KMyMoney Is as Simple to Use as Quicken
Nov 21, 2012 5:00 AM PT
KMyMoney is a comprehensive finance-tracking application that does not require an accounting degree to use effectively.
Linux provides several hearty checkbook and banking programs. Among the more well-known are GNUCash, Grisbi, Skrooge and MoneyDance. Each of these contenders for your attention have their own unique look and feel.
GNUCash is as much of a standard among Linux users as was MSMoney for Windows users before Microsoft dropped that application. GNUCash is designed for the Linux Gnome desktop. It is more feature-heavy than KMyMoney. KMyMoney, on the other hand, is designed for the Linux KDE desktop.
However, running Gnome and KDE software interchangeably on either desktop type is hassle-free. I rarely see any problems with app performance and integration into Gnome, KDE or other desktops. So do not worry about using KMyMoney in whatever Linux distro you favor.
What gives KMyMoney an edge, at least where usability is concerned, is its familiar user interface. If your computing roots grew in the Microsoft Windows platform, then you no doubt have a working knowledge of Quicken and possibly MSMoney for tracking your finances and balancing your checkbook.
If you can use either one, you can transfer your existing records gracefully or start from scratch without learning how to use KMyMoney. If you are considering a choice among various Linux financial packages, take heart.
Even if you have no prior experience with this type of software, KMyMoney is a win-win solution. The interfaces used in most of those other Linux finance and banking tools are much more cumbersome. KMyMoney has a much lower learning curve.
Finance and banking apps each have their diverse purposes, and one size definitely does not fit all users.
For example, if you have extensive business transactions to manage, you might find KMyMoney less suited for enterprise use, but it can handle small business or light enterprise fairly well.
KMyMoney is well organized and sports a clean interface. I had no trouble navigating its various work panels to do the routine banking tasks that I perform in similar programs.
Look and Feel
What you see when you run KMyMoney is a non-intimidating home screen. Twelve function icons line up vertically in the left panel. Clicking on one of those icons changes the panel display.
The rest of the home screen shows transaction summaries with links to specific accounts you have set up to manage. These mini views of your financial and account status form blocks in horizontal displays.
A traditional drop-down menu row across the top of the app window provides access to features and functions. The headings are: File, Edit, View, Institution, Account, Category, Transaction, Tools, Settings and Help.
The interface makes it very easy to see snapshots of your accounts' standings. You can see your list of payees, edit the name and enter information about them, and see a list of all transactions for each payee.
This is a much more efficient way to view where your money is or where it went. In other financial apps, you must scroll through a long list of register entries to account for your spending.
Another handy quick-entry aid is how KMyMoney simplifies category entries. As you enter transactions, start typing a subcategory to see it narrow down the list.
The initial setup process in most banking software is an exercise in frustration. KMyMoney minimizes cumbersome data entry that prevents you from getting to work with financial entries.
For example, I like how KMyMoney lets me enter just the bare essentials. After making bare basic set-up entries, the application activates the button to advance to the Next screen.
This let me get set up and ready for actual banking entries quickly. The remaining set up process is almost painless.
KMyMoney makes transferring data files from other programs easy. It imports files exported from exicsting financial application s as QIF, GNUCash and QFX.
One, Two and Done
First, define a few banks and transaction centers that you use. Second, add the accounts associated with them.
These are grouped into types such as savings, current and credit card. Entering the details for each institution and account type is still time intensive if you insist on being meticulous.
I cut several corners by not entering superfluous data. I rationalized this shortcut as a safety feature of sorts.
Online Banking Weak
KMyMoney has some online banking features. But these are more limited than those in other programs.
I never trust the idea of linking my banking software directly to my online banking. I do not like to grant access to check balances, download statements and issue bill paying orders, for instance.
I prefer to do that myself through a Web browser connection to my online banking service. I prefer to keep transaction entries and account monitoring separate from transferring money and paying bills online from within one program.
More Good Stuff
KMyMoney supports different account types, categories for expenses and incomes and QIF import/export. It also supports reconciliation of bank accounts and has online banking support via statement download in the OFX and HBCI protocols.
You can align brokerage (cash) accounts with their investment accounts. The online quotes feature seems solid.
Another plus is the KMyMoney scheduler feature. It offers numerous options for handling recurring transactions.
One option automatically enters transactions for a designated number of days in advance. The future entries show up in ledgers. But the listing does not highlight those scheduled entries with a different color or font style.
Some Bad Stuff Too
KMyMoney lacks a classification function. That makes tracking specific line items such as operating expenses for my computer array inconvenient.
The work-around is to create specific entries for trackable items in the Categories and/or Budget portions of the program. This back-door method is kind of like placing tags on transactions I want to track.
Another shortfall is the inability to delete transactions assigned to a category. Similarly, there is no way to reassign transactions from one category to another.
KMyMoney is a capable and useful tool for tracking bank accounts and investment results. It does not take much effort to set up and learn to use efficiently.
With the start of another year not far away, now is a good time to prepare for switching your financial application. It will be easier to begin anew on Jan. 1 rather than have to swap between two programs in the same year.