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Quicken 2011 review

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Quicken 2011 is one of the biggest new releases in the recent history of Intuit's venerable personal finance package, and for anyone still interested in managing their finances on the desktop, it's well worth a look.

In addition to a major overhaul that makes setup easier than ever and updates the app's look and feel, Quicken 2011 supports transaction data downloads from more than 12,000 financial institutions. That's about 2.5 times as many as the 5000-odd institutions supported in Quicken 2010, so if you've been holding off on personal finance software because your local bank doesn't work with it, you might find that things have changed. The ability to automate data entry is one of the most useful features of a personal finance package, since it makes seeing where your money is going and, by extension, planning for the future so much easier.

Quicken 2011 doesn't just support thousands of new institutions, it also simplifies the task of setting them up for data downloads. When you set up an account, the software presents you with a list of the top 20 institutions offering that account type (and autocompletes as you type in the name of an institution that isn't on the list). If you already have an online account with the institution, all you have to do (in most cases) is enter your existing log-in info (user ID and password) to complete the setup.

This is pretty much how Mint.com works, and the similarity is no coincidence. Intuit has made Mint.com its online brand for personal finance and put Mint.com's leadership team in charge of Quicken desktop editions.

In fact, Quicken is starting to look eerily like Mint in many respects and more than ever, the basic editions of Quicken 2011 provide similar features. Given that Mint is a free service, these Quicken editions seem to be designed primarily for people who don't want to entrust their financial data to a web application that stores it in the cloud and are willing to pay for the privilege.

However, the higher end Quicken Premier 2011, which I tested in late-beta form, does offer a fair amount of functionality relating to investments that you don't get from Mint. This is the package for people who like to keep close tabs on their portfolio and want tools to help analyze the tax consequences of a stock sale, or to rebalance their asset mix.

Other editions with special features include the Quicken Home & Business, which includes everything in Premier plus additional help for self-employed people who wish to track their business and personal finances in a single application and the Quicken Rental Property Manager, for small landlords.

Regardless of the edition of Quicken 2011, its designers' web sensibility is immediately evident in their use of graphics: If you like to see your financial life laid out in pie charts, you'll love Quicken 2011's ability to create them not just for transactions in a single account, but across all accounts (much more useful for obtaining a real world picture of what's going on). Drilling down for details is as easy as clicking a chart segment and when you're in register views, you can adjust column widths to your liking and add or remove columns if you like.

Intuit is also touting Quicken 2011's improved ability to categorise downloaded transactions accurately, claiming a 90 percent accuracy rate. In my tests, I couldn't verify this claim, however. Several transactions came in with no category label, and I did have to correct a few. But certainly the software got many categories right, leaving significantly less work for me to do. Assigning categories to expenses is important if you want to see where your money is going and where you might be able to cut back, if you want to save toward a goal, for example.

Longtime Quicken users may have to spend a few days getting used to the new streamlined user interface, which is a lot less cluttered with menus and toolbar items than the old one. I liked it and found it reasonably intuitive. I certainly didn't miss items such as Goals (which has largely been subsumed into the Planning section).

The app had no trouble importing data from my previous Quicken file, so people interested In upgrading (if only to maintain transaction download support, which expires for editions older than three years) shouldn't find the transition too painful. (Quicken 2011 still supports importing Microsoft Money files, even though Microsoft has discontinued the product and will end its support for online services in January.)



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Comments

Tolerable said: I have come back to using Quicken after an 8 year excel spreadsheet break I bought the Rental version and could not be happier I own two rental properties and have had no problems with maintaining separate accounting for utilities expenses or any other expense for that matter It would appear that those unhappy with this software might be better suited with a fully functional accounting software program However the ease of use with this program and wide array of useful functionality may be difficult to matchThe only issue I have found is that the download from my bank at times misses an entire day of transaction detail It is easy enough to catch during the monthly recon but a minor hassle to enter a few missed transactions Other than a few missed transactions if has effectively linked to 9 separate bank accounts 3 credit cards 1 auto loan and 3 retirement accounts I absolutely love having ALL in one place for a big picture and real time viewIt would be really nice to have access to my mortgage and escrow account details which I am now entering manually Great product

Syble said: I have used Quicken 2001 for years and like it was considering upgrading but from all these postings I need to stick with what I have My problem is Im now running Windows 7 and I cant print the reports Does anyone have suggestionsThanks

Oblucky said: Just a mess I have used Quicken for ten plus years I just pay bills and calculate totals for taxes I own several rental properties I switched to 2011 from 2009 and now the bills to the local utility cannot be broken out by individual property a tax nightmareFirst I tried the Basic 2011 because I have no need for pie charts and goal settingIn reading glasses fine print the box said that inessenceif you ever bought a premium version you cant use the cheaper Basic I spent two hours of my time setting up and converting files and then presented me two options upgrade or get lostThe manager at a local office supply store agreed it was a ridiculous and onerous requirement and gave me a refund on the opened softwareShe said in this case I have to violate our policy about open softwareThis was my second worst software experience since installing Quicken Rental PropertyThat software had less functionality than an easyExcel spreadsheetLike many of the other comments - I would like to try an alternativeSuggestions

Elliedev said: I am still using Quicken 2004 as the later versions are no longer supported in the UK Have always loved this product but am having problems re-installing on new laptop Have used on Windows 7 before but now get messages saying it hasnt been able to load qwappdll and qwinvexdll Any help anyone can give me would be greatly appreciated Cheers

Jloves said: I tried Quicken 2011 I do not like it at all I perfer the older Quicken I like Quicken back 2001I dont want some computer online program telling me how to use my MONEY or putting my money out there on the internet I want it on my desk top not online

Toby said: Thrilled to read that its not just me who has had so many problems with Quicken 2011 Looking for my first home finance tool I went straight to Quicken thinking that it was a well established competent product Quicken 2011 is rubbish Cant import csvxls files and so I cant even get data into Quicken My bank doesntexport QIF Wake up Intuit and have a look at the date- its 2011 not 1911 Get with the program

Abc123 said: Thats 1993 not 2993

Abc123 said: I have been using quicken since 2993 and this is by far the worst release ever It is buggy slow and does not allow many of the options that existed in previous releases Total lack of regard for the preferences of the customers

Tyler said: Returned mine today to Amazon taken advantage of the intuit 60 day guarantee What a horrendous piece of software quicken has become

Mgf384 said: pls bring back MS Money I had to switch to Quicken only to find out that the program will not accept QIf files anymore nor OFX Excel etc formats which are supported by all major banks even cheap money management software can import data from these formatsI have now removed this soft it was supposed to make my financial life easier all I got from it was a major headache

Mlbarstow2 said: I was a Money user for many years and had to buy Quicken when they quit What a piece of GARBAGE I have to go through all sorts of contortions to download from my bank and cannot even save it I click on the save button and it just sits there I try to look at it after Ive saved it and its NOT THERE When I try to pullup the data file it asks if I want to save it Also it just arbitrarily decides to cagegorize an item an whatever just picks a category out of thin air or copies the previous entry Looking for another -- any other -- program

Gord said: I am forced to upgrade for third time now every 3 years just to retain the download feature from my financial institutiion Youre not paying for a product seems more like youre paying for a subscription - about 33year Its a hassle each time to upgrade whole product when all that should really be neccessary is an update

CharlesB said: After many many tries was unable to even register the 2011 product I deleted it and went back to 2010 version

Bill B said: What a nightmare Bought 2011 yesterday for full price got the 12 offer todayData from 2009 seemed to convert cant print checks in Windows7 64bit Balwinder was useless

Gail T said: Thanks to all of you who commented here You just saved me 2999 Yes theyre offering Quicken Deluxe for half price Ive been a user since the first version and have become dependent on it I dont even have a paper check register I guess Ill keep using my 2010 version for another year even though Im not crazy about it Fingers crossed for 2012

Cody said: I had relatively few issues with 2010 but in the short time Ive had 2011 I have had multiple problems with transactions including very old ones getting duplicated transfers between accounts frequently get switched eg when I update it will have transfer go from acct A to B go from A to A throwing off balances of both and no less than THREE times Quicken has made me deauthorize and reauthorize my online accounts which is time consuming and then results in double downloads again-AVOID

Carol said: I tried to load 2011 and the software wouldnt even let me post an entry The new software seemed more focused on getting downloads from the bank and I dont use this feature The help section is uselessMy 2008 version was a breeze to use Im going back to it and dumping 2011 Fortunately I saved my data files and software pkg Buyers Beware

Bud said: By now Ive tried them all Moneydance Moneystrands Mint Yodlee YNAB Mvelopes to name only a few Problems of one kind or another with EVERY LAST ONE of them And for me yes Quicken is pretty bloated - but it works Downloads categorizes reports the whole schmear I think Patzer will wind up making it a great product

Jeff551 said: Please tell me who has a similar program that works Quicken 2011 is really a poor slow excuse to shake down users one more time for more money Technical assistance is in Pakistan They dont speak english and havent got a clue Dont even think of trusting your financial data to these thieves

Ralph said: DANGER DANGER Been using Quicken for 22 years yep since the beginning STAY AWAY FROM 2011 Doesnt work right Wont download from the bank Loses data Whats wrong with these people Please please find me an alternative Intuit is BAD NEWS now

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