When it comes to desktop finance software, Intuit has pretty much become the standard. Quicken and Quickbooks are perhaps the best known applications for keeping track of your finances.
But, are there alternatives?
Some people find Intuit’s products to be a little… bloated. Intuit releases a new version every year, but really all it is is slight visual changes and more bloat. Most Quicken users use only the basic functionality, so most of those updates are fairly meaningless. Which makes it all the more annoying when Intuit decides to force you to upgrade in order to keep downloading from your bank account.
So, let’s check out Quicken alternatives and see what we find.
jGnash Personal Finance
jGnash is a free, open source personal finance manager which is said to boast many of the same features as the likes of Quicken. It will run on any operating system which is running the Java 7 Runtime Environment.
GnuCash is named such because it is distributed under the GNU GPL open source license. It has all the features one would expect, including double-entry accounting, reports, graphs, etc. It also has the ability to connect to your bank and download transactions as long as your bank supports it. One of the supported formats is QIF, which is Quickbooks. So, if your bank connects to Quickbooks, it should connect to GnuCash.
AceMoney is NOT open source. In fact, it will cost you about $40 (as of this writing). That said, you will usually get the best software when you pay for it. AceMoney looks to be much more on par with the likes of Quicken or Microsoft Money.
They do have a LITE version which is free, however it is limited to tracking only two accounts.
AceMoney will help you track multiple accounts, do budgeting, track your investments – and a lot more.
While there are a number of desktop software alternatives to Quicken, there are also online versions. And, one of the best known ones is operated by Intuit itself. It is called Mint.
One of the nice things about Mint is that it does a lot of the work for you. It auto-downloads from your bank accounts and auto-categorizes transactions. It is also all totally free. Mint makes their money by making periodic recommendations to you on how to save money. If you are OK with your financial data being on a remote server (and, when you get right down to it, it pretty much is anyway), then Mint offers a LOT of conveniences.
MoneyDance is a pretty full-featured option. It isn’t free, but that reflects in the polish of the program. It is updated regularly, well supported – and in many ways, seems to have the reputation for being all the things that Quicken isn’t. It is popular among Mac users, but it is also available for Windows and Linux. Also syncs with your mobile device – for free.
One thing to bear in mind with any accounting software use…
Specifically, if you hire somebody to do your taxes for you, make sure that you’re using tracking software which your accountant can work with. Since Quicken and Quickbooks are the standard in many circles, you’ll want to ensure that you will be able to get your data to your accountant in a format they can work with if you are using an alternative.
But, Intuit by no means has a monopoly on this area. As you can see.