The financial services company Plaid has joined forces with Microsoft to create an app, which lets its users import their banks and credit card statements into the new personal finance tool. It is called ‘Money in Excel’. So far, the application itself is available to the Microsoft 365 subscribers only. However, it is also possible that after some time this app can become accessible to a large audience.
Plaid is mostly focused on bank data sharing, its applications let users import the transactions on their bank accounts. Visa has acquired this company as a result of a $5.3 billion deal.
So why can this app be useful for consumers? Well, there are many people not only in the USA but also in other countries in general who are dreaming of getting out of debt and in the long term achieving financial security.
To get that point, many famous personal finance coaches like Dave Ramsey and Suzie Orman recommend taking control of their spending habits and either keep a journal where they could record all of their expenses or alternatively use some type of software or a mobile application for this purpose.
Dave Ramsey has even designed so-called ‘7 baby steps’. The first step is to save $1,000 in an emergency fund when the second one focuses on paying off all outstanding debts except the mortgage. Obviously, achieving any of those is unrealistic, unless one takes control of personal finances and starts saving money.
This is the reason why creating a budget might be essential for controlling expenditure, therefore recording all of the expenses can be helpful in getting some idea about each spending category.
Using excel can be one way to achieve that, however, because it is perceived as being a technically complex program, the majority of customers have an expectation, that it is full of complex formulas and without a serious knowledge of IT, one could not make use of it.
This recent Plaid-Microsoft deal aims to alleviate those concerns and make the use of excel more simplified for ordinary customers.
This new application can also help customers to track online revenue streams. For example, there are many Forex and CFD traders, who are using the mt4 platform or other platforms and have additional revenue streams from those activities. The average trader can have frequent deposits and withdrawals from his or her trading account to the bank account, so sometimes it might be very time consuming to write down every single transaction and come up with net income.
This application can simplify this process, where a client can have all of the latest deposits and withdrawals on one page on excel and make calculations with just one mouse click.
Most personal finance experts advise that the way to improve personal financial standing is to reduce spending and save a larger portion of the income. When it comes to this every famous financial expert has a different opinion, however many of them, including Bloomberg publishers, agree that it is best to save early and automatically.
How can this be possible? Logically one has to cut spending in order to clear room for some savings. Essentially, there are two ways to track expenditures. The old school option is to get an actual journal and record all daily purchases there. However, this might have several problems:
It is easy to forget the actual amount of transactions, especially if the customer has visited several shops at once.
Recording all transactions in a journal and summing up the total amount can be inconvenient and one can easily give up after some days of trying,
After some months of recording, the customer has to transfer all the data from this journal to excel or at least use the calculator and some formula to come up with the average monthly spending and percentage changes.
All those things mentioned above can make the entire process more complicated than it should be and consequently it is easy to lose motivation.
On the other hand, if the customer uses only his or her credit/debit card for all transactions, then it can be automatically recorded in the bank statement. Without the need of filling up some financial journals, the client can just log in to internet banking and get all of the expenses at glance.
Therefore this latest financial application can simplify the use of excel and could potentially make the recording and analyzing one’s expenses simpler.
The most important benefit of this new application is that If a consumer wants to reduce spending and save more money for a home purchase or investing than he or she can analyze each category of spending, identify if there is any excess and make the subsequent adjustments without spending hours in front of a calculator and journal.
There are many people who are interested in improving their financial future, who are tired of living paycheck to paycheck, however, the complexity of calculating expenses and constructing a budget pushes them away from taking the necessary steps. Therefore, applications like Money in Excel can help consumers to simplify the entire process and make budgeting more accessible.