AceMoney from MechCAD Software is easy to use personal finance software that claims to be the best alternative to Quicken or Microsoft Money. AceMoney doesn't look quite as polished as the other two, but it does the job when it comes to tracking financial accounts and a budget.
Setting Up AceMoney
Setting up and installing AceMoney is a very simple process. During the setup procedure, you're given the opportunity to select a default language and currency along with other options. The list of available languages and currencies is quite long, which undoubtedly contributes to the popularity of this personal finance software worldwide.
Before you get started, AceMoney asks if you want to use the sample file that comes with the software. I recommend using it to experiment with the software to see how it works. You can also start with a new data file, but it may be easier to rename the sample file, add your own accounts, edit budget categories and make other adjustments while deleting the accounts that come with the sample file. After renaming the data file and saving it, you will need to restart AceMoney to use the new file.
Working With Account Registers
If you've used other personal finance software, the account registers will look somewhat different with future bills showing up in the registers in a pale gray font.
AceMoney supports scheduled transactions, which can be viewed in a list format or on a calendar. The bills calendar feature is a nice touch that's not available in all desktop personal finance software.
To enter a new financial transaction, click on the New Transaction button found on the left while using account registers. It brings up a window that allows you to enter the payee, the amount of the transaction, a check number and other details.
Home Page, Budgets, Investments and Downloads
AceMoney's home page can be configured so you can view accounts, scheduled transactions, the investment portfolio or other options. You may need to save your data file and restart the software for home screen options changes to take effect. The homepage is quite simple compared to Microsoft Money and Quicken, but it is still a nice convenience.
Budgets and Spending Categories
The budget tool is incorporated into the category list, which is a simple, sensible way of managing a budget plan. Adding a spending category is easy, but when creating subcategories, there is no drop-down list to select the primary category from so if you need to create multiple subcategories, you'll need to retype the category name each time. If you have any typing errors when entering the primary category for subcategories, you can always edit them.
The investment support in AceMoney includes some basic graphs, a list of investment transactions and a list of portfolio holdings with the total value and overall loss or gain. There's enough there to keep an eye on your investments, so you'll have to use stock analysis software if you want more advanced portfolio support. Your brokerage likely provides more advanced analysis tools online as well.
AceMoney will not automatically download transactions for all accounts when you open the software, a feature found in Quicken and once found in Microsoft Money when it was fully supported. Instead, you must go to each account and click on the Download transactions button.
Before downloading transactions, you can select predefined periods of time for the transactions you want to see in the register, and it's great to have this option, which is particularly helpful if you only want the past six month's worth (for example) of transactions instead of two years worth. Not all personal finance software offers this option, and you can easily end up downloading months of transactions that you don't want to track.
Can AceMoney Really Replace Quicken or Microsoft Money?
Depending on what you expect from your personal finance software, AceMoney can take the place of Quicken, Microsoft Money, and other titles. What's missing in AceMoney is the ability to download transactions from all major financial institutions and online bill pay. The investment reporting could be stronger, but the multiple currency support is good.