Finance planning has never been easier, with the extensive developments in technology and widespread availability of financial tools in the market. Utilising a finance planning tool not only makes it highly convenient to stay on top of your financial management, but it also reduces the possibility of mistakes occurring due to human error. Finance tools can streamline your finance planning and spending habits, by providing a clear-cut format for data input as well as facilities for financial analysis that can provide some much-needed insight into your finances and spending, whether it is your personal finances or even your company finances.
Here are some options for the best financial tools in the market to use:
1. Expense Management Tools
Expense tracking tools are some of the most basic finance planning tools available, and are a must-have nowadays. Being an adult who does not know where their money is going suggests that you are already gravely mismanaging your finances, with potentially a number of spending leaks. The most basic expense management tools allow you to manually record your spending each month with some basic level of analysis provided you segregate each expense as you enter it e.g. monthly food cost, traveling cost etc. However, there are advanced expense management tools that directly pull your data from your accounts and debit/credit cards to not only record your spending but also provide you with detailed financial analyses about your spending habits. A list of expense management tools can be found here - https://www.g2.com/categories/expense-management
2. Budgeting Apps
Once you have developed the habit of tracking your monthly expenses, the next finance planning step you should take is to create and stick to a budget. This will not only help you better plan your spending but it might end up saving you more than you think. Advanced budgeting apps allow you to identify your cash inflows and outflows, and help allocate expenses accordingly, usually letting you know when you are at risk of over spending. A list of budgeting apps here - https://www.cnbc.com/select/best-budgeting-apps/
3. Investment Apps
Ever since investment became more of a self-service with the advent of mobile app-based investing, an equal number of mobile apps have emerged that allow you to track your investments across various platforms. This means that you know the status of all your investments at any time. More advanced investment apps take this further by analysing data collected and providing data-backed insights and predictions about market trends. A list of investment applications can be found here - https://www.bankrate.com/investing/best-investment-apps/
4. Tax Preparation
Doing tax calculations is one of the most important areas for those who earn and own taxable assets annually. It’s an extremely complicated process that can have unpleasant legal ramifications if done incorrectly. Therefore it’s best left to a software that can calculate your income and assets, and break down the applicable tax components. Owning a comprehensive tax system will save you a lot of trouble in future.
5. Accounting Software
All businesses, regardless of scale, need to invest in a solid accounting or book-keeping software to properly manage their company finances. There are countless off-the-shelf SaaS options available at a wide price range. However, companies with intricate finance procedures or larger companies might be better off by customising an accounting software or getting a brand-new accounting software developed specifically for their needs. Accounting software comes in various sizes and shapes, with larger, more expensive versions combining multiple areas of finance planning into one (e.g. expense tracking, budgeting, tax preparation, billing, payroll). Investing in a good accounting software will ensure smart finance planning and money management, and contribute heavily towards the success of your business.
6. Inventory Management / Stock Control Systems
If you are a business that deals with goods and products, an inventory management system is a must. A good inventory management cum stock control system will help streamline your orders and goods delivery, drastically minimising the risk of over-ordering or expired goods.
Benefits of Using a Tool for Finance Planning
There are countless benefits to using a tool for finance planning, as opposed to maintaining physical records or not having any kind of system at all. If you are looking for reasons to switch to digitised finance planning, here you go:
As all data is input directly into the financial tool, all finance records are in digital format. This makes working with the data very versatile, allowing you to edit, send and duplicate as needed. Having digitised records increases the longevity and safety of your data.
Nowadays, most finance planning tools offer services to back-up your data to the cloud. This allows you to access your data from anywhere and virtually any device. Furthermore, in case of a natural disaster (e.g. a fire, power cut etc.) there is little to no risk of the data being lost.
Professional Customer Support
If you come across unexpected errors or hurdles while using your finance planning tool, you will have many online resources as well as professional customer support on hand to troubleshoot the issues. These resources and customer support are not limited to tech support, but some finance planning tools even offer finance consultation. The level of support available increases drastically if you use a paid tool, especially for a higher-value subscription-based model.
Your workload can drastically reduce if you opt for a finance planning tool that has advanced levels of automation. For example, certain mobile apps come with the ability of pulling data directly from your expense and savings account, and analysing the transactions independently, completely eliminating the need for you to enter your daily expenses. Apart from this, most finance planning tools offer high levels of data analysis which tend to be very invaluable and rather impractical to do by hand.