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In this CountAbout review, we’ll take a look at CountAbout – a relatively simple personal finance software suite for tracking your finances.
Note that the use of the word “simple” here is not to imply the software is limited in its capability. It does a great job at its intended functionality – especially for the price (more on that later).
Perhaps it makes more sense to say that the interface is laid out in a way that is simple and easy to understand.
How Does CountAbout Work?
CountAbout is an up-and-coming online budgeting application. The company is based in Madison, WI, and it has been around since 2012.
However, it has been gaining steam as of late as people look for more budgeting options.
Let’s take a look at the software’s functionality and find out how it stacks up.
As soon as you log in to the site, you’ll be greeted by the dashboard where you’ll see all of your transactions, budgets, and other information. The default is transactions, where you’ll be able to link your various financial accounts.
You have access to a number of different tabs along the top menu: transactions, budgets, reports, recurring, investments, and invoices (if you subscribe to the add-on).
When you initially link your accounts, you will be prompted to select the “starting date” where you’d like to start pulling transactions for that account.
Because I was new, I went back as far as I could. 100 days is the farthest back you can go.
I ended up having a large number of transactions to reconcile – mostly credit card payments. You do have the option to “approve all” if you trust that everything will be accurate.
In Budgets, you can create your own budget, assuming you haven’t imported data from Quicken or Mint.
In Reports, you can create customizable reports that allow you to see all transactions for any number of your accounts for a given date range.
In Recurring, you see your recurring transactions. Note: you must add them manually first.
Under Investments, you’ll see investment information for various funds. Note that these are not your own investment accounts.
Within Invoices, you see any invoices you’ve created. Again, this an additional add-on not included in the premium subscription. It costs $60/year.
If you’re anything like me, you might have looked at the above screenshot and said, “That’s a lot of categories.” Luckily, the dashboard is customizable. That means you can remove some of these categories if you don’t use them all.
All you have to do is click the pencil icon at the top of the list and you’ll be brought to screen where you have the option to remove.
You can’t delete parent categories, such as Income or Auto & Transport, but you can delete any sub-categories.
In addition, you can always add/remove accounts and transactions via the “Add or Link Accounts(s)” and “Add Transaction” buttons.
How Much Does CountAbout Cost?
One of the best things about this software is how affordable it is.
The software has two price points – Basic, for $9.99/year, and Premium, for $39.99/year. That’s right – per year, not per month.
And if for some reason you’re still on the fence, it also has a 15-day free trial so you can be confident in the software before making a purchase.
While there are a few budgeting applications that are few due to being ad-supported or because the publisher makes money in other ways, most do come with a small monthly fee.
Translation: CountAbout is cheaper than every other budgeting application that comes with a fee – even the Premium version.
There is just one major difference between Basic and Premium: you’ll need Premium if you want automatic transaction tracking. This includes your paychecks, credit card spending, and any other financial activity. If you only have Basic, you’ll have to enter most of that manually.
Given that Premium is $39.99 per year ($3.33 per month), it seems worthwhile if you like the software.
In addition, there are two additional add-ons you must purchase separately if you want the functionality from them.
Those are: attachments – ability to attach receipts and images to transactions, for $10/year. The other extra add-on is invoicing, which costs $60/year.
I find CountAbout relatively easy to use. It does require a bit of setup as well as some getting used to, but once you’ve learned the ropes, it’s not too intimidating.
In your Transactions tab, you have the option to assign different transactions to categories (i.e. income, rent, etc.). You can then sort your transactions by category or hide categorized transactions.
You can also sort by description, date, account, and amount.
Despite being web-based, there is almost no delay when moving between your tabs at the top. The ability to quickly see everything at a glance and move effortlessly between tabs makes this application a seamless experience.
CountAbout has a fairly comprehensive knowledge base where you can look for answers to all kinds of common questions.
These include whether your information is secure (yes, it is!), how to link accounts, and what to do after linking an account.
Needless to say, you’ll find a lot of questions answered here, but you can also open a ticket if you can’t quite find what you need.
There is also a phone number listed, but it appears the knowledge base and ticketing system are the primary methods of support.
Security – Is My Information Safe?
Your information is very much safe with CountAbout because of how it is set up. Only your email address is collected, and that will never be sold to advertisers.
We don’t collect or store users’ names, phone numbers, physical addresses, social security numbers, birth dates, driver’s license numbers, mothers’ maiden names, names of first pets, favorite foods, or any other personal information about our users.
-From Countabout’s FAQ
Not even the name of my first pet!? Button the fish would be disappointed. Oh well.
They go on to say that none of your account usernames or passwords are stored. This is certainly reassuring, especially if you want to link your accounts for automatic syncing (Premium version only).
In essence, CountAbout makes a direct connection with your financial institution and authenticates the username/password you enter against what the institution has stored.
In addition to the browser-based software, there is a mobile app if you prefer to be, well, mobile.
As you can see, most of your basic functionality is here in the mobile app. There are only a few things that aren’t available: custom reports, recurring transactions, invoices, and the investments tab.
Note that you can see your investment account balances under the Accounts tab. The investments tab on the desktop version simply shows you information about various investment funds.
So while some of the heavier features are relegated to the desktop side, you can see all of your basic budget and account information on the mobile app.
CountAbout Review: Conclusion
If you’ve grown disillusioned with Mint, or you like QuickBooks but need a cheaper solution, CountAbout is worth considering.
There’s a lot CountAbout does well – especially when you consider the price. It has top-notch security, and if you opt for Premium, automatic transaction tracking, too.
It also has a mobile app that will allow you to do most of your daily budgeting on-the-go. Its interface could be a little more modern, but that is a minor concern compared to security and accurate tracking.
CountAbout also lets you create customizable budgets and reports, and can import data from Quicken and Mint.
All in all, CountAbout packs a punch at a price point that’s hard to beat. That alone makes it worth a try.
Ready to get started? Head over to their website and start your 15-day FREE trial!