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Linked Checking Accounts in QMac

Hello.  I have been a Quicken user & loyal customer since 1992.  I have also been a Fidelity Brokerage customer since 1996... which has meant that I have never been able to use Quicken on my Mac.  I have had to buy & maintain a separate Windows computer solely because Quicken Mac does not support the Fidelity Cash Management (checking) account.

Question:  Could you please please please include the Linked Checking feature on QMac?  My life would be so much easier if I could run everything on my Mac.  I imagine there must be tens of thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of people in the same boat as me:  Mac owners who use Fidelity for their brokerage & checking.

What are your thoughts/plans re. addressing this critical problem in QMac?

Comments

  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    @jrotenberg I understand your issue, and wanted to offer two quick thoughts.

    First, this forum is mostly for user-to-user support of Quicken issues. There are a few Quicken employees who are moderators, and on rare occasion, someone from Quicken's development team posts something here -- but mostly, you're talking to fellow users here. And since Quicken very rarely discloses what they're working on for the future, it's unlikely you'll get a response to your question from Quicken.

    Unless...

    Each time an update is released for Quicken Mac, the product Manager, Quicken Marcus, creates a new thread announcing the new release. Here's the last one, for the release of version 5.11. I am not suggesting you post in that thread. Instead, I'm going to say to keep an eye out for a similar thread whenever the next version (5.12) gets released. Marcus monitors those threads for the first week or so after each release, looking for possible problems being reported by customers. And it is therefore the one place you can possibly catch the eye of the key person at Quicken who can respond to your question and potentially act on it. It's a little tricky, but since there's no other official place for customers to report missing/desired functionality, it's possibly worth a shot.

    That all said, I'd also ask you a completely different question: how many transactions do you typically have each month in your Fidelity checking account? The reason I ask is that I enter all my transactions manually, and find it not to be a major problem. That's due to the fact that I just don't have a large number of transactions in my checking account these days: a few checks, a few automatic withdrawals, a few payroll deposits (which can be scheduled transactions), a few other random deposits; much more of my financial activity takes place in my credit card account. I see some people tear their hair out over ongoing connectivity problems with Quicken and realize I'm happy entering my relatively small number of checking transactions and not having to swim upstream trying to get Quicken to automate it. Of course, this approach doesn't work for everyone; if you have many dozens or hundreds of checking account transactions each month, it's surely worth trying to get it automated with Quicken. I just mention it because users sometimes overlook that the simplest solution might be manual entry.
    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • jrotenberg
    jrotenberg Member ✭✭
    Thanks for your thoughts, Jacobs.

    I got so frustrated reading those Mac product release threads... I have had the same question for 10+ years and it's impossible to know if (or when) the answer might be buried somewhere in there at some point.

    The whole reason I purchased Quicken in the first place was for the automatic reconciliation of my transaction registers.  I'm not willing to give that up, which is why I bought a whole separate computer for Windows Quicken.

    I wish Quicken would at least explain why they made the decision not to support a very large number of Mac users...those of us who are customers of the largest brokerage platform (Fidelity)... and why they choose to lobotomize Quicken on the Mac (after implying they would catch the Mac version up).  At least a logical, thoughtful, full response from a real human being would make me considerably less grumpy about it.

    Does anyone have an email address or phone number for Marcus?
  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    @jrotenberg A few comments in response...

    First, they did not "choose to lobotomize Quicken on the Mac." There's a long, winding history, and I won't post it all here, but here's the 60-second version: More than a decade ago, the developers realized there was no path forward for the existing Mac code base -- from the underlying database to all the tools to make it draw on the screen, generate reports, etc. -- on the modern macOS. (That Quicken 2007 has been able to run as long as it has is a bit of a miracle, a combination of some nifty engineering tricks, fortuitous decisions by Apple to delay killing off pieces of the old operating system, and luck.) They decided they had to bite the bullet and build a new Quicken Mac from the ground up using a modern database and tools. They used the restart as a chance to reimagine what Quicken should do and look like, rather than trying to just mimic what had been created 20 years earlier. That led to some miscalculations and stumbles: the first attempt never made it past beta testing before it was sent back to the lab. Then came the first of multiple management changes at Intuit, with the hiring of the founder of Mint.com to be in charge of Quicken. He decided to release a partially-developed version as Quicken Essentials in 2010. Most Quicken Mac users didn't like it, and he promised a full-fledged Quicken Deluxe for the following year. Then he left, and work on Quicken Mac mostly stopped until another new management team came in.

    In 2012, they hired a new product manager, Marcus, to create a full-fledged Quicken Mac product. But they gave him only a handful of developers, and it took two years to modernize (again) some of the core code in Quicken Essentials and add on the investment accounts which were not part of Essentials. And so in 2014, they released the modern Quicken Mac (as Quicken 2015). It was a good upgrade for users on Essentials, but it lacked a lot of functionality compared to the 20+ years of features in Quicken 2007 or Quicken Windows. The plan was to rapidly iterate and add new features based on user feedback. But the development team was still small, and the user requests were voluminous. Progress was made, but it was slow. Marcus had left Intuit, but he came back when Intuit announced it was selling off Quicken. the new management team announced a goal of advancing Quicken Mac to achieve relative parity with Quicken Windows, and a doubling of the Mac development team. Progress continued to be made, but more time was lost moving off some of Intuit's servers. As we approach the 5 year anniversary of the modern Quicken Mac program late this summer, it's clear that a great deal of progress has been made -- and a great deal of work remains to be tackled. Even Marcus has occasionally said the progress has been slower than anticipated, and that they all wish for.

    So the shortcomings of Quicken Mac are not because they don't care about Mac users, and (mostly) not because they don't understand the things users want, but because the program is complex, and building the features users want is a massive set of projects. Because each of us uses Quicken differently, many of us have different views on top priorities for the developers to tackle. You need Fidelity Cash Management accounts to work. I don't use Fidelity, so that wouldn't even be on my list, but I want a few of the data entry tools from Quicken 2007. Someone else needs more report options. Someone else needs budgets that handle cash flow (like loan payments and savings). Someone else needs lender loans. Someone else needs retirement planners. Someone else needs... you get the idea -- it's a very long list, for a very finite team of programmers. Marcus and his team try to figure out which projects affect the most people, which will take months to implement versus smaller things they achieve more quickly, how to align the various projects with the different skills of people on the developer team (database engineers versus networking engineers versus user interface designers, etc.).

    I offer this not as an excuse or a free pass for Quicken, only to explain why things are the way they are and the reality that it will take a fair amount more time to chew through the wishlist of features. Some people can find ways to make Quicken Mac meet their needs for the time being; some people stick with Quicken Windows or stick with Quicken 2007 or move to other software they think better fits their specific needs.

    As for reaching Marcus, I gave you the trick I would suggest for trying to get his attention for your issue. You don't have to wade through everything in a long thread about a new release; you just have to wait until there is a new release, and pop your question to Marcus into that thread in the first few days that the new release is out, when he's most likely to be reading comments. And you may or may not get a response from him even then. I understand why you'd like to talk to him directly, but if all the users with all the needs I started listing above could call or email Marcus directly, he'd be completely inundated and either unable to respond or unable to do his job. 
    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • jrotenberg
    jrotenberg Member ✭✭
    Jacobs,

    I know the history well and I absolutely disagree with you.  When Quicken needed to be updated to address the changing Mac technology platform, Intuit made the decision that the Mac version would be a "toy" version of the Windows one.

    What they could have done--and still could do--is have a single version of the product that works the same on both Windows and OSX.  Just like other multiplatform software companies.

    I appreciate that Marcus has made great progress on the Mac version and pushed it lightyears ahead.

    But I don't understand why the company doesn't have a *unified product cross-platform* or why it starves the Mac version with insufficient engineering resources.

    I agree with your point that every user has different needs and priorities, and Marcus doesn't want to spend his time playing politician to all the agendas and issues.  Nor should he.

    But what I'm talking about is not a "nice-to-have feature."  What I'm saying is that the Mac version continues to 100% USELESS TO ANYONE WITH A CMA brokerage account who does significant transactions.  There is no work around.  Compared to the "real" Quicken Windows, the Mac version is lobotomized and useless.  That is why I have to own and maintain a second computer to run Windows Quicken. 

    I could understand if I was talking about some obscure bank somewhere not being supported--and Quicken decided not to support obscure customers.  But I assume the problem I have is faced by all Charles Schwab, Merrill Lynch, TD Ameritrade & E-Trade Quicken users as well.  (Unless those firms have some different way of doing CMAs than Fidelity.)

    Quicken fixed this problem long ago on the Windows version.  It refuses to address it--or even talk about--on the Mac version.  

    Corporate strategy is not what you SAY or assert, it's what you DO.  What Quicken is DOING strategically is keeping the Mac version of Quicken **lobotomized** (compared to the "real" Windows version) and useless for most mainstream users with common brokerage accounts and CMA checking.
  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    I understand your frustration, really.

    I do disagree, though, that Intuit set out to create a bad program back in 2007. They felt that Mac users wanted "Mac-like" programs, not a Windows look-alike, so they tried to reimagine what personal finance software would look like -- and failed miserably. Then they hired the creator of Mint to reimagine Quicken, but he quit, Intuit management stalled Mac development for a couple of years, and even when they decided to move forward again, they allocated only a skeleton team to do it. We can lament and curse any of these decisions and turns of events, but they're all old history now; the faults lie with a different parent company and different management. The knowledge of the history helps us understand why in the state we're in today, but it's pointless to debate what they could have or should have done 10 years ago to change the course of history.

    As for a cross-platform Quicken... Yes, that would be helpful, and I won't rule it out for somewhere in the future -- but the path to get there isn't easy, because it would likely involve major surgery for for Quicken Mac and Quicken Windows. Cross-platform is a different challenge for a high-performance database-driven program than a word processing or image processing application. Back when they were starting the re-write of Quicken Mac, making it use the Windows database and Windows .Net framework just wasn't viable, and Mac OS offered a modern, robust SQL database and frameworks which greatly simplified building the user interface. So which parts of Quicken Mac or Quicken Windows do you gut and re-code to get to interoperability? If it was easy to accomplish, they would have done so years ago.

    Why do they "starve the Mac version with insufficient engineering resources"? Back years ago, it's because Intuit wasn't investing in a product which wasn't making them much money. When Quicken became independent of Intuit, they supposedly doubled the size of the Mac development team. Why not triple or quadruple it? None of us knows their financials, so we can only guess, but I imagine Quicken Mac doesn't bring in enough money to hire and sustain that many more engineers. 

    As for what their priorities are, I understand how you see this as the biggest failing. I can only tell you that large numbers of other Quicken users label other things as the biggest failing/greatest need. Quicken tracks a lot of metrics about what users do, in the program, in contacting support, etc. to guide their decisions about the order of priorities. They've concluded, so far, that other issues affect more Quicken users than those who use Fidelity Cash Management accounts. For the sake of you and other similar users, I sincerely hope they do get to this… just as I hope they get to transfers in budgets, more robust reports/more reports, and some other needs which are show-stoppers for certain users.

    Meanwhile, I'd say it doesn't accomplish much for us to continue to go back and forth over the issues and history involved, because neither you nor I can make any forward progress on the program's needs. Rather, I suggested how you could try to get this issue to catch the attention of the person who can decide how they deploy development resources; it's up to you if you want to give that a try or not. 
    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • Going a bit deeper than this one topic of linked accounts, I wonder why Quicken has not provided any means for users to suggest and/or vote on suggested changes and why there is no place for users to ask & receive answers from staff regarding issues like this.  Not just short-staffing the engineering team, they're short-changing customer relations in general.
  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    @Ronald York I partially agree and partially disagree. I absolutely agree that there should be a mechanism for users to document feature requests that would get reviewed by someone related to the development team, just as they do with "Report a Problem" for possible bugs.

    I think Quicken would tell you that one of this site's purposes is to allow users to propose and vote on feature requests. And we have been told by Quicken personnel that the votes here are seen by and influence the developers. When Marcus announces new features in each release of Quicken Mac, he almost always attributes them to strong customers requests. Unfortunately, this site is not organized in a way that makes discovering and voting on specific features very easy. I've always thought it would be better if they had a member of the Quicken team gather the general, sometimes rambling, sometimes divergent ideas here and write them up in a clear format and post them to a site/page where users could vote on them and give them clearer direction. But this site is likely all we're going to have. (And, of course, there's also Quicken Support, where every customer contact is documented so they have analytics about areas of the program that are problematic to users.)

    I don't think they should divert members of the development team to answering users questions, as helpful as that would be; with limited developers and a mountain of ideas waiting for development, they really do need to keep those people in their bubble and not let them spend lots of times interacting with users. But it would be helpful, again, if they had one triage or support person for each platform devoted to answering many of the basic and repeated asks from customers, and having that person be a liaison with the development teaming order to get answers and to forward meritorious ideas. Every so often, one of the moderators of this site, like Sarah, is able to provide that kind of response, but there are only a handful of them and being a customer-to-developer liaison isn't really their defined function.
    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • paulystyle01
    paulystyle01 Member ✭✭
    edited May 2019
    I, too, find it frustrating that there is no feature parity between QWin and QMac. I have to run a separate Parallels Windows 10 VM on my Mac just for Quicken. I also use Fidelity and have multiple cash management accounts added to Quicken.
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