Flying Money Manager – MS Money and Quicken Symbian phone companion

by admin

in Business,Utilities,Worth a Look

This is a review of the personal financial manager from FlyingBirdSoft.com called Flying Money Manager.

Review Conditions

I installed the Flying Money Manager, Version 1.7 for S60 v3 on my Nokia E71, which is a S60 3rd Edition FP 1 device. For normal operation, the application does not need any interface with the Windows desktop. But for exporting reports, a Computer with MS Excel or any program that recognizes csv file format is required.


Installation

Installation is simple and straightforward. The binary was installed using Nokia’s PC Suite running on the Windows desktop.

First View

Flying Money Manager is an accounts and budget management application. It has an accounts manager that lets you create and edit accounts and balance them. It also lets you create a home budget that records income, expenses and savings and balance them.

When the application is opened for the first time, it prompts you to set up a password. If a password is set, every time the program is opened, the password must be entered. You can also setup a password later or disable protection.

Main Features

To review the application I am going to walk you through the creation of a few accounts and perform transactions on these accounts and generate reports. I’ll also create a simple budget. This will give you a good overview of the features of this application and its pros and cons.

When the application is run for the first time, it asks you to create an account. There are 8 predefined account types, which will cover all types of accounts that a lay user will need.

Accounts

I will create 3 accounts, a bank account, a checking account and a credit card account. Three types of transactions can be made on any account – deposit, payment and transfer. New transactions can be created from the Main menu or from the Register menu. We’ll talk about about the Register menu further down in the review.

Here are some transactions:

  1. Deposit €10000 to the bank account. You can also specify the source for the transaction.
  2. Transfer €5000 from the bank account to the checking account. The transfer transaction allows you to specify the ‘from’ and ‘to’ accounts.
  3. Make a payment of €1250 from the checking account.
  4. Make a payment of €2000 using the credit card account.
  5. Deposit €3500 in the bank account

On all the accounts, a minimum balance can be fixed. However, when I set a minimum balance for the bank account to €500 and made payments that reduced the bank account’s balance to €300, the application did not prevent me from making the payments or give a warning. I am not sure if that’s the expected behavior.

The Accounts menu shows the final balance in each of the three accounts and the sum total. In the Accounts menu, the accounts can be edited or deleted. But the transactions cannot be edited from the Accounts menu. They can only be edited from the Register menu.

If you want to know the details of transactions in each account its available in the Register menu. The date of each transaction in the account is automatically recorded and appears in the Register menu. The date, by default is today’s date. Therefore the summary is in the Accounts menu and the details are in the Register menu.

Each transaction has a General and Extended tab for editing. Additional fields like Category, Class and Transaction Reference Number (REF) are present in the Extended Tab that could be used for generating selective reports. Default Categories are available and the user can also create new categories. The Class field is used to classify transactions as Personal or Business, for example.

There are 2 good features that help in saving time when making new transactions. They are Scheduled transactions and Memorized transactions.

Scheduled Transaction

If transactions for deposits, payments or transfers recur periodically over a long period, they can be scheduled. The Schedules Menu lets you create a new schedule, edit or delete scheduled transaction.

I have scheduled a monthly payment of €250 from the Checking account for insurance. On the date the transaction is due, it appears it the Register menu with a Red Flag for your attention. You can accept, delete or postpone the transaction. Once accepted, it will appear on the Accounts too.

You can also make a forced entry of a scheduled transaction to the Register. If you want to make another transaction of the same category, just select transact” from the menu and it is transacted on the register.

Memorized Transaction

The Memorized transaction allows one to memorize transactions so that they can be used in future. These transactions also need to be “transacted” to make an entry in the Register. In the Register menu, the memorized transaction appears with a Red Flag for your attention. You can accept, delete or postpone the transaction. Once accepted, it will appear on the Accounts too. Unfortunately, the only transactions that can be created in the Memorized trans menu are Deposits. (09/Sep/2008 Update) Now Memorized transactions created can be Deposits, Payments or Transfers. The Memorized trans menu appears under the Lists menu.

The settings can be configured to specify the default currency, password protection, etc. By default, Euro, US Dollar, British Pound and Yen are supported. New currencies can be added in the Lists Menu.

Reports, Backup & Sync

The application also lets you create reports with various kinds of filters like Category and Class. The exported reports can be found at MoneyReports folder at the root directory of the phone memory or at the card memory, where installed Flying Money Manager was installed, in csv format. Unfortunately, the contents of the csv file were bad. The numerals were garbled and I couldn’t use the csv file directly. I had to reenter the data from the mobile.(4th Sep 08 Update) I got an updated Flying Manager .sis file that contained a fix for the issue that I had raised on garbled reports. It works very well now. I am now able to view the reports on MS Excel on a desktop.Here’s a snapshot of the report.

Backups are stored in MoneyBackups folder. I was able to restore the contents of a backup successfully.

The contents can be Sync-ed with applications like MS Money or Quicken. The file format supported in qif and these files can be imported. Accounts in the mobile can be exported as qif files and viewed using MS Money.

Budgets

I could create multiple budgets. For each budget, the total Income, Expenses and Savings summary are provided. There are 3 tabs for Income, Expenses & Savings that contain the details. There are predefined categories for the 3 headings and its convenient to use.

Handling

The application is very easy to use. I got very comfortable using it in just a few hours. The menus are logically and intuitively located. The application is highly flexible and provides options to create custom Currencies, Account types, Classes, Categories and Transaction References.

Weaknesses

The application didn’t have too many weaknesses.

I could not view the generated Reports properly in MS Excel. I could open the csv file but it contained garbled text and was not formatted well. This must be improved. This feature is very important for extensive adoption of the application. At the end of the day, people will use the reports for official purposes and have to distribute it using MS Excel from a desktop.

The other odd thing was that Memorized Transactions could be added only for Deposits. I would have liked to have options to memorize all types of transactions, Deposits, Payments and Transfers.

Conclusion

The accounts manager is a simple yet powerful application and has a lot of features. I could get started with the application and use it extensively in an hour or so. It’s a very good tool and highly recommended for managing accounts and budgets on-the-go.

Flying Money Manager is available for purchase or a 10 day trial.

Rating 3.00 out of 5
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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

peter April 18, 2010 at 4:36 PM

When i export the data from flying money and import into the quicken,but the categroy can’t display.Please help me to slove this problem.Thanks~~

Pablo December 16, 2009 at 3:45 PM

I’ve tried Flying money, but as some have mentioned I’m not so impress by it.
Recently I changed my old nokia 6620 (in which I had Xcite software’s XS finance), but saddly is not available (yet) for symbian v3 phones.

Having used Flying money for over 3 weeks now, I often find myslef looking back at my old phone, just waiting for xs finance to be released.

Frank December 11, 2009 at 8:50 PM

Can anyone tell me where I can download a copy of FlyingMoney Manager v2.1(6) NOT v2.1(9)! which I purchased two days ago from Handango.com. The old version was working flawlessly and I was more or less happy with it. I managed to import all my Quicken accounts (11 altogether), some going back as far as the year 2000! It needed a helping hand because it cannot seem to handle transfers properly but with a little hard work and patience I managed to tidy everything up and everything worked smoothly from then on. Until I decided to buy the full version v2.1(9)! The list of problems is too long to go into. Suffice it to say that it’s of no use to me at all! That’s why I would like to go back to v2.1(6) to see if I can use it with my registration key. So if anyone has got a copy or point me in the right direction I’d be very grateful. Thanks!

Frank

Julie October 19, 2009 at 2:24 PM

P.S. I was using version v2.1(6) of Flying Money.
I’ve just remembered more of the things that slowed down data entry:
- the requirement to explicitly select a transaction type from a list for every transaction, AND that the first option in the list is Deposit, not Payment. I only wish that was what I do most often. Most of my deposits and transfers are regular/scheduled, so I wouldn’t need to enter them manually anyway. There is no option (as far as I can see) to have a default transaction type of Payment which you can change on the rather less frequent occasions when you actually want to record a Deposit or a Transfer. And once you’ve started entering details, there’s no way to convert from one type to another – you have to abandon and start again with the correct type of transaction.
- the currency field (which won’t often change for most people) is before the Category field (which will typically be entered for every transaction) in the dialog.
- I can’t just start to type a Payee’s name and have it gradually refine to only those Payees that match what I’ve typed so far. Just like categories, I have to scroll all the way through my existing list (which could be extensive after a reasonable amount of use), or select Options | New to create a new one.
- You need to select a separate tab on the data entry screen for entering notes about the transaction. This (IMHO) is likely to be required far more often than the currency field on the main page … especially if you could temporarily set the default currency for data entry whilst traveling abroad, for instance.

Suraj October 20, 2009 at 6:32 AM

Julie, That’s a strong feedback. Appreciate it. I’ll try out FlyingMoney again and let you know. Keep the comments coming.

Julie October 19, 2009 at 2:02 PM

I have to say I’m not as impressed as Suraj by FlyingMoney Manager. I downloaded the trial version nearly 2 weeks ago, and (as always with mobile finance apps) started by creating my Bank Account and importing a month’s worth of transactions to it from my Desktop app (or rather, attempting to). This should give me the regular transactions on the account, create the categories and subcategories they need, and also set up the associated accounts that money gets regularly transferred into or out of, with the correct account names to allow me to export and import transactions between the two applications (mobile and desktop) with each understanding the account name on both ends of a transfer transaction.

Sadly, the import was a big mess, with no way (that I could find) to specify which account I was importing to, other than only having one account created. Although some transactions got imported correctly, others (and I could find no real pattern) got arbitrarily imported into another account altogether – one that had been created by one of the transfer transactions. (I never even bothered trying to import my Credit Card account transactions.) Export FROM Flying Money to QIF puts dates in dd/mmm/yyyy format (and none of the other personal finance apps I have access to can handle that date format in a QIF, either refusing to import altogether, or ignoring the date and using today’s), so I wouldn’t have been able to use it to update my desktop app, without editing the QIF file anyway – just too much bother.

I also find the cross-account Register approach very unintuitive (why not just list transactions within an account like most other personal finance apps?), and although you can FILTER for only one account, you can’t easily tell by looking at the screen which account you’re looking at, and worse, the option to filter for an account is right at the bottom of the menu. Yes, it’s useful to be able to search for a transaction or even report on certain groups of transactions across multiple accounts, but I feel it complicates things unnecessarily for the default view.

In general, the display is cluttered, and difficult to read and interpret, with every transaction split across 2 lines – necessary if your standard view is not per account, but not a good design IMHO.

But the killer for me was how long-winded it is to enter transactions. For me, the whole point of having a personal finance app on a MOBILE device is so that you can enter transactions at the time of purchase (or more-or-less at purchase). FlyingMoney requires that you select every field and go into edit mode for that field. You can’t just arrow down and type, and there’s no character matching for categories … you have to scroll through the whole list every time to pick the one(s) you want. Yes, I know you can set up regular transactions to speed things up, but I want ad hoc data entry to be fast too. There was no way I was ever going to be able to stand at a till with my receipt and quickly enter the name of the shop, how much I’d spent and categorise the spending.

I have reported all this via FlyingMoney’s support page (and re-entered my message several days later), but I still haven’t received so much as an automated acknowledgement from them 12 days on, despite their support page saying they reply within 24 hours. And of course, the trial period will expire any day now.

So I’ll be sticking with the (Free) JABPLite, which, despite being a Java app, has much better data entry (I don’t know how it does it, but unlike most Java apps, it DOESN’T require you to bring up a separate edit screen for every field – you can just type in every field directly, it DOES have a Quickstart “just enter a transaction now” mode, and does have ways to do quick matching for categories).

Julie

Flüge January 19, 2009 at 10:38 AM

I am really impressed of the idea of the Flying Money Manager. It looks like a supporting system that enhances your understanding and handling of money. Thanks to your really good description, I will think about buying this program…

Suraj Venkataraman October 25, 2008 at 6:33 AM

Hi senbel,
The sync is actually misleading. You can export a file in the .qif format and then import it to quicken.

senbel October 23, 2008 at 7:26 PM

Hi, will this software sync directly to Quicken when the phone is plugged to the PC….?

Alex September 11, 2008 at 1:43 PM

I hope this is one that I need. It looks to me like excellent program. Let’s see.