How do I Choose the Best Money Management Software?
Effective money management is on the minds of many individuals and businesses today. One of the most effective ways to make sure you are exercising wise control of your finances is to secure money management software that allows for easy tracking of income and expenses, budget setup and maintenance, and in general makes it possible to organize your financial documentation with a minimum of effort. Here are some ideas on what to look for in a money management software package.
The ability to handle basic financial tasks is a very important part of any money management software package. Depending on the complexity of your finances, you may find that free software provides all the functions you need. This is especially true if you are looking for software that will allow you to create and manage a household budget.
With the free money management software packages, look for programs that are very straightforward and require no special skills. You will want tools that make it easy to create a budget, enter expenses when and as they are made, add in data on gross income, net income and a breakdown of taxes and other withholding, and the ability to associated different transactions with your bank accounts. Make sure the free software will allow you to print out spreadsheets and other reports as well as view data on screen.
A free money management system will allow you to track your progress with the budget as the month progresses. At any given time, you can generate data on how much you have spent thus far and how much remains available for use in every line item of the budget. This simple personal finance tool will make sure you do not go over on items such as food, meals out, or general entertainment. Assuming that you are diligent with making your entries each time money is spent, basic money management software will be sufficient to help you see where your money goes and take steps to minimize wasteful spending each month.
For people with more complex financial situations, free money management software may or may not provide all the features you need. For example, if you have investments that you need to track as part of your overall financial management plan, basic no-frills personal money management packages are not likely to work. Instead, you will need fee-based money manager software that will allows you to track the progress of each investment in your portfolio, including any actions taking in terms of buying or selling shares. The type of investing you do will also play a role in determining the scope of the features you must have with the investment tracking functions, and will dictate which software packages are worth your consideration.
While just about any money management software package will provide the essential tools for financial planning, businesses often require packages that are much more varied and robust. These package may need to calculate as well as document taxes that are owed, have the ability to prepare reports using templates or create customized reports when necessary, and have the ability to receive uploads from spreadsheet software or other electronic formats. The software may also need to be equipped with the ability to prepare forecasts on expenses related with a given line item or project, and reconcile balances between different accounts.
In order to obtain the ideal money management software, take some time to identify each function that you currently need, as well as functions that you anticipate needing over the next several years. This will give you a good idea of what to look for in any money management software package and allow you to quickly disregard any packages that do not have what you really want. From that point, you can investigate viable packages and find the one that is the most user friendly as well as the best price for the functions that are provided.
@ Istria- I would also add that your money management software should be compatible with your lifestyle and money management needs. If you are always on the go, and need to access your personal finance software on a cell phone just as often as you need to on a computer, you should make sure the software has good apps that allow you to input data on either device, and transfer files seamlessly.
One thing I can say is make sure your money management software is compatible with your tax software and vice versa. It is a pain in the rear to transfer all of your financial or tax files because the two software programs are incompatible with each other.
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