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Moneydance Review

PROS / Moneydance has more reporting options than the majority of services we evaluated.

CONS / It doesn't have budgeting goals or retirement-planning options.

 VERDICT / Moneydance is an easy-to-use program that offers powerful budgeting features and solid reporting options.

With its straightforward and intuitive user interface, Moneydance is not only easy to use but is also a powerful budgeting program. You can sync the software to your financial institutions or manually add and edit transactions. Mobile apps allow you to keep track of your budget when you're away from your desktop. You can also create multiple accounts with multiple budgets if you have more than one group of finances to manage. Each functions independently, or you can include everything within a single budget. This simple yet powerful desktop program, which is available for both Macs and PCs, earns our Top Ten Reviews Silver Award for personal finance software.

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Connectivity

One of the most convenient features of home finance software is the ability to sync to financial institutions so all of the balances and transactions from your accounts transfer. This way, you don't miss a single entry.

With Moneydance, you have the option of syncing typical account types, checking, credit cards, loans, etc. The loan accounts you can sync include peer-to-peer lending accounts, something not many other services offer. You can also sync to investment and asset accounts to track your portfolio and other investments.

Syncing to your bank also allows you to reconcile your account against your budgeting records, including tracking missing checks. Moneydance offers private syncing, which means your privacy is maintained. Not even Moneydance has access to your information.

Mobile apps provide access to your Moneydance account when you're on the go, so you can manually add transactions, check balances or adjust your budget as needed. Apps are available for Apple products, including the iPhone and iPad. An Android app is available as well. The only downside, though, is that you must also have a Dropbox account to sync your desktop program to your mobile device.

Budgeting

Creating, editing and managing your budget is straightforward. After clicking on the Budget tab, spending categories populate, including those categories that already have balances so you can see what you've already spent for that category. You can also filter out the displayed categories to remove any superfluous line items, choosing from only budgeted or active items.

To adjust the budget limit, just enter the amount. Once the budget is set, the program color-codes the spending trend. If the balance is zero or isn't close to nearing the limit, the category appears green. Yellow means you're approaching your limit or have just reached it. Red means you've exceeded the budgeted amount. However, the software doesn't email or text you alerts that warn you if you go over budget.

If your bills and spending habits are similar each month, you can copy the budget you create from one month to the next, saving you time. And you can individually edit and adjust any category budget you copy over as needed. If you wish to have the unspent amount from the previous month roll over to the next, you can choose that option as well.

Reporting

Moneydance offers some of the best reporting options of all the services we reviewed. There are choices for simple data reports, including a budget report, cash flow and income versus expenses.

Other reports have charts and graphs for a quick visual of the data, such as the account balances, net worth and an income versus expense report. You can adjust the date range, selecting from a number of predetermined options, like year to date, month to date and quarters. You can also choose custom dates for any period of time.

If you wish to save any report you run, you can print a hard copy or save a digital version. Graphs can be saved as a PNG, and data reports can be saved as an HTML or CSV, which can then be used in other programs, such as Excel. These exporting options are fewer than what other services offer, and you cannot export reports to a tax program.

If this financial software doesn't offer a report that you need and you have programming experience, you can take advantage of its scripting support and write a script in Python to analyze your own data and create a custom report based on your needs.

Personal Investing

With this financial management software, you can keep track of your investments and monitor your portfolio. As mentioned above, you can sync to your brokerage account, transferring balances and trades.

The portfolio overview displays the value of your portfolio, the percent change and cost basis. The register tracks your trades, including the security, date, stock price, fees and balance, while the security details allow you to keep track of stocks. The program offers investment report options, so you can create data reports for your investment performance and transactions.

Summary

Moneydance is top of the line, offering the most important features we sought out for personal finance software. You can sync checking, credit card, investment and loan accounts so you can stay on top of your balances and transactions as they occur.

While the mobile apps require Dropbox, this minor inconvenience is worth it to keep track of your budgets from your phones and tablets. Creating and managing your budget is a breeze, and the options for reports can help you manage your home budget, making this one of the best personal account software applications.

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