Intuit — the folks who specialize in financial software and Web-based services for customers, small businesses, and accounting professionals — are announcing that Quicken 2002 for Macintosh will be built natively for Mac OS X. Yep, the personal finance software will be fully Carbonized.
This means that the upcoming version of Quicken, due later this summer, is still compatible with Mac OS 9.0.4. Besides Mac OS X compatibility, the 2002 version will let users download their most recent brokerage transactions directly from the Web into Quicken via QFX technology, an industry standard for online banking.
Quicken 2002 for Mac users will be able to update all of their financial account information in one step through online connectivity to over 1,000 financial institutions. This feature lets users download bank, credit card, brokerage statements, and stock quotes in a single online session. This saves lots of time because you don’t have to connect to each institution individually, Adam Samuels, Quicken product manager, told MacCentral. It’s a feature that Quicken users have long wanted, he said.
There’s also a new Auto-Reconcile feature that lets you review prior statements and reconcile your financial statements automatically. There are also new Help Assistants to guide users through various tasks. Samuels said that even more Assistants, designed to be “powerful but easy to use,” are in the works.
The upcoming version will also introduce a new Capital Gains Estimator, which will let consumers forecast their year-round tax situation more easily, he added. The estimator will help Quicken users minimize their taxes by evaluating the tax implications of selling different stocks and mutual funds before they conduct a transaction, Samuels said.
He said that the features of Quicken 2002 were based on customer demand. Intuit has always had a “laser like focus” on customers to determine what they want. And the thing that Mac customers most wanted in an upgrade was Mac OS X native compatibility.
Quicken 2002 can be preordered now at
the product Web site. The price is US$59.95. Upgraders get a $20 rebate.
Samuels said that now is an opportune time for a Quicken upgrade as the world of personal finance is in a bit of turmoil with stocks down, 401(k)s down, and the economy in a cautionary period. The Intuit software comes in handy in both the “up” and “down” economic times, he said.
Quicken 2002 for the Macintosh is designed to address the time crunch, volatile stock market, and changing tax laws faced by its US users. Since 1969, Americans work an average of 14 hours more each week, according to date from a “Quicken User Penetrations Study” by Forrester Research. Small businesses spend 10 hours a week managing finances. Quicken 2002 is designed to offer time-saving enhancements to existing capabilities and reduce the steps for downloading and reconciling transactions, Samuels said.
Forrester Research says that investor confidence in the stock market has dropped to a four-year low. 401 (k) accounts are losing money for the first time. And consumers spend an average of 7.6 hours to research one investment, according to the research. The upcoming version of Quicken simplifies the process of setting up investment accounts and streamlines the process of entering investment transactions, Samuels said.
When it comes to taxes, only 44 percent of Americans know the changes in federal tax laws, according to Forrester Research. What’s more, Americans overpay US $2 billion annually to the IRS. With these things in mind, Intuit designed Quicken 2002 to help users evaluate the tax impact of proposed sales so they can make more informed decisions and enable better reporting for tax-related items.
“We’re unique in that we take a holistic approach to personal finance,” Samuels said. “Our products are designed to help people save time and steps in managing their personal finances.”
The typical Quicken 2002 for the Mac customer is what Intuit describes as an “in-control, active manager” who saves and invests her money carefully, plan ahead, and view their finances holistically. They’re also likely to be married and college educated, Intuit’s research shows.
Mac users will also be happy to know that a conduit for Pocket Quicken 2.0, the version of Quicken for PDAs (personal digital assistants) is in the works for their favorite operating system. Look for it in the third quarter.
Forty percent of Quicken 2001 users use a handheld device such as a Palm or Visor. And 20 percent of those use Pocket Quicken, Samuels said.