Money management software review: Quicken
Published: 25 January 2008
By Fergal Barry-Murphy 58 Comments
Updated: 20 August 2011
After the popularity of last week’s review of Microsoft Money, we are following up this week with a review of its chief rival, Quicken.
Unfortunately, the latest version of Quicken UK now available dates back to 2002. However, it remains an impressive piece of software.
If you are looking for some current UK money management software you might like to look at Personal Accountz, now called Home Accountz.
So let’s have a closer look at what Quicken UK has to offer.
When Quicken 2002 UK was released it was arguably the best money management applications you could get. And when it comes down to it, there isn’t a whole lot about managing your finances effectively that has changed in the last few years.
So what do you get?
To start with, Quicken has a user-friendly set-up process to help you get started and to get your initial accounts in order. In fact, as money management applications go, Quicken 2002 is very easy to use.
The beauty of Quicken is that it brings all your finances together in one easy to manage place. As with any money management application you are going to have to do some groundwork at the outset, and make sure you keep everything up to date thereafter. The more details you enter, the more accurately and efficiently you will be able to manage your finances.
To start with, you need to enter details of your bank accounts, credit cards, loans and mortgage. You will also need to enter day to day incomings and outgoings such as income and cheques, and set dates for bills such as credit card payments and utilities.
Quicken 2002 can also help you with budgeting and you can set up extra categories for things like motor expenses and groceries. Also, depending on which version of Quicken you buy, you may also be able to use it to track your investments, manage your taxes and even help you run a small business.
The investment tracking facility is particularly effective as you can easily keep an eye on your savings, stockmarket investments, ISAs, dividends and more. Analysing your finances and other trends is also made easy with Quicken as it can present your finances in graph or chart form.
These are features that you will find as standard in most money management applications. However, it is the little things that really make Quicken 2002 stand out from the crowd. For example, Quicken Deluxe 2002 has a home inventory feature so you can list all your belongings, their details and their value for insurance purposes. It also has a Emergency Records Organiser that prompts you for important information like emergency service contact details, insurance policy details, will details and so on.
There is no doubt that Quicken 2002 is a quality piece of software. However, we do have two main criticisms. When Quicken was released it only synched with the online banking facilities of three banks – HSBC, Lloyds TSB and MBNA. The situation may have improved since then, or you may also be able to update your online statements to Quicken manually using .QIF files. However, if you are considering Quicken, check with your bank first to make sure that you can update from your online accounts. If you can not, it really isn’t worth the outlay.
The other fault we found is that Quicken discontinued its customer support in the UK at the end of 2006. The software comes with good documentation and there is plenty of help available online, but you can not depend on direct help and advice from the Quicken people.
However, if you can get over these two issues Quicken 2002 remains a good option, though it isn’t cheap. The Standard version retails at £29.95, the Deluxe version at £49.90, and Deluxe and Business at £69.95. However, because it is outdated you should be able to get a better deal.
It seems like the UK consumer is being neglected a little on the money management software front, with Microsoft Money and Quicken not updating in years. Of the two, Quicken is probably the better piece of software. However, Microsoft Money does have the advantage of being a little cheaper, it offers a free trial for download and there is customer support available.
Although these are the two heavy-hitters on the market, they are not the only money management applications out there. Over the next few weeks we will look at some of the alternatives, starting next week with Moneydance.