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Moneydance review

Karl Wright
7 Aug 2009
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
40
(around £25)

A decent home accounts package, but GNUCash is free and has the same range of features.

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Specifications

Moneydance is a cheap accounting package designed to keep home users up to date with their finances.

As such, it's a fairly clean and simple program. To enter a transaction, you open the relevant nominal account from the home screen, click on New Transaction and hit enter. Then just enter the date, amount and nominal account you're transferring the funds to and hit Enter.

As with QuickBooks and Microsoft Accounting, Moneydance works behind the scenes to update your Chart of Accounts. Reconciliation is just as easy; you can either reconcile manually, clicking each transaction as you match it against your bank account, or you can speed things up by importing an Open Financial Exchange (OFX) file. As with a few of the other programs, Moneydance theoretically supports online banking, but the reality is less than rosy. Only certain institutions are supported, and these seem to be almost entirely in the United States.

Rather than a simple list of reports, Moneydance provides a Graphing and Reports tool. Along with simple reports, this can generate a variety of colourful graphs, illustrating things such as the amount and source of your income or outgoings. You only get six graphs and 12 reports to choose from, but all the important ones for running household finances are there.

As well as keeping track of your money and creating a Chart of Accounts, Moneydance comes with several financial tools. Our favourite was the loan calculator. Enter the amount you want to borrow and the APR, and the calculator tells you the total amount you'll repay, monthly payments and so on. This is useful if you want to arrive well prepared for a meeting with the bank. We also like the budget feature, which can automatically calculate a budget for a given account based on past expenditure and then warn you if you're about to overspend.

A few things annoyed us about Moneydance. At times, the interface seems oddly cumbersome. For instance, when creating a new account, you're not given the option of assigning that account a custom nominal code or placing it accurately in the hierarchy of the Chart of Accounts. It's also impossible to see the whole Chart of Accounts unless you generate a report on income and expenses. We prefer the Accountz approach, in which all the accounts are visible all the time.

We liked MoneyDance: it's simple and cheap. Furthermore, it's been rebadged for Tesco as Tesco Personal Finance. You can't currently buy it online, but some stores stock it for the bargain price of £10. However, if this is the level of sophistication you need, GNUCash is just as good but is free.

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