Today is my traditional bill paying day, and it's my first day using Quicken as my primary financial software program to do it. I got the opportunity to balance my checkbook against a bank statement. How did it go? Well, let's compare.
Money would ask for my beginning and ending balances, plus ask for service charges and interest. I'd usually enter this from my statement, but then I'd have to delete the duplicate entry as those transactions would have already been downloaded. Quicken doesn't even give the option to enter those amounts, which I suppose is a blessing in my case since I couldn't seem to get it through my head that I didn't need to enter these things in twice.
Money then shows my list of unreconciled items. Its default method is to sort by checks first (defined as anything where the "check number" is actually a number, not "ATM" or "Internet" or blank) sorted by number, then all other withdrawals sorted by date, then all deposits sorted by date. Coincidentally, this is exactly how my bank statement is printed. Also, the list is editable, in that you can enter transactions on the fly — very useful if something came through on my statement that I forgot to enter. Admittedly this is less of an issue since the transactions are downloaded long before I get to the statement. Also, since Money puts downloaded transactions in the register before you "Accept" them, you can balance against them and reconcile, even while leaving the transaction "unaccepted" pending review (i.e. trying to remember what that transaction was for, so I can put the right category on it).
Quicken lists the unreconciled items in two groups, deposits and withdrawals. Each list is sorted by date. The deposits are fine, but this makes the withdrawals very difficult, as checks are much more difficult to find (their dates are updated as they clear, which is quite often not in the same order they were written; also, with my wife and I writing checks from two different checkbooks, our check numbers are shuffled together instead of separated sequentially). There appears to be no option to sort differently. Also, because downloaded transactions are not in the register until you "accept" them, you must do that step first. And of course entering new transactions can't be done in-place. (I think I recall a "Finish Later" button, so I suppose it would be possible to exit and come back.)
I've already ranted about the bills and seeing a list of "Transfer" "Transfer" "Transfer" "Transfer", not much to add there — except perhaps to note that my previous rant about really small list boxes (or dropdown boxes) applies even more so to the transaction list when you try to manually match a downloaded transaction to your register. Seriously, can I please see more than four things at a time? I did see that, like Money, Quicken has an option to "automatically insert decimal point in money fields". However, this only applies to the check register or split window. Forms, such as the one used to enter a bill or the one used to start the reconciliation process, do not auto-enter a decimal point. This inconsistency has so far led to frequent errors resulting in very large dollar amounts that would almost be funny if I weren't actually trying to get something done. Also, Quicken includes a calculator button by most every money field, but you have to click it to activate it. Money has it too, with the added bonus that the instant you type in a math symbol (+ - * /), the calculator opens starting with the value you just entered and the action primed and ready for the next value. Quicken's date control has one extra bit of lameness that I'll have to get used to. It only shows the current month. If the month ends on a Monday, that's all of that week it'll show. In Money, you'll see in a lighter color the first few days of the next month to fill out the week. It's minor, but an annoyance since I pay my bills on a weekly schedule, so when I'm spanning a month boundary, I have to tab forward to use the date control. Money also has nice little shortcuts in its date control that I used often: "t" goes to "today", "m" goes to the start of the month, "h" the end of the month, "y" and "r" for year, "-" goes back a day, "=" (under the "+") goes forward a day. Pretty small and simple, but you don't realize how much you use it until it's gone.
Yeah, so far, I'm of the opinion that, compared to Money, Quicken sucks. Except that Money tries to lead you along with its flaxen cords while it binds you with chains. Knowing that, how could I ever go back to Money?