Mark Loosmore of AT8 Group recently saw a new tool that stood out from the crowd when it comes to cashflow planning.
The tool to which we refer is Moneyscope – the cashflow planning tool which was inspired by the Paraplanner Richard Allum.
As cashflow planning goes, Moneyscope is pretty limited in functionality and our initial impression was it does not rival the likes of Truth or Voyant for breadth or depth of functionality. To be fair, it doesn’t claim to compete nor does it charge similar fees to these solutions.
Moneyscope basically takes a starting cash position, adds some key inputs for income and expenditure and produces a summary graph with a financial breakdown of the savings position over an agreed time frame. The period under review, the rate of return and the inflation rate can be changed to meet the users’ own planning assumptions.
Financial Software has in the past often been poorly presented and difficult to use but there is a new generation of tools coming to market with the likes of MoneyInfo, some of the tools from Fidelity and MoneyScope that really stand out as a more engaging way to design software.
Moneyscope only has one line for data entry and in this line the user states the type of input (income or expenditure), the frequency (one-off or annual), describes the type of input (e.g. salary), then the amount and the period. The amount entered can then be adjusted to show the effect of future inflation or set to increase with inflation over a period of time. For readers used to using iPhones or iPads the solution provides a very familiar method of interaction.
When the key inputs are entered the user presses ‘continue’ and a graph of the cashflow over time is shown. The graphics are clear and have a modern feel to them.
The sophistication of playing with different scenarios is limited at the moment. In reality, if it is anything other than playing with the inflation and savings rates a duplicate client needs to be set up to look at the wider range of options. However, the next release will include a more comprehensive scenario planning capability allowing users to copy scenarios and then amend and run simple ‘what if’ analysis.
The key point is that it is quick and easy to use with a clean and simple but attractive presentation of the output. I think it is no coincidence that Richard is an Apple fan (he ordered his iPad2 on the day of release). The influence of ‘apps’ and the applicability of this to work on devices such as iPhones and iPads as well as Blackberry and Android devices is clear.
Also, the suitability for the application to be used directly by clients is clear and it is no surprise that Release Three, due in Q3 2011, is aimed at the adviser being able to give access directly to the client.
Richard does not aim to take on Truth or Voyant with Moneyscope, where these tools look to collect a far more granular set of data and drive their calculations from a more detailed set of assumptions.
The fact is that many advisers are not looking to do a comprehensive cash flow forecast ever time, and certainly not for every client. Sometimes they may also want a tool to engage a client and illustrate very rapidly the issues they face.
Priced at £25 a month for a single user licence or £45 a month for a firm its price clearly isn’t aiming at the same market as these solutions either.
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