Personal finance software What is personal finance software?
We put five leading packages - You Need A Budget (YNAB), Moneydance, Home Accountz, BankTree, and AceMoney – through comprehensive testing to help you find one that is both easy to set up and use on an ongoing basis.
Personal finance software reviewed
Most paid-for personal finance software packages, which typically cost between £25 and £40, allow you to keep on top of your personal and household finances by pulling in information from bank accounts, credit cards and investments.
They also let you plan budgets and analyse your incomings and outgoings by creating charts, generating graphs and running reports.
The more you use personal finance software, the more you will get out of it so it’s important to pick a package that's easy to use.
The results in our table below give you an overview of different packages' specifications and performance but click on the links for more in-depth reviews.
|Personal finance software packages reviewed|
|Price||Free trial||Mobile Phone App||Password protection||Ease of getting started||Ease of everyday use||Support||Test score|
|You Need A Budget||£39.10||34 days||Yes and Kindle Fire||No||76%|
|Moneydance||£42.46||100 uses||iPhone only||Files only||71%|
|Home Accountz||£39.00||30 days||No||Files only||46%|
|AceMoney||£26.05||30 days||Windows 5, 6, 6.5 only||Files only||40%|
Using the table: The software packages listed above were tested over a two-week period at the end of March and beginning of April 2013, with a focus on how easy they are to get started and use. All software packages are also compatible with Microsoft Money and Quicken. All of the software packages are Windows and Mac compatible except BankTree which is only compatible with Windows.
Price: guide prices based on the those we found and exchange rates at the time of testing. Prices for You Need a Budget and AceMoney were converted from US dollars into sterling at time of purchase.
Ease of getting started: includes ease of downloading software and ease of inputting data.
Ease of everyday use: includes how easy it is to navigate, aesthetics, along with ease of inputting data, splitting transactions, generating reports and charts, setting goals and reminders, analysing investment trackers and checking whether the software alerts users if expenditure exceeds income.
Support: includes assessing usefulness of guides, videos and FAQs and if there's a phone number to call and online forum.
Test score: ignores price and based on 'Getting started' 45%; 'Everyday use' 45%; 'Support' 10%.
Personal finance software: the differences and the alternatives
The advantages of personal finance software are that there’s generally a one-off cost for the package, and all of your details are stored on your computer.
It is worth noting that some packages aren't compatible with both PCs and Macs, though.
But if you are still unsure whether a particular package is worth purchasing after reading our reviews, use the free trials that let you to try before you buy.
Account aggregator sites
You can also view all of your online bank, credit card and savings accounts in one place on bank account aggregator sites like Money Dashboard and Lovemoney.
These websites take out the hassle of having to constantly log in to different sites.
But in order to use them you will be asked for your online passwords to all of these different accounts so you must check with the companies with which you hold your accounts to make sure you're not breaking their terms and conditions.
You should also check what protection you have if things go wrong, such as a security failure, and ask if there are any fees involved or what is likely to happen if fees are subsequently introduced.
A spreadsheet can be useful for basic number-crunching or if your home finances are relatively simple.
If you don’t already have the Microsoft Office suite installed on your computer and you don’t want to splash cash on the software, Open Office is an excellent alternative that is free to download.
The spreadsheet program, Calc, can handle all of the day-to-day functions of its Microsoft equivalent, although it doesn’t have all of the extra features that advanced users might look for from Excel.