Home accounting systems trace all the way back to the first spreadsheets, pioneered by VisiCalc for the Apple ][. Today, I have found over 50 free, open-source, and proprietary accounting programs that run on the Macintosh platform for accounting and personal finance. But, there is one which stands head-and-shoulders above the rest.
A little over five years ago, I wrote a review of iBank 4 (applejac/ibank-4). This was a great product then, and it is even better now (and has been renamed Banktivity).
Banktivity 5 is a personal finance manager which offers sophisticated reports, debt/loan management, a streamlined interface, simple and reliable import from Quicken or MS Money, powerful investment tracking, free private cloud sync to iOS devices, support for bill pay and multiple currencies, innovative transaction templates, integrated web downloads from bank accounts, intuitive checklist-style reconciliation, file attachments of any type, and much more. This is an accounting tool that can fit a wide range of needs for home and business.
To begin using Banktivity, if you were previously a Quicken (or related software) user, then data import is reasonably simple and straight-forward so you can have your accounts, transactions, categories and investments ready and waiting for you (a nice online video tutorial is most helpful). On the other hand, to start from scratch (which is what I did), Banktivity's streamlined setup assistant had me going in no time (another very helpful video tutorial that walked me through the process).
The first step is to select either a Home or Business setup, then to create an account (normally a bank, of which I created three, plus a Discover credit card account). Banktivity 5 offers easy bank connections for direct downloads (I could also have used Direct Access to automatic updates or Direct download, but these are subscription services, starting at $9.99 per month).
Since the initial setup, I now do download monthly updates from all my accounts. It posts most of critical information, like amount and payee or payor, after which I add the budget category manually from the list I customized (it does a nice job of guessing too).
Although I don’t use this feature, Banktivity 5 delivers online bill pay to set up, schedule and send payments, track those transactions, and categorize the expenses (it requires an OFX account connection).
With the advanced budgeting tools, I can build savings, watch my spending habits, monitor daily progress, incorporate scheduled income and bills, compare goals vs. results, and sync budgets to Banktivity on my iOS device. Meanwhile, I can track my spending patterns, assign categories or sub-categories to every transaction, use enhanced import rules for speedy categorization, and split transactions multiple ways for detailed budgeting and reporting.
Banktivity makes it easy to see my whole financial picture on my iPad, iPhone and Apple Watch (okay, its just summary information by account, since the type is so small). It is amazing how the private Cloud Sync seamlessly keeps everything up to date. Believe it or not, I’ve just scratched the surface in describing this program’s extensive features; this is a truly powerful and impressive accounting package.
To learn more, go to banktivity.com. Banktivity for the Mac can be purchased at iggsoftware.com for $59.99 (a 30-day free trial is also available before buying), plus, under the Apps menu, you will find Banktivity for iPad for $19.99, Banktivity for iPhone is $9.99, and Banktivity Investor for free. It takes some time and effort, but if you need to manage all of your financial affairs (as I do), this is the right package for you!