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Home financial software — the final word.

Before purchasing either Quicken's Home and Business or Microsoft's Money Small Business, be aware that there are more sophisticated programs better suited to your needs than these two. Quicken's QuickBooks Premier has become the industry standard for small business accounting programs.

If you currently have an older version of any of Quicken's offerings, Intuit has stopped technical support for pre-2001versions. If you have anything in this age group you may want to upgrade as there have been significant upgrades and you will be able to do much more.

If you are a novice in terms of finance and computers, Quicken has the edge on Microsoft, if only for its ease of use and account set-up.

Microsoft, however, has incorporated some of Quicken's advantages, such as the ability to download your account information directly from the institution, rather than a tedious entry by entry input. Once you are up and running, Microsoft gets the nod for three years of free phone and email help. They also provide a tech support site with articles and instructions to help you with your software. Quicken users will have to pay for any phone or email tech support.

Both offer online bill pay services. Make sure you check these prices, if this is an important aspect of your financial software. Sample costs include Microsoft Money Standard's $2.95 /month for five bills, or $5.95 for fifteen bills from Money Premium. Quicken charges $9.95 for 20 transactions per month and $2.50 for each set of five additional transactions.

Although the financial programs take the information given and do wonderful things to provide you with consolidated information, remember you need to set up the account first, and then maintain it, diligently inputting transactions.

Managing your money is not an easy task, but it is within your grasp with one of these financial software packages.

Popular Products
Manufacturer/Model
1. QuickBooks *
2. Microsoft Money
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