Quicken Mac Home & Business - feature questions

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I've been using Quicken Home & Business for Windows since 1991 - that's 33 years of data. I get corruption fairly frequently and have to check the database all the time. I read that the new Mac version uses a SQL database that will remain stable at any size. This is a big attraction for me, but I need to be sure the functionality I need is there. So here are some specific questions:

1. MOST IMPORTANT: Can I export ALL the data so I can go back to the Windows version if I need to?

2. Can I reorganize categories as necessary - for example, move a subcategory under another category?

3. I use tags to mark what transactions are business vs personal. This occurs even within a category. For example, I deduct some of my rent for my home office, but there is just one category. Same for electricity, internet, etc. Can I do this in the Mac version, too? I had the impression from the announcement that I had to dedicate entire categories to one or the other.

4. How does the report feature differ from the Windows version? I read it's "less robust", but what can't it do? I rely heavily on this feature.

Best Answers

  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    Answer ✓
    Options

    1. Can I export ALL the data so I can go back to the Windows version if I need to?

    Yes. Well, mostly. Probably. 😂 The Business & Personal features are new in the past year for Quicken Mac, so you have to go into it knowing that there may be some misses. I read that a new Quicken Windows release just added support for importing Business data from Quicken Mac, which hadn't existed before. So that's a path back to Windows, at least in theory. Keep in mind that few if any people have done the in the real world yet. They way I would test it to see if it meets your needs or not is to import your data from Quicken Windows to Quicken Mac. And then export your data from Quicken Mac and import it into a new Quicken Windows data file. You know your data, so you'll be able to see if anything is missing or off from the way it should be.

    It's not unusual to have to do some minor clean up after migrating from Quicken Windows to Mac. There could be some minor rounding discrepancies in investment accounts, or a placeholder starting balance transaction which can simply be deleted. Or bigger discrepancies which require some digging to identify and rectify. You should be aware of somethings that don't transfer across, such as attachments and saved reports.

    You may also want to import your Quicken windows file into Quicken Mac and proceed to use both in parallel for a few weeks or even few months. There's a definite learning curve with Quicken Mac, because it doesn't do lots of things exactly like Quicken Windows, and you need to learn and then retrain your brain to do it the wya Quicken Mac does. And then there are certainly features in Quicken Windows which don't yet exist in Quicken Mac; if you don't use them, it can be inconsequential, while if something you use heavily is one of the features which is missing, it can be a showstopper. So you need to give yourself a while to try out Quicken Mac to see how well you can mesh with it. If it meets your needs, carry on and stop using Quicken Windows. (Or re-import your Quicken windows data if you've been doing experimenting in Quicken Mac and want a clean start over.) If it doesn't meet your needs, abandon Quicken Mac and just continue using Quicken Windows. While there's more work for a few weeks or a month or two, you can be sure you can commit either way without losing anything.

    2. Can I reorganize categories as necessary - for example, move a subcategory under another category?

    Yes. Easy to do.

    3. I use tags to mark what transactions are business vs personal. This occurs even within a category. For example, I deduct some of my rent for my home office, but there is just one category. Same for electricity, internet, etc. Can I do this in the Mac version, too? I had the impression from the announcement that I had to dedicate entire categories to one or the other.

    In Quicken Mac, there is a separate field for designating if a transaction is for business — and for which business if you have more than one defined. And you are correct that categories used for business must be distinct from categories for personal use; that's so Quicken Mac can properly report on business income an business expenses for tax purposes without needing to rely on user-created workarounds with Tags. (You can still use Tags if you want; you just don't need them for this purpose. The same Tags can be used for both personal and business income and expenses.) If you try to enter a business transaction and use a personal category, it will warn you that using that category will change it to a personal transaction:

    This may sound onerous, but I suspect you'll probably find it isn't— even though it's a little different than the way you've done it previously. Some of your existing categories may already be used just for business expenses; you can edit those categories to change them to business categories, and assign them to the proper tax line. (There's actually a wizard which runs when you first set up a business to have you identify business-only categories so it can fix them for you.) If you own or rent an office, then having separate categories for business utilities won't be a problem. If you have an office in your home, and jump through all the hoops IRS requires for splitting expenses between personal and business, then you can set that up those shared expenses in Quicken Mac as split transactions (e.g your electric bill comes in, and you allocate it 80% to personal and 20% to business. It's really no different than what you must already be doing in Quicken Widows to have two split lines so one can have a personal tag and another can have a business tag, right? Between using QuickFill rules (similar to Memorized transactions in Quicken Windows) and/or scheduled transactions (reminders), once you go through one cycle of expenses and get the typical/recurring transactions set up and the necessary business categories set up, I don't think you'll find this too cumbersome.

    4. How does the report feature differ from the Windows version? I read it's "less robust", but what can't it do? I rely heavily on this feature.

    Well, report printing is not "a feature" but a whole collection of features and capabilities. I'm a lifelong Quicken Mac user, so I can't really answer that not having used Quicken Windows. Maybe a recent Quicken Windows-to-Mac convert will jump in here and provide more specifics than I can. Or if you want to inquire "can I create a report with this and that and the other…?" feel free to ask.

    Generally, the construction of reports for non-investment transactions is reasonably good. Report formatting is powerful in some areas (which columns, what order, approximately how wide, what criteria), but lacking in others (can't really adjust margins or fonts, although you can scale reports to fit 1 or 2 pages wide). You can create transaction report, summary reports, comparison reports, and cross-tab reports (where you can specify, with some limitations, what fields are rows and which are columns — such as categories as rows and accounts or tags as columns). There are specific hard-coded tax reports. There are a limited number of business reports with more promised as coming.

    Investment reporting is a bit of a different creature. That' because at this time, you do everything via the Portfolio screen. Using several filters on the screen, and tweaking what column values you want to see (IRR over 3 year? ROI over 5 years?), you can build a reasonable variety of investment reports on-screen. And you can print and export them. But you can't currently save these settings as a custom report, you you have to set up your filters the way you want each time you want a particular type of report. I feel fairly confident this will change over time, but it seems most Quicken Mac users find it workable enough, even though it's not optimal.

    Even though you didn't ask, the first thing you'll want to assess is whether the business features in Quicken Mac actually meet your needs. We're still in the version 1 of business features, and the developers have promised more is on the way. So there is currently no built-in invoicing, for instance. That's been promised; I'm just guessing it's on a relatively fast track to be released sometime later this year. There are no explicit features for managing multiple investment properties (the old Quicken window Rental Property Management edition), and I don't think it's been indicated if that functionality is in the current plans.

    I hope that helps as a start. Feel free to ask more detailed questions if you want.

    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    Answer ✓
    Options

    How can Quicken Mac H&B possibly sort out my 33 years of business vs personal transactions when they are all identified with tags and there are no dedicated categories? I certainly can't recategorize them manually - there could be millions of transactions. Will I lose access to my historical data?

    Again, I haven't used Quicken Windows. When I read Quicken's online help for getting started with the Windows Business version, it talks about whether to keep your business income and expenses in a separate file, which is often preferable for a separate entity, but isn't practical if you share accounts (such as credit cards) for both personal and business expenses. When keeping both personal and business finances in the same file as you apparently have done, it says: "Use the standard business categories to track business-related transactions." That's pretty much what Quicken Mac does, although the Mac version makes it mandatory. It sound like you never did it that way and devised your own system for managing your transactions solely via tags.

    I haven't done a conversion, and I've only used the business features in Quicken Mac for testing purposes. (I used to help my wife do the books for her business in Quicken Mac for many years, before there were any business-specific features, but she moved on from that business to a salaried position long before these recent innovations were released last year.) That said, here's how I think you might proceed…

    Let Quicken import all your existing transactions all using your existing "personal" categories. You won't lose any of your data. For your historical data, you'd parse things out as you always have, using Search or Reports criteria around your tags. Going forward, or perhaps back to the start of this year, you'd establish business categories and use them, so you'd ease into the Quicken Mac way of commingling business and personal transactions. (You could optionally still use the tags for a year or two, if it would help in some instances for reporting from both the old and new transactions.)

    Is there any work being done to make the Windows databases more stable as they get really large? That's my biggest problem with the Windows version.

    I'd guess that Quicken Mac using SQLite (which is also used throughout the Mac operating system) gives it a robust, industrial-strength database core which is inherently superior to the older database in Quicken Windows. It's why there are no database maintenance tools (Validate & Repair and similar) at all in Quicken Mac.

    From what I've heard from Quicken Window experts here, there have been some improvements made over time to make the Quicken Windows database more reliable. But your experience is apparently otherwise. I don't think anyone here, expert users or the handful of Quicken moderators, knows if there is work taking place or planned to bolster the underlying Quicken Windows database. That's the kind of infrastructure work which either never takes place or, if it does, you may never hear about. Unless they did some big project to migrate to a significantly newer database, a project like fraught with difficulties and the potential for all sorts of user data disasters, I'd guess that if they even have the capability to patch the database, you might not know it via an announcement. I don't know whether the database used by Quicken Windows was custom-developed by the Quicken Windows development team or was a tool written by someone else; in either case, I don't know if the programming tools and environments to tweak the code even exist anymore. Sorry, I don't think you'll get definitive answers on this.

    P.S. Clicking that a reply in this forum "answered the question" doesn't close it to more comments; it simply moves a copy of that reply up to the top under a "Best Answer" heading.

    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993

Answers

  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    Answer ✓
    Options

    1. Can I export ALL the data so I can go back to the Windows version if I need to?

    Yes. Well, mostly. Probably. 😂 The Business & Personal features are new in the past year for Quicken Mac, so you have to go into it knowing that there may be some misses. I read that a new Quicken Windows release just added support for importing Business data from Quicken Mac, which hadn't existed before. So that's a path back to Windows, at least in theory. Keep in mind that few if any people have done the in the real world yet. They way I would test it to see if it meets your needs or not is to import your data from Quicken Windows to Quicken Mac. And then export your data from Quicken Mac and import it into a new Quicken Windows data file. You know your data, so you'll be able to see if anything is missing or off from the way it should be.

    It's not unusual to have to do some minor clean up after migrating from Quicken Windows to Mac. There could be some minor rounding discrepancies in investment accounts, or a placeholder starting balance transaction which can simply be deleted. Or bigger discrepancies which require some digging to identify and rectify. You should be aware of somethings that don't transfer across, such as attachments and saved reports.

    You may also want to import your Quicken windows file into Quicken Mac and proceed to use both in parallel for a few weeks or even few months. There's a definite learning curve with Quicken Mac, because it doesn't do lots of things exactly like Quicken Windows, and you need to learn and then retrain your brain to do it the wya Quicken Mac does. And then there are certainly features in Quicken Windows which don't yet exist in Quicken Mac; if you don't use them, it can be inconsequential, while if something you use heavily is one of the features which is missing, it can be a showstopper. So you need to give yourself a while to try out Quicken Mac to see how well you can mesh with it. If it meets your needs, carry on and stop using Quicken Windows. (Or re-import your Quicken windows data if you've been doing experimenting in Quicken Mac and want a clean start over.) If it doesn't meet your needs, abandon Quicken Mac and just continue using Quicken Windows. While there's more work for a few weeks or a month or two, you can be sure you can commit either way without losing anything.

    2. Can I reorganize categories as necessary - for example, move a subcategory under another category?

    Yes. Easy to do.

    3. I use tags to mark what transactions are business vs personal. This occurs even within a category. For example, I deduct some of my rent for my home office, but there is just one category. Same for electricity, internet, etc. Can I do this in the Mac version, too? I had the impression from the announcement that I had to dedicate entire categories to one or the other.

    In Quicken Mac, there is a separate field for designating if a transaction is for business — and for which business if you have more than one defined. And you are correct that categories used for business must be distinct from categories for personal use; that's so Quicken Mac can properly report on business income an business expenses for tax purposes without needing to rely on user-created workarounds with Tags. (You can still use Tags if you want; you just don't need them for this purpose. The same Tags can be used for both personal and business income and expenses.) If you try to enter a business transaction and use a personal category, it will warn you that using that category will change it to a personal transaction:

    This may sound onerous, but I suspect you'll probably find it isn't— even though it's a little different than the way you've done it previously. Some of your existing categories may already be used just for business expenses; you can edit those categories to change them to business categories, and assign them to the proper tax line. (There's actually a wizard which runs when you first set up a business to have you identify business-only categories so it can fix them for you.) If you own or rent an office, then having separate categories for business utilities won't be a problem. If you have an office in your home, and jump through all the hoops IRS requires for splitting expenses between personal and business, then you can set that up those shared expenses in Quicken Mac as split transactions (e.g your electric bill comes in, and you allocate it 80% to personal and 20% to business. It's really no different than what you must already be doing in Quicken Widows to have two split lines so one can have a personal tag and another can have a business tag, right? Between using QuickFill rules (similar to Memorized transactions in Quicken Windows) and/or scheduled transactions (reminders), once you go through one cycle of expenses and get the typical/recurring transactions set up and the necessary business categories set up, I don't think you'll find this too cumbersome.

    4. How does the report feature differ from the Windows version? I read it's "less robust", but what can't it do? I rely heavily on this feature.

    Well, report printing is not "a feature" but a whole collection of features and capabilities. I'm a lifelong Quicken Mac user, so I can't really answer that not having used Quicken Windows. Maybe a recent Quicken Windows-to-Mac convert will jump in here and provide more specifics than I can. Or if you want to inquire "can I create a report with this and that and the other…?" feel free to ask.

    Generally, the construction of reports for non-investment transactions is reasonably good. Report formatting is powerful in some areas (which columns, what order, approximately how wide, what criteria), but lacking in others (can't really adjust margins or fonts, although you can scale reports to fit 1 or 2 pages wide). You can create transaction report, summary reports, comparison reports, and cross-tab reports (where you can specify, with some limitations, what fields are rows and which are columns — such as categories as rows and accounts or tags as columns). There are specific hard-coded tax reports. There are a limited number of business reports with more promised as coming.

    Investment reporting is a bit of a different creature. That' because at this time, you do everything via the Portfolio screen. Using several filters on the screen, and tweaking what column values you want to see (IRR over 3 year? ROI over 5 years?), you can build a reasonable variety of investment reports on-screen. And you can print and export them. But you can't currently save these settings as a custom report, you you have to set up your filters the way you want each time you want a particular type of report. I feel fairly confident this will change over time, but it seems most Quicken Mac users find it workable enough, even though it's not optimal.

    Even though you didn't ask, the first thing you'll want to assess is whether the business features in Quicken Mac actually meet your needs. We're still in the version 1 of business features, and the developers have promised more is on the way. So there is currently no built-in invoicing, for instance. That's been promised; I'm just guessing it's on a relatively fast track to be released sometime later this year. There are no explicit features for managing multiple investment properties (the old Quicken window Rental Property Management edition), and I don't think it's been indicated if that functionality is in the current plans.

    I hope that helps as a start. Feel free to ask more detailed questions if you want.

    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • Permutations
    Permutations Member ✭✭
    Options

    Thanks so much for taking the time to explain all this, @jacobs. I had more questions but I clicked "yes" to "does this answer", not realizing it would prevent replies. Or maybe I'm replying now.

    Anyway, I had a follow-up question (or two)…

    How can Quicken Mac H&B possibly sort out my 33 years of business vs personal transactions when they are all identified with tags and there are no dedicated categories? I certainly can't recategorize them manually - there could be millions of transactions. Will I lose access to my historical data?

    Is there any work being done to make the Windows databases more stable as they get really large? That's my biggest problem with the Windows version. I can live with its other quirks.

  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    Answer ✓
    Options

    How can Quicken Mac H&B possibly sort out my 33 years of business vs personal transactions when they are all identified with tags and there are no dedicated categories? I certainly can't recategorize them manually - there could be millions of transactions. Will I lose access to my historical data?

    Again, I haven't used Quicken Windows. When I read Quicken's online help for getting started with the Windows Business version, it talks about whether to keep your business income and expenses in a separate file, which is often preferable for a separate entity, but isn't practical if you share accounts (such as credit cards) for both personal and business expenses. When keeping both personal and business finances in the same file as you apparently have done, it says: "Use the standard business categories to track business-related transactions." That's pretty much what Quicken Mac does, although the Mac version makes it mandatory. It sound like you never did it that way and devised your own system for managing your transactions solely via tags.

    I haven't done a conversion, and I've only used the business features in Quicken Mac for testing purposes. (I used to help my wife do the books for her business in Quicken Mac for many years, before there were any business-specific features, but she moved on from that business to a salaried position long before these recent innovations were released last year.) That said, here's how I think you might proceed…

    Let Quicken import all your existing transactions all using your existing "personal" categories. You won't lose any of your data. For your historical data, you'd parse things out as you always have, using Search or Reports criteria around your tags. Going forward, or perhaps back to the start of this year, you'd establish business categories and use them, so you'd ease into the Quicken Mac way of commingling business and personal transactions. (You could optionally still use the tags for a year or two, if it would help in some instances for reporting from both the old and new transactions.)

    Is there any work being done to make the Windows databases more stable as they get really large? That's my biggest problem with the Windows version.

    I'd guess that Quicken Mac using SQLite (which is also used throughout the Mac operating system) gives it a robust, industrial-strength database core which is inherently superior to the older database in Quicken Windows. It's why there are no database maintenance tools (Validate & Repair and similar) at all in Quicken Mac.

    From what I've heard from Quicken Window experts here, there have been some improvements made over time to make the Quicken Windows database more reliable. But your experience is apparently otherwise. I don't think anyone here, expert users or the handful of Quicken moderators, knows if there is work taking place or planned to bolster the underlying Quicken Windows database. That's the kind of infrastructure work which either never takes place or, if it does, you may never hear about. Unless they did some big project to migrate to a significantly newer database, a project like fraught with difficulties and the potential for all sorts of user data disasters, I'd guess that if they even have the capability to patch the database, you might not know it via an announcement. I don't know whether the database used by Quicken Windows was custom-developed by the Quicken Windows development team or was a tool written by someone else; in either case, I don't know if the programming tools and environments to tweak the code even exist anymore. Sorry, I don't think you'll get definitive answers on this.

    P.S. Clicking that a reply in this forum "answered the question" doesn't close it to more comments; it simply moves a copy of that reply up to the top under a "Best Answer" heading.

    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • Permutations
    Permutations Member ✭✭
    Options

    @jacobs, again, thank you so much for your time and insights. I think the answer for me - largely because of the idiosyncratic way I organized my data - is to stick with Quicken for Windows. If I validate the database frequently, it will survive, I think. This transition would just be too hard. The stability of SQL is appealing, but it's not worth how much trouble it would be to convert, and the hit I'd take in continuous reporting.

    There have already been some tweaks to the Windows database. I've had to convert my files at least twice since Quicken was bought from Intuit. There are many very long-time users like me with gigantic Windows databases. I hope Quicken will continue to improve it.

  • eqpu
    eqpu Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited June 15
    Options

    Quicken Mac using SQLite (which is also used throughout the Mac operating system) gives it a robust, industrial-strength database core which is inherently superior to the older database in Quicken Windows. It's why there are no database maintenance tools (Validate & Repair and similar) at all in Quicken Mac.

    I am also using Quicken from 1998 and have currently paused at Quicken 2012 Premier. I have always been intrigued by the Validate, Super Validate etc although I am not too sure how they work, what they actually do and would be afraid to use the same due to risk of losing my data from so many years now.

    For a brief background, I am (was) a software person having worked with databases all my life and so have a fairly good knowledge about how relational databases and other databases work right from the dBase III days. I am also aware that an entire suite of applications and utilities these days are based upon SQLite due to its robustness. It was a surprise to me when I came to know that both Mac (never used one) and Quicken for the OS use SQLite heavily.

    That brings me back to my original question. If anyone knows more technical details about the underlying database technology used to store Quicken for Windows files (both old Quicken data files all the way to the current ones on Windows OS), it will be highly appreciated if they can share the link or offer the explanation for that here.

    Connected to above is exactly what does the Validate and Super Validate do as they are available to check the database consistency and integrity? Having knowledge about same would be very helpful. This will also give me the confidence to use these utilities properly if and when required. As mentioned above, it is decades of data and I do NOT want to take any risk with the same. So, I continue to use Quicken as usual.

    Quicken 2012 Premier on Windows 11 Pro (Quicken User since Quicken 1998)

  • eqpu
    eqpu Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited June 15
    Options

    I get corruption fairly frequently and have to check the database all the time. 

    I am also a long time Quicken for Windows user like you from 1998 and always worry if something can happen to my data in Quicken for Windows.

    It will be highly appreciated if you can explain in more details as to what do you mean by corruption fairly frequently and have to check the database all the time.

    Quicken 2012 Premier on Windows 11 Pro (Quicken User since Quicken 1998)

  • eqpu
    eqpu Member ✭✭✭✭
    Options

    there could be millions of transactions

    If you do not mind, can you share the size of your QDF file with 33 years of data.

    Quicken 2012 Premier on Windows 11 Pro (Quicken User since Quicken 1998)

  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    Options

    If anyone knows more technical details about the underlying database technology used to store Quicken for Windows files (both old Quicken data files all the way to the current ones on Windows OS), it will be highly appreciated if they can share the link or offer the explanation for that here… exactly what does the Validate and Super Validate do as they are available to check the database consistency and integrity? Having knowledge about same would be very helpful.

    There are a few Quicken Windows folks who read Mac threads, but you might have a better chance of getting answers to these questions if you post them in a Quicken windows category.

    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • eqpu
    eqpu Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited June 16
    Options

    you might have a better chance of getting answers to these questions if you post them in a Quicken windows category.

    Thanks for the help.

    I have posted the below in Quicken for Windows category Error and Troubleshooting presuming that Validate, Super Validate and Backend technology are interconnected and have to do with troubleshooting.

    Quicken 2012 Premier on Windows 11 Pro (Quicken User since Quicken 1998)