In Personal Finance Software, Style Rules

In the world of personal finance software: two rivals, Microsoft Money and Intuit's Quicken, dominate.

Both can help organize tax information and all personal accounts, pay bills online, create budgets, handle investments and make financial forecasts. Both are connected to their websites. Features are similar in both programs, so style and personal preferences could be the determining factor as to which one to use. Reviewers rarely suggest switching programs because if even one piece of data is lost during the switch, it can create problems.

One of the most attractive features for most users is that it cuts down on the dull drudgery of preparing tax information. In the early years of these money management software programs, users had to enter the data by hand. Now, most banks allow users to download it and then it can be flowed into TurboTax, the popular tax-prep software program.


Easy & Profitable Client Payroll with PayCycle

Now is a great time to get clients set up for payroll. We’d like to invite you to a FREE 60-minute web seminar sponsored by PayCycle, the leader in on-demand payroll. During this informative session, you’ll discover how to:

  1. Automate payroll tasks from paychecks to W-2’s
  2. Save time with electronic tax payments and filings
  3. Increase year-round firm profitability without adding staff or infrastructure

Come see for yourself how easy and profitable payroll can be - CLICK HERE TO REGISTER Hurry! Spaces are limited and the sessions fill up quickly.

All PayCycle webinar attendees will receive 1 month free on PayCycle’s service. After the free period, PayCycle costs just $14.99 per client per month for the first 5 employees. Each additional employee is just $0.25 per month. This low monthly fee includes everything you need to process payroll, including a firm-branded website for clients, direct deposit, electronic tax payments and filings, seamless integration with QuickBooks, ATX, CCH and other leading accounting software, free customer support with payroll experts, customized marketing resources to solicit your payroll service to clients, and much more.

Learn More Register for a Web Seminar Sign Up Now

PC World's so-called Digital Duo, Stephen Manes and Angela Gunn, who review digital products, looked at Quicken and Microsoft Money, but first had to admit that they don't use either product, relying instead on their accountants and spreadsheets.

They found a few annoyances: setting up the accounts was awkward and time-consuming. They didn't like how quickly the programs expire–a couple of years after installation requiring you to pay to upgrade again. They pointed out that Microsoft required sign-up for its Passport service program and that personal financial information is stored on servers of Microsoft, which has a spotty security record.

Manes was leery about putting too much financial information online. “Be very careful about any Web site that aggregates all your information in one place, no matter how serious the service is about maintaining confidentiality. Lots of information gets compromised inadvertently-as we saw with credit card processors just a few months ago. By putting your whole financial life out there in one place, you run the risk of having your whole financial life compromised in one fell swoop. If you're going to consolidate this info, the place to do it is on your own PC.”

They wrote that they know lots of people who love the programs, but they've also heard “horror stories” of corrupted data and other bugs.

Tribune Media Services Columnist Humberto Cruz wrote that he likes the programs for budgeting purposes: They make it easy to track expenses and see the effect of inflation over the years. Electricity that cost his family $1,211 in 20004 cost $1,389 in 2005, for example.

You may like these other stories...

K2 Enterprises has announced its 2014 technology awards in 27 categories. The only clear message may have been that there was no clear message in a field marked by many good ideas, but no unanimous winners.The company, which...
We're all about QuickBooks this morning. First, read this late-breaking news from John Stokdyk, editor of AccountingWEB (U.K.), who is attending the QuickBooks Connect conference in San Jose, California. Then, for more...
Technology—specifically internet technology—has a record of disrupting tried-and-true methods of operation in ways that we often don't foresee. Look no further than the recent HBO announcement that they *gasp...

Already a member? log in here.

Upcoming CPE Webinars

Oct 30Many Excel users have a love-hate relationship with workbook links.
Nov 5Join CPA thought leader and peer reviewer Rob Cameron and learn ways to improve the outcome of your peer reviews while maximizing the value of your engagement workflow.
Nov 12This webcast presents basic principles of revenue recognition, including new ASU 2014-09 for the contract method. Also, CPAs in industries who want a refresher on revenue accounting standards will benefit.
Nov 18In this session Excel expert David Ringstrom, CPA tackles what to do when bad things happen to good spreadsheets.