HOME PC Alamode About Us HELP
Reviews Columns Features   Archives  

Software Review of:
Quicken 2002 Deluxe
Finances at Your Fingertips

 

Larry Grosskopf is a Clinical Psychologist at the San Antonio State Hospital, with a keen interest in continuing to learn about and use computers. Larry and Marta, his wife, are the proud parents of Zoë, age 8 (almost 9) and Jackson, age 7.

From the March, 2002 issue of PC Alamode Magazine

The most recent version of Intuit’s long-standing personal finance manager, Quicken 2002 serves as a powerful tool in your personal finance arsenal. The Quicken product line is the centerpiece of the Intuit software line that has been used literally by millions of people to help them with their finances, legal and tax challenges. Historically, through the years, each Quicken version has added improvements and enhancements, making it more user friendly and more powerful. Quicken 2002 Deluxe carries on that great tradition. 

In doing reviews of software, my preference is to skip discussing the installation, but with Quicken 2002, I will make an exception since the installation process is quite interesting. When the CD is place in the drive, installation begins with a fairly typical pop-up screen, except that there are several options available. Instead of just beginning the installation, there is an Installation Guide, which queries you as to what step you want to take. The options are to “install” the software (of course) to “view the Installation Guide,” to “cancel” or to explore “Related Software” that can be downloaded right from the Quicken Installation CD. Viewing the Installation Guide allows you to learn more about the installation and explore the process in great detail. It works somewhat like a FAQ (frequently asked questions) site and is very thorough. If you are afraid of installing software in general, this guide explains the process well and steers you through installation. 

Another neat feature was the Related Software with a list of several different programs to choose from, including Business Plan Pro, Quicken 2002 Home and Business, Quicken Quotes Live, Quicken Quick Payroll and Pocket Quicken for Palm OS personal data assistants. Some were free but others were not, rather they were supplementary services which Intuit puts at your ready disposal for an extra fee. I downloaded Quicken Quotes Live to test this process and once it installed, I was directed to a Web page where I could sign up for a plan and pay to use the service. Quicken Home and Business is on the CD, but you must purchase an unlock code to access it and use it for example. Pocket Quicken lets you Palm OS PDA users use your handheld computer to enter account data, view and examine balances, enter deposits, payments, transactions and then HotSync with your desktop and update the information into Quicken 2002.

Quicken 2002 requires a 90 Mhz IBM compatible PC running Windows 95, 98, 2000, Me, or XP as the operating system. There must be a minimum of 24 MB RAM with 32 MB recommended. Quicken Basic needs 53 MB of hard drive storage, Deluxe needs 67 MB and Home and Business needs 70 MB. Your system should also have a 2X or faster CD-ROM drive with at least a 4X CD-ROM drive recommended, a sound card, speakers, and printer. In addition, a VGA graphics card with 256 colors is the minimum as is a 14.4 Kbps modem with the recommended devices being SVGA graphics card with 16-bit color and a 56 Kbps modem.

You can set up and establish Quicken 2002 accounts for your checking, savings and even cash. Once you have your accounts established, you can easily track them, update them and monitor your progress. One key element, the aforementioned budgeting tool, allows you to make long-term plans for your budget and then track how well you are doing sticking to your budget. The step-by-step budgeting tool helps you create and monitor your personal budget, alerting you when you are going over your preset budget amounts. What I liked about the new version is the ability to see account balances and have access to your most used features from a single page. If you don’t like the way the default screen is set up, simply customize it more to your preferences. The long-standing feature that works better is the category feature found in earlier versions as well. This category feature lets you assign and compartmentalize your expenditures, then create and view reports and graphs in order to help you comprehend where your money went. Another fine feature that may help you stay out of financially troubled waters is the bill paying ability. You can program Quicken 2002 to remind and alert you before a bill is due to be paid. The One Step Update was useful in that once the program installed and I ran Update for the first time, I found there was a free update version which I quickly and effortlessly downloaded. 

Some of Quicken 2002’s new or enhanced capabilities include an easier to use setup page, which makes account establishment less tedious. The program has attempted to get smarter by automatically categorizing your transactions for you. You can easily add or create new categories by simply setting up the new category and assigning it to either income or expense. You can even set up subcategories within the categories and you can split transactions between different categories. The category feature may sound quite complicated and it is sophisticated, but I don’t believe it is difficult to use. The other new tools worth mentioning include a Portfolio Analyzer, an investment analysis tool, which will help you oversee and track your investment portfolio. Automatic reconciliation of accounts lets Quicken check your online balance and instantly reconcile the register and online balances if they match. The Paycheck Snapshot helps you track your paychecks data including gross, net, tax withholdings and retirement contributions to better prepare you for tax filing time. As with previous versions, Quicken.com is the online connection to your Quicken data, should you choose to use it. Last, but not least, in my view, is the budgeting instrument, where you can use this tool to set up, adjust and customize your budget. The emphasis seems to be on helping you stay in line with your budget, which is not a bad thing for most of us. 

This is a program that earns high marks from this judge. At the time of this writing, there was a rebate offer, check to see if it is still being offered by the time you read this review article. Quicken 2002 Basic is available online at several merchants for as low as $29.00. Quicken Deluxe sells online at various retailers for about $59.00. Quicken Home and Business is offered for about $79.00 online. Just for comparison, I did an online price comparison search and most of the prices were within a few dollars of the average price. It is also available locally for roughly the same price at Office Depot, OfficeMax, CompUSA and Best Buy, among others.
 


Copyright© 1996-2010
Alamo PC Organization, Inc.
San Antonio, TX USA