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.
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.
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;
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.
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?