Quicken 2002 slowing a bit compared to MS's Money
by Alan Zisman (c) 2002
First published in Business in
Issue #638 January 15-21, 2002, The High Tech Office column
We're starting the new fiscal year off with a look at
tools. Last week, we looked at Microsoft's new Money 2002; this week,
focus on Intuit's Quicken 2002.
Intuit's Quicken franchise has four times as many
customers as Microsoft
Money. Perhaps as a result, however, Intuit seems to feel less of a
need to improve its product. This year's version is not dramatically
from either the 2000 or 2001 editions.
Change for change's sake is not particularly good, but
Microsoft has made to Money suggest some areas that Intuit might want
focus on. Take setup, for example. Like Money, Quicken asks a number of
Unlike Money, you too often have to enter the same
data again as you
configure the program.
And once you get started, there's less handholding
than Microsoft provides
to users new to financial record keeping.
The core of the program remains the same as in the
past, which is a
good thing. The program retains its ease in keeping personal financial
records and paying bills. Once again, the program integrates its data
the TurboTax tax preparation program (another Intuit program). And once
again, the program is available in comparable Mac and Windows versions.
The new budgeting module is much improved, offering a
series of tabs
that walk users through the budget-building process. The tabbed
is used in many of the program's screens, an effective way to keep a
of options handy while controlling on-screen clutter. New tabs can
be added, allowing customized views.
Like in recent versions of Microsoft Office, each
centre now features
a useful set of shortcuts to commonly used features, running down the
of the screen.
The program's portfolio tracker especially shines.
It's easy to find
the information you need by sorting your listings in a variety of ways.
A capital gains estimator points out the tax implications of selling at
different times. Portfolio information can be posted online with
so it can be viewed (but not changed) from different PCs. And users can
connect to a wide range of brokers right from the program.
Compared to Money, Quicken's Web connections seem
anemic. A portfolio
analyzer offers generic advice on how to improve your investment's
You can see estimated one-year to five-year returns, the best and worst
performers, and again, link to the capital gains feature to see tax
of sales. Similarly, a tax planner allows what-if games to try to
While Money offers an integrated life-long financial
Quicken focuses on each life event separately: college savings and
planning each gets its own planner. This may be less effective than
Both Money and Quicken have optional small-business
includes some invoicing features, but not much else.
Quicken's small business edition includes additional
as a mileage tracker, a forms designer, and an entry-level business
The program features excellent built-in help,
including a superb introductory
video for first-time users.
But if you need phone support, be prepared to pay and
to call on a weekday.
Even then, phone support is only available during the day. Money's
support is also limited to day-time hours, but at least it's available
seven days a week. (Quicken does offer free phone support for
and bill-payment issues.)
The new versions of Microsoft Money and Intuit's
Quicken for 2002 are
both mature and full-featured programs.
Quicken offers stronger tools for small-business users
and for portfolio
analysis. Money is easier to set up for new users, and offers better
banking tools, and better Internet linkage overall.