This is a review of the personal financial manager from FlyingBirdSoft.com called Flying Money Manager.
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 is simple and straightforward. The binary was installed using Nokia’s PC Suite running on the Windows desktop.
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.
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.
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:
- Deposit €10000 to the bank account. You can also specify the source for the transaction.
- Transfer €5000 from the bank account to the checking account. The transfer transaction allows you to specify the ‘from’ and ‘to’ accounts.
- Make a payment of €1250 from the checking account.
- Make a payment of €2000 using the credit card account.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.