The best spending software needs to be capable of performing a few tasks while possessing a clean, easily navigated interface. It should have a broad range of financial analytics. Spending software should be easy to use and feature both numerical and graphic representations of income, expenses, general spending, and investments along with detailed descriptions of how funds were acquired and spent. Top of the line spending software will automatically link with your bank, saving you from manually inputting each piece of data into the system.
You should choose budgeting software that meets your needs. The right spending software for a one-person household could be quite different from the software needed by a family of four or more, as their spending and tracking requirements will differ. If you possess a diverse investment portfolio, you should find the spending software that allows full analysis and tracking of that portfolio.
For small business owners, the best spending software includes revenue projections and analysis of overhead costs. The spending software should be able to take into account local, regional, and national taxes. You should also look for software that can manage or at least account for payroll and insurance expenses.
Basic spending software provides accounting tools that will track expenses and discretionary spending versus income. Budgeting software should include tools that will devise a plan for the short and long term that facilitates savings and investment. Good spending analytic software should show you where and how you are spending your money. It should also provide a suite of financial calculators that will help you visualize the money that could be saved by cutting different items out of your budget or if you invest in a 401(k), by contributing a higher amount every month.
There are many free programs available, but they often do not provide the necessary detail or financial tools to assist people in competently managing their finances. Free — and less versatile — versions of financial planning software should only be used for those with simple finances, such as college students and one-person households. Internet-based programs may be available that track spending and income on an ongoing basis for a nominal monthly fee. This software can be linked to bank accounts to track a limited number of habits and activities and to provide the user with suggestions for savings. Such software can be a useful alternative to costly, full-service programs for users with limited finances who are in need of a deeper level of financial analysis.