If you’ve been a Quicken user for any length time you’re well aware that the look and feel of the app has gone through some considerable changes over the last several years. Not to mention a brief name change from Quicken to Quicken Essentials and back to Quicken again. Quicken 2016 for Mac, the application resulting from this mini-morphing over the years, is a solid tool for managing your personal finances that remains as easy to use as was its predecessors, but it’s no longer the only personal financial player in the game.
Quick on the setup
The setup of Quicken 2016 is a little uncomfortable from the jump, as it requires that you use a Quicken ID in order to set the app up. While I understand the purpose of using a Quicken ID—it’s used to sync Quicken data on your Mac with iOS devices—I don’t like that this is a requirement for using Quicken. Being able to save data in a local file seems, to me, to be something I should be able to do without linking to Intuit’s back-end, particularly if I have no plans to sync Quicken with any of my mobile devices. Also, once you log in you’re also required to complete a survey before you can begin using the app. Another unnecessary required step.
Once you complete those initial steps you’re off to the races. Quicken is designed to sync with your bank’s online banking services, but you do have the option of creating manual entry accounts if you want. I was easily able to create a link to accounts I had with two banks, but was unable to link to a credit union account because of the way that bank’s authorization system works. In short, that bank’s website requires that you enter answers to personal questions from a drop down menu. Quicken would only allow me to enter an answer by typing into a field, which my banking site would not accept.
Once you log in to your banking site, Quicken lets you to select the accounts you want the app to automatically download transactions from. When selecting accounts to sync, you also have the option of customizing the names of those accounts. Quicken downloads transactions for the accounts you link—typically three months worth of data, depending on your bank—as soon as you add them.
Quicken ships with a pre-defined collection of categories and does a great job of linking imported transactions to existing categories, although you’ll likely want to double check to make sure everything matches up correctly the first few times you import transactions. I found that I needed to refine or edit categories to make them work for my specific needs.
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