Free Web-based financial app

Otherwise simple dashboard for QuickBooks users requires time-consuming processes to be current

Intuit QuickBooks users who'd like a light dose of their finances topped off with the news and weather might want to check out MyBizHomepage. The advertiser-supported Web service is free (although registration is required) and lets you monitor key financial figures from your QuickBooks file while also supplying you with useful news information.

QuickBooks, of course, comes with its own financial dashboard, summarizing key financial data from your small-business accounting records. However, all these details could be overwhelming if you're not an accountant. MyBizHomepage.com offers a simplified dashboard that may deliver just enough financial details to give you an overview of the business, without the mind-numbing detail.

In addition to financial figures from your business, the Web service can display up to six panels of other information, updated by RSS (Really Simple Syndication). There are also links to other Internet business resources, including articles and templates.

Customization options

MyBizHomepage gives you a few customization options for the Web panel. For example, you can add up to two RSS news feeds of your choice and change the order of the panels. The other four panels feature news from MyBizHomepage, CNN, local weather, and a list of your e-mail contacts.

You can add contacts manually or import data in CSV (Comma Separated Values) or vCard format.

Importing your accounting data from QuickBooks to the online service is only a little more complicated. To link your QuickBooks data to MyBizHomepage, you must first export from within QuickBooks your chart of accounts in Intuit's own IIF format. Then visit your account profile on MyBizHomepage and upload the IIF file from your computer to the online service. MyBizHomepage keeps track of your IIF data updates; periodically, you'll need to repeat the export/import process to keep your online dashboard up-to-date. This could get tiresome if you want frequent updates, and it makes the service better suited for people in very small businesses who don't use their accounting program every day.

Key financial figures from your QuickBooks accounting data, including cash, receivables, payables, and inventory, are monitored on a monthly basis for up to 24 months. You can view trends using bar graphs or display a chart of the actual numbers.

Not customizable enough

Aside from the problem of having to upload current data, MyBizHomepage would be more useful if you could select the items you wish to monitor from a menu. For example, a services-based business may not have any inventory to track; instead, payroll expenses may be more significant to the business and well worth following.

I'm also a little concerned about the implications of uploading confidential business financial information to an online service. MyBizHomepage says it's secure, of course.

MyBizHomepage may not be worthwhile for financially savvy QuickBooks users. However, its dashboard is simple enough to set up and use. You can easily test this free service to see if it's helpful to you.

MyBizHomepage

Web: http://www.mybizhomepage.com

PCW Rating: 76

Value: Easy to use, free, simple financial dashboard for QuickBooks users, but requires time-consuming data export/import process to be current.

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