Read an Excerpt
Chapter 1: About this BookMicrosoft Money 2000 At a Glance is for anyone who wants to exploit the power of Microsoft's personal finance manager, Money 2000. 1 think you'll find this book to be a straightforward, easy-to-read, and easy-to-use reference tool. Based on the premise that it's tough to make "smart" decisions about money, this book's purpose is to help you use your computer as a tool to better organize and manage your financial affairs.
No Computerese! Let's face it-when there's a task you don't know how to do but you need to get it done in a hurry, or when you're stuck in the middle of a task and can't figure out what to do next, there's nothing more frustrating than having to read page after page of technical background material. You want the information you need-nothing more, nothing less-and you want it now! And the information should be easy to find and understand.
That's what this book is all about. It's written in plain English-no technical jargon and no computerese. No single task in the book takes more than two pages. Just look up the task in the index or the table of contents, turn to the page, and there it is. The task itself is laid out step by step and accompanied by a graphics image that adds visual clarity. Just read the introduction, follow the steps, look at the illustrations, and get your work done with a minimum of hassle.
You may want to turn to another task if the one you're working on has a "See Also" in the left column. Because there's a lot of overlap among tasks, I didn't want to keep repeating myself; you might find more elementary or more advanced tasks laid out on the pages referenced. I've also added some useful tips here and there and offered a "Try This" once in a while to give you a context in which to use the task. But by and large, I've tried to remain true to the heart and soul of the book, which is that the information you need should be available to you at a glance.
If you're looking for what's new in Money 2000, just look for this new icon New2000 inserted throughout the book. You'll find the new icon in the table of contents so you can quickly and easily identify new or improved features in Money. You'll also find the new icon on the first page of each section. There it will serve as a handy reminder of the latest improvements in Money as you move from one task to another.
Whether you use Money to track several investment portfolios or simply to help keep your checkbook, I've tried to pack this book with procedures for everything I could think of that you might want to do, from the simplest tasks to some of the more esoteric ones.
... And the Easiest Way to Do Them
Another thing I've tried to do in Microsoft Money 2000 At a Glance is to find and document the easiest way to accomplish a task. Money 2000 often provides many ways to obtain a single result, which can be daunting or delightful, depending on the way you like to work. If you tend to stick with one favorite and familiar approach, the methods described in this book are the way to go. If you prefer to try out alternative techniques, go ahead! The intuitiveness of Money invites exploration, and you're likely to discover ways of doing things that you think are easier or that you like better. If you do, that's great! It's exactly what the creators of Money had in mind when they provided so many alternatives.
A Quick Overview
You don't have to read this book in any particular order. The book is designed so that you can jump in, get the information you need, and then close the book, keeping it near your computer until the next time you need it. But that doesn't mean I scattered the information about with wild abandon. If you were to read the book from front to back, you'd find a logical progression from the simple tasks to the more complex ones. Here's a quick overview.
Section 2 introduces Money, explains how you can begin using Money, and describes some Money basics that you'll want to know as you begin exploring this useful tool.
If you're brand new to accounting software, you'll want to review Sections 3 and 4, which describe everything you need to know about using Money's account registers to keep track of your basic accounts. Section 3 describes how you use Money to keep track of your bank accounts, and Section 4 describes how you use Money to monitor credit card accounts.
Sections 5 and 6 contain a wealth of information useful to all levels of Money users. Section 5 explains Money's Report and Chart feature. It talks in depth about the different kinds of reports and charts you can create, and why and when you would want to create some of the more common reports. Section 6 describes how you use the tools in Money 2000 Deluxe to build a budget, plan for the future, and track income and deductions for taxes.
Sections 7, 8, and 9 describe different types of specialized accounts you might want to create and use if you have loans, liabilities, investments, or assets you want Money to help you track. Section 7 describes how you can use Money to track your assets and liabilities. It goes through the different kinds of transactions you make in loan and liability accounts and provides several tips and strategies for getting out of debt. Sections 8 and 9 describe how you can use Money to track your investments. Section 8 deals with mutual funds, stocks, and bonds, and Section 9 deals with passive and active real estate investments.
If you have an Internet connection, you'll definitely want to review Section 10, which describes how you can use Money to retrieve your bank statements online and how to make electronic payments. This section discusses how to set up online banking and bill payment services with participating banks, and also discusses where you can find financial advice on the Internet.
The remaining section of this book delves into a more advanced topic. Section 11 discusses how you can use Money to keep track of small business finances. You'll need to read this section only if you have a small business and want to use Money to help with your business accounting. This section describes such things as invoicing, accounts receivable accounting, and preparing payroll.
A Final Word (or Two)
Let me close this introductory section with some final comments that I hope you'll find helpful and encouraging as you use this book and learn Money. I had three goals in writing this book. I want this book to help you:
- Do all the things you want to do with Money 2000.
- Discover how to do things you didn't know you wanted to do with Money.
- Enjoy using Money.