to worry about getting either locked into a subscription/upgrade shenanigans or losing my historical data (or at least having to deal with CSV export/import and all the hoopla that bings with it).
where I can tailor entry and output plus graphing to my exact needs without having to settle for some kind of prefabricated workflow and display
where I can pipe results to any other required application (eg. tax filing) in a manner and using a format I choose
where I can share relevant information (as I define it) with a third party, (eg. my wife when she’s doing taxes or retirement estimates, or my brother when it came to figuring out an estate and related expenses), again in a format I alone get to choose
where I still remain very flexible - truth is you could argue similarly for building your own in eg. FileMaker Pro, but not only does that take significant effort, it also again assumes you know right now what it is you’ll be wanting to do or look at in 5 years or else that any such modification isn;t too cumbersome. With a spreadsheet, however, you usually handily win that bet because it is flexible and usually quite low-effort to adapt later.
Certainly YMMV, but I think there’s a strong case to be made here for not just going with a prefab one-size-fits-all approach.
I was a happy SEE Finance user, but was nervous as the vendor seems to no longer be supporting the software, other than minimal updates to retain compatibility with new OS releases. I settled on Banktivity.
At first look Banktivity appears to be a subscription, but their help material explains that you can cancel the subscription and still use the software. You even get updates as they become available. The subscription is only required for online services, which is understandable as they cost the vendor ongoing fees.
I believe Banktivity meets your list of requirements, except I believe you have to have an account. Cloud storage is an option not a requirement. Multiple accounts, multiple databases, report drill down, investment tracking, transaction imports.
Global search is better in SEE Finance than Banktivity, but it’s OK in the latter.
You get the additional benefit of well maintained software since they have ongoing revenue.
I used to use Q2007 but finally upgraded to the new Quicken. It’s now called classic. I enter all my info manually and then reconcile with my bank statements that I print out. You still are required to have an account and log in. I don’t mind that.
Hi Diane. Yeah, SEE Finance was last updated for compatibility with Ventura, but no updates since.
Here’s the page that describes how Banktivity works if you’re not subscribed.
As a non-subscriber, you can export from your bank and then import to Banktivity without being current on the subscription. It’s just the direct connect and security price downloads that are for subscribers only. Although I subscribe I don’t want direct connect so I download and import my credit card transactions in OFX format. You would have to test for your banks, especially if you want security transactions–they’re supposed to work but my discount brokerage only supports CSV which is not supported by Banktivity for investment transactions.
I found converting from SEE Finance to Banktivity quite challenging. The conversion required much patching of data afterward. But I’m glad I have greatly reduced the risk SEE presents as an (apparently) unsupported program.
Again, I’m not sure what you mean by drill down. If you mean, for example, taking a category listed in a report and by clicking on it, seeing all items that summed to that item, Moneydance can do that.
Moneydance’s free trial is quite generous. If you download the program, it will run without restriction until you have manually entered 100 transactions. Importing from other sources doesn’t count in that total. I suggest you import some or all of your SEE Finance accounts and see if you can create reports that meet your specifications.
I’m on Sierra so that makes sense I didn’t see that.
I downloaded the newer demo of Banktivity last night. I didn’t need a login for V5. I imported the V5 file I’d created in 2017 and it let me get pretty far before asking me to create an account. That’s also a deal breaker for me. I am going to write them and ask about it though, but suspect I’m just going to get a cut and paste for all the stupid reasons they think I need an account for my data on my hard drive.
I must be missing something. If I run a report in MoneyDance - say, “Income and Expenses, Detailed”, it does not show me a summary of a category and have any sort of control to drill-down further. It has all of the detail.
Off I run “Income and Expenses”, it shows a hierarchy of all of my categories, but I can’t click on any of them and have it show me the detail.
To me, that’s what “drill-down” in a report means.
Yes - I can double-click on one of the items and it will leave the report and show me a register view, but it is not isolated to the time period of the report. So if I am running a report of expense categories for last quarter and double-click on Utilities, it just takes me to a register view of all of my Utilities transactions.