The Vicissitudes of Quicken to Moneydance

dantdavis's Avatar


10 Nov, 2019 05:57 AM

Ok. I'm ready to move. I did the QIF dance (thankfully I'm still on Quicken 2017) and am majorly impressed by what I end up with in Moneydance.

There are two big issues that I currently see. (I've only been looking things over for an hour or so)

CASH BALANCES are wonky. YES - I know the "Initial balance" bit. All those are fine (now). Most credit cards, cash, and accounts that never interacted with other accounts are beautiful. But with 20 years of data, and with tons of investment accounts that came and went, transfers between accounts (like creating an account, and populating it with securities) totally mess up the cash balance.
This is a pretty big deal as it affects tons of my older accounts that should have a zero CASH balance, but scream "fix me"!

The securities, their amounts, and balances are fine. But Quicken has an "ADD-Shares Added" attribute which specifically says "add shares to this account without affecting the cash balance". I doubt the QIF file tells Moneydance this, so no blame, but sure enough a lot of negative cash balance occurs as the transaction "buys" these shares. In fact it is doubly bad, as it ends up being a BUYXFR in Moneydance, so that ends up doubling the cash change.

Another bit is an account charging an item to its own category. (i.e. a writeoff - I have a CAR category and occasionally depreciate the car by putting in a transaction that just writes off a few thousand bucks on it) - whatever the QIF sends causes Moneydance to create a CARX category that I guess "absorbs" the writeoff. Makes it difficult to figure out, again with years of data.

Thirdly - sometimes it seems the positive/negative is backwards for the Quicken QIF import - so what is a charge becomes a deposit or vice versa. This seems to be a well known issue here, but still a pain to reverse everything by hand. I tried the find/replace extension, but since values are different, it looks like I will have to do each of the "bad" accounts by hand.

As a point of order - what determines for an investment account what goes into register, bank register, and securities detail? Although these seem accurate (other than, again cash balances), I'm trying to figure out Moneydance's categorization for those three tabs.

Overall, I'm impressed, but with 20 years of data, there's a lot of cleanup (mostly cash balances) to do. I'm tempted to just have a transition day that has tons of entries of cash changes to zero and call it quits and move forward since most of the securities and credit cards and such are perfect, but I'm afraid that would ultimately give me nightmares.

Thoughts appreciated.

Showing page 3 out of 3. View the first page

  1. 61 Posted by dwg on 04 Feb, 2020 01:35 AM

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    My view is the more information that is around the better. Moving from Quicken, or really any other program, is a migration exercise.There are going to be issues, not everything will be clean, but there are various techniques that can be used to minimize problems, the more that is around on these the better. To put some more skin in the game I recently looked at migrating Foreign currency accounts, wrote up the results and posted them in the forum.

  2. 62 Posted by davidvernonlong on 04 Feb, 2020 05:30 AM

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    Yes, that would be good

  3. 63 Posted by jkosa on 08 Feb, 2020 08:39 PM

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    A detailed "migration from quicken" KB would be great. I've appreciated quick replies over the past week from dantdavis, dwg, and others who have been thru it already. Having that in one place would be great.

    Basic migration of checking/savings/credit cards is one thing. Migrating investment accounts is another whole can of worms. I can't imagine migrating foreign currency accounts!


  4. 64 Posted by dwg on 08 Feb, 2020 09:18 PM

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    Quicken never did make it easy, and if they can they like to make it impossible, locally Reckon have made it even harder.

    My current notes on Migrating from Quicken take up about 9 pages, that does include Foreign Currency Accounts, which I think can be done provided Quicken plays ball a bit in the rates they hold. Tellingly I have very little noted for Investments though.

    Investments are a real rabbit warren. There are at least three places where you can make changes that impact your migration; in Quicken, in the QIF file and in Moneydance (usually post import and using various tools) You can also add foreign currency where you need to do separate exports and imports of data.

    Handling all the various actions types can take you down various black holes.
    I have worked out some but nowhere near all, and for some there is just not a good answer.

    Migrating from Quicken is not so much on the scale of a KB article but rather a small but growing book. :)

    Personally I'd rather see TiK grow the number of supported Action types and enhance the QIF importer to deal with some types that Moneydance can handle in a different way.

  5. 65 Posted by dantdavis on 08 Feb, 2020 09:29 PM

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    Migrating from Quicken is not so much on the scale of a KB article but rather a small but growing book. :)

    Personally I'd rather see TiK grow the number of supported Action types and enhance the QIF importer to deal with some types that Moneydance can handle in a different way.

    Even though I'm past this issue and now have 35 years of clean data (yeah!), I agree wholeheartedly with this. Even if they just changed how BUYXFR doubles the transaction (vs BUY), and other entries end up being zero due to offseting transactions - that would go a long way.

    But that's part of the detail in the small but growing book you mention... ;)

  6. 66 Posted by dantdavis on 08 Feb, 2020 09:39 PM

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    I wrote about 3 pages today (mostly notes/outline), but here is probably the most pertinent bit for people struggling with wondering if the import will ever make sense.

    Using dwg's comment: There are at least three places where you can make changes that impact your migration; in Quicken, in the QIF file and in Moneydance.

    The quickest "well, I believe it will work out" is to make a few changes in MD:

    1) IMPORT QIF FILE (details in many places)
    2) Hide and make inactive all ACCOUNTX creations (Account/Edit Account)
    3) Make the final balances for all crazy cash balances match quicken by changing the Initial Balances (Highlight each account, Use Account/Edit Account/Change Initial Balance) - yes, the values you enter will make no sense other than forcing MD to match Quicken)
    4) Your cash balances from day 1 through today will be totally wonky. Look it over, report if other things are wonky other than cash balances through time. [This may expose some other things to write about in the small but growing book]

    This isn't really a final solution, but it may make you look past some things that are wrong and let you see the things that are right (credit cards, security holdings, etc.)

    Then you can decide if you can live with the above - given you have a life, or now at least be able to see what you need to do further.
    And if more detail gets written - you can explore the rabbit holes of investment transactions.

  7. 67 Posted by davidvernonlong on 11 Feb, 2020 05:06 AM

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    A few things I would mention:
    If you change the base currency you are asking for trouble and reports get
    screwed up.
    In my case price history of securities was not transferred. There may be a
    way to import it, but I have not discovered it yet.
    In securities where there had been bonus, rights, scrip issues there were
    problems with balances, so I had to put in some manual purchase at zero
    cost transaction. There may be a better way, but that corrected the

  8. 68 Posted by dwg on 11 Feb, 2020 06:07 AM

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    I'm a fellow user.

    When you export your transactions no security price data is included in the QIF file by Quicken., hence why any pricing in Moneydance would only come from buy or sell transactions.

    I do not recall if there is any way of exporting the price data in a QIF file from Quicken, there is provision in the QIF specification for such data and I have been able to import QIF files containing price data into earlier versions of Moneydance.

    I'm pretty sure that you can export the price data into CSV type files on a security by security basis similarly to how Exchange rates can be exported.

    I have located some brief instructions for this:

    "Through the security details, you can access and edit the price history information. From that listing, there is a Printer icon option. Through that icon, you can then switch to exporting the data to a text file, a tab-delimited file, or a PRN file."

    I have found something on Exporting the data in the QIF format but as to whether it works I do not know:

    "File / Export / QIF option, Security selection will include the price history info for all (all applicable to the account?) securities."

    If someone wants to provide an output file from Quicken I'm happy to take a look at what sort of gymnastics would be required to import it.

  9. 69 Posted by jon on 11 Feb, 2020 07:54 AM

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    Yes, I suffered most of these issues, but have corrected them the same as you.

    Jon Diamond
    07885 372605

  10. 70 Posted by jkosa on 11 Feb, 2020 10:43 PM

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    I'm a new user, and have fallen into the rabbit hole of investment transactions.

    I found a post from 2013 that said investment registers do not currently support matching & confirmation of downloaded transactions. Another post from May 2019 seems to imply the same. Is this still the case? I really can't match 2 transactions, even manually?

    My QIF import worked ok (all Vicissitudes aside!), but the 1st online connect downloaded 2yrs of xans. Is my only recourse to delete the QIF imported xans and confirm the ofx downloaded ones (so future direct connect downloads won't keep trying to import the same ones again)?

  11. 71 Posted by dantdavis on 11 Feb, 2020 10:55 PM

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    My impression is you cannot match (merge) transactions in investment accounts.

    I created a thread recently (can't find it at the moment) asking, and dwg said you can't do this.

    I also had two years of downloaded transactions from Schwab and two years from Vanguard. It's one reason I made sure all my QIF imports had cleared, which allowed me some leeway in telling the difference.

    But yes, I had to delete each old one by hand, and fix the new ones as well (ie.. copy over memos and fix some bad action items in the new items.) It was not fun.

    But at least it is a one-off. It just took an entire evening.

  12. 72 Posted by dantdavis on 11 Feb, 2020 11:00 PM

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  13. 73 Posted by dantdavis on 12 Feb, 2020 09:37 PM

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    David Long wrote:
    In my case price history of securities was not transferred. There may be a
    way to import it, but I have not discovered it yet.
    I did get my security price histories transferred, a couple of lines from the QIF file for one security:


    Then later in the QIF file:

    "FLWS",6.30," 2/28' 3"
    "FLWS",6.72," 3/31' 3"
    "FLWS",7.611," 4/30' 3"
    (and more)

    The only thing I made sure of was to click all the boxes in the QIF export - which includes a box called Security List.

  14. 74 Posted by dwg on 12 Feb, 2020 09:51 PM

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    I'm a fellow user.

    That is the QIF price format I was able to import in older versions, no reason to think it would still not work.

    I tried a file like:


  15. 75 Posted by dwg on 12 Feb, 2020 09:58 PM

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    I'd be curious to know which of the Quicken export option, I know some versions have a few, actual results in the security prices being exported. I do not think there is any way of exporting volume data but hat I think is less significant in any case.

  16. 76 Posted by dantdavis on 12 Feb, 2020 10:17 PM

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    Here's the screen I've become very familiar with recently, in Quicken Windows 2017.

    I cannot say which one actually results in security prices being exported, as I always have checked all boxes.

  17. 77 Posted by dwg on 12 Feb, 2020 10:40 PM

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    So in all probability it is most likely part of the Security List.

  18. 78 Posted by dwg on 13 Feb, 2020 12:46 AM

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    OK I have found an Intuit published QIF specification that has a structure that seems to correlate with the QIF Export Option screen.

    From that spec I would derive the following:

    Transactions: Moneydance definitely uses these
    Account Lists: I'm not sure if the Moneydance importer would use them or not
    Category Lists: Again don't known If Moneydance uses these
    Memorized Payees: Moneydance does not use these. Moneydance does not keep such a list.
    Security List: It would seem that Moneydance may at least partially use this list
    Business List: Items are of no use to Moneydance

    Moneydance typically builds the accounts/categories from the transaction lists, historically this was all that was provided, hence the approach taken.

    The memorized payees list does not correspond with the data needed for reminders.

    The security prices are in the Security list definition that Intuit has provided, even to the level of including a sample of the output. So from the experience reported in this thread it would suggest that Moneydance imports the prices from this, whether it imports any other data from this section again I do not know.

  19. 79 Posted by dantdavis on 13 Feb, 2020 01:51 AM

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    dwg, ok, now you made me go look.

    Yes, it appears security prices come from the security list. But I don't think MD uses the security list to create it's OWN security list.

    Three instances I explored:
    1) I own the securities.
    2) I used to own the securities, but haven't in years.
    3) I used quicken to download prices (DISNEY), but have never owned the security.

    MD does this:
    1) security available, price history available, easy to access via graph from where the security resides. easy to access with quote loader.
    2) security available, price history available, can be accessed via graph by picking it specifically from a different security being shown (go to the security and pick a different one), accessible with quote loader by clicking show zeroes.

    3) this is where the fun begins. DISNEY (DIS) of course is not available by looking at accounts, but it is also not available by looking at the security list within an account - I do not see ANY way to show it by graph. However, if you go to view securities, it IS in the security list, and you can bring up a history stock price table. Quote Loader does not see it anywhere.

    Found that interesting.

  20. 80 Posted by dwg on 13 Feb, 2020 02:04 AM

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    I'm a fellow user.

    I have create three lists by hand an Accounts list, a Security list and a Category list.

    Moneydance imported all three and created the appropriate structures, the importer did ignore some QIF fields that Moneydance does not use. For this test I used Moneydance 2019.4 (1903).

  21. 81 Posted by dwg on 13 Feb, 2020 02:21 AM

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    You can only see a Security within an account if you add the security to that account, otherwise it has no association to that account.

    The definition of the security is held separately, and the prices are held as part of this definition so you can see them when you go into securities, however there are no graphing functions within the security area.

  22. 82 Posted by dantdavis on 13 Feb, 2020 03:20 AM

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    So DISNEY would belong to no account, thus no way to show a graph of the price history.

  23. 83 Posted by dwg on 13 Feb, 2020 03:30 AM

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    That would be correct.

    If you had some shares that you wanted to monitor the price over time graphically you could create a separate investment account and add them to this account.

  24. System closed this discussion on 14 May, 2020 03:40 AM.

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