Tools for your financial life

Upgraded software packages create user-friendly budgeting

Whether you’re a recent college graduate with meager resources or an accomplished professional, you’re looking for a way to take the hassle out of budgeting. Software companies are trying to meet the demand by continually updating packages to give you a range of options for managing your finances. black enterprise interviewed some financial experts to identify upgraded software packages that can save you time and money.

Packages such as Ncome and Xpense (Ragan Lockette Software, $14.95) and the WealthBuilder (Reality Technologies Inc., $99.95) are tailored for college students who don’t have complex financial problems-yet. In fact, the Ncome and Xpense package provides a schedule manager to help you keep track of due dates, expenses, and income. The WealthBuilder, on the other hand, is financial planning software that allows users to buy and sell investments online and track their portfolios.

According to experts, the Intuit and Microsoft packages, discussed below, can help individuals with their comprehensive budgeting needs. However, they vary on which of these top-shelf products are best.

Microsoft currently has three popular financial software packages: Money 2001 Standard, Money 2001 Deluxe, and Money 2001 Business and Personal. The Money 2001 Standard package ($34.99) helps users quickly manage checkbooks, pay bills, bank online, create a budget, and track debt. Money 2001 Deluxe ($64.99) has all the features of the standard package, but gives users the ability to manage day-to-day finances, plus financial planning, tax saving, and investing tools. Money 2001 Business and Personal ($94.95) is recommended for sole proprietors, since it combines the personal finance features of the Deluxe program with business management tools.

The most recent Quicken product, QuickBooks Pro 2000 (Intuit, $219.95) is easy to learn, whether for personal use or small business ventures. This software package provides instant access to all of your information, saves you time by preparing you for tax time, and gives you the fee-based option of accepting credit card payments. Great for business owners, QuickBooks Pro makes it easier to move advanced business project reports that include graphs, profit-and-loss reports, accounts receivable and payable statements into Microsoft Word and Excel.

“The ease of use while using a Money software package depends on what the consumer is trying to accomplish,” says David S. Tucker, director of information systems at Kahn, Boyd, and Levychin, a New York-based accounting firm.

“The advantage of Quicken is that you can move data easily between applications.”

Quicken by Intuit, Quicken Basic 2000, Quicken Deluxe 2000, QuickBooks Pro 2000
Balances checkbook; pays bills; creates Tracks investments online; assists users Includes Quicken Deluxe; creates invoices; simplifies reports and graphs reducing taxes; plans business taxes; tracks for the future accounts payable

Microsoft Money, Microsoft Money, Microsoft 2001
2001 Standard Deluxe Business and Personal
Helps manage finances; Includes all Microsoft Combines Money 2001 balance checkbook; Standard features Deluxe personal finance pay bills; bank online; plus comprehensive features and business create budget and investing, financial management tools. Designed reduce debt planning, and tax saving for sole proprietors to help tools for long-term goals them manage both business and personal finances.

Wealthbuilder — Allows users to identify

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