iBank 5: Personal finance Mac app corners the market on your money

Jeffery Battersby

Transactions appear in a ledger to the right of the Library list. Each transaction that appears in the list and for which you've supplied a category displays a small image representing the type of transaction you're looking at. So a grocery purchase has a small grocery basket next to it and a gasoline purchase has an image of a fuel dispenser next to it. These images can be customized to your liking, but the reality is that they offer little in the way of real value. They're just a kitschy addition to the app.

iBank 5 ships with several standard reports each of which gives a graphical overview of where you've spent your money. The app's basic offering include income and expense reports for the last month, last year, and current year as well as a net worth report. The app's existing reports can be customized to suit your specific needs or you can create your own reports by choosing the Add New Report option from the Tools menu. iBank 5 provides 10 starting points for reports, including Portfolio Summary, Category Detail, and Forecast reports. Once selected these accounts can be customized to include specific accounts and categories.

The app's budgeting tools offer both the traditional budgeting method of making "guesstimates" of how much you hope to spend each month and comparing your actual estimate to that budgeted amount or the truly old-school method of envelope budgeting, which pre-allocates funds to specific budget categories from which you can then "draw" funds for payment in those categories. iBank 5's budgeting tool walks you through a brief questionnaire about scheduled and unscheduled transactions, how much income you expect to see each month and where you expect to spend your money. I found the budgeting tools to be excellent and, if you choose to use the envelope method, simple, when necessary, to pull money from one envelope so you can put it another.

iBank offers a number of ways to make it easy to stay on top of your bills and to get them paid. Scheduled transactions automatically appear in the Calendar app. If your bank account is setup to use bill pay features you can use iBank 5 to pay your bills, with the added benefit that iBank 5 will first check to make sure that the transaction will not cause an overdraft.

Bottom line
iBank 5 is an excellent personal finance application that makes it effortless to track your financial transactions, stock portfolios, as well as create budgets and reports to help you assess your current and future financial status. There is no better financial app available today for your Mac.

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