Can I develop and print a monthly budget versus actual report?

I would like to evaluate budget performance on a monthly and year to date basis, but cannot find a report.

Best Answers

  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    Answer ✓
    @fafigueroaThe budget section of Quicken isn't part of Reports. Maybe someday; until then…

    You can view actual-versus-budget year-to-date in the current budget section. But you'll find it's probably not good enough. 

    Let's start with how you can view actual spending versus your budget on the main budget screen, in case you're not aware of this. To the right of the category column should be two gray columns showing totals. If you aren't seeing these — e.g. if your second column is January — then click the "<<" icon at the top of the category column to make these totals columns visible. Next, the totals columns can be toggled between showing YTD actual versus YTD budget and showing actual YTD versus full year budget; click the little "v" icon in the column heading to switch between the two.


    Now for the limitations.  If you Print the budget, you can either Print Full Budget or Print Summary Budget. The Full version prints month by month actual, budget and difference — but strangely, no totals! The Summary version prints the totals — either YTD or full year, depending on the setting above. 

    The bigger problem is that YTD is always through the current day — which is not what you'd want 99% of the time. I'm typing this on September 10, so the YTD actual versus budget will give me actual income/spending through today and budget income/spending through all of September. What I'd want, of course, is actual versus budget through the end of the previous month, January through August. In my opinion, this is one of the top flaws in Quicken Mac, and I keep hoping the developers will get around to addressing this in the near future. 

    So if this on-screen budget versus actual column isn't useful enough for you, the work-around (if you are so inclined) is to export the Full Budget to a CSV file, open it in Excel or Numbers or Google Sheets, delete the months you don't want, create a column to sum the actual values for the remaining months and a column to sum the budget values for each month, and copy those formulas down all the rows. In that way, you can have a actual versus budget report for January through August. 


    That all said, this is one of the most-requested features for Quicken Mac; there is an existing Idea thread discussing the need for this feature. The good news for us is that the status of this feature request has been changed from "Submitted to Review" to "Planned." That means the developers have agreed that this is a desirable feature and have it on their development roadmap for implementation. The bad news: we never know when various features are planned for release; it could be next month or it could be 18 months. 
    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    Answer ✓
    @fafigueroa I'm afraid I don't know any way to push the developers to tackle this sooner rather than later. When they mark it "Planned", it means they have time allocated for it on their development schedule, but we just don't know if it's something they've been working on for the past 6 months or aren't planning to tackle until the second half of 2023. 

    When I finally upgraded my nonagenarian parents from Quicken 2007 to the modern Quicken Mac, the one thing they really needed was a monthly year-to-date budget report, which is how my father scanned their finances for something unexpected. I ended up having them do a monthly budget export, which they email me, and I pop into an Excel workbook I created to sum the year-to-date values for budget and actual up to whatever month I specify, so I can print a YTD actual versus budget report to a PDF file and send it back to them. With the workbook I built, it just takes me a few seconds each month, but it's a little too technical for them do do on their own. So yes, I would love to see this report built into Quicken Mac a.s.a.p.!

    My understanding from the former product manager is that the budget code in Quicken Mac is very complex, and making any changes to it will require re-writing a significant amount of the budget code in the program. Since there are several requests for additional budget features with broad support, it's been my guess that the reason they haven't just added a YTD budget report us that they lumped it in with a broader re-engineering of the budget section of the program, one part of a much larger project, instead of an incremental tweak to the editing program.
    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993

Answers

  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    Answer ✓
    @fafigueroaThe budget section of Quicken isn't part of Reports. Maybe someday; until then…

    You can view actual-versus-budget year-to-date in the current budget section. But you'll find it's probably not good enough. 

    Let's start with how you can view actual spending versus your budget on the main budget screen, in case you're not aware of this. To the right of the category column should be two gray columns showing totals. If you aren't seeing these — e.g. if your second column is January — then click the "<<" icon at the top of the category column to make these totals columns visible. Next, the totals columns can be toggled between showing YTD actual versus YTD budget and showing actual YTD versus full year budget; click the little "v" icon in the column heading to switch between the two.


    Now for the limitations.  If you Print the budget, you can either Print Full Budget or Print Summary Budget. The Full version prints month by month actual, budget and difference — but strangely, no totals! The Summary version prints the totals — either YTD or full year, depending on the setting above. 

    The bigger problem is that YTD is always through the current day — which is not what you'd want 99% of the time. I'm typing this on September 10, so the YTD actual versus budget will give me actual income/spending through today and budget income/spending through all of September. What I'd want, of course, is actual versus budget through the end of the previous month, January through August. In my opinion, this is one of the top flaws in Quicken Mac, and I keep hoping the developers will get around to addressing this in the near future. 

    So if this on-screen budget versus actual column isn't useful enough for you, the work-around (if you are so inclined) is to export the Full Budget to a CSV file, open it in Excel or Numbers or Google Sheets, delete the months you don't want, create a column to sum the actual values for the remaining months and a column to sum the budget values for each month, and copy those formulas down all the rows. In that way, you can have a actual versus budget report for January through August. 


    That all said, this is one of the most-requested features for Quicken Mac; there is an existing Idea thread discussing the need for this feature. The good news for us is that the status of this feature request has been changed from "Submitted to Review" to "Planned." That means the developers have agreed that this is a desirable feature and have it on their development roadmap for implementation. The bad news: we never know when various features are planned for release; it could be next month or it could be 18 months. 
    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • Thanks very much, Jacobs. Yes, I use the features you mention above and indeed, my biggest frustration is the inability to set a specific month-end to compare budget versus actuals. It essentially requires us to produce the reports on the exact end-of-month dates...crazy deficiency. I'm glad the fix is "planned," but am disappointed in the lack of functionality. Is there anything I can do as an individual to press Quicken to deploy this fix? Seems so obviously needed. I'm a long-term Quicken user dating back to my PC days, but I love the Mac environment. I just wish Quicken would be "quicker" to address this deficiency.
  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    Answer ✓
    @fafigueroa I'm afraid I don't know any way to push the developers to tackle this sooner rather than later. When they mark it "Planned", it means they have time allocated for it on their development schedule, but we just don't know if it's something they've been working on for the past 6 months or aren't planning to tackle until the second half of 2023. 

    When I finally upgraded my nonagenarian parents from Quicken 2007 to the modern Quicken Mac, the one thing they really needed was a monthly year-to-date budget report, which is how my father scanned their finances for something unexpected. I ended up having them do a monthly budget export, which they email me, and I pop into an Excel workbook I created to sum the year-to-date values for budget and actual up to whatever month I specify, so I can print a YTD actual versus budget report to a PDF file and send it back to them. With the workbook I built, it just takes me a few seconds each month, but it's a little too technical for them do do on their own. So yes, I would love to see this report built into Quicken Mac a.s.a.p.!

    My understanding from the former product manager is that the budget code in Quicken Mac is very complex, and making any changes to it will require re-writing a significant amount of the budget code in the program. Since there are several requests for additional budget features with broad support, it's been my guess that the reason they haven't just added a YTD budget report us that they lumped it in with a broader re-engineering of the budget section of the program, one part of a much larger project, instead of an incremental tweak to the editing program.
    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • Understand, Jacobs. Good for you in helping your parents with a solid solution workaround. You have deep understanding of the issue. I understand what you did and how it does the trick. Maybe I'll just "wail" at Quicken for awhile...like I do with my political representatives. All the best and thanks for your insight!