From corporations to family dinner tables, a new year means devising a new budget. No matter if you have a masters in accounting from New England College or you’re trying to juggle the household finances more effectively in the new year, technology has come to the rescue. According to Investopedia, the best budgeting software fulfills three criteria:
- It should be flexible enough to allow customization
- It should include a high level of detail and analysis
- Information should be easy to find and understand
The whole purpose of a budget is to show you where your money goes, control spending and improve savings. Since most of us are mobile, it makes sense to focus on budgeting software that goes where you go. Here are a few of the more helpful apps if you want to keep a handle on spending, divided into three categories, with one bonus submission to help improve your credit score.
Big Event Oversight
If you’re looking for an app that allows you to put all of your transactions and bills at your fingertips, in multiple formats, and allows detailed transaction reporting, Pocket Guard is a free app for Android and iOS platforms. Among its capabilities are setting spending limits by category and bundling payments.
It also shows you exactly how much you have left in the bank, and how much you can afford to spend by the day. Although it’s good for putting a cap on disposable income spending, and it offers suggestions for changes, it’s a really good solution for pre-planning vacations and other big, one-time expenses.
Daily Budgeting Duties
Good Budget and Mvelopes both take an old concept into the digital age. The concept of Good Budget is simple. You label different envelopes according to expense, add the amount you’ve set aside to spend in that category and use only the funds in that envelope. It keeps you from breaking out the credit cards or dipping into your savings. Mvelopes takes it a little further by adding several plans that range from basic monthly budgeting to a top-tier plan that gives you your own ‘financial fitness trainer.’
Long-Term Financial Planning
Personal Capital is a great app for those with 401k accounts and private investors alike. It’s free, and offers alerts to let you know if you’re being over-charged fees, analyzes accounts from several brokerage firms and tells you if it’s time to sell or when you should diversify. There’s also a premium version that offers one-on-one investment coaching.
Track and Raise Your Credit Score
Credit Karma is a free app available for Android and iOS that gives you your credit score from two of the big three reporting agencies, TransUnion and Equifax. It also tells you where you stand credit-wise and offers suggestions to raise your score based on spending, savings and income. You can also monitor your credit report and dispute errors right from within the app.
Tech and accounting go hand-in-hand. Knowing the most current tends in money reporting and management is a essential for accounting professionals at all levels as it is for individuals. IN fact, it is incumbent upon CPAs to know as much about personal financial management tools as professional ones. That way, you can provide more comprehensive assistance to all of your clients, private and professional.