Aug 23 2010
Budgets. We all know we need them. They help us monitor what monies come in, what goes out, and how quickly. Hopefully there’s more on the way in, so I’m told. I personally have a patent protected budgeting method. I’ve dubbed it the Ostrich Budgeting Technique, TM. I can’t disclose all the details but it generally consists of not spending a lot of money and not thinking a lot about it either.
To those who have more advanced budgeting needs Excel spreadsheets are sometimes employed. These work for a while but eventually become unwieldy. Quicken or Quickbooks can be installed locally. But then, installing local applications is so last year. Being able to access your critical information from any browser based computer is quickly becoming the norm. Embarking into the field of online expense tracking is AccPal. They offer a complete set of budgeting tools rivaled only by my Ostrich Technique, TM.
In their words, AccPal is a free online multi currency personal finance money tracking and management budget planning solution. I may have taken some liberties in the verbosity of my synopsis. Many budgeting software solutions have similar features. After trying AccPal I noted four distinct reasons why their product stands out. (Other than being completely free online personal finance software.)
1) Multi-currency. I deal with various currencies all the time. I never know what denomination people are going to send me money in. Fortunately Paypal takes care of translating it to USD or I’d be totally lost. With AccPal, you aren’t lost. You have the ability to include as many currencies as you like in your budget. For today’s businesses, in particular online ones, this is critical. We can no longer take for granted being able to exclusively deal with local currency.
2) The Shortcut feature. It is a powerful concept AccPal created to replace “recurring” features that other programs have. It gives you macro like access to common transactions. So if you always are creating a similar transaction you can create a shortcut to automate that process to just one click. It also is used to save common report configurations. The most important feature of shortcut is “staying current.” That is, you can create a shortcut and it will automatically update to the current date. This allows for shortcuts to be relevant for all future transactions. For instance, if users have transactions that occur at a particular date of each month, the shortcut can be set to convert the month. If users need to generate a report of certain aspects every month, or every year, the shortcut can be set to always show the most current month or year.
3) Multi-level tags. This alone makes me an incredible fan of AccPal. Almost all other budgeting software tools will utilize a flat organization of tags or categories. So you have to create one category for Groceries, and another for eating out, and another for home delivery. With AccPal you have the ability to accurately represent your expenditures. For instance all these will fit under the category of food, but you can create subcategories for each. It gives you easy insight into not only your overall food budget, but also the breakdown of how much you’re spending on pizza deliveries. You have the ability to make these divisions as granular or general as you like.
4) Batch Transactions. Oftentimes there are multiple expenses associated with a particular event. Let’s say you order something, ship it, store it, and then finally pick it up. Each of these expenses are associated with the same item. AccPal gives you the ability to group them together so they can be edited within the same transaction group. The grouping feature is especially useful for situations when the user needs to split transactions, or transfer money between accounts.
Other AccPals’ features include:
- Adding multiple accounts
- Associating people with various transactions
- Creating Budget Groups, which consist of separate budget goals.
- Flexibility in reporting and sorting
- Export to Excel. I know this is getting close to Ostrich style budgeting, but we all know sometimes it’s convenient to take a look at the numbers in a spreadsheet.
AccPal is a very powerful and flexible online money management service. For users don’t want any features at all, they can simply record transactions like they normally would balance their checkbooks. If they like, they don’t even need to enter descriptions for each transaction. Due to its flexibility and ability to track multiple currencies, and innovative shortcut feature, it is extensible to both business and personal budgets. Given the nature of it being online, having your budget accessible from any browser is a huge benefit. With a clear view of one’s finances comes the ability to set realistic goals. Once those goals are written down, they are much more likely to be attained. AccPal provides the tool to bring you this clarity. It’s a critical step on your way to future financial success and better money management.