|★ APPLICATIONS ★ COMPTA, BOURSE, BUDGET ★ MONEY MANAGER (c) CONNECT SYSTEMS ★|
|Money Manager||Money Manager Plus|The Amstrad User)|
As the name suggests, Money Manager Plus is an enhanced version of Connect Systems'best selling Money Manager program - 6,500 sold to date, they claim. This sold well because it was a simple yet effective way of keeping track of where the cents were going. Some small companies even found they could ran their books using Money Manager. If you already own the original Money Manager you will be pleased to know that your existing files are quite compatible with the new version.
Now, with the advent of their new souped-up version, the program's aspirations to be a fully fledged business accounts package must be taken more seriously. Instead of a limit of 100 entries per month it can now handle 300 entries and it is claimed that it runs four times faster than the old package. But is this enough to tackle 'the books'?
Powerful but still humble
Even in its new enhanced incarnation Money Manager Plus has not forgotten its humble origins. There is obviously a fair amount of overlapping in the functions of personal accounts and simple business accounts packages, but software manufacturers in general have not attacked the personal side of the market with the fervour that Connect Systems have.
Manufacturers will often claim that their accounts package can be used to sort out your own finances but they seldom go to the trouble of showing in detail how this should be done.
While the program docs have a perfectly adequate manual the makers were clever enough to realise that the easiest way of learning how to use a program is working with a practical example. To this end they include a couple of examples of yearly accounts which the users can take as a model or adapt for their needs. The two examples are of a typical set of business accounts and a set of personal accounts.
Keeping options open
Once you have chosen your first option from the opening menu, the program uses the 'pester you with questions until I have the answers'method for tasks like setting up a new data file. While this could be regarded as slightly condescending it does ensure that it is virtually idiot-proof - a reasonable aim for this kind of program.
The data file covers a year - 300 entries a month for 12 months - although you can extend this by a month at the end. This loses the first month's figures so it's an idea to commit them to archive by saving details to disc (separately from your current data file) so you can look back over your finances over many years.
Business users would need to consider carefully if this number of entries was large enough and flexible enough to cover their needs although even The Amstrad User writers would be pushed to exceed 3600 enlries in a year for personal finances.
At this point you can choose to use or amend the same Account Codes and Class Codes as another file. Account codes are numbers used to automatically attribute spending to one of nine available accounts. This keeps track of activity in your various bank and building society accounts and credit cards. Business users can also keep track of petty cash and it can also be used to handle credit purchases from a small number of suppliers although it is limited for this purpose. It is the limitation in handling unpaid bills that would cause the major problems for business use.
Class codes arc a combination of letters and numbers that allows you to keep track of where the money is going If you spend a lot of money on drink for instance you can create a special DRINK account which you would call 'd0'. You can then decide on having subsections - dl for Beer, d2 for Wine, d3 for Whiskey and d4 for Gin. You might regard this only useful to journalists but remember you can decide for yourself what the classes are up to a total of 50.
Breaking down's not hard to do
The main advantage of this is that you can use these accounts and classes to break down your expenditure in a variety of ways, so it is wise to choose your accounts and classes carefully to allow you to get at the information that you will want.
Having said that, it is relatively simple to adapt the set up even when it is in use since it is possible to change the title of accounts or classes if they don't suit you. It does suggest sensibly enough that you don't try to erase a classification from an existing file if it already has entries against it although with the ability to delete and amend your entries or insert new ones you should be able to get round most problems if you change your mind late.
This ability to change, amend or insert entries at any time will, of course, upset the purists in business accountancy. Standard practice is that any mistake must be carried round like the Mark of Cain presumably to give your accountant something to snigger at. This program does not follow this, so business users would have to decide whether that worried them or not.
What goes in, must come out
Then you have the fun of getting this information out again and using it to the best effect. There is plenty of scope in Money Manager Plus to do this. The Detailed Statement' option asks you a series of questions to discover what you want. You can pick the months, the accounts, the marks and the classes you want.
You can choose a Monthly Analysis (the figures for classes from month to month) or Account Analysis (the figures for class in each account). You can easily find out Account Balances and discover various Account Statistics including the number of entries, the starting and ending balances, maximum and minimum balances, average balances, total and income and expenditure and cash flow for the month. Just see if your bank manager will argue with you then.
There is even a facility to produce Bar Charts from your figures. The real practicality of this, especially for personal finances, could be questioned, but it does allow you to be unbearably smug.
The last and most invaluable method of getting information out of the program is the 'Search for a String' option - the faithful old 'find'facility. This checks for any string (a group of words or figures) so that you can find that lost payment the company are questioning you about 18 months after it was supposed to have been paid.
The other feature that really is useful for both business and private users will be the bank reconciliation facility - a very simple method of keeping track how much money you actually have in the bank. This is a facility most people will find of real worth and is surprisingly lacking in a number of accounts programs.
The program works well within the limits it has set itself. It is more than adequate to handle personal finances and will provide a simple and easy to use solution for a small business that is simply wanting to keep track of its finances.
Money Manager Plus is available for almost the entire range of Amstrad computers. For the CPC6128 it will cost $59.95 and for the PCW or PC you will need to find $99.00. More information can be obtained from your local dealer or Pactronics on (02) xxx xxxx.