THE SILICON BANKER LOOKS INTO THE FUTURE
Keep your accounts in order and then get a projection for future balances. But can the banker beat his rivals?
BANKER from Andic Software is a program which can be used not only to keep track of, but also to forecast, future balances in your bank account. It works on the simple idea that every transaction can be thought of as a standing order, even if it is a one-off. Such orders can then be applied to the balance in an account for future months and so forecast the balance in the account.
The orders are set up with the usual details of description, type, amount and date - year, month and days. In addition the period, or number of months, of the order can be specified.
In order that the best use can be made of the program the manual suggests that around 50 or 60 orders be set up, including one for expecting he 'unanticipated expense'. Once the details have been set up they are updated onto the 'Order file', and then amended or deleted with ease. With payments being noted by a minus sign one of the nice features of the program is the provision for changing the sign of an amount by pressing the key.
Modelling the account for future income and expenditure is done simply by specifying the starting date for the modelling, the balance in the account and the length of the model in months. The amount of output, which can be printed either on screen only or on the printer only, is controlled by the level and graph options. The Level can be set to 1 - monthly summaries only; 2 - summaries also showing amended daily balances only; or 3 - summaries and full details of all transactions.
In addition you can also have a line graph for each month showing the daily closing balances - option one - or a bar chart of daily balances for the whole period - option two - or both together - option three. Alternatively you need have no graphs at all. Since the line graphs have no scale and the bar chart, which is printed sideways, is lengthy, that is probably the best option to use.
The manual, six photocopied A4 sheets, is well written and makes using the program relatively easy. However, Andic's claim that Banker is "one of the few genuinely useful and practical" programs available for the Spectrum is way off target. If you want the program to keep track of individual items of expenditure it can be done but the printout is cluttered and difficult to read. You would soon run out of space with a maximum of 200 orders.
My main dislike of the program is that the modelling is linear - only the standing orders as they are set up are applied. There is no easy way of allowing for, say, a five percent pay or RPI increase in the model. Finance Manager from OCP will keep track of your accounts more efficiently and easily. It can also be used for modelling in the same way as Banker. The only thing it does not do is draw the graphs.
Andic Software 17 Gypsy Lane, Marlow, Buckinghamshire.