Financial planning is when you allocate and use your funds for the specific purpose of achieving your financial goals and objectives. Whether you’re planning your retirement or how you’re going to pay off any debts, or an entire company is planning a new acquisition, accurate financial planning is needed in order to succeed.
Of course, this can be achieved through budgeting, but if you want to make this as easy as possible, then there’s no better way of doing it than using financial planning software.
In this post, I’ll go through some of the best financial planning software that also happens to be free. But before that, here are a few questions worth answering.
Why Should You Plan Your Finances?
Financial planning is important because it helps you track your financial performance and it allows you to plan investments that affect your (or the company’s) financial position in the future. It’s nearly impossible for anyone to achieve their financial goals (let alone financial stability) if they don’t have a financial plan that they can follow.
What Is Financial Planning Software?
Financial planning software is software that helps people and businesses alike in the difficult task of taking control of their own finances. This software generally allows you to monitor your income and expenses, allows you to plan budgets, and helps you move towards achieving your financial goals. It can also help allocate your funds correctly, and it ensures that businesses using it are making profits.
Financial planning software is more complex than managing money efficiently — it evaluates your current financial position in order to predict future goals and values (as well as business plans). It also monitors and optimizes business processes and helps analyze any key areas that might need improvement.
What Features Should Financial Planning Software Have?
#1 Income & Expenses Tracking
Financial planning software should be able to completely track and monitor your income and expenses in order to streamline the entire cash flow management, as well as to provide a glimpse into the financial status of your business in real time.
This means keeping everything from sales to operational costs, office space leases to payroll in check at all times.
#2 Strategic Planning
Using financial planning software should allow you to create precise strategic plans based on information like acquisitions, liabilities, market conditions, profit & losses, predicted expenses, and more. It should impact the financial status of your organization positively, and it should allow it to grow exponentially as well.
#3 Real-Time Custom Reports
Any financial planning software you choose should also have the ability to give you real-time reports of your (or the company’s) current financial position. This can help you tremendously in making financial plans that prove to be successful in the future.
10 Best Free and Open-Source Financial Planning Software
Skrooge is a financial planning software that allows you to manage your personal finances. It can be used on multiple platforms like Windows, Mac OS, Linux, Solaris, and BSD. It also supports multiple currencies worldwide and it can save you time that is usually spent in data entry, considering the software can import data from spreadsheets, and even bank websites.
#9 Firefly III
Firefly III is another great open-source financial planning software that helps you in keeping track of your expenses, income, budget, and more. It can track your incoming and outgoing funds on your bank accounts, as well as shared household accounts and credit cards. It works on the principle that if you know where your money is going, you can make it go somewhere else, which makes it a fantastic financial planning software option
GnuCash is an easy-to-use and powerful financial planning software that is quick and intuitive to use, just like a chequebook register. Created around professional accounting principles, it ensures that it delivers accurate financial reports. Considering it’s freely licensed under the GNU GPL, it can be customized for personal and small-business use.
HomeBank is a free and open-source personal finance software that has its ease of use as one of its main highlights. It can help you analyze your finances and your budget in great detail through the use of powerful filtering tools and charts. It also has support for around 56 languages and can work in almost all common devices using operating systems like Microsoft Windows, Linux, FreeBSD, and MacOSX.
KMyMoney is an open-source financial planning software that is user-friendly and seamless, even if the user is not an expert in technology. It supports different account types and helps differentiate income and expenses through the use of categories.
Buddi is an open-source financial planning software that’s great for people that don’t have a background in finance.
It supports multiple languages and can be customized at will by the user or business using it. It can also run on almost any computer, and the only requirement for the software to do so is that the device has Java 1.6 or higher installed. It can work on any operating system as well, including Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, and many others.
#4 Money Manager Ex
Money Manager Ex is another good open-source financial planning software option.
Its main defining characteristic is that it’s cross-platform and easy to use, allowing you to organize your finances as well as keeping track of incoming and outgoing finances. It’s another extremely user-friendly software, and it’s the go-to choice of plenty of small and medium businesses for managing their financial transactions.
EveryDollar is a financial planning software that allows you to allocate every dollar that you're spending. It provides a template that can be customized to budgeting easier.
It also has plenty of other features, like having the ability to link bank accounts, but you’ll need to upgrade to the paid version of the software in order to be able to use them. Ramsey+ comes at a higher cost than other programs but offers more features including Dave Ramsey's popular Financial Peace University course as well as Baby Steps Tracking to help you follow the Seven Baby Steps that Ramsey has created for building wealth.
#2 Personal Capital
Personal Capital is a free financial planning software that allows you to have a complete view of your money along with all your accounts and investments in a single place. It also comes with analytical and planning tools to help you forecast the financial future of your business, and it can be extremely helpful for planning your budget, investments, and expenses in advance as well.
Moneytree is a professional financial planning software that includes versatile features which help in analyzing the current financial situation of an organization.
It can also show the impact of important decisions on the financial future of your business, and it assists you in creating highly accurate plans, making changes to planning data at any time, and discovering financial pitfalls as well as ways to avoid them.
It comes with a 2-week free trial period, which allows you to determine if it suits your business or not before purchasing it.
If you want to succeed in your financial goals, whether they are achieving financial stability, saving for retirement or simply eradicating debt, financial planning is going to be your best friend, and using financial planning software makes it easier than ever.
These are my top 10 picks for the best free financial planning software. These tools will help you evaluate your current financial position, make and optimize business plans and help you analyze key areas that might need improvement.