Money 2001 is the latest incarnation of Microsoft's money management software. It comes in three versions: Standard, Financial Suite and Business and Personal, each having slightly more features than the previous one. The basic "Standard" version allows the user to keep up to date records of all their accounts (current/credit/debit cards... whatever), to organise regular bills and deposits and to keep a track on spending within a preset budget. If your bank has an online presence then you may even be able to directly download statements into Money. Current examples of banks supported include Nationwide, NatWest, Woolwich, Barclays and The Royal Bank of Scotland. In the same vein, if you own shares then you'll also be able to download the latest prices to see how much your portfolio has lost in the last year! The "Financial Suite" version does all of the above but will also create plans for retirement, home buying and education fees. It'll help you create a will and even track your Air Miles account. The "Business and Personal" version does everything that the "Financial Suite" does and also adds various business tools such as invoicing and VAT reports. I've been using the "Financial Suite" for some time now, having upgraded from previous versions. I find it to be an extremely useful tool. On first running the programme you will be guided through a series of questions which set up your account and establish your main priorities. You'll be asked if you have an internet connection which can be used to download bank statements (if your bank offers the service) and retrieve share prices, news and updates. Next you'll be given an opportunity to set up your accounts - you can include pretty much anything. At this early stage it might be a good idea just to include the main ones such as your current account, savings accounts and credit cards
- best learn to walk before you can run. However, once you've got things started you can set up accounts for pretty much anything. Personally, I've set up betting accounts (if you read some more of my ops. you'll realise I like a bit of a bet!) and even keep track of loose change. Include whatever you like - it all depends on how closely you want to keep track of things. Having set up your accounts you'll be able to enter details of your job: your salary, when you're paid etc. Next comes details of your regular monthly bills - Money will keep track of these as well and create a budget. Once your details have been entered you'll arrive at the "Money Home Page." This page, which is customisable, will give you an overview of your current financial status. It is also the hub from which you can access any facet of your financial affairs. At the top of the screen are menus for accounts & bills, investing, planners (e.g. budget planner, debt reduction planner and so on), worksheets (to check the viability of buying a house etc) and reports (which dissect your income and expenditure in gruesome detail). The home page also includes links to get updates from the internet. The Accounts & Bills centre is invaluable for keeping track of forthcoming expenses to keep you out of the red. You can retrieve a list of all of your accounts (debit and credit) and at the bottom see your net worth - scary! If you own shares then you'll find the Investing centre very useful. It will itemise all of your holdings and keep their values up to date if you download the share prices. Sometimes I wish it would lose my Baltimore Technologies data... but that's another story! The Planners will, amongst other things, help you to create a programme for getting out of debt if you have credit card bills. It'll prioritise your monthly payments so that higher interest bearing accounts are paid off first. You can
also create a budget so that you know where to allocate your money on a month-by-month basis. All very useful stuff. The Worksheets include a whole host of well, erm... worksheets to check the viability of things such as buying a house, buying a car or getting a loan for example. In the Reports section you'll get a post-mortem on anything and everything to do with your current financial position. As an example, you can get a graph of your net worth on a monthly basis to check if you're getting richer or poorer. It can be quite enlightening. In conclusion, I would whole-heartedly recommend Microsoft Money 2001 as a very useful tool to keep a tight grip on your filthy lucre. Recommended retail price is £29.99 for the Standard edition but shop around. Amazon currently charge £22.99 for Standard going up to £52.46 for the all-bells-and-whistles Personal and Business version.
I've had every version of Money since 1998 and it continues to improve. This version will even track your air miles! Most useful though, as I've not used it before, is the budgeting function. It takes a while to get used to and set up but once you've got it working can really help to show you how well you're spending and saving in particular categories. What makes it even better is if you get bar graphs on the money homepage stating how well you're doing against budget on your chosen categories. Very useful, if like me, you keep using 1-Click! There are lots and lots of options and on each subsequent upgrade of Money I've got used to more of them. Once you've learnt everything this package is really worth the money, it's an excellent product and so far stable and bug free. Sometimes you'll find that it's set something up wrong for you and you'll think it's a bug and hack about trying to fix it - that's just a consequence of the ease of use in certain cases. A quality product with a lot to explore and configure but at the end of the day helps a lot with your personal finances. I'm reviewing the Financial Suite version here, but most of what I'm saying applies to the standard version. Buy this or the Financial Suite version if you have shares.
Microsoft Money Financial Suite 2001 This 2001 Version of Microsoft’s personal finance is an excellent example to prove that Microsoft have really improved since the last version. It is a much better package. There is now improved documentation and support, and this is still an important product for the computer beginner and expert. Money Financial Suite offers an extensive range of tools for keeping account of just about anything you can imagine! It manages debt, cash flow, investments and ISAs while allowing a glimpse of the future with what if scenarios. If your bank or building society has online banking, then this can be downloaded straight into Microsoft Money Financial Suite 2001. This Microsoft product is brilliant for all your finances and is very easy to use, has a good instructions package and comes packaged extremely well! Well done Microsoft for another superb, easy to use, well equipped with features software package. If you require something to keep track of what you earn, spend e.t.c, then this software is perfect.
This is really useful product to have if you have a number of bank accounts, credit cards, savings accounts and/or stocks and shares account. It's far easier using this than searching through all your paper statements before making decisions. It's not a perfect product, but I would say it is worth the money (and it takes a lot for me to say that considering I'm far from being a Microsoft fan and I practicly never boot my computer to Windows and use Linux most of the time). There has been problems with it since it was launched, and I havn't been impressed with the amount of time it is taking Microsoft to sort it out. The software will track your share investments and download the latest prices for them, but there was a bug in the feeds (or the software?!?) in that one thought that prices should all be in pounds, and the other though pence was a better idea :-) Hence, all the values of your investments get completely messed up! A fix is supposed to be released this week but it's taken them a while and they were very slow about informing customers about the problem. But I was still glad I purchased it as it's very useful. If however you have an older version of the software, going by what people say in the newgroups, there is little benefit in upgrading. Stock research facilities aren't great, but hopefully that will improve as they intergrate the software with their UK moneycentral web-site. A good product, but a long way to go to become perfect :-)