How to Describe Your Banking to Quicken 2013 or Quicken 2014

If you haven’t used Quicken before or are starting from scratch, the first time you start Quicken 2013 or 2014, the program shows a home page that includes a big Get Started button in (roughly) the middle of the screen.

Clicking the Get Started button allows you to provide information about your primary checking account and its current balance. Just so you don’t get confused, here are the precise steps you take:

1

Identify the financial institution — usually a bank — by typing your institution’s name in the text box provided.

As you type, Quicken displays a list of financial institutions that match what you’ve typed so far. The more you type, the shorter the list of possible matching institutions.

2

Tell Quicken whether you want to download transactions directly from your bank or enter transactions manually.

If your bank provides Internet access to your bank account — and many banks do — Quicken knows. And as a result, Quicken attempts to not-so-subtly push you into just grabbing data from the bank’s website. You can maintain your account manually.

If you see your bank listed and you want to use online banking, select the bank and click Next. When you click the Next button, Quicken displays another version of the Add Your Primary Checking Account window, which asks for the username and password required to access your bank account electronically.

To download transactions and account balance information directly from your bank’s website, you will need to provide this information. After you provide this information, click the Connect button to test the username and password information.

If you don’t want to use online banking quite yet and are happy to start slow and go manually at the beginning, click the Advanced Setup hyperlink at the bottom of the first Add Your Primary Checking Account window.

Quicken won’t quite believe you’re bold enough to ignore its strong advice to go digital and so will display another Add Your Primary Checking Account window that provides option buttons you can use to indicate you want to be clever and just download transactions or that you want to be ploddingly cautious and at least at the start enter transactions manually.

By default, the I Want to Select the Connection Method option is selected. But you don’t want to be clever — or least not quite yet — so select the I Want To Enter My Transactions Manually option.

3

Tell Quicken the name you want to use for the checking account.

You do so by typing a name in the Account Name/Nickname text box. Furthermore, if given the choice, click one of the option buttons that may appear below the Account Name/Nickname text box to indicate whether you’re using the bank account primarily for business finances, personal finances, and so on.

By the way, as far as the account name goes, you can be as general or as specific as you want. But brevity is a virtue here, so be concise: Quicken uses your account name to label stuff within the Quicken window and on Quicken reports. If you use a long account name, the name may not always fit on reports and screens.

4

Enter the ending bank statement date by referring to your bank statement.

After you provide Quicken with a name and general description of the account’s transactions, click Next, and Quicken displays another account setup dialog box that asks about the account’s ending statement date and ending statement balance. Enter the date of your last bank statement into the Statement Ending Date text box.

This date, by the way, is forward from which you will start using Quicken. Enter the date in MM/DD/YYYY or MM/DD/YY fashion.

5

Enter the ending bank statement balance by referring to your latest bank statement.

This balance is whatever appears on your bank statement. This balance is also the amount of money in your account on the date you begin your financial record keeping. If you have $4.16 in your checking account, type 4.16 in the Statement Ending Balance text box.

6

After you type the bank statement balance, click the Next button to continue moving through the account setup.

Ultimately, you’ll see a window that provides buttons you can click to start using Quicken and to add more bank accounts and even credit card accounts.

If you have several other bank accounts that you want to set up within Quicken, repeat the preceding steps for each account. Just click the button that refers to adding another bank account.

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