Makeover means a new look for expense manager app

A new look for expense manager app Solo Expenses is the latest evolution in a product that’s been helping businesses control their finances almost two decades, as blogger Stuart Pearcey discovers…

A mild frisson of excitement happened when I tapped open the Solo Expenses app on my smartphone. Instead of the screen I was used to there was a message. “A new version is available’, it said, and invited me to tap to download it.

Naturally, I couldn’t resist. I tapped. The download of version 6.8.1 took only a few seconds, and after it the feeling was just the same as getting anything new.

After a quick exploration of what was now on offer, I discovered a reassuring mix of old and new. The familiar functionality that makes Solo Expenses such a versatile tool was still there, but presented in a fresher way.

The colours are different, and the flow of data is streamlined and that makes it faster and easier to operate.

With cars, the earlier incarnations of new model lines are often the purest, and they grow a little less agile as they develop, and the manufacturers add more and more features.

With Solo Expenses the opposite is somehow true. This app has been around since the early part of the millennium – in fact it was the first piece of software of its kind designed with the sole trader in mind – since which time it has become more and more feature rich, but no less agile.

Recording an expense is at least as easy as it’s ever been, with a few taps on the keyboard, or a photograph of a receipt using the smartphone’s built-in camera.

When the magic happens
But it’s after recording the expense – in whatever category it needs to be in, to keep the most accurate track of your spending – that the magic happens. Collating all that data (and there can be a lot of it) is done by the app, with the minimal input from you, the user. Collate a chart showing what you’ve spent on any particular category over the last month or the last 60 days. Want to do it over a different period? Not a problem. You can select bespoke dates and look for expenses between those, and separate business from household expenses.

With the options all set, Solo Expenses will generate a chart giving a simple and clear picture of your spending in the right categories over the right time period. It could hardly be simpler.

Recording mileage is equally easy, and you’ll be offered the option to do that using Google or GPS.

It’s not really possible here to describe in any kind of worthwhile detail the features offered by this pocket powerhouse of an expense manager software for business. However, pop over to the app store and you’ll be able to read it all, as well as seeing the pricing structure (and it never ceases to amaze me just how little it costs to have the software at your fingertips, compared to the savings you’ll be able to make by using it).

The weakest part of the system
There’s no easy way to say this. Solo Expenses is exactly the same as any other piece of computer software, in that its weakest part is you, the operator (well, and me, because I’m as guilty as everyone else, naturally). The power of Solo Expenses (and objectively there’s a lot on offer) can’t be maximised unless you’re diligent in recording everything you spend. Good as it is, the software can’t do that without you telling it what you want to record, and where you want to keep the data. It’s a very capable and trustworthy servant, when given the right instructions.

Get into the habit of recording things carefully, and you’ll get the most benefit from your investment, just as more than 70,000 satisfied Solo Expenses customers in more than 90 countries already do – and who wouldn’t want that?

An android version is on Google play, and Apple users can find it in the App Store.

Picture: Vadymvdrobot | Dreasmtime