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CREATING A BUSINESS BUDGET IN COUNTABOUT: A REVIEW

business & entrepreneurship money management personal finance retirement planning Dec 05, 2021

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This year at FinCon, I had the honor of judging the Fintech competition.  FinTech is short for financial technology.  According to the Oxford Dictionary, Fintech is "computer programs and other technology used to support or enable banking and financial services."  Anyone that knows me knows I love technology and especially Fintech!

I had the pleasure of meeting the team of software called CountAbout.  I had never heard of it before, but I was instantly intrigued when they said it has a budgeting feature!  I was able to get access to try it out and create a review.

What is CountAbout?

CountAbout is an easy-to-use, online-based software that allows you to keep track of your finances all in one place!  They have an aggregation tool that allows you to connect your bank accounts for easy tracking.  You can connect all accounts from checkings to savings to mortgage and debt accounts.  They use MX as their aggregator, which I use for the financial planning software I have, so I know it is secure.  I love fintech programs that allow you to aggregate your accounts because you don't have to manually put all of your transactions in.

A unique thing about CountAbout is importing Quicken and Mint data.  Quicken users rejoice!  Quicken is a fintech software that people have been since 1983 to manage their business and personal finances.  I remember my mom using Quicken as a child for her business.  But, although it is robust, it has had a variety of issues over the years.  I feel like CountAbout is an adequate replacement for Quicken users.  I personally love that you can import data from Mint!  Mint is one of my favorite platforms to keep track of net worth and budgets, so having that functionality was a huge plus.  I believe CountAbout is the only platform where that is available! 

I signed up for a trial account, and I was surprised they have a 45-day free trial.  That is unheard of in the industry!  I also like that their free trial did not require me to put in credit card information.  One of my biggest gripes with subscription-based software is that that fee can always sneak up on you with automatic renewal.  I like that I can control when my payment comes out.

How do I create a business budget?

Once I gained access to the system, it had a welcome message and took me through a quick tutorial.  As with all technology, it took some additional clicking around to learn the full functionality, and they also have a knowledge base available if you get stuck.  If you plan on importing data from Quicken or Mint, they suggest you do that first.  I didn't do that for this tutorial/review.  After getting familiar, I went straight to the "Budgets" tab at the top.

Once there, I clicked on Add Budget.

It prompted me to input what year the budget was for and give it a name. Now, before you start clicking around as I did, DO NOT CLICK ACTIVE if this is not the budget you want to use right now.  I learned that once you click it, it is permanent.  So, luckily in "My Account," they have a reset button that you can use if you make a mistake early on.  It completely resets your account to brand new.  I thought this was a great feature and used it a couple of times to figure out the system.  It also has a cool safeguard that emails you to confirm you want to reset, so you don't have to worry about hitting it on accident and losing all of your data.

Once on the screen with the year and title of your budget, click on the green data entry button.  I LOVED the yearly budget view.  Since I am creating a business budget for 2022 as a projection, this is perfect for my needs.

Having a business budget that I can see for the entire year is great!  As the year goes on, I can see if I am on target with my projections or need to make any adjustments.  I will be entering all data manually for the budget, but I can use the "Use History" button to import my previous years' budget.  Great thinking by the developers!

From here, start inputting your data.  Since you can use this software for business or personal purposes, I had to tweak the premade sub-categories.  I used one income line item for each source of business income.  I put what it really was in the notes and ignored the premade sub-categories.  As long as your income is in income, it will still work with the yearly calculations.

For expenses, I made sure that the amounts were in the correct overall categories but didn't pay too much attention to the sub-categories.  I did the same as the income section and used the notes to put the expense title.

You do have an option of renaming all of the sub-categories (which I will do later) but to get a starter budget down.  The fast way sufficed for me!

Projections for 2022

I truly love that it provided a holistic view of my income and expenses for the entire year.  I know I've said this multiple times, but this is not something you often find in budgeting programs and apps. If you put amounts in the yearly data entry box, it automatically calculated monthly amounts, which was helpful for expenses and income that is consistent monthly.  If you have income and expenses that only happen in certain months, it automatically calculates the yearly amount too!  

What are other features available?

Mobile App

CountAbout has an app!  Yes, you can take everything that you built on the go!  Your budget has to be checked active to show up in the app.

Model Different Scenarios

Speaking of active budget, the software allows you to make multiple budgets to model different scenarios, which is a unique feature.  Typically, you can only create one budget, and that's it.  But with CountAbout, you can model different scenarios and only make active the one you want to use.

Widgets

Widgets allow you to compare your financial activity against what you have budgeted or against your average activity, which would be beneficial to see if you are on track at a glance.  My favorite widget is the FIRE widget (more for a personal budget). FIRE stands for Financial Independence, Retire Early (click the link to read more).  CountAbout allows you to accurately see your progress towards this goal by plotting your information based on the method made popular by Vicki Robin.  This is yet another unique feature! 

Customer Support

Although the software is easy to use, they offer email support if you get stuck.  The customer support is amazing, and they are even willing to hop on a call if they cannot resolve your issue via email.

Invoicing

If you decide to do your invoicing in CountAbout, they have an add-on feature to create, send, and track invoices.  This add-on is an additional $60/year.

How much does CountAbout cost?

CountAbout is very affordable.  Especially when other budgeting apps charge upwards of $100/year.  CountAbout has two subscriptions.

Basic - Only $9.99/year (this option does not include bank connections to sync your transactions automatically)

Premium - $39.99/year

Break down of current pricing

Conclusion

CountAbout is a very nice software that I will personally use for my business budget every year.  I loved how easy it was to input the data and its meager cost.  The only drawback I found was getting used to where everything was and the different functionality options, but after I clicked around and went to the knowledge base, it was easy!  Building a business budget/projection is good to see how much you need to make to reach your goals.  You can take the yearly income and put it into bite-sized pieces to make it easier to attain.  For instance, I know exactly how many speaking engagements, one-on-one clients, course sales, etc. I need to reach my business goals and make sure all my bills and my team get paid.  Overall: 9/10

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