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 Knowledge for the CommonWealth

Intuit Offers a New Version of Quicken® This Fall

Farm Business Management Update, October 1998

By Gordon Groover of the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Virginia Tech

Farm business record keeping is one of the major uses of computers by many of Virginia's farmers. Many of these farmers find that Quicken® provides an inexpensive and highly effective means of keeping their farm business records. Following a tradition of releasing a new version of Quicken® for Windows applications every fall, Intuit will ship "Quicken® 99" products in October. Improvements in Quicken® products continue to be targeted at individuals with access to the World Wide Web and who want to implement electronic banking and investing. Few improvements have been made to the backbone of the program which allows farmers to easily record, analysis, and report on their farm business activities. Changes that may be useful to farmers are improvements in budgeting and tracking of loans and a "Quicken® Home Page" that allows users to get a quick over their current financial information.

Quicken® 99 is a general class of software made up of four specific products for home and business records keeping (Quicken® 99 Basic, Quicken® 99 Deluxe, Quicken® 99 Home and Business, and Quicken® 99 Suite). The most basic of the Quicken® 99 software family is obviously called "Quicken® 99 Basic." Quicken® 99 Basic is designed for individuals to record all financial transactions including, credit cards and checking, savings, money market, stocks, retirement accounts. In addition, Basic offers the ability to report expenses and income based on categorizes (purchased feed and/or fertilizer) or classes (corn and/or dairy) and to generate financial statements, such as cash flows and profit and loss.

Quicken® 99 Deluxe offers all the benefits of Basic and improves the reporting functions and the ability to customize reports to individual farm situations. New to Deluxe is "what if?" scenarios that help users to look at alternatives for retirement savings or college education savings. Deluxe also provides for tracking of tax transactions, tax planning, and even free federal tax filing.

Quicken® 99 Home and Business retains all the functions of Deluxe and adds the ability to create invoices and to track accounts payable and receivable. This information can be a useful addition for some farmers who have a small-scale businesses in addition to their farm businesses, such as selling supplies, feed, or custom work. Home and Business also offers a means to inventory home assets (can also include business) for insurance purposes. Quicken® 99 Suite adds the ability to prepare legal documents to the features of Deluxe.

Farmers who have used the Intuit product QuickPay for handling farm payroll may have difficulty integrating QuickPay into Quicken® 99 products. Intuit recommends against using QuickPay (a 16-bit application) with Quicken® 99 (a 32-bit application). Farmers who want to upgrade their record keeping software and retain the payroll function have only one option (within the line of products offered by Intuit): move to the business accounting package QuickBooks. All data files from Quicken® can be successfully imported into QuickBooks with out the loss of historical data. However, QuickBooks is an accrual-based accounting package and will require additional record keeping skills that are not required to use Quicken.

Quicken® Basic 99 and Quicken® Deluxe 99 are available for Windows 95, Windows 98 and Windows NT (Macintosh users can still purchase Quicken® 98 products). Other personal finance software with similar features as Quicken® are Kiplinger Simply Money®, Managing Your Money Plus®, Microsoft Money®, and MoneyCounts®.

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