Amstrad Computer User


Home Accounts
By Gemini
Amstrad CPC464

 
Published in Amstrad Computer User #6

Simon Williams gives an account of the Gemini home budgeting software.

Home Accounts

Gemini Marketing often boasts that three of its directors are Chartered Accountants. This certainly shows in its accounting packages. Everything from a comparatively simple home accounts package, like the one reviewed here, up to the full integrated business suite that it produces for the BBC Micro, are put together in a very professional way.

The package consists of a cassette and manual, packaged in the slim, video-style case that is often used for this type of software. The program is divided into two halves, one for initialising your accounts, and another for day to day 'transactions'.

Ins And Outs

The program can cope with two categories for income and 20 for expenditure (referred to as 'Allocations'). You can set up headings such as 'Salary', 'Electricity', 'Telephone', 'Computer Games', for all the important transactions in your life. When making an entry in any of these categories, you enter the allocation, date, amount and details of the actual transaction. This means that under the heading 'Food', you can describe an entry, for instance, as 'Re-stocking at Tesco'.

You can start your financial year in any month you like, although January and April are probably the most useful. As you build up a record of your finances, you can detail the entries in any allocation at any time, summarise your expenditure overall, and even get the program to make predictions of likely expenses in coming months. This is particularly useful if you need to plan for an extra expense and want to see how it affects your bank balance in the long term.

When you set up your account, you can enter the level at which your bank will start to charge you for your account, and the program will then automatically warn you of impending bank charges as part of its forecast.

The program supports printed output of just about everything. Whenever you display any details of your accounts, you are given the option to print it out. This option assumes you have an 80 column printer (such as the DMPI) connected and switched on.

The printed copy is well laid out on the page, and is always headed with your name, account number, current date and the start of your financial year. If you have no printer, all output is directed to a mode 2 screen, instead.

If you like to show your finances graphically, then the package provides a set of histograms that will do just that. These aren't offered as hard copy printout.

Conclusions

The real value of a home accounts package only really shows if you are conscientious enough to keep it up to date. If you spend time balancing your books at the moment with pencil and paper, then a computerised account will certainly speed things up for you. Gemini's package is as comprehensive as you're likely to need, and shows what can be done with a sound approach to a common application.

Simon Williams

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