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Setting Up Your First Accounts in Quicken 2003

If you've used a previous version of Quicken, the program asks if you want to convert your data to the new version. Do this. After you've upgraded from the older version, all your accounts should be ready to rock.

After you install Quicken, your first job is to set up a bank account and tell Quicken how you want it to track your finances. This setup stuff isn't hard to do; you just need to find your most recent bank statement or — better yet — your last bank statement from the previous year.

You start Quicken the same way you start any Windows application. For example, you can click the Start button and then choose Programs --> Quicken --> Quicken 2002 Deluxe. (Or you can double-click the Quicken shortcut on the Windows desktop.) Quicken starts, and you may first see the Software Registration dialog box. You may find this registration business irritating, but you have to do it. So click the Next button and then follow the instructions. Note that you don't see the software registration dialog box if you've already been using Quicken and so have (presumably) already registered the software.

After you complete the registration process, you see the Quicken application window. If you're a new user of Quicken, you'll also see the Quicken New User Setup dialog box.

With your bank statement in hand and the Quicken New User Setup dialog box on-screen, follow these steps:

1. Click the Next button so that Quicken moves to the second screen of the Quicken New User Setup dialog box.

Quicken displays a bunch of questions that you answer by clicking Yes and No buttons. Are you married? Do you have children? Do you own a house? Have you ever been arrested? And so on. Answer the questions and then click Next.

2. Tell Quicken if you want to use a password.

If you indicate that you do want to use a password — perhaps you decided to ignore your doctor's prescription for the medication you've been taking and so are again experiencing those occasional but still annoying bouts of paranoia — enter the password you want to use into the boxes provided. You need to enter the password twice.

3. Click Done.

Quicken displays the Quicken New User Setup dialog box. Click its Done button. Congratulations. You're in the big league.

4. Click the Create New Account button.

This tells Quicken that you want to set up a bank account.

5. Identify the type of account.

When Quicken displays the Create New Account dialog box, use its buttons to indicate which type of account you want. To create a checking account, for example, check the Checking button. Duh. Then click Next to continue.

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

You do so by typing a name into the Account Name text box. By the way, you can be as general or as specific as you want. But remember, brevity is a virtue; be as concise as you can. The reason is that Quicken uses your account name to label the tabs on the Quicken program window.

7. Select your bank from the Financial Institution drop-down list box.

If your financial institution isn't listed, enter its name in the box. If the account isn't held at a bank (for example, in the case that you store your money in a coffee can in your basement), just type "not applicable" or something. Then click Next.

8. Enter the ending bank statement date, using your bank statement.

When Quicken asks for the ending statement date, which is the date you start using Quicken, enter the date in MM/DD/YY fashion.

"Geez," you're now saying to yourself, "what's MM/DD/YY fashion?" Okay. Here's an example. If your bank statement is dated July 1, 2002, enter 07/01/02.

9. Enter the ending bank statement balance, using your bank statement.

This balance is whatever shows 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 into the Ending Balance text box.

10. After you enter the bank statement balance, click the Done button.

Quicken removes the New User Setup dialog box and displays the Quicken window. If you want to add another account, you simply repeat these steps.

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