I’ve been a long time user of Intuit’s Quicken since 1992 — now over 20 years. We track 56 accounts within Quicken. So to say I’m a power-user of their product would be an understatement. We have every bank account, credit card, asset, retirement, investment, and liability linked within the software. For this review of Quicken Premier 2014, I got an advance copy from Inuit and converted from Quicken 2013.
Intuit never does radical changes with their annual software updates. They incrementally add features to Quicken, and the enhancements tend to be evolutionary rather than revolutionary.
In today’s cloud/web 2.0/Internet world, Quicken is no longer the only game in town. It is possible to completely store your financial information online using services like Intuit’s own Mint.com service, or what we recommend Personal Capital. Though these financial aggregation services tend to be read-only, and more for alerting or reporting your finances. Reconciliation and writing checks isn’t usually available with these types of services.
For individuals who prefer to stay with a locally installed application, there is also YNAB (You Need A Budget), Moneydance, or if you are looking for a native Macintosh software application there is iBank as well.
None of the mentioned applications come close to Quicken in marketshare usage, or from our tests, the comprehensive personal finance features. Quicken is still the leader and there’s no question why this is the case (though the others are catching up).
Quicken 2014 vs. Quicken 2013
Compared to last year’s Quicken 2013 vs. Quicken 2012, this update seems to focus on improving on and fixing previous features, rather than creating totally new features.
Here’s what’s new and improved in Quicken 2014:
- Store and Save Receipts – You can take pictures of your receipts and store them within Quicken for later retrieval.
- Memorized Transactions Show Up in Register – This is perhaps the best new feature I like. Previously you had to enter memorized transactions, but this feature will display future events within in the register before entering the transaction.
- Overall Speed Improvements – While I did not do exact performance tests, it seems Quicken 2014 was much more responsive.
- Mobile Synchronization Improvements – Many users complained how Quicken’s mobile synchronization was broken in 2013. Intuit claims, and from my testing so far, this feature has been improved.
- Budget Improvements – Users also complained about 2013 and the budget changes. Quicken added two options that should satisfy users who want their budget displayed with including excluding specific transactions.
- More Connectivity Resolutions – Quicken 2014 makes it even easier to fix connectivity issues with your financial institution
In reviewing Quicken, it appears Intuit really focused much more on testing and quality control they did with Quicken 2013. So for long-time users of Quicken it’s good to know they listened to our complaints. The new features they did introduce in Quicken 2014 seem minor when compared to previous years.
Store and Save Receipts
In 2013 they introduced the free mobile application, and have now expanded the application to allow you to take photos of your receipts while on the go. A common use of this feature would be for business expenses. While I personally have no use for this new feature, I can see how others would welcome this addition. Any receipt taken on your mobile device is synced to your desktop register.
Memorized Transactions Show Up in Register
I like this new feature the best, even though it’s a minor change. Previously if you wanted to plan out future income and expenses, you would have to manually enter, or push bill and income reminders, into your register. Now with Quicken 2014, reminders can show up as future register entries without actually having them entered. Again it’s a minor addition to Quicken, but I welcome this new feature.
Mobile Synchronization Improvements
In Quicken 2013 Intuit added mobile synchronization. While in my own personal tests I didn’t have issues with this feature, many other users complained via our web site comments. Users reported numerous synchronization problems with their mobile devices and the desktop application.
With Quicken 2014 synchronization, I have reported an odd synchronization issue that has popped up from time to time. I get an alert about a handful of transactions with no information. This might be related to the Discover credit card we use sends us some invalid transactions with no information, but I’m not completely sure. Intuit should improve the error reporting in this part of their application.
Perhaps this cloud synchronization error is alerting me of this issue with my Discover card. Unfortunately the reporting in Quicken doesn’t give enough detail to know where the issue lies. So I must manually tell Quicken to delete these errors.
Realize the download error with the Discover card is not an issue with Quicken itself. With some of the negative comments I see about Quicken, I wonder if users fault Quicken for issues not related to their product and is with the financial institutions they use.
Intuit explained to me that they really focused on improving mobile synchronization and performed a larger beta test, and better quality control. So far from my own testing, I’ve only noticed the issue described above. Synchronization does appear to be much faster than previously.
With Quicken 2014 they replaced the Quicken Cloud ID with their universal Intuit ID for other Intuit services. So you will now have the same login if you use Intuit’s TurboTax, and eventually with Mint.com service. Data is not shared between services.
Other than the ability to take photos of receipts from your smartphone, only minor other changes were made in the mobile app. You will need to install the Quicken 2014 mobile app to replace the existing Quicken 2013 app when you upgrade. Intuit will not be upgrading the existing app to work with both Quicken 2013 and Quicken 2014 and will remain separate.
Lastly, but certainly not least for many users of Quicken, is their budgeting section, which again has slightly improved. Intuit added some options to not include/exclude transfers in budget estimations. Overall some other minor user interface design changes were made when compared to Quicken 2013. Also slightly improved was the budgeting on the mobile app.
Quicken’s requirements have always been the middle to low lend-end of new computers sold. The specs listed below shouldn’t be an issue if your hardware is less than 3 years old. These are similar specs needed to run Quicken 2011, 2012, and 2013. I would recommend a slightly more powerful machine than listed.
- CPU: 1 GHz
- Operating System: Windows XP SP3+, Vista SP1, Windows 7/8 (32- and 64-bit)
- Memory: 1 GB or more
- Hard Disk Space: Up to 450 MB free space; up to 1.5 GB if .NET not installed
- Display: 1024×768 or higher resolution, 1280×1024 for large fonts
- CD/DVD Drive
- Internet: 56 Kbps (broadband recommended for online services)
- Sound: Sound Card and Speakers Recommended
- Printer: Any printer compatible with Windows XP SP3+/Vista/7/8
- Additional Software (included in Quicken installer): Microsoft .NET 2.0 or later
Using Quicken for Windows on a Macintosh
Like I stated, I’ve been using Quicken since my first MS-DOS computer. Now that I am Macintosh user, I could have used the bastardized version Quicken Essentials for Mac, but I still prefer Quicken for Windows. The Windows version is much more robust, and doesn’t appear to be an afterthought in Intuit’s product line.
In speaking with the Intuit reps about Quicken 2014, I enquired about the Macintosh version of Quicken. At the moment, there is still no planned Macintosh Quicken that functions exactly like Quicken for Windows. So unfortunately, that means I have to run Quicken for Windows via a virtual Windows machine.
The added benefit of virtualizing Windows is an additional layer of security, since no other software is installed on that instance. You don’t have to worry about any rogue viruses or software compromising your finances. This technique is also possible on a Windows-based machine.
Quicken Review and Summary
Quicken 2014 is primarily a bug and performance improvement, over the previous version. Basically, Intuit was trying to fix the issues seen with last year’s Quicken. So if you currently have 2013, I don’t see any “must-have” features to upgrade. If you have no issues mobile synchronization, or don’t use it, then there’s no real reason to upgrade.
If you have an EOL (End Of Life) version of Quicken, or currently don’t use Quicken, then it makes sense to purchase this version. I much prefer Quicken over Inuit’s Mint, because it can handle much more complex financial scenarios and it isn’t read only. Quicken can definitely grow with you as your finances become more complex — Mint on the other hand cannot.
Personal Capital is another possible option if you are looking for a purely cloud-based solution, and you want more complex investment reporting than Mint.com.
Intuit’s Quicken 2014 still remains the gold standard of personal finance applications — locally installed or in the cloud.
Save $10 off your order. You can order and download immediately from Intuit’s web site. I recommend Quicken Premier 2014 for its investment features. If unsure if Quicken is right for you, Intuit offers a 60-day money-back guarantee.
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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars