How to Buy Accounting Software
Updated August 2012
Choosing personal finance software
accounting software (the newer versions, at least) won't hog much of your
system's resources, but you should check to make sure that it is compatible
with your computer's operating system. See our Comparison Chart for system
requirements. If you don't want to download software, there are a number of
free online services you can use to track your finances; see our report on personal finance sites.
companies offer a mobile app so you can check your accounts on the go.
SplashMoney has the widest selection, with an app available for every mobile
device from BlackBerrys to iPhones. YNAB has mobile apps for iPhones and
Android devices, and for the Kindle Fire. Quicken does not have any apps for
mobile devices, though it shares a parent company with Mint.com, which has a free
online service and well-reviewed apps.
agree that a personal finance software package should, at a minimum, offer the
- Download bank and
Check for compatibility with your financial institution. Quicken is compatible
with most financial institutions in the U.S., and most of the other
alternatives are compatible with larger banks but may not be connected to local
banks or credit unions.
- Create graphs and/or
your needs don't go much beyond balancing your checkbook, this feature may not
mean much to you. However, if you'd like to be able to chart your expenses and
graphically see what percentage you spend on housing, insurance, etc., then
these features can help you see the big picture.
- Create a budget: Even basic software
should allow you to work out a budget by tracking expenses and income using
your financial information.
- Easy to use reconciliation
means you can accurately match your
transactions with the entries in your accounts, similar to balancing a
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