At our next meeting we'll look at the latest Ubuntu 16.04 release, Xenial Xerus. This is an LTS long term support release benefitting from 5 years of system and security updates and at our meeting we hope to demo new features landing and previewing in 16.04 together with a variety of installation methods.
At last my report of this meeting
Open review of general features
Peter began by saying he had only had his laptop for about a week so hoped everyone would be patient if he got a bit lost. Windows 10 Toshiba laptop with 120GB SSD . What to look for in general in a home accounts package not business so no coverage of VAT etc. and then later devote more time to "Accountz" and "Moneydance".
Usually you want to be able set a budget to subdivide expenditure on utilities, petrol, telephone etc. under various headings.
There is also an internal calendar to activate standing orders and direct debits. It is also useful if you can add in or edit transactions later. You need a forecasting feature so that you have warning before you overdraw on an account and a way of reconciling bank and credit card statements.
Some software can handle share portfolios and other investments. Moneydance can but Accountz cannot. You need to be able to import data from bank accounts as well. Some also have mobile apps which can be useful for keeping up to date.
It is also useful if a transaction can be split over several headings when shopping say with several items paid with just one payment.
Peter had looked at 2 main reviews on line. The first was the Personal Finance Software Review Best of 2016 found at http://personal-finance-software-review-toptenreviews.com and the second was from which magazine (you need to be a member).
10 best software packages from PC adviser covering in order
Intuit Quicken Premier ( given a Gold Award)
Intuit Quicken Starter
BankTree Personal Finance
You Need A Budget (YNAB)
Most of this software costs about £40 or less to purchase.
Quicken Premier is considered to be the Gold Standard in personal accounting mainly because it has all sorts of facilities, is easy to use and covers investment portfolios and submission of tax data to tax software.
Peter was suspicious of Quicken because to sync bank accounts requires submitting your banking passwords for each account although they claim it is secure because data is held encrypted on 3 separate servers with part held on each it however requires a special software package which requires paid for upgrades. Failing to upgrade means you will be cut-off from the system. I'm not sure that UK banks support this system anyway.
Most software allows a trial period of 30 days with reduced functionality, but "Moneydance" includes a 100 transaction limit instead.
The Which Magazine review covered
in that order as shown in this table.
In this talk he showed "Home Accountz" and "Moneydance" .
"Home Accountz", was derived from "Accountz" Windows version which had in turn been derived from the original RISC OS "Personal Accounts 4" (PA4) from Apricote software written by Quentin Paine, which Peter is still currently using.
In the first instance there was an upgrade path between PA4 and the Windows "Accountz" for data but subsequently the Windows version was modified and this migration is no longer available. with the current version.
"Home Accountz" has a very handy tutorial system to guide you through set up and use
We tried as few transactions and entering data in a pseudo bank account. When starting out you can set an opening balance on each bank account or credit card account. It is best to use a formal bank statement for the initial set up. Starting balances can be readjusted later.
The tabs on the top of the main screen are quite useful to intuitively find your way about and there is also a Video tutorial in "Home Accountz".
He would also show "Moneydance", which came second in both reviews and is apparently capable of handling investments with a free add-on. "Moneydance" did not seem as intuitive to use as "Home Accountz" and there was no tutorial to guide you. However Peter discovered after the meeting that the version he had used (in haste!) was an old version downloaded from an out-of-date mirror and the current one has a very comprehensive handbook.
We did try a few transactions but the results were not quite what we expected.
It obviously needs more time to become familiar with these packages in order to decide which is better.
Although Peter has still not made a decision between "Home Accountz" and "Moneydance" he did a bit more investigation on transferring data between packages.
Most accounting software has facilities for importing data from bank accounts using Excell and specialised formats, OFX, CSV, QFX, QIF. OFX was one of the most common formats and Peter had purchased a piece of software CSV2OFX from Propersoft which will convert CSV files to OFX format which will allow downloads from his bank statements to either "Home Accounts " or "Moneydance". It may well also allow him to link to his old data as well. In the USA it is common for users to be able to download automatically from their bank accounts but European and UK banks do not allow this.
So it is a work in progress.
Accountz from http://www.accountz.com
Moneydance from The infinite Kind http://www.infinitekind.com
Propersoft converters from http://www.propersoft.net
OFX Open Financial Exchange
QFX Quicken Financial Format - Proprietary version of OFX (Intuit)
QIF Quicken Interchange format
|ICENI Future programme 2016/2017|
|July 20th||Ubuntu - Installing from USB stick|
|August 17th||Summer Social Evening - Treble Tile , West Bergholt
|September 21st||Windows 10 hints and tips||All|
|October 19th||Remix OS|
|November 16th||Slide/Video Evening|
|December 21st||Gadgets and Party Evening||All|
|January 18th||Winter Social Evening - The Shepherd , Langham TBA||All|
|February 15th||Arduino/Raspberry Pi||All|
|March 15th||Mac Evening||Peter et al|
|April 19th||AGM + IoT||All|
|May 17th||RISCOS Update - New Impression||All|
Our meetings are held at the Bourne Vale Social Club, Halifax Road, Ipswich IP2 8RE , for a map and other details please see the website.
Membership fee currently £10, visitors free.
We are continuing our publicity for EAUG events , however their website has not been updated for a year now. So if you wish to know information please phone one of their contacts.
Meetings are at the Great Baddow Village Hall, on the second Tuesday of the month
opening at 7:30 p.m. for a start at 7:45 - 8:00 p.m.
For directions see below (note the new web addresses)
http://www.eaug.org.uk or 'phone one of the contacts on
Drinks usually available.
See the Membership page of the website for more information:
"ICENI does not have any Insurance cover for computers or other equipment so please be advised that you bring machines to the club at your own risk."
However many household insurance policies will include cover away from home often with no increase in premium. (Ed.)