The Hi Tech Investor: Keep track of your cash

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The Independent Online
IN THE last couple of years, the market for personal money management programs in the UK has been dominated by two companies: Microsoft, with its Money package, and Intuit, with Quicken.

The latest version of Quicken 2000 has just arrived in computer stores (pounds 29.99). The software looks like an on-screen bank statement. Enter transactions and the software updates all relevant accounts. The real benefit of using such a package comes when it is used with multiple accounts. Put the information on to one screen and Quicken updates each entry. The software can also show how much money you have, and where, and give monthly income and spending tables.

Making the most of the package means taking the time to enter all the relevant account details and holdings. This can be laborious so Quicken has added a few features to smooth the way. Quick Entry, on the de luxe version, lets users enter transactions without opening up the main package. Once the information is there Quicken can track investments, savings and mortgages; it can also track users' personal budgets and make forecasts.

Quicken can now download stock market prices from London, European exchanges, Nasdaq and New York, and UK unit trust data, so there is no need to retype prices from the weekend papers. NatWest customers can also download their bank statements over the net and use them with the software.

Quicken Deluxe (pounds 49.99) adds the QuickTax self-assessment program and a business model with VAT and invoicing. Both versions can handle transactions in euros.

n www.intuit.co.uk

Invest in the net

Free internet services have struck a chord with net users. Now themutual.net is going a step further and paying its customers by offering equity to web users who join early. It is offering 2.1 billion units, each convertible to a share, to people who sign up. The first 10,000 subscribers will receive 10,000 units; the next 500,000 will receive 1,000 units and the following million, 500 units.

Themutual.net goes live next month, but would-be shareholders can pre- register now. The company plans to offer standard free internet service features, including local-rate call access and a premium-rate number for technical support.

n www.themutual.net

n Stephen Pritchard can be contacted at: Hi-tech-investor@dial.pipex.com

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