Ascendo Money Version 3.3

By Ryan Blundell on 10 Feb 2009 09:50 am
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Ascendo Money Version 3.3

It’s obvious that managing your finances is more important than ever. I file every receipt, bank statement and bill all the while tracking everything on my BlackBerry.  In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, you have to keep on top of your money. I’m certain that most, if not all, of us have looked into our wallet or purse and half expected moths to fly out. Okay, maybe not that bad, but I’m sure we have all wondered where our money is going or where it could be properly redirected. There are tools in place to help us do that, but wouldn’t it be great if there was an in-depth solution on our BlackBerrys?

Almost a year ago, I had the opportunity to review Ascendo Money Version 2.57. It made a lasting impression on me, as it helped me maintain a firm grip on my finances. Since then, it has been updated to version 3.2.5, with each update bringing more functionality and more cash confidence. Now, we’ve got a sneak peak of version 3.3 for you. To bring yourselves up to speed, check out both the CB store for version 3.2.5’s overview, and my review of version 2.57 and join me after the jump.

Does everyone have Ascendo on the brain now? Good.

As with its previous versions, Ascendo Money v3.3 can work well on its own or with others (others, as in with your PC). Both applications are beautifully laid out, especially the BlackBerry application. Looking back at my review from a year ago, there is no comparison. Both applications are much more vibrant and sharp. To make sure both are up to date and accurate, you can sync the applications.

While this version didn’t sport the alluring Gold interface style as a default, you can still select it or 11 other styles to personalize Ascendo Money. On the main Accounts screen on the BlackBerry, we can now see the Account name, Balance and Cleared. These values can be reordered, realigned and have their columns resized to suit your viewing needs. When using either application, you can create an unlimited number of accounts to follow, while you manage details such as payees, transaction types, deposits and withdrawals. Transfers can also be made between your accounts. As before, categories (medical, salary, etc) can be assigned to each account as well.  Open up an account to see its details, or its transaction register.  Version 3.3 offers the same great attention to detail when it comes to accounts and transactions. 

keep track of an unlimited number of accounts
Keep track of an unlimited number of accounts

adding a new account
Adding a new account

add a withdrawal or deposit
Add a withdrawal or deposit

You may not always have the time to input such detailed information. Perhaps you would rather keep track of the basics, making sure you aren’t leaving yourself strapped for cash.  You can leave fields blank or go back and add/edit/delete details if necessary. I found it better to take the proper time to input your data, as it will allow you to fully benefit from Ascendo. If you have purchased items that fall under different categories (i.e. a new BlackBerry holster for you, a gift card for your mother and a monitor for the office), you can actually split the cost. Using the Split function, you will be able to view the total, the amount allocated and the amount remaining. Once the amount remaining reaches zero, you’re done!

When looking at the transaction register you will see only four fields (Payee, Date, Amount and Balance). Rather than cluttering up your screen with more fields in a single view, you can side scroll to get the rest of the added information. This gives you a great overview of an account’s transaction and will help prevent navigating into and out of transaction details.

Probably one of Ascendo’s biggest improvements is the ability to download transactions. You will have access to over 100 financial institutions. Scrolling through the list, I wasn’t able to find any Canadian Institutions (not mine anyway), so I wasn’t able to take advantage of this feature. Rest assured that your information is securely tucked away and encrypted. Being able to download transactions will help you keep track of transactions occurring before you purchased Ascendo Money. Speaking of transactions, Ascendo has also added a secondary icon on your BlackBerry. This icon, the “Add Transaction” shortcut helps you keep track while on the go.  You can bypass several screens and jump right into entering transaction details.  These two features I mentioned will help prevent your wallet from looking like George Costanza’s.

saving you time
Saving you time

Besides day to day purchases and such, you may also want to keep track of recurring transactions. While impressed with v2.57s ability to keep track of your regular transactions, v3.3 brought even more value. When you pick a start date and frequency of a recurring transaction (daily, weekly, monthly, every 2 weeks, every 3 weeks, yearly, quarterly and half year), a reminder is now created in your native BlackBerry calendar.

So, now you can see where you money is going. Perhaps you can see where it can be redirected, or where you can save. It sounds like it’s time to plan a budget.  Each category can be assigned a budget, giving a dollar amount for each. You can then see the actual amount spent, amount remaining (if any) and by what percentage over or under you are.  Budgets can be set for both incoming and outgoing funds. To further help with budgeting, Ascendo Money can forecast future account balances. It does so by taking your current balance and recurring/scheduled transaction into consideration.  Now you budget and know when you can purchase a new BlackBerry!

Time marches on and you’ve been recording transactions, setting budgets and planning your future for a while now. You may want to generate a report and see your progress. Ascendo gives you a few reporting types to choose from;

  • Spending by Payee
  • Spending by Category
  • Spending by Payment Method
  • Spending by Type 
  • Deposits vs. Withdrawals
bar chart
Bar chart

pie chart
Pie chart

You can also choose which account and a time frame to look at. Three charts available for your viewing pleasure; Bar Chart, Line View and Pie Chart (mmm…pie..). If you wish to export your account info from your BlackBerry, you can still email the details off as a CSV (Comma Separated Value) file. The desktop application can export using CSV and QIF (Quicken Interchange Format). The desktop application also supports importing information in QIF, CSV and OFX (Open Financial Exchange) formats. I was hoping to see the ability to include additional notes in the body of the email from your BlackBerry. You can make said notes in the emails Subject field.

If you’re like me, sometimes I like to quickly scan through information using assigned images and icons to differentiate categories at a glance. I can quickly see what was purchased for work, family, payments using PayPal and more. The image icons are now bigger, their sizing increased from 16x16 pixels to 24x24 pixels. 

use the icons to your advantage
Use the icons to your advantage

Conclusion

Well, I’m still a fan of Ascendo Money. Version 3.3 gives you even greater control over your finances without becoming too complicated. There are many more enhancements for you to discover as you adapt Ascendo Money into your daily routine. Between graphs, reports, forecasting and budgeting, you should soon see your bank account grow, which is a welcome change these days. The current version 3.2.5 of Ascendo Money can be found at the CrackBerry Store for $29.95, but if you ask me….hit up the CrackBerry Store once the bigger and better version has been released. There is a 30 day trial available if you want to try it out before the February 12th release date of version 3.3
I can’t wait, can you?

Pros

  • add transaction icon quickens data input
  • view list and graph reports on the desktop or BlackBerry
  • download transaction from over 100 financial institutions

Cons

  • additional notes in emails must be made in the subject field
For more information on check out Ascendo Money at the CrackBerry Store (pick it up for $29.95) or the official site.
34 comments

Anonymous12

Whats with the Pre Launched C-grade Photoshop Storm?

ugahairydawgs

Do they offer free upgrades from prior versions (I'm currently using v3.2)?

Prophecyny7

Free updates as long as you are in the same version number-in your case yes since you have version 3.2. If you were on version 2.7 you would have to pay a reduced 10 dollar upgrade fee. http://www.ascendo-inc.com/MoneyFAQ.html#Upgrade

ugahairydawgs

Thanks for clearing that up.

Leo.brazuca

How does it work on the Storm? Anyone trying it out?

cuban_dudeca

I use it on my storm and it works great.

mpscan

I use MS Money on my desktop. 90% of people who track their finances use either this or Quicken on their desktop or laptop computers.

I have yet to see something for the BlackBerry that will sync with these two desktop programs. None of this import/export CSV/QIF stuff... I'm talking a real sync.

The main goal is to be able to enter transactions on the Berry and when I am next to my desktop have it sync with MS Money via Bluetooth.

Come out with something like that and I will pay close to $100.

lamonicaj

I believe this app syncs with those....

www.splashdata.com

PossumPete

I'm with you! I have a Mac and I used Pocket Quicken on my old Treo. MissingSync would actually do the sync for me. What I need is something Mac-compatible that syncs with my Storm. Good luck, right?

According to SplashData, SplashMoney doesn't work on a Storm yet.

NICEyyyyy

mobile checkbook exports to QIF

isalhia

Looks cool, similar to the pageounce app but my biggest question is, what kind of blackberry is that?

citi

that is the old version of the storm lol. From Almost 2 years ago!

citi

The add transaction icon (I believe) is specific to 3.3. The demo uses 3.2 and it only installed the application.

gnr-met

And here I thought all the apps demo'ed were used on actual blackberries.

xattica

Can you explain what Storm or blackberry model is that on the picture?? LOL nice photoshop by Ascendo... 9520?

James Falconer

xattica, yeah man I'm not sure LOL. I just updated the image to an actual REAL Storm :)

Kevin Michaluk

That's the image used in the Storm device simulator (when testing/building their apps on the computer).

All part of the Thunder/Storm/What's it gonna look like confusion.

Ahh... RIM should definitely update that.

wcihlu

haha they fixed da pic..

Xopher

Have they ever made it so the program can store its data on SD card instead of using internal memory? I've always like the look of this program, but found it really took up a lot of precious 8830 memory.

Carlos Ortega

Doesnt Pageonce do the same? Which is best?

LiQuidZero

I've used both Ascendo and Pageonce. Ascendo is best in my opinion because your account balances are tracked by YOU and it isn't dependant on Pageonce being updated and that being forwarded to your BB. I compare Pageonce to the ATM machine that shows your current balance.. it's good assuming you have no outstanding checks or transactions. Ascendo is more like a digital check book register that you still must balance against your bank account or credit card.. etc. I sign in every week or so to make sure Ascending balance is matching my actual account balance. Before I had Ascendo I would keep every receipt in my wallet and once a week update a little worksheet to balance my accounts. Now I just plug each transaction into Ascendo, which is on my Blackberry and syncs to my PC, while I'm at the store. If I had one choice of application.. of all apps... it would be Ascendo.

Only negative with Ascendo is that it does not calculate payment allocation to principle and interest. So if you transfer $300 to your credit card and of that $50 is interest, your credit card balance is reduced by $300.. making it $50 off the actual balance due to the interest paid. Hope this helps.

howardb

What you do then is you enter a transaction for the 50 dollars called finance charge. Then you apply your payment and all lines up. If you look at your statement that is how most credit card companies do things too. They add the full interest value as a single transaction at the end of each month.

Dave-O

Isn't Intuit (makers of quicken) working on a blackberry specific app to sync back to quicken? I thought I had heard about this not too long ago.

rm_blogger

Dave-O, I've emailed Landware (the makers of Pocket Quicken) about Blackberry support a couple of times over the last year and they have no plans to port it to the blackberry.

As far as Intuit, any query to their support just gets you a link to m.quicken.com and a reply that they have no plans for a BB version as of right now.

rm_blogger

I've tried several different packages including Ascendo's and my biggest problem with all of them is extremely limited compatibility with Quicken versions since 2005. Quicken no longer uses QIF for anything other than credit card accounts so there is no easy way to sync between Ascendo on my BB and Quicken. Saving to a CSV and then copying over to my PC, importing into Quicken (and then back) is a big PITA. I love my BB but Pocket Quicken is one thing I greatly miss from my Pocket PC and prior to that my Palm V. I wish developers would listen up to the Quicken users complaining on the Internet and add in a way to sync up with Quicken. Until then I might as well just keep my info in Pocket Excel and save the $29.95 for something cool.

Headshrink

I will have to follow the reviews once this gets officially released.

howardb

I'm running 3.3.3 on my Storm and its got a few issues over that of the 3.2.5 that is on their site currently. I've been beta testing it for about a week or so now I think...

There were a few problems that I had with the previous version that they made better but there were also a lot of places where they degraded things.

I've been sharing my thoughts with the CEO of the company and they seem to be listening to my input but development hasn't been extremely fast. It seems that they added a lot to this version in the fact that it can now automatically sync with your bank directly from the device. I've yet to test that as all my bank passwords are randomized and the max length allowed by the bank. I've just not yet wanted to type that into the phone.

Previously I had a problem with the reconciliation process. Being that I do all of my financial tracking on the device alone and do no syncing what-so-ever I expect things to work well on the handset. When in reconciliation mode hitting the menu button defaults to Add Withdrawl. I feel that in this mode it should default to "Reconcile" so that a double tap of menu will reconcile that transaction. Also in the previous version simply selecting reconcile would set that transaction to reconciled. Now in 3.3.3 there is a menu asking you if you are sure you want to set it as reconciled. This just makes the whole process take that much longer.

There is also a problem in that scrolling is in the wrong direction. When you push your finger up on the screen things scroll down like you would expect but when you push to the right you scroll to the right. So its correct in the up/down direction but backwards in the left/right direction.

They also changed the fonts around in the latest version and there are a few places where when you change the fonts that things don't update. Such as in the accounts view the fonts change but in the register view the fonts remain at the default size.

All in all they are really coming along. I'd like to see the calculator view that they bring up take up the full width of the screen and look like a modified version of the storm keyboard so that they can make the buttons bigger too.

I see this as becoming a very successful program but I've got an interesting use case as I want the program to function 100% in the storm and not sync with anything else. I do it all manually and just want things to work as quickly as possible so that I can do all transaction entering at the checkout line and all of the reconciliation with one hand while sitting at my laptop. Its really close! With the addition of being able to download bank transactions from the handset that may make things even faster.... In my experience that can often lead to duplicates and mismatches that just at times make it faster to do things manually.

I'm greatly hoping that there are more releases to beta before it gets kicked loose. At the very least the scrolling being wrong needs to get fixed. Its 100% usable and works very well but that problem makes it quite troublesome to use. I will admit that its got a bit more work to be done before it really fits well into the storm usage model but Ascendo does seem somewhat committed to that goal and are listening to input from customers! As a matter of fact I know that the CEO of the organization does peruse this site looking for information on their products! So if you want your voice heard speak it here and it will be heard!

JDWallace

I am not for sure if I missed it or didn't see it. If I want this on two BBs (for me and wife) do the two sync together? Would it be be one account on both BBs and be real time of both? In other words, if my wife has the program on her BB and I have it on my BB will we be able to share it since we share all our banks and credit cards and stuff?

howardb

I should add. While I consider this last version a slight regression. It is a beta. I would like to add that I'm given a free copy of the program and that makes me quieter when I'm less happy with things but doesn't prevent me from being honest. When the program is good I'll be here letting you know that its great.

One other comment I'd like to make is that while SplashData has lied to be about releases in 2 weeks several times over and generally ignored my emails. The service behind Ascendo has been quite good and responsive.

amos3268

Will this program automatically sync with my bank account online? ie. having a checking balance as soon as I use my bank card it will show the transaction; amount, date/time, where it took place (Walmart, Sears ect), and the new balance?

daole

Last year when Ryan first reviewed version 2.57 of Money, I wrote a comment that was quite negative. I had bought the software for my Blackberry Curve since it was the only money program available for Blackberry. Quite frankly, version 2.57 was far from user friendly and its functionality was less than desireable. I was a Palm SplashMoney user and had certain expectations for a handheld money program. I switched back to SplashMoney when it was released for Blackberry and have been using it ever since. I have been less than impressed with SplashMoney for BB. For those of you who are using SplashMoney, you will probably agree with me that it is full of bugs, takes about a year to run reports or synchronize with the desktop software, and often locks up.

Upon seeing this recent review by Ryan, I decided to download the trial version of Money version 3.2 for my Blackberry Bold. WOW, am I ever impressed with the improvements Ascendo has made over the past year to the software. It runs like a charm, is easy to use, and is lightning fast. When I synced my Bold to my desktop last night, it was done in a second. I say again, WOW. It seems that Ascendo has listened to the comments on these posts and made the changes that were needed.

I am reconverted and will be purchasing version 3.3 once it is released.

Ascendo... if you are listening, I would love to see a semi-monthly schedule option.

ACPSmith

This is quite simply the best program that I have found to keep your finances in order - not an easy task in my case!
The program is very easy to use and can be utilised for anything from just keeping track of your spending as it occurs right through to a full analysis of your entire financial situation with every option in between.

The software is supported by a cracking team of people who are hugely helpful, enthusiastic and efficient although it must be said that there is no need to contact them. My reasons for doing so were entirely related to problems with the Blackberry I had, which had to be replaced, and had nothing to do with the software at all.

I would have have no hesitation in recommending Ascendo to any budding free spender who suddenly finds that he/she needs to get control of his/her spending and fast!!