It is tax season already! Time has gone by so quickly. Last year in 2011, I wasn’t exactly efficient with my taxes and my accountant hated me for it. Because of my lack of adequate tax software in 2011, I decided that 2012 was going to be different. 2012 was going to be the year that I was going to make my accountant happy. Mainly, I want to get out of his office quicker (he charges a lot per hour) during tax ‘day’ and focus more on our company (and my personal) accounting. I began the search for the Best Tax Software for Canadians. The sad part is, there aren’t many reviews that have screenshots of the product. Made me think they just reviewed it for the sack of it without actually getting the physical software.
That is when Intuit came calling us and asked us to test their software. Put it through our rigorous and detailed analyze for review. They made it clear that they wanted an unbiased and real review. We promised that we would highlight flaws just as much as we would highlight great features. That is when the fine folks at Quicken sent us the Quicken Home and Business 2012.
We promised [Intuit] that we would highlight flaws just as much as we would highlight great features
Installing Quicken Home & Business 2012 on my computer was extremely easy. Took about 6 minutes to install the whole package. Some of the system requirements are below:
|Operating System||Windows XP SP2+, Vista, Windows 7 (32- and 64-bit)|
|Hard Disk Space||Up to 450 MB free space; up to 1 GB if .NET not installed|
|Display||1024x768 or higher resolution|
- Expenses automatically categorized as business or personal (you can also manually insert data)
- Locate Tax-deductible business expenses
- Plenty of Reports
- Bill reminder alerts
What Makes 2012 Different then 2011?
Home and Business 2012 focuses heavily on design.
- They redesigned the debt-cutting tools
- Gave users more setting options (increased font size)
- Better coding which increases the software’s load time
- Budgeting is enhanced by increase user engagement.
- Multi-currency support
Much like last year, Quicken hasn’t shrunk there support or increased it. You can contact them by email and that service is for free. Chat Help is Free. If you need help by the phone it is a pretty hefty price, costing you $24.95 per call, ouch!
Most users should be able to get answers to their questions from email or online chat. I did find the system pretty easy and user friendly to navigate. They make most of the features are self-explanatory and they take you through steps (setup guide).
I found loading Quicken Home and Business 2012 for the first time took a bit longer than expected. Though, this could be due to the fact that I had many programs running in the background. I restarted my computer and loaded Quicken, I still found it a bit slower (with no programs in the background).
First Screen you see is below (Figure 1) the Home screen in the beginning is essentially a quiz (with really nice graphics)
See Where Your Money Goes
I used the ‘Manual’ version where you access your online bank information and download the ‘Quicken’ file format to populate all your transactions. At Bank of Montreal they had Quicken, Simply Accounting and Spreadsheet as a few other options. Quicken stated it would take about 10 minutes, I had this done within about 6 minutes, even with the little hiccup of locating where to download all my transactions. It populates it in chart format like below (Figure 2)
The chart format is just like any online banking system you have seen before (you really can’t show individual transactions any other way).
Budgeting Your Expenses
Time to get into the Nitty Gritty Budgeting tool! Quicken calls this there planning tool and they do a pretty amazing job at highlight in bar graph format your months transactions. I used a month I knew I would be over on for sure (November, I do most Christmas shopping than).
For the sake of this review, I removed all other categories in the budget (I had operational expenses, employee expenses… and a few other unrelated categories) and focused on the main ones: Fast Food, Restaurant’s and Shopping.
As you can tell I didn’t really eat out much for November but I do some shopping. One thing I don’t like about this area is that Quicken doesn’t have the ‘$’ signs in the columns at all. Under budget it’s just a number and same with the remaining amount per category.
Still the design is very user friendly, it’s exciting/hip (yes Financial tools can be hip also), and it provides a great resource for Canadians.
Spend That Money
Once you get a bit more advance you can see all of your expenses in a nice pie chart (image from Quicken).
I liked the software a lot. I found the software to be really easy to use, great design and I was able to pull most of my transactions quickly. If I spent another 20 minutes I could have easily organized my transactions by categories, making the system a lot more useful. I find it very similar to Mint.ca (Intuit bought Mint) which in my opinion is a good thing. For many of our Mac users you will not be able to use Quicken Home and Business 2012, you will need to use Quicken Essentials for Mac (though it doesn’t seem to be getting great reviews)
On a side note it looks like Quicken is targeting the women demographic and this video shows that plus provides an overview of the product.