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In the "good old days", I had several NIH grants running at the same time, and a number of employees, postdocs and graduate students, but our Departmental Administrator couldn't administrate. After several large overdrafts on our grants, the faculty in the Division of Radiation Biology took over the accounts of their own grants.
Programming computers was a hobby of mine, starting in the late 1970's with the Sinclair, and later the Morrow computer. When the IBM PC's came out, I decided to computerize the bookkeeping for our grants. GRANT TRACKER was born in 1986.
Grant Tracker 1.0 was written in QuickBASIC, and was pretty crude by today's standards, but it did the minimal task of keeping track of our grants. A lot of improvements had to be made in Grant Tracker to accommodate the fact that some of the secretaries in the Division were not that comfortable with computers, and after all, they were secretaries and not accountants. This required that the user interface of Grant Tracker be very intuitive, and that the manual be very informative about basic accounting problems, e.g., how to handle Blanket Orders, how to handle students who work variable hours and months, how to reconcile the accounts in Grant Tracker with the monthly budget statement from the University, etc. Ten upgrades were made in 1986.
Other people became interested in Grant Tracker as a way of solving their own grant accounting problems, so I decided to attempt to sell the program. The first copy sold was Version 1.8 in January 1987. Four more revisions were made in 1987.
In January of 1989, Version 3 was released for the MACINTOSH as well as for DOS. This was followed in 1991 with Version 4, and in 1992 with Version 4.5.
In 1994, Version 5 was released for WINDOWS, DOS, and MAC. Not surprisingly, the majority of my DOS customers opted to move to the WINDOWS version. Many of my customers who wanted to stay with DOS (it is a lot faster than WINDOWS), reluctantly had to leave DOS because their institution had added network software to their computer, and this used up most of the 640 K of conventional memory that was needed to run DOS programs. The DOS and the WINDOWS versions of Grant Tracker looked and functioned the same, since they were both written in Visual Basic, and had a graphical user interface.
Grant Tracker Version 5 for the MAC was still in QuickBASIC, because Microsoft was supposed to release Visual Basic for the MAC in January 1994, but they didn't.
Version 5.2 for WIN and MAC were released in September 1995. This version added several new features that were requested by my customers, e.g., being able to correct from the search or list routines, in addition to the regular correct routine; and a summary of the balances of up to 4 grants on one report, for those with multiple grants.
In February 1996, I received a special award from Apple Computer for Grant Tracker 5.2, a program that helps Macintosh users "work, learn and play with their Macintosh" (David Nagel, Ph.D., Senior Vice President, Research and Development).
On 1/15/98 I released Grant Tracker Q98 for WIN and MAC.
One of my most devoted customers (from Version 1), suggested that I incorporate into Grant Tracker some of the user-friendly features found in Quicken, a widely used bookkeeping program developed by Intuit. Instead, I decided to incorporate the unique features of Grant Tracker 5.2 into a special module for Quicken.
I set up special modules for Quicken Basic 98 (MAC and WIN), with "bank" accounts for each grant award category (as in Grant Tracker 5.2), and set up expense categories and subcategories for these accounts.
One big advantage of Grant Tracker Q98 was the ability of the user to easily add, modify, or delete accounts (e.g., Travel, Salary, Indirect Costs, etc.), and expense categories, and subcategories. Therefore, Grant Tracker Q98 could be customized for ALL TYPES of grants, and was equally useful for both large and small grants.
Grant Tracker Q98 was followed in 1999 by Q99 and in year 2000 by Q2000.
On October 1, 2000 I decided to retire from the software business, and I posted Grant Tracker Q2000 on the web as FREE. You can still download the Manual, the Sample Data files for training, and the Empty Data files that are ready for the information on your grants. Since the Q-series of Grant Tracker run under the Quicken engine, you must have a copy of Quicken to make Grant Tracker work for you. Just click below to go to the Grant Tracker Home Page, and download your FREE copy of Grant Tracker.