...like to learn from the start?hould? (1) My basic aim would be to start managing my own personal accounts, create ledgers, journal entries, petty cash expenses, purchase, files showing streams of income, cash and banks (multiple) records, etc. I am in India.
(2) As a hobby I manage small financial portfolios. I want to keep track of my clients portfolios which are heavy with Equity and Mutual Fund investments, Insurance investments, suggested by me, as well as those that my clients have done in the past.

Can this be done in Microsoft Excel 2003?

I don't mind spending some time working on this.

Any other software/s (free-not shareware)that I can customize myself that can be easily downloaded with DSL? And there should be no spyware with the software. Where from?
Hold on, I want to learn Excel first and then do this. I am semi-retired and do have free time in hand-Warren C, the link you sent is good, but very basic. I had a book on Excel 2000 which I misplaced when I moved office. It was quite detailed, but I was too busy then to read it. I have time on my hands now.