Schneider, PhD, send
by: Intuit, go
to the web site
Windows 95/98/2000/Me/XP, Pentium 133, 32 MB RAM, 67 MB Hard
(retail); $59.95 (upgrade)
be fair I have to admit I am a Quicken fan. I’ve
been using the product for many years now and
have upgraded on a semi-regular basis. I’ve
also, out of curiosity, kept an eye on yearly
reviews comparing Quicken to Microsoft’s
Money. In terms of reviews, Quicken had the lead
over Microsoft Money for a long time, but in
more recent years this had flipped. Although
this is not a comparison with Microsoft Money,
I have to believe that with this upgrade Quicken
is comparing very favorably this year.
of you who may not know it, Quicken is one of the premier
financial tools. At first it was primarily
designed to manage your checkbook, but since those humble
beginnings it has expanded to encompass practically every
financial aspect of one’s life. In this review, rather
than covering the vast number of features available, I’ll
be concentrating on what is new in this version and what
it will do for you.
about Quicken that I’ve been less than enthused
about in the past couple versions have been the interface.
I’ve seen the look and feel go through two major overhauls
and while the last one was an improvement, it still was in
need of another make over. I’m happy to say that Intuit
has made a dramatic turnaround in this area. To put it mildly,
Quicken 2003 hit a home run in my book. I won’t bother
with all the details about Intuit's countless usability studies,
just suffice it to say it's now much easier to locate and
use the plethora of features in the program.
There have also been significant improvements in the ease
of use as well. The interface, which has the feel of a
web page, is of course an improvement, but there are other
areas which have also received an overhaul. One is in the
number of financial groups associated with Quicken and
an improved bill matching feature. I had over four months
of records to catch up on when I reviewed this new version
and Quicken made the task a pretty painless event.
Another improved feature you will notice from the beginning
is the new guided setup. Like the Turbo Tax product, it asks
you several questions about your finances and behaviors and
adjusts the interface and accounts so that you can get right
into the heart of it as quickly as possible.
are several other features which have always been there,
because they were hard to find or clunky,
I had not taken advantage of them in previous versions. This
includes an improved auto bill entry and pay check feature.
The online bill reconciler has also been improved, making
more intelligent matches as well as becoming easier to use.
I suppose the nicest interface improvement is the home page’s
account list. Your main account information is now one click
away and in an easy to digest format.
premier product you have access to a wide variety of investing
and tax related options. One of the more exciting
aspects is the link between the product and online investment
tools that help you to plan "What if?" scenarios
prior to making purchases or sales of your investments.
If there is anything that still needs work it is the Emergency
Records and Home Inventory options. In themselves there is
nothing terribly wrong with them, but they were obviously
skipped when it came to overhauling the interface. Besides
a make over, some data entry features such as importing from
Outlook, PalmOS, or even the ability to use 3rd party scanners
would help round out these features.
If you are currently a Quicken user I highly recommend making
this upgrade. I have certainly skipped upgrades in the past
as the new features were less than compelling, but in this
version the interface changes alone are enough reason to
upgrade. In the end in this reviewer's opinion, the time
you save will be worth the money spent!
to the Editor are welcome and occasionally abused in public.
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