The advent of personal home finance software has greatly enhanced our ability to manage our finances.
They are readily available in both software and online formats and most cost no more than the price of a meal and some can even be downloaded for free.
For anyone serious about gaining control of their finances, there’s almost no reason not to utilize a personal finance software program.
As with any software application, there are some Do’s and Don’ts that, when understood, can ensure their optimum use.
Personal Home Finance Software Dos
Do buy a software program that has a track record of use. Look at programs that have a good number of customer reviews. Tip: Avoid programs where you can’t find any negative reviews. No software program is perfect and you should expect to find at least some comments concerning some negative aspects.
Do buy a program that has strong tech support. With any kind of financial software it’s important that it be updated frequently and that there is active technical support available to assist with updates and other bugs.
Do buy a program that allows for flexibility and customization of your budget set-up. Your budget is unique to you, and you need to able to create your own categories and budget structure that reflects you spending pattern.
Do use a program that includes online banking features, such as electronic payments, account transactions, account reconciliation. Ideally it should also give you the ability to write and print checks.
Do use a program that can export data to file format that can be read by a spreadsheet program such as Excel. This is important if you want to be able utilize your financial data for other purposes, or, if you should change or upgrade your software, you have a ready back-up of your data.
Personal Home Finance Software Don’ts
Don’t just download a program because it’s free. While there are some fairly decent online budgeting tools, you may expend much more in terms of time and aggravation if the program can’t perform some basic functions such as transferring or carrying over data. If the programs are not updated regularly, you risk working with outdated formulas or information.
Don’t use software that doesn’t have the latest encryption technology. If you are linking accounts or importing data that references them, it is essential that your program has a strict security protocol.
Don’t wait too long to upgrade your financial software program. It may not be necessary to purchase each and every upgrade, especially if you have been faithfully installing the updates. But, software developers are always improving their technology which, ultimately, can make your life easier.
Don’t ignore your personal finance reports. The whole reason for using a program is to stay on top of your finances. It is important to know if you are meeting your own objectives. Most programs offer an automatic report generation feature.