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Customer Review

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Simple and quick..., 20 Nov. 2008
This review is from: Personal Accountz (PC/Mac/Linux) (CD-ROM)
There's not much to Personal Accountz other than a simple and quick way of entering your personal financial transactions under as many Expenditure & Income categories and sub-categories as you want. Once the categories are set up (which, as with any personal accounting package, needs prior thought and planning) and the transactions for a defined period are entered, you get a straightforward summary of the totals for the period for each category & sub-category plus a separate analysis of the details of the transactions behind them that can be sorted in multiple ways. You also get the option to produce and print-out reports of all transactions by category type or keyword, and you get a basic but effective system to ensure that the underlying transactions reconcile to the relevant bank or credit card statements.

And... that's it. No bells & whistles and limited output options. So why three stars? Well, realistically, if you want true flexibility and power in analysing and managing your personal finances the best way to get it is to set-up a spreadsheet to take the category totals by period from this type of personal accounting package and then to manually transfer the actual figures from the accounting package into the spreadsheet. This way you can use the huge and powerful array of comparison, graphing and trend analysis tools in the spreadsheet to prepare annual budgets and to compare what's actually happening with what you think is happening. Sounds time consuming but, unless your finances are unduly complicated (in which case you probably need a full blown accounting package anyway) it's not, and it's by far the easiest and quickest way to get the additional flexibility that several other personal accounting packages claim to deliver.

The really time consuming part of the exercise isn't in transferring the category totals into the spreadsheet (and, don't be fooled by claims of "automatic CSV transfers" - at this level, manual transfer is usually simpler and more flexible); the real effort is in entering the large numbers of individual (often small value) transactions from your bank and credit card statements that make up these totals. And, to do this quickly and accurately, you need a package that allows you to enter and categorise these transactions with the minimum amount of typing, that produces the necessary category totals for transfer into the spreadsheet, that confirms that everything reconciles to your source statements, and that allows you to to search & query transactions by payee or other keywords for control & checking purposes. Which is exactly what Personal Accountz does. Use it for what is, and what its price fully justifies, and you'll be very happy.
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