My wife and I had been pretty happy with the copy of Quicken that came with our computers. All that changed a few weeks ago, when she told me that Quicken was no longer sufficient for our needs. As she is a professional accountant and I am just a writer, I didn’t question her. So started the search for a new finance program/service.
My first thought was to see if GnuCash had been ported to run natively on OS X, but unfortunately, it still requires X11 to run (apparently there is a way to do it, but it looks like it would probably require a significant investment of time, so that is out). We tried everything we could find, from Piggybank to the online service, Mint. Finally we tried iCash, from Maxprog, and she told me that it would do.
Upon starting the program for the first time, the first thing that I noticed was that it didn’t have the polished interface that I had gotten used to with Quicken. That isn’t to say that it isn’t functional or doesn’t work, but merely that it isn’t as sleek. After that, though, everything went pretty well. The processes of opening and closing accounts, adding and modifying transactions, and importing data are all fairly intuitive.
There are some things in iCash that we don’t like, such as how it handles contacts, but they are relatively minor, feeling more like lack of polish than anything, and I am certain that they will be fixed in future releases. In addition, there are a few quirks, such as grouping transactions instead of splitting them, that take some getting used to.
What iCash lacks in polish, it makes up for in flexibility. You can create an account for just about everything; where Quicken had issues with some of the assets that we were trying to set up, iCash just worked. It doesn’t try to force you to do things in a particular way, so you can organize your finances in whatever way is comfortable for you.
For people who want an alternative to Quicken that doesn’t feel dumbed down or who are looking for a program to track finances for a small business, iCash is a good choice. It has some quirks, but nothing that would cause me to hesitate in recommending it. In addition, there is an active help forum up on Maxprog’s web site, and the developer is very good about addressing questions.
Although iCash 4.3 is shareware and costs $39.90 to register, Maxprog has generously provided us with three licenses to give away to our readers! To enter, simply comment below with a suggestion for a feature that you would most like to see in this program. The winners will be announced next week.