New User questions and findings

Discussions specific to Mac OS X version of AceMoney

New User questions and findings

Postby ppsacevt » Thu Feb 28, 2013 8:32 am

I had been a long time windows user and had a personal finance program that has served me well since 1986 but it does not run under OSX. It is based on the same paradigm as AceMoney and has virtually all of the same feature except the graphical reporting element. I decided that replacing it with a program that received good ratings was more productive than go through the pain of putting the wineskin wrapper around it and running it under OSX in the same was that AceMoney runs.

I would like to see AceMoney updated to run as a native OSX app.

I found the following issues with AM.
1. Importing CSV files the WITHDRAW and DEPOSIT columns are reversed. I thought at first the arithmetic sign might make a difference but it not.
2. The calculator will not start.
3. The help function freezes after several windows swaps and the search function does not work at all.
4. I keep 2 sets of books. One in dollar and one in Yen despite AM's ability to work with both in one set of books. In any case the problem exists either way. The decimal value cannot be set for each currency. Yen needs to set to zero while dollar values need 2 decimal places.
5.On the SCHEDULE page the right click drop down collapses if you try to move below PROPERTIES.

Suggestion features.

1. Be able to create a SCHEDULED entry that can contain all the actions (DEPOSIT, WITHDRAW, TRANSFER). That way you can have a paycheck function, for example, that does all the processing.
2. There are recurring expenses whose value changes each month, like a water bill. Have a transaction window pop up if say the money entry is zero or a check box is selected when creating the scheduled transaction. Grouping or linking scheduled transactions together would accomplish the same thing.

3. The shortcut keys are not to the OSX paradigm I guess because it really is a windows app wrapped to run in a mac. For example SAVE is usually COMMAND-S but is CONTROL-S in AM. Also, I keep my DOCK (task bar) on the left so as to get maximum vertical screen space. AM starts with its window behind the dock... an artifact of not being a native app.

CONCERN... How will AM keep pace with OSX updates and will my amj files persist across AM updates and reinstalls. The Wineskin website seems to hedge some regarding its ability to get or keep windows programs running under various versions of Wineskin. It would not be good to lose AM for even a short period due to this complex environment.

So far I am satisfied with AM and will likely stick with it though I would really like it to be a native OSX app.

2 Mar edit - Found another problem.. AM freezes if you enter an "invalid" format in money field. Had to force quit the app because there was no response to any attempt at getting its attention. I entered 3350+98= and a message popped up but then AM froze.

Thank you,
Pete
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Re: New User questions and findings

Postby RLebeau » Sat Mar 02, 2013 1:19 am

ppsacevt wrote:1. Be able to create a SCHEDULED entry that can contain all the actions (DEPOSIT, WITHDRAW, TRANSFER). That way you can have a paycheck function, for example, that does all the processing.


You can use Split items in a single transaction. I have a scheduled paycheck bill that transfers money to several savings accounts, withdraws taxes, and deposits the rest in my bank account.

ppsacevt wrote:2. There are recurring expenses whose value changes each month, like a water bill. Have a transaction window pop up if say the money entry is zero or a check box is selected when creating the scheduled transaction.


I have several bills that vary value each month. Sometimes, I leave them as zero, sometimes I let AceMoney update them with the current value as a hint to what the next value might be close to. Prompting to edit the transaction before committing it if the bill value is zero, or better if a new "prompt for value" checkbox is added, sounds like a good idea. Or even just add a new popup menu item that says "Add to registry with edits" would probably be enough.
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Re: New User questions and findings

Postby ppsacevt » Sat Mar 02, 2013 6:44 pm

Remy,

Thanks for tip regarding splits transactions.. that helps greatly and also thanks for supporting the idea about recurring payments with differing values.

Another question. Is the periodicity selection "every four weeks" the same as say the 4th Wednesday of every month if when I set up the transaction it was the 4th Wednesday of the month.

Thanks
Pete
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Re: New User questions and findings

Postby ppsacevt » Sat Mar 02, 2013 11:39 pm

I created a multi transaction "paycheck" schedule. It has a deposit, a few withdrawals (taxes UGH), and transfers to various other accounts. I had already created an account called SALARY that should have a running balance of ZERO once all the transactions are processed. I noticed, however, that the amount posted for the schedule transaction is the SUM of all the amounts rather than the NET of amounts in each of the splits in the schedule. This does not seem correct. Is this a bug or intended?
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Re: New User questions and findings

Postby ppsacevt » Sun Mar 03, 2013 7:11 am

Let me address both of your responses.

juwlz wrote:Only when there are 4 Wednesdays in the month. When there are 5, the schedule will slip.


I think there needs to be feature that allows setting the periodicity such as I described in my example.. the 4th Wednesday of the month regardless of how many Wednesdays there are. My old system has a selection that has a selection - "increment to day of next month" and you can select 1st-4th and the day of the week.

juwlz wrote:Could you please post more details of exactly what you're doing (i.e. what's in the splits, and how they relate to the salary account


On your second question --- I have attached a file with the examples of the split schedule I set up. I used the Sample amj.
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Re: New User questions and findings

Postby ppsacevt » Sun Mar 03, 2013 7:19 am

The forum won't let me use odt or pdf files and the rtf file 57MB while the pdf is 140KB..

I captured each step in creating the scheduled transaction as a screen shot. Am trying .doc file
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Re: New User questions and findings

Postby ppsacevt » Sun Mar 03, 2013 10:08 am

I think I figured it out... I expected that when you specified "withdraw" the value of the entry would be subtracted from the account in question but it appears that I need to make the WITHDRAW entries negative numbers or at least I hope that's right now that I think about. It made the schedule transaction net take on a value of zero but I need to go back to the sample file and execute a test case. GUESS WHAT.. Its not figured out. That did not work at all

I am disappointed to hear that the developers, in your opinion, appear to be reluctant to implement what are seemingly obvious and simple changes to improve the product. Given the reviews AM has received they should be taking their customer comments seriously.
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Re: New User questions and findings

Postby RLebeau » Sun Mar 03, 2013 5:50 pm

ppsacevt wrote:GUESS WHAT.. Its not figured out. That did not work at all


Here is an example of how I have my paycheck bill set up in the Schedule:

Type = Deposit
Account = My Bank Account
Amount = the NET amount after deductions
Payee = My company
Split:
  • Insurance = NEGATIVE amount of insurance deductions
  • Taxes = NEGATIVE amount of tax deductions
  • Transfer:401K: NEGATIVE amount being deducted (will appear as a POSITIVE amount in 401K account)
  • Transfer:Savings = NEGATIVE amount being deducted (will appear as a POSITIVE amount in Savings account)
  • Wages:Gross = POSITIVE amount being deposited (amount before deductions)

ppsacevt wrote:I am disappointed to hear that the developers, in your opinion, appear to be reluctant to implement what are seemingly obvious and simple changes to improve the product. Given the reviews AM has received they should be taking their customer comments seriously.


You have to take into account that most of those reviews were done while the original AceMoney developer, Alex Simanov, was still alive. He was very responsive to customers and open to their suggestions. After his death, some of his family members took over development of AceMoney. And while they have gratiously carried on his work (adding encryption support, adding mobile support, bug fixes, etc), they have not been quite as responsive as he was. Maybe they are still learning the ins and outs of AceMoney themselves. Maybe their schedules outside of MechCAD are more busy than his was. Who knows. Yes, the reduced communications is a little disappointing, but hopefully it will get better over time.
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Re: New User questions and findings

Postby ppsacevt » Mon Mar 04, 2013 12:47 am

Remy,
RLebeau wrote:Here is an example of how I have my paycheck bill set up in the Schedule:

Type = Deposit
Account = My Bank Account
Amount = the NET amount after deductions
Payee = My company
Split:

Insurance = NEGATIVE amount of insurance deductions
Taxes = NEGATIVE amount of tax deductions
Transfer:401K: NEGATIVE amount being deducted (will appear as a POSITIVE amount in 401K account)
Transfer:Savings = NEGATIVE amount being deducted (will appear as a POSITIVE amount in Savings account)
Wages:Gross = POSITIVE amount being deposited (amount before deductions)


Appreciate the example, but I tried several variations of this and I must be doing something wrong because its not working as expected. In your example you show TRANSFERS. Each time you change the transaction type you have to return to the window with the transaction buttons (buttonwindow)- correct? As I indicated in an earlier post I set up an account called SALARY that has a net of zero each time a bill schedule executes. So my latest attempt is:
---------------------------------------------
Type - DEPOSIT
Account - SALARY
Amount - GROSS INCOME
Payee - MyEMployer
Split:
(AM remains in DEPOSIT to SALARY mode)
HerGross Income = POSITIVE value
Taxes = several negative entries
(back to buttonwindow)
TRANSFER button
From SALARY to CitiChecking
SPLIT
Enter negative value for amount to transfer.
-------------------------

I attached my testbed amj file for you to see if you have time. I can always go back to using 3 separate schedules. The net is the same but I would prefer to learn how to use SPLITS for this purpose. OOOPS amj files not permitted. Not clever of them. It would make sending bug reports more efficient. I'll find another way to get you the TESTBED.

RLebeau wrote:You have to take into account that most of those reviews were done while the original AceMoney developer, Alex Simanov, was still alive. .


I am sorry to hear that the originator is no longer with us. I see you have been using AM for 9 years so you have seen many changes an improvements. I too hope we can see improvements and a more responsive development team.
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Re: New User questions and findings

Postby RLebeau » Mon Mar 04, 2013 2:27 pm

ppsacevt wrote:Appreciate the example, but I tried several variations of this and I must be doing something wrong because its not working as expected. In your example you show TRANSFERS.


I use Split Transfers. I am not setting the Transaction type to Transfer. As I showed, the Transaction itself is a Deposit. When spliting a transaction, you specify Category+SubCategory for each Split item. You can set a Split item's Category to "Transfer" and the SubCategory to an Account name, and it will transfer that amount from the Transaction's account to the specified account.

ppsacevt wrote:As I indicated in an earlier post I set up an account called SALARY that has a net of zero each time a bill schedule executes.


Why are you using a separate SALARY account at all? What does that gain you? You should just deposit your salary directly in your bank account, like the real world does.

ppsacevt wrote:So my latest attempt is


Take a good hard look at how you set this up, and then go back and look at how I set mine up again. The transaction amount needs to be the NET amount, not the GROSS amount. the GROSS amount belongs in the SPLIT section instead. And the TRANSFER needs to be in the SPLIT section as well. In other words:

---------------------------------------------
Type - DEPOSIT
Account - SALARY
Amount - NET INCOME
Payee - MyEMployer
Split:
  • Gross Income = POSITIVE value
  • Taxes = several negative entries
  • Transfer:CitiChecking = negative value for amount to transfer.
-------------------------

Alternatively:

---------------------------------------------
Type - DEPOSIT
Account - CitiChecking
Amount - NET INCOME
Payee - MyEMployer
Split:
  • Gross Income = POSITIVE value
  • Taxes = several negative entries
-------------------------

ppsacevt wrote:I attached my testbed amj file for you to see if you have time. I can always go back to using 3 separate schedules. The net is the same but I would prefer to learn how to use SPLITS for this purpose. OOOPS amj files not permitted. Not clever of them. It would make sending bug reports more efficient. I'll find another way to get you the TESTBED.


There is no need to send the actual file. Just follow the instructions I have given you.
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