Last week, at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference, Apple announced the 2008 Apple Design Award winners. The winner for best student project was Squirrel, a new finance management application. Although there are many other financial applications for Mac OS X, Squirrel has a great design which helps make the application very user friendly.
Squirrel’s main window displays your transactions for the selected account. When you add a new transaction a bar slides up from the bottom so you can easily edit your transaction. You can choose the date, description, category, and amount. Then you can add different tags so you can easily organize them. On the top half of the window you can view a graph of your transactions. If you hover your mouse over any part of the graph you can view the date and the amount in your account at that time. You can also choose to view only incoming or outgoing transactions with the buttons at the top. If you set a URL for your bank you can also view the website by click the Netbanking icon in the top right. You can add different accounts and edit your tags and categories in the preferences.
Squirrel also includes two other useful features for managing your money: You can create reports and budgets. When you create a new report you choose a name, the accounts that will go into the report, and the dates that the report covers. Reports show information in two different ways: Two bars in the list view and pie graphs on top which both show you your spending in your categories. In the pie graph view, hovering over a section of the graph pops it out of the graph and displays the category name and amount spent in it.
Budgets help you avoid spending too much in a certain category. First you can choose your criteria for the budget, which can be sorted with tags and categories. Then you pick the amount and the time frame. In the list view a bar is displayed showing how much you have spent in your budget. You can also view bars on top showing how close you are but also showing how much you have spent other months. This helps you keep track other months also.
Although Squirrel is missing just a few features that some of the other applications have, it has an amazing design. It is also currently in version 0.5.5, so expect many more features coming soon. If you purchase Squirrel before it reaches version 1.0 you can get it for Ã¢š¬6.99 (about $11) with free updates until version 2.0. Once Squirrel does reach version 1 it will be available for Ã¢š¬25 (about $38). You can download a trial and purchase Squirrel at the application’s website.