Checklist for Switching From MS Money to Quicken

by Mark Wong on February 15, 2010 · 3 comments

in Personal Finance

Since I first installed Microsoft Money on my computer, almost a full decade ago, I’ve always had a good sense of my financial net worth. The software provided two essential functions that I could not live without: the ability to download my credit card transactions to my laptop and the ability to update price quotes on my investments.  Now that both of those features are gone, the time to switch to Quicken is both imminent and inevitable.

Below is my personal checklist for switching from Money to Quicken.  Keep in mind that I’ve been using Money for almost ten years now (almost from the day it was first released), so this is definitely a big change for me.

Install Quicken Deluxe 2010 – COMPLETE

Bought if from Costco for only $20.  Now I just need to pop it in my disk drive and follow a few on screen prompts to get the ball rolling.

Import MS Money File – COMPLETE

If you read the Intuit boards and the Amazon reviews on Quicken, you’ll notice that many people have had issues with this specific task.  Hopefully I’ll be lucky and not have to deal with any of that.  I’ve been using both the latest version of Money and switching to the latest version of Quicken.

Test Credit Card Transaction DownloadCOMPLETE

This by all means should still work with Quicken, and quite frankly, it has to work.  Because if it doesn’t, I’m returning my copy of Quicken to Costco.  I have two credit card accounts that are vital to me: one at Chase and one with American Express.

Rebuild Expense Category HierarchiesCOMPLETE

The Expense Categories in MS Money were always okay to work with, but I’ve always wanted to go in and create my own hierarchy to work with.  I’ll use my switch to Quicken as my excuse to do so.

Rebuild investment purchase quantity amountsCOMPLETE

This is a little embarrassing to admit but, for many of my investment transactions within MS Money, I entered incorrect quantity amounts in the ledger.  The amounts were never off by much, but over time they added up, and I would re-balance these errors by adding an “account adjustment” line.  My goal here is to enter the values accurately and create a more precise indicator of my investment value.

Reclassify Business Expense LinesCOMPLETE

When I worked in consulting, I had an expense account that was linked to a corporate American Express card.  Although I was ultimately responsible for any charges on the card, I didn’t my business expenses to factor into my net worth if I was just going to be reimbursed later on.  To filter this part out of my net worth, I simply created a transfer account in Money and placed all business expenses there.  I also had to create more “account adjustment” entries just to make the charges and reimbursements balance out.  Anyway, I think the adjustments entries will be inevitable, but I’d like them to occur on regular quarterly intervals.  Before, I kind of adjusted the balance whenever I felt like it.

Create Custom ReportsCOMPLETE

I’d like to use Quicken to take a get an even better understanding of my finances than I did before.  Now that I’ve moved out of my parents house, and I’m paying my own insurance / healthcare / bills, my financial schema has become a lot more intricate.  These reports can help drive better behavior on my part:  One idea I had was a fast food report, showing specifically how many times and how much money I spent at restaurants deemed fast food oriented.  The possibilities are endless.

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