12 March 2004
Having just completed the page on my rant about Quicken Billpay and it's inability to pay reliably, I thought I should get two more bugs documented. These are not killer bugs, these are more of your run of the mill bugs. Unfortunately I think these two bugs together make Quicken unusable for a hard core financial planning customer. If you just track your stocks and get updated prices, then Quicken 2004 Premier is fine. If you want to get into asset allocation, then you should know about these two bugs.
Asset Allocation Drill Down Does Not Work For Cash Positions
I spoke with Quicken software support about this. They acknowledged that this is the way the software works. In Quicken, when I bring up the asset allocation pie chart I can see a nice slice labeled "cash". Some of this cash is mine, but most of it is held by the mutual funds that I own. As an asset allocation buff, I want to review how much money my mutual funds are holding in cash; if they hold too much too long, then I want to switch to another fund. If I've bought a small cap fund, I want them to be 95% in small caps; I certainly don't want them to be 20% in cash.
If I double-click on a pie slice, then Quicken "drills down" and presents another pie chart that just shows the breakdown of holdings within that pie slice. Nice feature.
At the high level, the cash slice of the pie chart includes the current cash positions of all the mutual funds I own. However, if I double-click on that cash pie slice, the drill down pie chart does not include the mutual fund cash positions. So, the top level pie chart shows a cash slice of, say, $15,000. Double click on it and the drill down pie chart only shows a total of maybe $5,000. The rest of the cash is held in various mutual funds.
Unfortunately, I do this drill down to specifically find out which mutual funds are holding a lot of cash. This drill down is useless to me.
"That's the way it works" is what the tech support rep said.
Bonds Are Not Uploaded To Quicken Web Site
I hold a lot of bonds in my accounts. Quicken software on my PC dutifully brings them down from my brokerage accounts and enters them into my Quicken register. Then I ask Quicken to upload my data to my personal Quicken web page. All my assets show up on their web site, except for the bonds!
Quicken technical support told me that's the way it is. They recommend that I enter each of my bonds by hand on the web site. That certainly makes the process less fun and shows a definite lack of integration between Quicken software and the Quicken web site. Oh well.
Normally this wouldn't bother me that much. I was never a big user of the web site. Why should I, I have it all on my PC. Well, as noted above, the asset allocation drill down on the Quicken PC software does not account for cash held by mutual funds. The web site does do this. I was planning to move to use the web site for my asset allocation analysis. However, I have a lot of money in bonds. Since the web site doesn't automatically upload my bond holdings, my asset allocation analysis on their web site is useless.
March 15, 2004
Do Not Delete Uncleared Transactions
Or you could corrupt your Quicken data file. Quicken keeps warning that you have transactions to send, when you do not. Lucky for us all this isn't a "bug", it is just odd behavior. I guess Intuit considers it "normal" for the software to corrupt a data file. Ok. </sarcasm>. Here's the transcript of my recent chat session about this. You decide if you can live with "features" like this. I get more worried with each passing day. (Colored text is mine.)
|7:44:13 PM||System||Welcome jim ...|
|7:44:15 PM||System||Connecting to server. Please wait...|
|7:44:16 PM||System||Connected to quicken.ehosts.net|
|7:44:16 PM||System||Session ID: 196540|
|7:44:16 PM||System||Initial Question/Comment: I did an Update to Quicken BillPay and it seems to have sent all my new transactions. Yet, when I exit Quicken it warns me that [Quicken chat cut off my description - no warning.]|
|8:07:42 PM||System||Richard has joined this session!|
|8:07:46 PM||Richard||Welcome to Quicken Chat. Could you please provide additional details regarding your issue?|
|8:10:05 PM||You||Sure. I've been using Quicken for years. I just entered some transactions. I did the Upload to get them to Quicken Billpay. When I exit Quicken it warns me that I have transactions waiting to be sent. I exit anyway. I start Quicken again. I exit again and get the same message. I do the Update to Billpay again. It doesn't seem to send any transactions. I still get the warning when I exit Quicken. It seems like Quicken thinks there are transactions to send to Billpay, but yet there are not.|
|8:10:55 PM||You||Sorry... anywhere I say "update" I really mean "upload".|
|8:11:48 PM||Richard||Thank you for the details.|
|8:12:13 PM||Richard||Please open Online Center and make sure none of the transactions are having there status as send.|
|8:13:32 PM||You|| In the Online center all the entries say "Sent" except for the very last line which says
|8:14:51 PM||Richard||Ok. How long have you been facing this issue?|
|8:15:26 PM||You||It happened after my last Upload to Billpay... about 5 days ago.|
|8:16:23 PM||Richard||Do you have a backup which you took before you sent those payments?|
|8:17:28 PM||You||What directory does Quicken store its serial backups in?|
|8:18:08 PM||Richard||In the Backup folder|
|8:19:08 PM||You||What extension does Quicken give the backup files?|
|8:20:19 PM||Richard||Same as the main file .QDF|
|8:20:39 PM||You||I have several files like Schrempp1, Schrempp2, etc (Schrempp is my main file's name).|
|8:21:29 PM||You||If I go back to one of those files, how will I recover the transactions that I have already sent to the Quicken BillPay service since the last backup?|
|8:21:42 PM||Richard||Please open Quicken and restore Schrempp1 file.|
|8:23:20 PM||You||Given the dates on the files, I have done a File/Open on Schrempp2. Schrempp1 had today's date - that is after the badness occurred.|
|8:23:57 PM||You||OK. The file is open and it is missing my current transactions.|
|8:25:26 PM||Richard||That is Ok. If those were downloaded then you will be able to re download them.|
|8:25:43 PM||You||What about the ones that I Uploaded?|
|8:25:44 PM||Richard||Are you still getting the same issue?|
|8:26:05 PM||You||I am doing an upload now...|
|8:26:07 PM||Richard||They will be re downloaded when the payments will get clear.|
|8:26:52 PM||You||I do not Download transactions from my financial institution. I only Upload to Billpay.|
|8:27:52 PM||You||Hmm. Ok. I see that some transactions I sent up are now in my register. I guess this is working now... Is this another known bug in Quicken? How can I avoid this in the future?|
|8:29:04 PM||Richard||This is not a bug.|
|8:29:16 PM||You||What is it?|
|8:29:24 PM||You||Is it something I did wrong?|
|8:29:45 PM||Richard||This happens only when we delete an uncleared transaction.|
|8:30:03 PM||Richard||Or the information of a send transaction get damaged.|
|8:30:17 PM||You||You mean I might have deleted an uncleared transaction manually, or is this an automatic thing?|
|8:30:51 PM||Richard||Deleted one manually by mistake. [I guess he meant the "Royal We" above.]|
|8:31:22 PM||You||I don't think so, but perhaps. I will be more careful from now on. Thanks for the help.|
|8:31:46 PM||Richard||Is there anything else I can assist you with today concerning Quicken?|
|8:31:57 PM||You||Not at this time. Cheers|
Jim Schrempp is a sometimes freelance writer (only Vanity Press will publish his work) living in Saratoga, California. His writings have appeared on numerous pages on his own web site. The opinions expressed in this piece are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent those of anyone else (although Jim wishes more people shared his opinions)