This week we continue our series on the best personal finance software on the market with a look at the award-winning Personal Accountz software package, now called Home Accountz 2012. This budget option is easy to use and is compatible with both Windows and Mac.
Though not as well known as the likes of Microsoft Money and Quicken, Personal Accountz, now called Home Accountz 2012, has been around for a long time, and anyone we spoke to who uses it for their accounts swear that they would use nothing else. There is a problem, though. Both Microsoft Money and Quicken are now unsupported in the UK market.
Personal Accountz, Home Accountz 2012, from Accountz.com is the most basic of its accounting packages and may involve a bit of a learning curve to get used to. However, it is a powerful piece of software, especially for its affordable retail price of £39 – until end January 2012 you can use our exclusive voucher code to get 20% off – just go to the Accountz website and use code SHMRH20
Home Accountz is compatible with Windows Vista, Windows 7, MAC Snow Leopard and even Linux so there are no problems with using the very latest operating system with this software.
Like most personal finance applications, Home Accountz uses the double entry system to balance your books. Thankfully, you don’t have to worry too much about this. You just enter a figure once and Home Accountz should balance the books for you.
It seems to be a fact of life for British consumers that personal finance software packages will not synch automatically with your online banking and credit card accounts and Home Accountz is no different. To do this, you will need to download your online statements and integrate them with the software regularly. However, Personal Accountz makes this a relatively pain free process.
Unlike Microsoft Money and Intuit Quicken’s UK versions, Home Accountz has been regularly updated in recent years, so you will be getting a very current software package for your money. If you currently use Money or Quicken and are thinking about making a change, you can easily import your accounts to Personal Accountz.
As you would expect, it keeps track of your bank accounts, credit card accounts, savings, investments, borrowings, mortgage and all the usual incomings and outgoings. Added to this, you can create your own accounts. So, for example, you can create a specific account for your motoring costs, or for your holiday spending. Of course, this can be set up to automatically balance with your other accounts.
Other neat features that we like include automated direct debits and standing orders; an accessible spreadsheet-style interface; and a forecasting feature. As with all money management software, Home Accountz 2012 will take some setting up initially as you will have to input all your balances and regular transactions to get an accurate screenshot of your finances. Thereafter you should ideally update your finances every day, even down to the smallest details.
If you give Home Accountz the information it needs it will help you budget effectively; warn you when you are overspending; and let you know exactly how much you have available for various expenses.
Although it is designed for home use, Home Accountz 2012 should be adequate for small business needs. However, it doesn’t handle VAT. We also feel that its inability to handle multiple currencies is a drawback. However, on the plus side you are eligible for unlimited lifetime support.
The Business Accountz package offers a wider range of features for an extra £30. However, for the average home user Home Accountz 2012 should offer more than enough and provides an excellent alternative to the packages we have reviewed so far in this series.