Windows Phone Thoughts: Watch the Pennies with Spb Finance 1.0

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Friday, September 5, 2003

Watch the Pennies with Spb Finance 1.0

Posted by Philip Colmer in "SOFTWARE" @ 09:30 AM


Wrapping Up The Features
There are a few items that haven't been covered yet in this review:
  • Backup and restore. The software provides two menu entries for this functionality. However, one strong point of the software is that all of your information is kept in a single file which means that you can back it up through ActiveSync.

  • Import and export. As well as being able to import QIF files, you can also export your financial information in that format if you want to move the data into another package.

  • Options. There are three things you can set under options - the font used in the display (and the size - nice touch for the hard of seeing), whether or not auto-completion is turned on and the Today plug-in. Spb Finance allows you to specify which accounts are summarised on the Today screen but, for security reasons, you can only change that list from within Spb Finance and not from the Today settings page. Clicking on an entry in the Today screen takes you to the Register information for that account.


    Figure 26: The Today screen with account information

  • Password. It is possible to set a password in Spb Finance. In addition to prompting for the password when you enter Spb Finance, the password is used to encrypt your data file … so don't forget it :D One drawback is that Spb Finance only prompts for the password when you start running it - and there isn't a quit or exit menu entry, so you have to end the application through some other means if you want to make sure that anyone picking up your Pocket PC isn't going to get access to your information.
Gotchas
  • Currencies need to work at the transaction level as well as at the account level.

  • There needs to be a way of quitting Spb Finance when you've finished with it so that anyone trying to access your finances gets prompted for the password.

  • Reconciliation needs to be improved.

  • There is no support for regular transactions (e.g. automatic payment of bills or transfer of money from one account to another).

  • There is no support for interest-attracting accounts, e.g. savings, loans, mortgages. It may be that this functionality will be provided by the loan analysis add-on.
Where To Buy
The software can be downloaded from PocketGear or purchased for $19.95 (affiliate link).

Specifications
This program will work on any Pocket PC device. The program takes up 634K of RAM on the device and can be installed to a storage card.

Conclusions
Gotchas aside, this is a great piece of software. The layout is really clear and consistent. The product is feature-rich and shows great promise as Spb delivers on its promise of the add-ons and the other editions. I really like the fact that the Pocket PC can now be a complete finance management system in its own right rather than being dependent on a desktop PC.

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