Importing QIF from SEE Finance 2 - many problems with investment and banking accounts

Robert's Avatar

Robert

29 Oct, 2020 09:06 AM

When Quicken for Mac stopped supporting Intel Macs in 2011, I had to seek a replacement that could handle stock option transactions. I tried several programs, and found that SEE Finance handled the importing of data with the fewest problems. It won my business, and I followed it through 2 significant upgrade cycles. This year, all support for SEE Finance has gone silent, Web Connect data downloads are failing for some sites, and the program seems to be rapidly heading into abandonware. It is time for me to find a new financial management package, and I am running data import trials like I did in 2011.

I was able to import my large QIF file with 25+ years of data into Moneydance, but many of the accounts have wildly errant balances. Credit cards and closed bank accounts seem OK - they have very few issues.

Most of the investment accounts that held stocks and mutual funds had all the actual securities transactions stripped, and funneled into 2 investment accounts named for one of my checking accounts (the checking account exists separately as a bank account). All the investment accounts give me warning boxes that no securities are associated with the accounts. Only direct cash transfers seem to remain associated with these accounts. I can't begin to imagine how I would pair all those securities transactions to their correct accounts - 100 manual transactions in the Moneydance trial doesn't begin to fix things.

I recently imported the same file into Banktivity - it successfully identified all securities transactions for each investment account, although its handling of debits and credits created large discrepancies on each purchase or sale, and those would take a lot of time and effort to correct, but probably less than the mess I see in Moneydance.

gnuCash completely choked on my QIF - that quickly eliminated itself. The only other real option I seem to have now is returning to Quicken.

Is the QIF format just not that rigid - do all financial software programs have different methods of writing and reading/parsing the enclosed data?

  1. 1 Posted by dwg on 29 Oct, 2020 10:02 AM

    dwg's Avatar

    I'm a fellow user.

    The format is reasonably well defined, but it is not without its problems. It is about the only format that facilitates the migration of data between all account types. CSV is just not a defined format, it is just a table and OFX does not include things like categories. The sort of issues fall into categories like:

    * QIF was never designed as a migration format. it was intended to be used as a support tool, so to unload and load transactions from and into a pre-defined account setup.

    * QIF supports many types of transactions, however few vendors support all of the transactions types, this mostly impacts Investment Accounts. This results in Investment accounts requiring the most cleanup, bank type accounts generally require little cleanup

    * Given its heritage as a support format it is ambiguous in places, this really revolves around QIF assuming you have a pre-defined structure to load the data into, so that it does not need to define things in full, yet when doing a migration we are trying to use the data to create the structure, while it mostly works, there is scope for incorrect definitions to creep in at times and these need to be dealt with. This mostly revolves around incorrect account types being used or confusing account/categories.

    * Some vendors use transactions that are pretty free form, while these can be written to a QIF file, given that Moneydance follows accounting rules, importing them can have unforeseen impacts as Moneydance needs to make them valid from an accounting point of view and this need to be amended in some way.

    * Some programmers seem to be "creative" in the QIF files they create, and we have seen some that just basically seem to ignore parts of the spec, I can't see how some of them misinterpret some things.

    This is fairly high level of the problems with QIF.

    Moneydance , in general, does a better job that a lot of programs but it is not perfect. If you just have bank type accounts the problems are minimal, if you have complex investment needs I expect to see more problems. The only long term solution I see to these is the support in Moneydance for more investment transaction actions, this though is not trivial development.

  2. 2 Posted by dtd on 29 Oct, 2020 05:50 PM

    dtd's Avatar

    user here,

    i ran into these problems when converting 35 years of data from Quicken to Moneydance. early this year.

    For me, the main issues were crazy balances, and created ACCOUNTX items.

    I did NOT encounter:
    Most of the investment accounts that held stocks and mutual funds had all the actual securities transactions stripped, and funneled into 2 investment accounts named for one of my checking accounts (the checking account exists separately as a bank account).

    However, it's possible you could manually edit the QIF file to make the securities go to the correct accounts - a text edit with batch changes would be easier than doing it manually in Moneydance.

    But this was a big deal, and dwg, I and others wrote a VERY long thread on this early this year. (Search for the word Vicissitudes)

    Although it sounds like you might be interested in much of it, I'd recommend at least starting at the end where I give an "easy" (actually, a "sigh I'll live with this") solution, whereas the extremely long discussion goes into how to make it perfect. Making it perfect took weeks (not full 40 hour weeks of course) to finally get it right.

    I'm pleased now, as I'm not an "I'll live with this" type person.

    OH - given your comparison of QIF imports. I did a QIF export from Quicken, then a QIF import of that data into a new Quicken file. Quicken did worse than Moneydance didon the new import and this was a Quicken generated QIF file... Just FYI.

  3. 3 Posted by dtd on 29 Oct, 2020 05:53 PM

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    That thread ended raggedly on another topic, so I'd recommend starting with post 66 at this link if you are interested.

    https://infinitekind.tenderapp.com/discussions/switching-from-another-personal-finance-program/15012-the-vicissitudes-of-quicken-to-moneydance#comment_48074651

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