There are lots of options available in personal finance software these days. You may wonder if you really need it. Or if you already have it, you may wonder if it’s still the best fit for your needs.
Personal finance software ranges from the most basic of spreadsheets to extremely integrated, practically all-inclusive programs. Most are very user-friendly and vary greatly in price.
Everyone can benefit from using some form of personal accounting software. It’s like having a second set of eyes watching over your finances. It keeps you more aware of your spending patterns, helps you stick with your budget and can even make tax preparation less painful. Some software even tracks your investments.
With all the choices available, you may be having a difficult time deciding which software would best fit your needs. The most important step in choosing the right program is to decide what you want from it.
The first thing to look for before digging too deep is if it’s compatible with your operating system. Some software does not support Mac or the newest versions of Windows. There’s no need to spend a lot of time researching a program that won’t run on your computer.
The next thing you’ll need to determine is how you want to use the software. Practically all personal finance software lets you reconcile accounts, categorize and track spending, and budget expenses. Most offer reports such as cash flow and net worth reports. And many even offer financial calculators, tax options and personal investing managers and tracking.
The following are a few of the most popular personal accounting software programs on market right now. Although they all share some of the same basic features, be sure to read the personal finance software reviews to determine which ones have the features that will be most beneficial to you.
If you noticed that MicroSoft Money was not included it's because MicroSoft has discontinued it. You can continue to use it but some of the features will no longer work. If you are currently using it and want to switch, most software will let you import the data, allowing you to easily upgrade while saving lots of time and energy.
Some of these software programs allow you to import data from your bank accounts, credit card accounts, investment accounts and more. This makes keeping track of your finances that much easier since everything is in one convenient place.
Some of the software listed above has simple personal investing features. This may be enough if you have a 401K with your employer or a basic IRA. However, if you're a serious investor, you may need something a little more in depth.
You’ll really need to look at your goals for financial planning, retirement planning, asset allocation, portfolio management and investment models to determine if the features offered will be sufficient. If not, investing software like the ones listed below are among the many other options available.
Most financial software can be grouped into three basic categories; tracking software, trading software and screening or selection software. Some will blend two or rarely even all three into their program so it’s important to assess your needs and do a through review of the software's capabilities and costs before you make a purchase.
When tax season rolls around some of these software programs allow you to export data to tax preparation software. Some of the most popular are:
This takes a lot of the headache out of tax preparation since everything is right there in one place and you can relax knowing you won’t overlook important deductions.
As with any other tool, personal finance software is only as good as its user. You’ll get out of it what you put in. It may seem time consuming and tedious to use financial software but with the increasing integration, importing and exporting capabilities available on a lot of these programs, you’ll be surprised at how easy it can be.
Once it’s set up, it will flow with little effort on your part and all your financial information will be available to you at the touch of a button. Now that’s money management made easy!From Personal Finance Software to Home