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BankTree Review

PROS / It has more investment-monitoring features than many of its competitors.

CONS / In order to sync to your bank accounts, you must subscribe to BankTree's online banking service.

 VERDICT / BankTree has solid financial-management tools, but if you want to connect to your accounts directly rather than download and import your transactions, it costs extra.

U.K.-based BankTree offers personal finance software that supports multiple currencies, but you can still use it to manage your U.S. bank, credit card and brokerage accounts. It directly syncs to banks and credit unions, or you can upload files from your financial institution with your current balance and recent transactions. BankTree is good, no-frills financial planning software if you're looking for a program with basic budgeting and reporting features.

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BankTree can import your bank transactions in several different file formats: CSV, OFX, QIF and QFX. Or, if you prefer to connect the software directly to your banks, you can subscribe to BankTree's online banking service, which connects to more than 2,500 financial institutions. It offers a mobile app for both Apple and Android devices. You can synchronize transactions and receipts from the mobile app to the desktop software, but it only works on computers with Windows operating systems.

When creating a budget, finding the feature to complete the task isn't intuitive because you have to go through the drop-down menus rather than click on one of the easy-access options. However, assigning limits to categories is very simple, and you can edit recurring amounts as needed. For example, if you know your bill will be higher in the winter, you can adjust the anticipated budget upwards. If you exceed the budget, the amount turns red on the Monthly Budget Overview screen, but you won't get an alert by text or email. One particular downside with the budget categories is that while you can schedule future transactions, the amounts entered affect your running total, which is something to be aware of.

You can track your investment accounts with this personal accounting software. The program shows you an overview of your portfolio and tracks the performance of your various funds and accounts. You can also review transactions within your investment accounts. If you're considering a new investment, BankTree directs you to Yahoo Finance so you can further research stocks. Not many programs have as many investment-management features that BankTree does.

Other reports you can run include your net worth, spending, cash flow, personal investing and tax reports. You can customize the information analyzed, including payees, accounts and categories, and you can choose from a number of pre-determined time frames or choose a custom date range. Reports can be printed, or you can save them as CSV files, which can be used in other programs, such as Excel.

Summary

BankTree is a good program if you're looking for a simple budgeting software solution to help manage your finances. If you prefer to sync your accounts rather than manually download and import transactions, you have to pay a subscription, although most other personal finance software developers provide this service with their products. Creating a budget is initially less intuitive than other personal finance applications we tested; however, once the setup is complete, updating and managing your account and budgets is easy. You can run many different types of reports, including some to help you stay on top of your investment accounts, which you don't find in many other personal finance programs.

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