This year, I decided to modernize my accounting system and take it to an online platform; after working with the wonderfully easy to use Quickbooks software suite for the last while. What a joy. After doing some research on some of the bigger accounting systems out there, I decided to combine a few into a hybrid set of sorts with Wave Accounting at the heart. Wave has been an overall great switch so far. Wave learns to sort my transactions based on my history, the web interface is quick and easy to use and the service synced with my banking automatically on a schedule so I’m always up to date.
Unfortunately, a problem arose with my online banking. The bank I deal with only allows my accounting software to import transactions online for the past month or so. Getting ready for tax time means I need to go back much further than that. Luckily, my bank allows me to download my statements as PDFs online for the past 7 years.
Wait, I can’t import PDFs directly into wave? Wave built in a function where transactions can be uploaded through the web but it can only import Microsoft Money, QB, Quicken, SA and CSV files. So how can I do this inexpensively and quick?
My first attempt was to export the PDF bank statements to a CSV file and import the CSV file. Except Wave has no idea about the formatting with dates, amounts etc. However, Wave has a whole page dedicated on how to import CSVs.
This means we have get very specific in the formatting so wave can upload it properly. Shortly after, I realized that the process may be inexpensive but it’s not quick. To do this you have to:
- Paste the PDF to Excel
- Edit the CSV for Wave uploading
- Save it as a CSV in Excel
- Upload it
- Verify the transactions in Wave web interface
It takes about 5-10 minutes for each file and with two years of statements in each account it would take hours! That’s not going to work.
There has to be some software out there that will make this a little easier. After some researching, I found two companies that make the software to import PDFs to QB format or .ofx so they can be imported directly to wave.
PDF2 by ProperSoft supports “(to and from) QIF, QFX, QBO, QBX, IIF, OFX, OFC, CSV, TXT, Excel, ASO, plus additional formats” according to their site. https://www.ProperSoft.net
PDF2 by MoneyThumb supports a similar set listed here https://www.MoneyThumb.com/all-products/
Price (at date of blog posting): ProperSoft wins hands down here. As a personal user and all around cheapo when it comes to software purchases, ProperSoft offers PDF2OFX or PDF2QFX for $39.99 with one month support. Additional conversion support past the first month costs a very modest $19.99 per month should I need it.
The cheapest option from MoneyThumb is $59.99. If you need OCR (Optical character recognition) functionality, it costs extra with any of the + products supporting it at $119.99/year.
First and foremost, they both work and do exactly what they claim. For my needs and my skill-set, ProperSoft’s software provides me with the exact functionality I need with no frills. I don’t need OCR functionality (to convert images to characters) because my bank statements are already in PDF text format so ProperSoft’s PDF2 can read it without issue. If I did need OCR I could always use a variety of other third-party tools, although, MoneyThumb’s OCR is built right into the platform for convenience.
Secondly, both work with Windows and Mac OSX, which is great for me as a Mac user. MoneyThumb’s software works on a Java platform which makes it more universal. I personally hate Java but it does offer more of a universal option in this case.
NOTE: OCR functionality only works in windows with MoneyThumb’s software so any of the convert+ products don’t work with OSX out of the box (OOB).
Futhermore, both companies offer trial versions of the software with transaction limitations to test if it works with your banking institution’s formatting. Both softwares loaded and sorted the transactions properly line by line. ProperSoft’s had a problem distinguishing some of the negative transactions (withdrawals) from my banking statements. I sent an email to developer to inform him of the issue. I received a response within a few hours. The developer asked for an example PDF so he could make changes to the software and update it.
Ease of Use
Certain options are needed to make either software work properly with QB and upload to wave. Date formatting, encoding, account type and currency are all attributes that the software needs to work properly. Both software makers handle this well. MoneyThumb’s appears to manage more attributes such as Quick ID but they didn’t seem to impede my workflow one way or the other. They were both easy to configure and get working. However, ProperSoft’s software is opened simply from an App after you copy it to your applications folder. MoneyThumb’s software is opened by installing an OSX package which I personally don’t like.
For my specific needs and price point, ProperSoft’s software was the way to go. It’s cheaper (at the time of this posting) than the competition, it has excellent support and does exactly what I need it to do. I would recommend this for an individual user such as myself who does not need OCR or ongoing support.
In a business setting, licensing and pricing make the choice a little different. In an accounting setting where you may have several companies you need to do this for, there are several things to consider. First, how big is your team? ProperSoft offers two licensing options. For smaller businesses, you can get a license with support for up to 3 users for $99.99 and for larger businesses or corporate settings you can get unlimited users for $249.99. The business versions include priority and extended support which users are most likely to need in these cases. Users can also purchase conversion support as needed for $19.99/month.
In terms of support, MoneyThumb’s software offers a licensing annual model that allows a single user to install the product on up to 3 personal PCs. Average price for conversion support is $199.99/year. For an individual user or small business owner, this option makes sense if you need ongoing support as you will be saving annually for conversion support.
(MoneyThumb – $119.99/year VS ProperSoft – $239.88/year)
Finally, OCR is only offered with MoneyThumb’s software, if you need batch or command line converting MoneyThumb’s 2QB0 Pro software currently offers the only option for $124.95-$299.95