I’ve been using Quicken for over a decade to manage our personal finances, so when the folks at Intuit asked me to review Quicken Home and Business 2012, I was happy to do so. I’ll have a chance for one lucky Canadian to download a free copy of Quicken Home and Business 2012 (for Canadians) at the end of this review.
Quicken Home & Business vs. Cash Manager
There are a few different versions of Quicken personal finance software available. To be clear, the Home & Business edition I’m reviewing here offers a little more than the basic Quicken Cash Manager. You can compare the two at Intuit’s website, but the main difference is that you can track investments and business transactions in Home and Business, whereas Cash Manager just allows you to track spending, saving and budgeting.
Both are very useful, depending on your unique needs. I like the Home and Business version because I can track our investments as well as our self-employment and commission employment expenses. It really makes filing our taxes a lot easier. I can just enter the expenses as we incur them and generate customized tax reports that sum it all up for me at tax time.
What Can Quicken Home & Business 2012 Do for You?
I downloaded the 2012 edition in order to update my 2008 version. The transition was pretty seamless. It did, however, allow me the opportunity to really look at how I was using the software and update some categories and reports to better reflect our current income, spending and tax situation.
Here are some of the ways Quicken Home & Business can help you stay on top of your finances:
- Categorize income and expenses so you know what’s coming in and what’s going out
- Track your net worth
- Set up a budget that tracks as many (or as few) spending categories as you like
- Track your spending and identify areas where you can cut back or save more
- Generate customizable reports for your investments, business, taxes, spending, and budgeting
- Set up savings goals for special items like a vacation, new vehicle, or Christmas expenses.
- Track your debt and set up a debt reduction plan
- Automatically enter regular bills and pay cheques
- Enter transactions and track balances for all of your bank, credit card and investment accounts (RRSPs, TFSAs, brokerage accounts, etc.)
There are tabs for Spending, Bills, Planning, Investing, Property & Debt, and Business. Each gives you a customizable, at-a-glance view of what’s happening in a particular area of your financial life. There’s also a “Home” tab that you can customize to show just about anything you’d like from any area you track.
Is Quicken for You?
Only you can decide whether your financial situation could really improve with Quicken. Like any other software program, it’s just a tool. It can’t cause you to earn more income, or curb your spending. Only you can do that.
I know some folks who just can’t be bothered entering all of their expenses and transactions into the software. To be honest, it is a lot of work – even though you can download your transactions from most financial institutions. For me, however, it’s worth it for the peace of mind I get from knowing where we stand financially and being able to spend money on things with the confidence that we can really afford them.
While I have yet to find a personal finance software that works as well for us as Quicken, I would consider switching if someone could address a few of the issues I have with using the product. The biggest problem for me is that I use a Mac. There is no Quicken for Mac available for Canadians. In order to use Quicken, I have to buy a separate software that allows me to run Windows simultaneously on my Mac – annoying!
Secondly, I’d like to see Quicken updated to sync with mobile devices like iPad. There are all kinds of ways that creative apps could make the software a lot more user friendly.
Win a Free Download of Quicken Home & Business 2012
In the interest of full disclosure, I did not personally receive any remuneration for writing this review. Nor did Intuit put any restrictions on what I could say. So this is just my honest opinion based on my experiences with the product.
Intuit did, however, offer a free download of Quicken Home & Business 2012 for Canadians. If you want a chance to win it, all you have to do is leave a comment on this article by 5:00 PM Eastern time on January 29, 2012. I’ll randomly draw a number based on the number of comments. I’ll notify the winner via email and send along a link for the free download. Canadians only please: this is for the Canadian version of Quicken Home & Business only. Good luck to all!