One of the benefits of being a personal finance blogger is having the ability to “test drive” things to write reviews about them.  I was given a copy of Quicken Home and Business 2012 to try out and review.

I was very very excited to try Quicken because I have heard so many great things about it and it almost seems that any Personal Finance Blogger isn’t really a personal finance blogger if they don’t use some sort of snazzy personal finance software like Quicken to track their spending, their budgets, and their investments all in one place.

Now, I think my review might be skewed because I have never tried Quicken before, I have used Mint.com before Quicken, and I am an extremely low-tech person (which is absolutely shocking to hear from someone who identifies themselves as Generation Y, I know).

I gave it an honest effort, I spent about 4 hours trying to figure out it, clicking on tabs, clicking on graphs, and trying to input data.  Then I became extremely frustrated because I wasn’t doing it correctly and was worried that I would have to be manually inputting data on a regular basis (like correcting my mortgage remaining amount, updating my bank accounts).  I manually inputted all my investments because they do not have Questrade in their database (just like Mint.com).

That would just drive me up the wall.

I tried to set up accounts but then was asked to download some sort of spreadsheet from my bank’s website (which I couldn’t find) so that Quicken could update my Quicken account.  I then resorted to manually inputting my information.  I gave up after four hours and left it again for a week.  With fresh eyes, I tried it again and no luck, really.

Here are some of the PROS and CONS of Quicken that I have gathered in my short time trying it out:

PROS:

  • Really really detail oriented- if you want detail, Quicken is your software!
  • I really really liked the “reminders” page where they reminded you that you have X number of days left to donate to a charitable organization to receive a tax receipt, or that you have X number of days to sell your shares you want to share for the 2011 tax year.
  • I liked the business section- you can even create invoices.  It is very detailed and “professional”
  • I liked that there were multiple sections, like budgeting, housing and debt, investments, spending, taxes, and business (and more…).  It really felt very much like an “all in one” personal finance software.

CONS:

  • I don’t know if it’s just me, but I found it very difficult to use.  I wish there was some sort of instruction manual for it (though I must admit I doubt I would have the patience to read through an instruction manual- I barely had patience to read through the “getting started” instructions on the Quicken website)
  • Connecting the information in Quicken to your banking accounts isn’t as easy as Mint.com- It seemed to ask for your last statement date (I am honestly too lazy to scrounge around for my recent banking statements) and asked for you to upload a spreadsheet from your banking website to Quicken.  I was unable to find the said spreadsheet or download link on many of my banking webpages.
  • It also slowed down my laptop (not sure if this is because I had to download a program that would allow Windows to run on my Macbook Pro)
  • It only works on Windows 7 or Windows XP (so no to Macs!)

Final Verdict:

Because it doens’t run on Apple computers (and doesn’t have that seamless intuitive Apple interface that I’m accustomed to), I found Quicken very non-user friendly.  If it was easier to upload account information (like it is on Mint.com) I’m sure my impression of Quicken Home and Business 2012 would be different.  I do not think I’ll be using it for ALL of my personal finance information and needs (I still really like Mint.com because its quick, easy, and there’s an “app for that”).

I do think I will try and include my investments in Quicken and my business information in Quicken because what I am currently using is basically archaic (notebook and pen, anyone?).  I will need to delve more deeply as to how to use Quicken for these.

Readers, are you big Quicken fans?  Have you tried the Home and Business 2012?  If so, what do you think of it?  Any tips for me as to how I can navigate it better?  Do they have “Quicken for Dummies”? 😉

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