Product Type: Microsoft in Finance & Accounting
Newest Review: ... to let me handle me finances, and sort them out into managable slots for me to look at. This software doesnt mean that you have to alw... more
Money 2000 Standard – helps me to keep a tight control on my accounts
MS Money 2000 Standard
Member Name: libertybell
MS Money 2000 Standard
Date: 01/10/00, updated on 28/03/01 (654 review reads)
Advantages: Once set-up it’s easy to maintain, online update of share prices and account transactions is great, loads of features – many of which I haven’t got to grips with, imposes self-discipline which is needed when filling in tax forms
Disadvantages: A lot of work to set-up, tending to get too complicated with each new version.
Ever wanted to keep some control over your finances, or wanted to make sure that your Bank was not mucking up your current account? If yes, Money 2000 might be the answer to your prayers.
I’m one of those people who like to keep track of my money. I am fortunate to have current and savings accounts, shares and TESSA/PEP/ISA products. I'm not wealthy - just careful! Back in 1995, I purchased my first version of MS Money (v3.0) and over the years have upgraded when a release came out.
My version is MS Money 2000, which comes in 3 versions. There is the standard version, (which I will later describe) and which is primarily used for home accounts. Next up is the ‘Financial’ version, which includes additional features such company car evaluation and will planning. There is now a Money 2001 version - they tend to come out on an annual basis - hardly surprising really.
The top of the range version is the ‘Personnel and Business’ version which additionally performs business functions such as VAT calculation, tracking invoices and maintaining details of your company’s products.
MS Money 2000 requires certain minimum requirements. It needs Windows 95/NT or above, a minimum of 70 MB of hard drive, IE 5.0 and to make best use of its facilities -access to the internet.
I’ll now explain which features I use from the standard version and what I think of them. This is not an explanation of all features – this can be found in the Instruction Book within the software box and in the Help feature. Also, there are loads of things I have never got around to trying or leave me cold.
1.Setting up and maintaining Accounts
In Money, you set up an account for each type of account you want to monitor. These can include current, savings, ISA, and TESSA. In addition, you can set up an account to record details of shares held in a company.
Once an account has been set-up, you then record all transactions, which affect the balance on that account. Each transaction comprises a line and is usually some sort of deposit, withdrawal or transfer to another account. A transaction will comprise the payer or payee, date, value and some sort of category.
MS Money can save details of payees and details of previous transactions. When recording details of cheques, the cheque number can be recorded and when another cheque is written on the same account, Money automatically records the next cheque number in the transaction details.
With shares, you have a host of transactions, which can be recorded. These include buying and selling shares, adding shares in lieu of dividend and lots of other types, which I haven’t yet got my head around.
Once the account has been set-up, all you have to do is record every transaction, which affects the balance. This means every deposit, cheque written; debit card purchase and cash machine withdrawal. Getting into the discipline of updating Money every day or other day means that you have an accurate record of what is happening on your accounts.
Bills can be pain. You’re not expecting one and out of the blue comes a huge Water rates bill. MS Money can help. Every bill can be recorded on Money along with its type (e.g. Standing order/DD/cheque) and frequency. I have set up details of all my bills and Money keeps a record of them. When the bill is expected, you are reminded on the Money Home page.
Bills can be processed manually or automatically. If manual, you key in the details of the transaction into Money and it is compared with the Bill schedule. It is then marked off. If automatic, details of the bill are automatically added as transaction when the payment is due. This is the case with my mortgage payments. You can also set-up the value of the bill. It can be a fixed or variable am
3.Downloading account transactions
This is brilliant. If you have an Internet connection and bank with either Barclays, Nationwide, Royal Bank of Scotland, Natwest or Woolwich, you can download details of your transactions and match them up with the transactions you have already entered. Where a match is found, Money marks the transaction with an ‘E’ (electronic match). This facility is useful because you can detect if your Bank has messed something up, or a cheque/cash withdrawal has not cleared. I am able to download transactions for 4 accounts in 1 go.
Where there is a download, Money compares it with the transactions you have keyed in and suggests a match. You agree or suggest an alternative. If you keep your transactions up to date, this procedure normally works like clockwork.
4. Balancing accounts
With Money, this is a piece of cake. To balance a Statement, you go into the relevant account, key in the statement date, last balance figure from the sheet and Money will give you a list of transactions which you tick off against your paper statement. Too complicated.
If you have downloaded your transactions from your Bank (see number 3), Money will automatically balance your account for you and display a variance of ‘0.00’. No more going through 30 transactions, and marking them off on the statement. Balanced transactions have a marker of ‘R’ (reconciled) and can be excluded from the view of the account.
5. Tracking share prices automatically
I like to see how much my shares are worth. Having keyed in the details of your shares, their value can be automatically calculated by entering the latest share price. The slow way of doing this is to key them in manually.
The fast way of doing this is to download them. When setting up an accoun
t for a share, the 3-digit identifier used on the Stock Exchange to denote a share is set-up in Money (you do this!) and is then used to obtain the latest price. Downloading happens at the same time as account transactions are pulled down so there are no unnecessary phone calls. Once the Share price has been downloaded, it is recorded with the date against the share and the value of your portfolio automatically updated.
Money has the facility to produce a load of standard and customised reports/graphs. You can produce for all or specific accounts. My favourites are:
* Share price history
* Where the money goes (in the form of a pie chart)
* Who is getting my money
(comes in a pretty bar chart)
* Monthly report – this shows my spending patterns
(big brother is watching you!!)
There are many others. You can tailor them to your own personal requirements and save them for future use. There are so many ways to cut the same cake!!
7. Making preparation of Tax returns easier
I received my first Self-Assessment tax form in 1999. Those who get these know how much fun they are to fill in! I have found that Money really helps to complete this pain in the bum. Providing you have set-up all your current, deposit and share accounts (and kept them up to date), it should not be difficult to gather together details of all relevant income and expenditure. Money was able to report my capital tax gains on a pretty report – really saves time. Having gone through the tax form business once, I have found Money a real asset.
Finally, because you may end up with lots of useful information going back a number of years – always backup your MS Money file. You’ll regret it if you don’t!
And there you have it. Sorry about the length. I did say there is a lot to it – and I
am just skimming the surface. I can even tell you how much my version of Money cost me – there is a transaction somewhere!! Yep - £29.99 – purchased on 23 November 1999 – using the find transaction command – so so sad !!