Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Google Finance's Portfolio Manager is not up to scatch....yet

I've got to say that I am rather surprised that I am writing this post given how much I adore google products generally (I have an android phone, use gmail as my main personal email, am blogging on blogger etc).  I have found their products to be top notch generally and so was quite eager to try out their google finance functionality.

I found the main interface to be rather basic (a bit too much like yahoo if truth be told) and the ability to customise it was limited.  I realise that much of this is 'nit picking' and what I really wanted was a free portfolio tool which I could enter and view all my holdings at once - the idea of being able to link it with my google login which I use for virtually everything else was a bonus.  However this was where the problems started.  I have listed the issues with Google Finance's portfolio manager below

  • The biggest problem though was that after all the information was entered most things did not sum correctly to totals. 

  • For example I entered 1,620 BOQ (Bank of Queensland) shares.  The price they closed at was A$6.62 per share.  The value therefore should be $10,724.40. 

    Google finance gave an answer of ~$10,550 and it was only much later that the correct value was updated.

    Given that they were displaying the right price but for about an hour calculating the wrong value was something I could not explain

    he values were eventually correct about 1.5 hours after the market closed

  • Getting the right ticker is a nightmare for some shares 

  • For example I have IShares FTSE 100 ETF's listed on the London Stock Exchange which Google does not want to find.  As I want a portfolio

  • It is not efficient to enter several different purchase dates for the same stock

  • One of the things I was most excited about was that you could enter transactions as at certain dates with full details including notes and commissions (to get a realistic cost base)

    However you have to manually enter each stock trade seperately and then it combines it after you submit each transaction - this is particualrly annoying for DRP shares which tend to get issued every six months (thus I had ~5 years of transactions to enter in one at a time). 

    There is no way to enter several transactions at once
  • While it has a really useful feature of crediting a notional 'cash' account with dividends every time one is issued it has no way of accounting for DRPs

  • This means that I have to manually subtract cash for every stock I have that has a dividend reinvestment plan.  The idea is good but the execution is poor thus far.
However there are some features which are excellent which means I will continue to monitor Google Finance.
  1. For those who trade in stocks in different currencies the portfolio manager is excellent - you do not need to adjust for exchange rates on the relevant date - google does it all for you!  When giving a total portfolio value it also calculates it based on current exchange rates
  2. It accounts for historical stock splits - you dont have to enter this yourself- all you need to input is actuals and google does the rest
For me the biggest issue is a confidence one.  I will continue to monitor google finance and see if the issues around the portfolio are just around market closing or whether it was just a glitch today.  I also wish that the product was more streamlined and that you could decide what data you wanted to show in the relevant columns.  Thus far I'm not convined that this is a product that I want to use long term however if they can fix many of the problems I've outlined above (I have no doubt that the Google team can) then I'll be happy to switch over in the future.

1 comment:

  1. The portfolio also doesn't always add all transactions up, it's really unprofessional.