Introduction to Quicken



Quicken is the leading financial software system on the market today.  It is more than just a checkbook program.  It allows you to keep valuable personal financial records to assist you in budgeting, financial planning, and income tax preparation.  Quicken consists of three different components--Personal Financial Skills, Small Business Financial Skills, and On-Line Financial Internet Skills.  We will be exploring the Personal Financial Skills.


First, some terms you need to know:


File--where all your personal financial information is stored.  This includes all your financial information, including your checking account, savings account, cash account, credit card account, bills to be paid, cleared checks, receipts, paycheck information, and financial reports and graphs.


Accounts--where you track your money and balances.  This includes checking account, savings account, credit card account, and cash account.  All the accounts go in the same file.


Categories--how you use your money.  Includes Income (money you make or receive) and Expense (money you spend).  This includes a different category for each type of income and expense--such as utilities, clothing, entertainment, rent, etc.


Now, you are ready to begin using Quicken.


To Open Quicken

1.                 Double-Click Icon

2.                 Start/Programs/Quicken


To Set Up your Accounts:

If Quicken has been used by another user you will need to close the existing windows that are open and create a new file for yourself by selecting File, New, and pressing (or clicking) OK.


1)     Now you will work through the guided set-up to set-up your accounts.

a)     Click on Add Accounts

b)    Choose Checking to add a checking account

i)       --enter account name/description. Then click next.

ii)     --enter a beginning balance ($500.00) and click done

c)     Follow the same steps to add a savings account with a balance of $1000.00

d)    Add a credit card with a balance of 0.

e)     Add a cash account with a balance of $50.00

f)      Click done a the bottom when finished


Note:  There is a button at the bottom that says (Watch Video).  This is a nice tutorial on using quicken.



Now you are ready to enter data into your checking account.  Begin by entering the beginning balance of $500.00.

1.                 In the date box, change the date to 1/1/99. (Use the dates given for this practice activity, NOT the current date.)

2.                 Tab to (or click on) the deposit box.  Key in 500.00.

3.                 Press Enter or click on Record.

4.                 You should now show a balance of $500.00.


***Note--Use the tab key to move from box to box or click the mouse in the box you want to enter data in.  Shift + Tab allows to move backward through the boxes.  The up and down arrow keys move you through the transactions.***




Now you are ready to enter transactions into your check register.  Click on the checking button at the left to open the checking register.  Transactions are any kind of expenditure, payment, deposit, or other change in your account.  Quickfill is a nice Quicken feature that remembers past transactions and tries to automatically complete entries for you.  Watch it closely and it can save you keying in repetitive data.


Transaction #1:

You are having a pizza party.  Enter the transaction as directed below.

1.                 Click in the date field.  Enter the date 02/01/03 

2.                 Tab to (or click on) the NUM field.  Enter 101 as the check number. 

3.                 Tab to the Payee field; enter Pizza Hut.

4.                 In the payment field, enter 14.50 (you must enter decimal point). 

5.                 In the Category field, enter Dining. 

6.                 In the Memo field, enter Party.

7.                 Press enter, or click record to enter the transaction.

8.                 You now show a balance of 485.50


Transaction #2:

You need more pizza for your party.  Enter transaction #2 using the information below.

1.                 Date:  February 1 (Note it comes up with that date for you).

2.                 Number:  102

3.                 Payee:  Enter Pizza.  Notice it brings up the title of the Pizza Hut (Quickfill).  Press enter to accept this entry.

4.                 Payment:  Payment 14.50

5.                 Category:  Dining

6.                 Memo:  Party

7.                 Press enter, or click record to enter the transaction.

8.                 You should now have a balance of 471.00.


Changing Transactions:

You made a mistake entering check number 102.  Delete it as directed below.

·        Select the second Pizza Hut transaction (#102) by clicking with your mouse or using the up/down arrow key.

·        Select Edit, Delete Transaction (or Ctrl + D)  Answer Yes to delete.


You also discover errors on the check 101 transaction entry.  To correct it,

·        Select the Payment field; replace 14.50 with 12.50.

·        Press enter, or click record to enter the transaction.

·        You should now have a balance of 487.50


Enter a deposit:

You received your paycheck and need to record the deposit as follows:

1.                 Date:  02/01/03

2.                 Check Number:  Enter DEP

3.                 Payee:  Paycheck

4.                 Deposit:  1256.45

5.                 Category:  Salary

6.                 Memo:  (leave blank--this field is optional)

7.                 Press enter, or click record to enter the transaction.

8.                  You should now have a balance of 1743.95.


Additional Transactions:

Enter the transactions that follow making sure to enter the categories exactly as written.  When finished, you should have a balance of $927.31.


Date                   Check #                   Payee                   Amount                   Category

2/2/03                        103                                          Karls Cash                        102.35                        Groceries

2/2/03                        104                                          The Bank                        365.00                        Rent

2/03/03                        105                                          Wal-Mart                        45.65                        split

                                                                                                            21.00 groc

                                                                                                            12.45 personal care

                                                                                                            12.20 gifts given

2/10/03                        106                                          Rural Telephone                        65.36                        Utilities:Phone

2/10/03                        107                                          City of Selden                        39.65                        Utilities:


2/10/03                        105                                          Midwest Energy                        198.63                        Utilities:






Quicken comes with a preset list of categories.  This allows you to see exactly where you spent your money.  This makes it much easier to prepare taxes and budgets and make financial planning decisions.  You can add, delete, move and rearrange the categories to fit your individual needs.


There are two types of categories.  Income categories include items that add to or increase your account balance.  Expense categories include items that subtract from or decrease your balance.


1.                  Enter your February 15  Paycheck in the amount of 1256.45.

--note Quickfill does much of the work for you.



2.         Enter check # 109

Date                   Check #                   Payee                   Amount                   Category

2/15/03                        109                                          Craft Store                        98.25                        Craft Supplies


Note:  You do not have a category called Craft Supplies on you drop down list. 

Click on the down arrow by the category box and click on Add Cat.

            Type in the Name Box—Craft Supplies

            Leave the Expense Box selected in the type section

            Fill in other area only if needed

            Click OK and enter in check register

            You now have a balance of $2085.51.



            You now want to write a check for cash

Date                   Check #                   Payee                   Amount                   Category

2/15/03                        110                                          The Bank                        50.00                        Cash

***Note that quickfill fills in the amount for your rent that you’d paid previously.  Just key the correct information over the top of what quickfill enters.  In the Category section,  scroll to the bottom and select “Transfer to Cash Account”.



            Select the cash account from the list on the left.

            Enter the following cash transactions


Date                   Check #                   Payee                   Amount                   Category

2/18/03                        na                                            USD #316                        8.00                        Recreation

                                                                                                                        --ball game

2/18/03                        na                                            Concessions                        10.25                        Dining


**Note:  You now have a balance of  $81.75 in your cash account.




Reconciling Your Account


            Reconciling is the process of reviewing your bank statement with your Quicken record.  Any difference is called a discrepancy.  Any discrepancies must be corrected in your Quicken records.


To reconcile your bank statement in Quicken, Choose Cash Flow, Reconcile from the menu. Follow the steps provided there.



            Click on the Report Menu.  Select the type of report you which to produce.  Common reports are:

            Cash Flow—report on income and expenses

                        --comparison reports compare one fiscal period to another

            Net Worth—account balances


            Other Reports are on menu.  Do what meets your needs.


PRINT Reports

            Click Print button on report


Help Menu

            Check the contents of the help menu for anything you are not sure of how to do.


Drop Down Menus

           Quicken provides a few drop down menus in the check register to make entering transaction quicker and easier.  These include:

Calendar icon: in the date section allows you to click on the date rather than key it in.

Number field: has a drop down menu that gives you options for entering data in this field, including next #, DEP, ATM etc.

Category:  This field also has a drop down menu that allows you to select the category for your transaction.  This is helpful if you are not sure about your category names.

Split:  Transactions can be split between different categories by selecting the split menu and entering the appropriate categories.

Sort:  Transactions can be sorted either by Date or by Number

QuickFill:  discussed earlier.  This can be turned off, and other changes made, by selecting Edit, Preferences.  Take a look at these options to see which ones might be helpful to you.


Quicken Tips

            Other tips can be found in the Help Menu under Quicken Tips and Shortcuts.


 Writing Checks

          Quicken allows you to write checks and view an electronic version on your computer screen.  Checks are stored in your file and can be paid electronically to an electronic bill paying service or can be printed out on special checks available from publishers.  If you make a mistake, you can easily correct it before printing (or sending electronically).

          The on-line checks look very similar to regular checks.


Now we will use the on-screen Write Checks feature to write checks and enter transactions as shown on the table below and using the following directions.


1.     Click on the Write Checks menu in the check register.

2.     Enter the date of the first item (2/25/03).

3.     Tab to the Payee section and enter the Name of the Payee (Karls Cash) (note:  Quickfill or select from menue).

4.     Tab through the remaining categories and make sure the correct data is entered.

·        Amount:  $76.89

·        Category:  groc

5.     Key in the following address in the address field:

·        Karls Cash Store

·        109 N. Kansas Ave

·        Selden, KS 67757

6.     Press Record Check when everything is correct and a new check will appear.  The check will appear below in the list of checks to print.

7.     Click the Print button at the bottom of the screen.  You may be asked to enter a check number. and your checks will be printed

8.     Quicken will ask you if your checks printed correctly.  If they did, click Yes.  Notice that the check numbers and amounts are then automatically updated in your register.

9.     You should now have a balance of $1958.62 in your check register.




This is just a quick overview of how you can use Quicken 2003 for personal financial management.  Quicken also allows you to perform similar operations for Businesses.  It also helps with budgeting, tax return preparation, financial planning, and on-line banking.