A few years ago, Intuit promised an innovative new Quicken interface, then disappointed us. This year, however, the company came through. The new home page is better than anything Microsoft has done with Money, and its Intuits best effort yet. Add features such as the built-in ability to scan documents, an improved calendar, a better setup and update process, and dozens of smaller enhancements, and youve got a powerhouse upgrade that everyone should spring for. Its not just the best personal-finance product this year, its the best ever.
If youve already created usernames and passwords on your financial institutions sites, interfacing with Quicken will only take a few minutes. The payoff for using online tools to manage accounts is big: Quickens new home page offers just the right information. Account balances appear on the left, with a current cash-flow tally in the middle. Additional windows let you set up or view scheduled bills and the bill-pay calendar (which now displays a running daily cash flow) and see critical graphs. This view is customizable, but I wouldnt touch it: Its simple, clean, and tells you what you need to know at a glance.
The home page also houses the controls for One Step Update, which grabs new activity from all your online accounts, using one password. Downloaded transactions move into the familiar Quicken register, and you can enter new transactions either from the register or the Online Center.
I could do without the ads (for Quicken services) peppered throughout the program (though there are far fewer than there used to be), but thats about my only complaint, other than occasional interface confusion caused by a full-featured program with multiple navigational options. I love the new capability that lets you scan documents such as invoices and receipts and attach them to individual transactions, and Im glad to see support for more than 4,500 financial institutions.