BankTree Personal Finance
by CI Staff
BankTree is a rather comprehensive personal finance management program that helps individuals monitor their financial situations and budget for the future. The program supports multiple accounts, various currencies and is compatible with Microsoft Money, Quicken and Microsoft Excel. Users can import their online bank statements and download the latest data on their investments. All of these features and more combine to provide a reasonably accurate snapshot of users’ financial situations at any given time.
With over 10 built-in reports and the ability to create custom reports, users can see the information they need easily. The Spending by Category and Spending by Payee reports are exceptionally useful because they show exactly where the most money is being spent. For instance, some individuals tend to underestimate their spending on entertainment, but the Spending by Category feature can highlight that. There are reports for monitoring cash flow, transactions, investment performance and budgets.
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BankTree also provides some useful tools in the Tools tab. These range from loan and mortgage calculators to currency and stock rates. The mortgage and loan calculators not only calculate and illustrate payments and the loan balance, but they also show the effect interest has on payments. Many may be surprised to find out how much they actually pay over the principal amount.
As with most budgeting programs, the most time-consuming part of the process is beginning to use the program. With BankTree, the user must first record bank accounts, payees, categories, investments and more in order to utilize the variety of features. However, doing this in the beginning makes it easier to record transactions later on. A potential weakness in BankTree, though, is that manually recording transactions can be quite time consuming as well, so the program may be better suited for long-term investors and those that tend to make fewer transactions.
Overall, BankTree is an inexpensive and quite comprehensive personal finance management software. The program is also regularly updated, such as adding the option for password protection. Since most individuals will get a good sense of whether BankTree is right for them within the first few days, we strongly recommend the free seven-day trial before purchasing.
System Requirements: Windows XP/2000/Vista/7
Price: Approx. $40; free 7-day trial