Fortora Fresh Finance
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Full user review
"Good & basic home finances software"
Easy to install and use; tidy interface; covers all the basics for personal finances; nice 30-day free trial period (full use); imports loose QIF files;
Heavy reliance upon reports to find information; entering category information not as good as it could be; so-so customer service; price;
I've been using the 30-day trial to test this as a replacement for Microsoft Money as I've moved over to the world of Mac.
Props to Fortora for offering a full-blown version for 30-days of trial. It's been helpful in coming to my final observations and decision.
I'm actually going to pass on purchasing this software and instead look for an alternative for my Windows-driven laptop. I'm having to replace my current laptop soon and my Money 2002 version is not Windows 7 compatible so a replacement for my Mac seemed a reasonable idea.
Running Fortora parallel with Money I have found it pretty much handles everything I need it to do. I use Money as my checkbook, register and for tracking expenditures over time. This is pretty basic stuff and I've never been disappointed with Money. For the most part Fortora performed well and handled everything I did with it, but I don't believe it did things quite as well.
For example, when typing the name of a category in Money the application will find said category based upon what I type into the field even if what I'm typing is a sub-category to a primary/parent. Fortora doesn't handle this sort of thing. If I want to use a sub-category I must type the parent name first, which requires a fair bit of extra typing in my opinion.
The splits box works well enough, but again I think Money had the advantage in how it provided more useful information. As one enters entries into the splits box in Money the programme informs you as to the remaining uncategorized dollar amount, while Fortora does not. I find Money's design more useful.
I've also had no small amount of irritation with how the various buttons work in Fortora, but I think this may very well be a Mac issue just as much. If I tab to select a button it often becomes outlined in the requisite colour to indicate it has been selected, but the button itself doesn't become highlighted in the colour. As such, when I press enter it is another button (the one highlighted in colour) that is acted upon. For example: in the splits box "Done" is by default highlighted as the button upon which action will be taken when the Enter key is pressed. If I tab to "Add" (to add an individual split entry) and press Enter the programe responds to "Done" instead of "Add". I have yet to figure out how to alter this problem as I much prefer to tab and enter to expedite data entry as opposed to having to use the mouse all the time.
In addition there is the price. $45 isn't a ton of money, but it seems a bit steep for a fairly basic personal finance application. Granted, in the world of Mac there are few alternatives in the great scheme of things and so it is we pay a premium (Apple Tax). Based upon my 30-days of experience I'd be much more inclined to consider this software as a replacement for Money if it were priced around $30.... maybe $35.
Last of the 'cons' would be customer support. I've e-mailed three times regarding three different issues/questions and received a reply only once for the very first one. The first and only reply was received within a fairly reasonable amount of time and for that I was grateful. Of course, it was the sort of information which I truly believe should have been included in their FAQ section (pertains to whether or not Fortora Fresh Finance can handle only Strict QIF files or the preferred, in my opinion, loose QIF files).
My second and third e-mails have both gone unanswered. Combined with what passes for a very basic FAQ section I have strong concerns about customer support. Considering the importance of the information I would be entrusting to their software I feel the need for a more robust customer service network.
Lastly, I had the chance to also reconcile my checking account in Fortora and while I balanced to the penny (as always ;-) in Money I was off by $22.17 in Fortora regardless of the fact everything appears to be perfectly duplicated with Money, right down to the current balance. I spent the better part of an hour trying to track down the issue to no avail. In fairness it may be something simple and something I did, but I've never had a problem reconciling an account in Money in the 9-years I've been using it.
Final thoughts..... it's a decent bit of software. Perhaps a bit over-priced, but one must keep in mind it's for an Apple computer and options are truly limited out there. It's neat and tidy and pretty easy to use. Sets up quickly and efficiently. It can handle all of your day-to-day personal transactions readily. But it's price and questionable customer support (in my personal experience) leave me to pass on this product.