“We get what we measure”, that is why I want to measure my cash flow to make sure that I am spending within my means. Quicken has been helped me do that for a long time, but I wondered whether that is any open source solution able to replace Quicken. GnuCash and KMyMoney are close enough to fulfilling my requirements but there are gaps.
Encryption and password
Files created with Quicken can be protected with password. I am able to do that by encrypting KMyMoney file using Gpg4Win but not for GnuCash. KMyMoney recognizes the encryption will prompt for the password when I open the file. No such feature is available in GnuCash.
Accounts and category
Quicken and KMyMoney support both accounts and categories. However, GnuCash supports only accounts. In Quicken and KMyMoney, when a new category is entered, the software will prompt with an option to create it. Categories can be organized as subcategories of other categories. For KMyMoney new account or sub-account have to be created before it can be used.
Stock and share price updating
Both KMyMoney and GnuCash is able to update the share prices directly from yahoo finance. GnuCash will do this automatically upon launch. KMyMoney requires me to click the update button for the prices to be updated.
I have not tried automatically updating prices from internet directly with Quicken, but found it relatively easy to generate a csv file to update the prices. It is also easy to update the prices manually in the portfolio view.
Manual updates in KMyMoney and GnuCash is more cumbersome.
Entering purchases, sales and dividend are easy to do in Quicken.
Entering dividend was difficult in GnuCash. I entered the dividend into the cash account but was not able to assign the dividend directly to the investment counter.
In GnuCash, I had to right click on the account for the investment counter, view lot and perform a scrub in order for the account to register any realized gain or losses. I also had to create two separate sets of assets, income and expenses to cater for different currencies used.
It is not as easy (compared to Quicken) to view the profit and loss of my share investment with KMyMoney and GnuCash. I have decided to move track my records using the free online stock portfolio tracker spreadsheet found in Investment Moat.
Reporting cash flow is easily done with Quicken.
With GnuCash, it was necessary to only select Assets and Liabilities to generate the cash flow. If you also select the income and expenses, nothing will appear in the report. It will report to the subcategory level, but does not provide subtotal at the category level.
KMyMoney cash flow report shows every single transaction and provides total at each of the account and categories (and subcategories). This means that I need to scroll through a lengthy report to get the totals I want.
Quicken provides a year end file function to copy out cleared transaction and start a new file without the previous transactions. This will allow me to maintain a much smaller file. This feature is absent in both GnuCash and KMyMoney.
I have a problem with KMyMoney, the column sizes are fixed and are too small which makes it difficult to see some of the numbers on the ledger.
Both GnuCash and KMyMoney are also available in both Mac and Linux. This provides me the option to move to either platform if I wish to. I guess it is possible to run Quicken using wine in Linux or parallel in Mac (but not a preferred option).