Money in Excel is a new Add In available from Microsoft to help you manage your finances. It allows you to sync to your financial accounts automatically and securely, regularly downloading your transactions and balances. Money in Excel comes with a series of charts and graphs that let you visualize your spending and saving patterns. The product also offers the ability to customize these features.
While the Money in Excel Add In is free, it does require that you have an Office 365 Family or Personal subscription. You can set up these subscriptions through Microsoft for as little as $7 / month, with an annual subscription. Note that you cannot use an Office 365 Work account, although often when you have a work account, you are eligible for the Home Use Program, to get access to a Personal account.
You will also need to ensure that your Office software and Windows Operating System are both updated to the most recent versions available. You will not be offered the sign in option until both are updated appropriately.
Ensure that you are set up for online banking with your financial institutions, as this is required to be able to use them within Money in Excel.
Your financial institutions must be in the United States, because they are the only ones currently available for the interface. Microsoft states that they will be expanding this to other countries in the future.1
You can only perform the set up and updating of data on a PC or Mac. While you can view a Money in Excel spreadsheet on a mobile application, but you will not be able to make any changes to it.
Set up of this product is straightforward. You will need to download the Money in Excel template from Microsoft and make sure it is activated in your Excel. Once this is done, you will have a new “Money in Excel” tab within the Home ribbon.
The first time you use the product, it provides you with lots of instructions, guidance, and reference information. But the steps to get started are basically as follows:
- Sign into Office 365
- Select your financial institution from the search option
- Log in using your credentials for the financial institution
- Transactions from 30-90 days previous will automatically be loaded into your spreadsheet
You can then use the Update feature regularly to keep your spreadsheet up to date
Microsoft uses a product called Plaid to make the connections to your bank accounts secure and private. You can trust that Microsoft will never have access to your banking login information.
Even if you share the spreadsheet with someone else, they will not have access to your bank accounts, as both the Office 365 and your banking credentials would be required.
You are now ready to sync Money in Excel with your bank accounts. Transactions will be downloaded to your spreadsheet and stored in the “Transactions” worksheet. The process will automatically assign categories based on its algorithms, although occasionally you may need to manually assign/reassign the Category on some transactions.
The “Snapshot” worksheet will now show you the basic charts and graphs, for any month, based on the downloaded transactions.
Optionally, you can add two other templates to your worksheet, called “Net Worth” and “Recurring Expenses”. Microsoft will likely release other templates in the future.
- Compare overall spending from month to month
- See the percentage of your overall spending by category
- Track your spending cumulatively throughout the month
- Determine the most frequented merchants each month
- Highlight the merchants where you spend the most money each month
- Monitor your overall net worth
- Track recurring expenses and due dates (These are automatically identified for you, based on past transactions, but you can also add to this list)
You can opt into a series of email alerts and summaries within the product. These alerts provide spending reports, account insights, account alerts, and promotional emails.1
By having all the data in one place, you can more easily see your overall financial position and can better track your spending. This is especially important when you have accounts across multiple institutions.
You can sync your bank accounts with the spreadsheet. Therefore, you don’t have to deal with manual downloads of data from your bank websites.
One of the great features of this product, is that it allows you to share the spreadsheet with other people, without giving them access to your banking credentials. For example, this can be extremely useful if you want your accountant to view your finances to help with planning and/or taxes. The spreadsheet can be stored on OneDrive where you can give the other person access to the data directly, rather than having to email updated spreadsheets to them.
Within Money in Excel, you can create new customized categories on the “Categories” tab. This is useful if you run a small business and want to categorize your business-related spending to buckets that match what is required for tax season.
You can use all the features of Excel to generate your own customized reports and charts, over the downloaded transactional data. Try creating a pivot table to only show monthly transactions for a specific savings account, or a specific credit card. Make use of Excel formulas to generate a Budget sheet, that tracks monthly actual spending against your planned budget numbers.
If you are looking for a way to manage your finances, this is one product to try out. If you determine that it is not for you, you can easily disconnect your bank accounts and delete your Money in Excel profile, to be sure that your financial information is removed.
Be sure to check out KWT’s video courses. We offer a couple of lessons about Money in Excel, including the set up, use of the provided charts, and suggestions for customization. Additionally, you can take courses in Excel, to increase your skills, that will allow you to customize the Money in Excel template, to make it work for you.
1 Microsoft. “ Money in Excel FAQ.” <https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/office/money-in-excel-faq-1cf6f49a-cb01-48c2-ac39-cda12a585c4a>