Ask LH: Can Accounting Software Automatically Import My Bank Statements?

Dear Lifehacker, I find it hard enough to stay motivated to do my accounts, and downloading statements from multiple banks is an absolute pain in the butt. The double-handling of information just seems incredibly unnecessary in this day and age. Is there any way I can automate filling out all my Excel spreadsheets or use software to keep my books in order without breaking the bank? Thanks, Death By Double Entry

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Dear DBDE,

There are lots of options for accounting and finance software that can automatically import data from Australian banks — though in some cases you’ll have to opt for the small business version to get the feature. Note also that the frequency with which banks issue updates varies (many do daily, but some only offer monthly feeds).

If you’re just after basic tracking, we’re fans of Pocketbook, and it’s entirely free. If you’re producing business accounts, then MYOB Essentials, Reckon One, Saasu and Xero. (This isn’t an exhaustive list, just the obvious candidates — point out others in the comments by all means.)

Which one you choose is up to you. We often advise people to use the same software as their accountant — that makes transferring data easier. That said, exporting into a usable format isn’t usually difficult.


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