Quicken: Understanding accounts, categories, and tags | lynda.com

Before we get started creating accounts and
entering transactions, it’s important to understand a little of the
terminology that Quicken uses. When you
install Quicken and created a data file that data file is empty and it needs to
be filled. The first thing we are going to fill it with
is accounts. Accounts represent your assets, the things
that you own, and they are usually associated with financial institutions, such
as a bank or a brokerage company. You also have accounts for your liabilities,
which are the debts that you owe. For example your mortgage or a car loan. You have as many accounts in Quicken
as you wish, so you don’t have to worry about running out of space. When you create an account in Quicken, it
will of one of the two types. The Asset Accounts are things like your checking
account, saving accounts, the cash accounts, which is the special account unless
you track the amount of money that’s in your wallet or your purse. Investment account, such as brokerage
accounts, where you can trade stocks or bonds. Single mutual fund accounts or
retirement accounts like your 401(k) or your IRA. Property that you own are also assets. For example let’s say you have a
valuable collection of baseball cards or art objects, you can track the value
of those as assets in Quicken. Liability Accounts track the debts that you
owe, the most common of these are credits cards
and you can have as many credit card accounts as you want in Quicken. Another kind of debt that you might owe, are
loans that you have taken out, such as mortgage loans or vehicle loans. When you enter transactions in the Quicken,
you are going to want to enter a Category for each transaction and categories
track the flow of money inside Quicken. I kind of think of them like buckets of money. Money flows into your
accounts and then it flows out into the different buckets of money. For example
you might have a bucket for medical expenses and another one for auto expenses
and another one for groceries. One of the most powerful things about Quicken,
whenever you want you can run a report that shows how much of your money is
in each bucket. I can’t stress
enough how important categories are for Quicken. They really help you unlock
the power of the program. So every time you do a transaction, you want
to make sure to add a category for it and you want
to be consistent in your categories too. We will be talking more about consistencies
and categories later now. For now
all you need to know is that Quicken makes it easy to categorize transaction. Categories make it easy to figure out which
way the money is flowing. Income
categories are money that you receive from your paycheck or from investment
income or if you have a small business, your business sales. Expense categories track the money that you
spend on things. Groceries, your
mortgage, your car expenses, any thing like that. There is the third and
special kind of category called the Transfer category and these keep the track
of money that get moved from one Quicken account to another. For example, let’s
say that you pay your credit card bill with money from your checking account. You write the check to the credit card company
in the checking account and the credit shows up in your credit card account
as a Transfer category. You don’t have to worry about creating Transfer
categories, because Quicken creates them for you automatically and whenever
you see a transaction in the register you can recognize the Transfer categories
because they have square brackets around their names. Categories can have Subcategories, which allow
you to track the income or expenses that are related
to the single category. For example, let’s think about medical expenses. If you wanted to track how
much you spent to the different medical professionals, you could have a
Subcategory for Doctors, another one for Dentists and may be one for
Prescription drugs. It’s doesn’t just have to be for Expenses,
I do it for Income as well. I write a variety of books and I have one
category Book Income with a bunch of Subcategories and each Subcategories
are for different books. So, I can tell how much money each book is
bringing in. There is one more level of complications that
Quicken gives you. They are
called Tags. If you have been using Quicken for a while,
you might previously used classes. Tags or Classes with a different name, Tags
add an extra level of classification to the transaction that already
have categories. The nice thing
about Tags is that it helps you keep your categories manageable. Tags are
completely free form, you create them yourself and you can use them wherever
you want. So when you are using Quicken, accounts are
the things that you own or debts that your owe. Within an account, for each transaction, a
Category tracks where your money is coming or where it is going. Subcategories let you see groups of transactions
that are related to a single category and Tags help you avoid unnecessary subcategories.

6 thoughts on “Quicken: Understanding accounts, categories, and tags | lynda.com

  • Quicken is not as good as it used to be. Each time it gives me the wrong info on last payments made. is frustrating.

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