I'm going to try GnuCash.  I know from previous experience that I'll receive a bunch of the following error messages when importing my Quicken QIF file.

  • The file contains an unknown Action 'Cash'. Some transactions may be discarded.

It appears to me that Quicken and ETrade use action=Cash for Interest Income, instead of posting the transaction as a transfer from Interest Income to the ETrade account in Quicken.  I could manually edit these transactions to reflect the double-entry accounting norm, but I'm going to try a different route.  I figure that Quickbooks ought to be able to import Quicken better than anyone else.  Once I get my Quicken data into a double-entry bookkeeping system (i.e. Quickbooks) then perhaps it will import better into GnuCash.

  1. Download Quickbooks 2008 Simple Start from http://quickbooks.intuit.com/product/about_quickbooks/trials.jhtml
  2. Run the setup and install to C:\Kevin\Quickbooks
  3. Run Quickbooks for the first time:
    1. Select Sole Proprietorship
    2. Save the new, empty QB file to C:\kevin\Sample Company.QBW
    3. Otherwise, take the defaults
  4. Oops! QB Simple Start can't import Quicken data.  "Use Quickbooks Pro" is the suggested answer.
  5. Oddly enough, you can't download Quickbooks Pro 2008 from Quickbooks.Intuit.com, but you can from http://www.quicken.com.au/BusinessFinance/QuickBooksPro/trial.aspx
  6. When you download it (QuickBooks Pro Professional Business 2007-08 Trial), they'll give you a trial-unlock code.  Write it down. They'll give it to you as 99999999999999999, but you'll have to break it into 12345-12345-12345-123456.
  7. It will insist on rebooting.  Go ahead.
  8. Start QB and select "Convert from Quicken."
  9. Oops, that won't work.  It just tells you that it can't.  Create a new company, of type "General Business" with "Individual Income Tax Return."
  10. Save the empty file as C:\kevin\Sample Company.QBW
  11. Ahhh, but Quickbooks (this version) cannot import QIF, but IIF.  Download QIF to IIF converter from http://www.bigredconsulting.com/downloadpages/DownloadQIFNow.htm
  12. Run the install.
  13. Start Excel 2003; select Tools/Add-ins, and enable QIF to IIF importer.
  14. Oops. It isn't free.
  15. A little bit more reading has left me suspecting that Quicken to Quickbooks may be a low-fidelity translation.  I have read that QB won't import investment accounts.  Back to square one.

  1. Let's try it with Windows GnuCash, V2.2.1.
  2. Oops! When I start it, I run into the bug documented at http://wiki.gnucash.org/wiki/Windows#GConf.2FORBit_COMM_FAILURE
  3. Debugging the start-up failure (I'm running Win2K SP4 in a VM with 256MB RAM allocated):
    1. It happens with straight 2.2.1
    2. I extracted the binary files for ORBit 2.13.3 from ftp://ftp.gnome.org/pub/gnome/binaries/win32/ORBit2 and overwrote the ones in my gnucash directory. It works.
    3. 2.14.9 does not work.
    4. 2.14.0 does work.
    5. 2.14.2 does not work.
    6. I went back and re-tested 2.14.0 and 2.14.2 and confirmed that 2.14.0 does work and 2.14.2 does not work. Note that in between tests I deleted iof from C:\tmp\gconfd-kevin\lock
    7. So I'll try building 2.14.0 and test my build, followed by building 2.14.2 and testing my build, and then I'll migrate one to the other, a line at a time until I find the issue. 
    8. ... but I can't get it to build with the Cygwin mingw.  I'll try the stand-alone mingw from mingw.org.
  4. I eventually got it to build correctly.  I helped locate the bug.  Tor has a patch to 2.14.10 that fixes the problem.

After fixing the GnuCash start-up problem, it is time to work on importing my accounts.

  1. When I import transactions from an investment account, some of them have Action = 'Cash' (i.e. NCash\n records).  I get lots of error messages: "The file contains an unknown Action 'Cash'. Some transactions may be discarded."  Simply replacing all "\nNCash\n" with "\n" seems to fix the problem.  In other words, the NCash records can simply be deleted, because the N records are optional in Investment accounts.
  2. Ditto for ContribX and for WithdrwX.