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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."
 Budgeting Tax Planning

Quicken by Quicken Basic 2000 Quicken Deluxe 2000
Intuit Balances checkbook; Tracks investments
 pays bills; creates online; assists users
 reports and graphs reducing taxes; plans
 for the future

Microsoft Microsoft Money Microsoft 2001
Money 2001 Standard Deluxe
 Helps manage finances; Includes all Microsoft
 balance checkbook; Standard features
 pay bills; bank online; plus comprehensive
 create budget and investing, financial
 reduce debt planning, and tax
 saving tools for
 long-term goals

Wealthbuilder N/A N/A

Ncome and Schedule manager N/A
Xpense helps users keep
 track of
 expense amounts,
 income amounts, and
 their due dates.

 Business Portfolio
 Management Management

Quicken by QuickBooks Pro 2000 N/A
Intuit Includes Quicken
 Deluxe; creates
 invoices; simplifies
 business taxes; tracks
 accounts payable

Microsoft Microsoft 2001 N/A
Money Business and Personal
 Combines Money 2001
 Deluxe personal finance
 features and business
 management tools.
 Designed for sole
 proprietors to help
 them manage both
 business and personal
 finances.

Wealthbuilder N/A Allows users to
 identify investments;
 design a personal
 financial planning
 strategy

Ncome and N/A N/A
Xpense
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Article Details
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Author:Hopson, Tanisha
Publication:Black Enterprise
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 1, 2000
Words:583
Previous Article:Growth potential.
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