Importing Transactions

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  • Idea
  • Updated 1 month ago
  • Not Planned
  • (Edited)
Many of the features of this product I like.  However the one that is a deal breaker is the importing feature.  Although linking your account would be preferred, that is not necessarily the issue.The issue is the import process of identify All transactions now or none will be imported.  Ideally I would like to download my transactions then later come back and sort them out.  This is especially useful when you are not the only person spending the money (I import 100s in a month).  The fact you have to categorize all transactions at the point of import before they can be imported at all is very impracticable (at least for my household).
I get the theory around having folks manually enter their transactions so they are more familiar with their spending and therefore more disciplined.  That's great and all but I'm already disciplined.  Not everyone looking to use an online budget tool does so because their spending is out of control.  Some of us need one simply to track and plan (and make sure we stay on target).  Especially when more than one person is spending the money. 
Yes there is mint and others like it but they are not enveloped based.  I have been a long time user of Mvelopes.  It worked great and is a good example of envelope budgeting.  But its dependence on Flash has been its downfall and its become unusable.  I so want to like Goodbudget but just cant work with the import function.  I hope to hear of an update soon that would allow you to simply import transactions - then sort them out after the import.  If that happens - please let me know and I will sign up on the spot.  
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Mrudi

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Posted 2 years ago

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Karisa Russell, Official Rep

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Hi Mrudi, 

Thanks for the feedback on the import process and for the suggestion! I can see how a 'Pause' feature, or an option to download now and sort later would be helpful. I've added your thoughts to our request tracker for future consideration. 

To clarify, you do not have to categorize and import all of your transactions at once. Once you've matched all that you can, import those transactions only. Then, when you're ready to finish, re-upload the same file and only the transactions that you didn't match will be appear for you to sort. 

Thanks again
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Mrudi

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Hi Karisa
Thanks for the reply.  I agree that would be ok if you manually enter your transactions.  I do not manually enter mine.  There are way too many (family of 5 busy people).  It's easy for us to have 200 transactions in a month.  Importing is really the only way to feasibly keep track.  Again, I'm ok with the not having automatic downloads (although that would be very nice) but just to get them loaded is the key.  Then whenever my wife or myself have the time we go in and assign them accordingly.
It may be that Goodbudget is really for more the "just starting my first budget" type of crowd and I dont fit.  I must say that my demographic is under served, especially for those who are interested in the "envelope" style of budgeting using a multiplatform tool (web/mobile).  I have searched for weeks and nothing is out there that is comparable to the features of Mvelopes.  I'd still be with them if not for the "Flash" issue.  Anyway, thanks again for the response.
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Telt1910

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Have you considered importing them to a "Later" envelope? I have a "to be allocated" envelope for purchases at discount stores, etc.  I import them into that envelope, and later go back and split it into the different envelopes based on my receipt.
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Mrudi

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That’s not a bad idea. They should put that in their instructions. I have moved on and now use Tiller worksheets. It’s flexible enough to allow me to do what I want.
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John Vander Stel

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Just curious.  Where can I find info on Tiller worksheets, Mrudi.  I like to stay abreast of the various options, but I haven't previously heard about Tiller worksheets.
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Colin Grant

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Is this it -https://www.tillerhq.com ? 

If so, good old Google! 
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Mrudi

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Yes
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HFLTV

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What I do regularly is export all transactions from an account by date range into Excel. Then I go to my bank and do the same. There are a few extra fields in GB that I delete before copying into the spreadsheet with my bank entries. I color code the bank entries and GB entries and then data sort all by amount. Then I go from top to bottom deleting rows of matching amounts until I have either no rows left or discover discrepancies or missing GB entries. Works for me, but I'm open to other ideas.
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Eric

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Following.  Mvelopes new upgrade is horrible, so I am shopping.  GoodBudget seems to be the best envelope budget software that would suffice, but without automatic import feature for those of us who are disciplined enough and / or has a spouse using debit / credit cards, I cannot even entertain subscribing to Goodbudget.  I would spend hours reconciling each month. 

So I ask, has the account import feature been added AND bugs worked out?  Automatic would be preferred.  Forced is dated, but would be better than no importing.

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Karisa Russell, Official Rep

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Hi Eric, 

Thanks for posting. We are not working on adding an automatic import feature at this time. You can create Accounts in Goodbudget to keep track of your real life bank accounts, but again, they do not automatically sync with each other.

Instead, you can track your Account balances by recording transactions as you make them, or by importing banking activity you download from your bank's website, and you can see how to do that here.

Feel free to check out our Roadmap to stay updated on what we are doing. And, let me know if you have more questions. 

Thanks again!


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Telt1910

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Maybe collaborate with a company like FileThis? They go beyond banking and credit cards and can even pull utility bills, phone bills, etc.
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Karisa Russell, Official Rep

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Hi Telt1910 - Thanks for adding this. I've added FileThis to the request card, so we can reference it if we make plans to work on this.
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John Vander Stel

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I just googled "FileThis" and discovered it for the first time.  I am also for offering the ability to download transaction files from them for all bank accounts for reconciliation.  I will be trying "FileThis," since it would be a no-brainer completely free service for the things that I would actually use.  Please plus me on this request.
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Mrudi

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Eric
Fellow past mvelopes user here. Left before the update and haven’t gone back. Looks like they are still having some issues. What didn’t you like about the update?
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Jon Morgan

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I'll start by saying I do absolutely love GoodBudget. The use of it has certainly encouraged me over the past few years to be more proactive in my thinking about money, especially when I spend it. When I find it overwhelming though is when I "fall off the wagon" so to speak, and as Mrudi was explaining, the need to categorise hundreds of transactions in order to catch up with the transactions I missed out on capturing, and the reconciling, well it takes a lot of effort to make myself do it. I do because I think it's ultimately valuable, but it's hard.   My new resolution is to sit down every evening and reconcile - little and often. I have GB open on the laptop, and I open each banking app (I have three active ones that I use regularly) and capture any missed transactions, manually reconcile and boom, I'm sorted. 

So how awesome would it be if GB would tie in to the various bank accounts (apparently Yodel in the US and OpenBanking in the UK can make this possible) and automatically import the transactions on a regular basis. Then, it'd be a case of the GB app having a reminder to reconcile function, I could sit down with my evening drink and reconcile each transaction without having to open either laptop or other banking apps, and in a few minutes be on top of all my transactions...

The downside you might say is that you'd then become reliant on that process rather than proactively capturing in the moment, but I really believe it would reduce the "intertia" I feel about the slog of importing and reconciling, would help support my daily habit formation and engagement with my finances, and (I know I sound like a broken record) ultimately resolve (the only big?) gripe that people have long had.

Please keep up the good work GB team, it is very much appreciated!! 
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Mrudi

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Can't believe a year has already passed since I created this post.  I'm still using Tiller because its easier to manage than GB even though GB has a nicer look and feel.

To add to Jon's points, I think GB is doing themselves a disservice by sticking to their current method of managing transactions.  Most people dont like the process of budgeting as it is, making it manually intensive on top of that doesn't help grow the business. 

A business model should always be focused on making it simple for the customer.  Apple has built an empire on this premise.  Budgeting and expense tracking is inherently arduous and potentially painful.  The competitive advantage goes to anyone who can make it simple, easy, fast, and maybe a little fun.  I still have hope for GB and will be keeping my eye on them.
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Mrudi

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So I haven't forgotten about GB.  Checking in ever so often.  I noticed the tag "Not Planned".  Can someone from GB explain why they don't want to go this route?  As a consumer this seems like an obvious way to go so I'm wondering what I'm missing?  Is it the security concerns?  Is it company culture/philosophy?  Technical hurdles? Is it something you will never do?  Thanks
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Jon Morgan

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I'm really frustrated but this. I try my absolute best to keep proactively on top of my finances, but try as I might I keep falling off the wagon, and the hurdle of having to import and bring up to date my accounts puts me off more and more. I love the flexibility of GB, it's the only tool that ever bested my Excel spreadsheet functionality
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Mrudi

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Jon
I’m with you. I’m confused as to why GB wouldn’t want to make it easy to use their product. If I had any computer skills I would make my own app. Maybe it’s just not something they can do technically with their product. I sense it’s also somewhat a philosophical issue with them as well. They believe typing in your transactions makes you more aware of your spending. I would urge them to do some consumer research to confirm if that is true. Oh well, guess I just should go take some programming classes :).
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Telt1910

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Jon, everyone else: when the next security breach happens to an app/site like Goodbudget, but with financial integration to bank and credit accounts, you will be happy that GB does not do this.  Do you really want to give away all the increased security measures by your bank, credit card companies, etc. and put them in a centrally located place, that once breached, exposes you (completely)?  I for one will continue to begrudgingly, but happily import my transactions from my accounts every week, knowing I don't have to worry about the risk mentioned above and/or my info being sold/shared by the app's provider for 'targeted ads' by 3rd parties ((i.e. m i n t).  There is a price for the convenience, and I for one, am not willing to pay for it.
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Jon Morgan

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From what I know about Open Banking, it is a Government initiative and has been done in collaboration with most/all of the UK banks. It uses the same or better encryption, and they they never give anything more than read-only access to your bank account, you never give away your password because they use a unique public/private key style token approach, so you always have control of who has access to your data and can revoke it at any time. So no, I'm not any more worried about security than with GoodBudget.

You don't get any more security by entering your transactions manually - at the end of the day the exact same data will be in the third party database as is currently the case with GoodBudget, it just will have taken more effort to get them in. 

As I've said before, I already often end up having to do bulk uploads when I "fall off the wagon" - how is this any different? 

I'm not sure why you think that these other companies are going to be any more/less likely to share your data than your own banks or GoodBudget?  They all have the same info about you!  I'll continue to chose companies that seem to be as moral as possible, like I think GoodBudget appears to be.

So yes, I'm going to still be on the lookout for an alternative. Still nothing coming close to the underlying structural functionality of GoodBudget, I'm fully sure that I'll be looking for a long time. Hopefully, there will be a change in heart from the GoodBudget team and I'll not have to move at all!! :D  I can live in hope :D
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Karisa Russell, Official Rep

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Official Response
Hi Jon and Mrudi, 

Thank you both for posting. It sounds like you're frustrated at both the fact that there are features missing from Goodbudget that are really important to you, and also because we haven't been clear why we're choosing to not work on them. I'm sorry we haven't been communicating better with you!

You've all probably heard us harp on this before, but we're a small team. That means we're always prioritizing and re-prioritizing what we're working on. And there are a lot of different things we consider when we're choosing how to spend our time. We consider how much work it will take to implement a feature, how many people will be impacted, what kinds ongoing costs / support will we need to take on to implement something well, how highly requested, etc. We can't do everything, and even if we could, there are things we'd choose not to do. By saying yes to some things means we say no to other things. But we haven't been very good at letting you all know why we saying no.

Mrudi, it sounds like you're wondering why GB hasn't moved forward with a 'Pause' feature, like you suggested initially. We've chosen to not move forward with that right now because GB already has functionally that allows you to stop and start...but not necessarily by pushing Pause. For example, if you find you don't have time to finish matching transactions while on the import screen, you can import what you have matched, come back later and upload the file you were using earlier to finish. Also, generally speaking, a small percentage of Goodbudgeters use the import feature. There are other features / enhancements we'd like to work on that will impact more people, and I've added some of them below.

Jon, I think you're asking why isn't GB working on an automatic syncing feature, so I'll work to address that. We've done some preliminary research in the past regarding implementing a feature like this. We know that it would take a lot of work to get it off the ground. But this sort of feature would also require a lot of ongoing work in terms of maintaining the feature so that we're always up to code with security features and support. That's a big job and we're not committing to pulling that trigger. And while Open Banking is common in the UK, it's not a convention here in the States where the bulk of our customers are. 

If you're wondering what we've been saying yes to, one of our biggest releases recently was Debt functionality on the web. That was important to us because many of you told us you needed features to help you track your debt payoff progress. And, we know that about 30% of Goodbudgeters are working to pay off debt! If you take a look on the Roadmap, you'll see that we're still working to fully build out those features on the mobile apps so you can track your debt on the go. 

We're also working on more Course material, which many of you have said would be helpful on your budget journey. 

Sorry we haven't been more clear on this, but I hope this helps you understand where we're at on these things. 

Happy budgeting,
Karisa
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Mrudi

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Thanks Karisa.  Keep working at it.  As a suggestion, maybe reach out to the folks at Tiller.  Perhaps you two could partner on automatic feeds into the GB app.  I pay $5/month with them to use their spreadsheets that automatically download transactions.  I would gladly pay $10/month if that was combined with your app.

PS.  I tried this myself (using Tiller to bring in transactions) and it works but the fact i have to touch every transaction in order to get it into GB is a show stopper.  It would take me hours and it would be very tedious - click on transaction, move it to unassigned envelope, repeat.  It works but its way too time consuming.
(Edited)
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Jon Morgan

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Thanks for responding more fully Karisa, it is appreciated.  I do get the overhead issues involved and I guess I'm in the minority falling back on using the transaction imports to catch up then, so see it makes little sense to you. I wish I could be as on it as everyone else is then!! :(
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Telt1910

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Thanks Karisa! My use of GB is USA-based and my comments are based on this, even though I’ve lived and banked in Europe and the Caribbean as well.