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August 29, 2012
by Matt Sacks

Announcing Reports

Chart showing spending over time

That’s a wealth of data going to waste, as far as we’re concerned. That’s why Simple already shows you information like map locations, tips, and spending categories. But, when that information lives only in the detailed view of a transaction, it’s not always easy to see the bigger picture. So we decided to build a flexible and powerful tool that allows you to answer important questions about your saving and spending. Today, I would like to introduce you to Reports, ready for you now in the Simple web app.

Design

Software has been displaying financial information graphically for ages, but we knew we had to make our data visualization useful where others had fallen short. We have an advantage over third-party visualization tools: because Simple has access to the full feed of your data, there’s no middleman between you and reliable, real-time understanding of your spending. We knew we could offer you a ton of information, so we focused our thinking around one question: what would you like to ask your financial data?

We invited you to weigh in on that subject, and we got some amazing feedback. Once we had a handle on the kinds of questions to ask, we began exploring how to display answers to those questions.

We wanted to give you the ability to see the trend of your finances. Reports needs to do two things well. First, Reports needs to accurately reflect trends over time. Second, they must be actionable. You must be able to drill into the trends to see your transaction details. Only when combining both trend and detail can you have a full understanding of your finances.

It’s kind of amazing to be able to see the effect of small changes over time. As a personal story, I had a love-hate relationship with Chipotle–I love the burritos, but I always overeat and feel awful later. I knew I liked going there, and that maybe I went a little too often, but Reports showed me that I actually went almost every other day! Once I had that awareness, I toned it down a bit. Over the next few weeks of my spending graph, I saw the line for spending at Chipotle go down, and the line for spending at the grocery store go up.

Using Reports

Chart of deposited vs spent

If you’re a Simple customer, go check it out now in the web app. To start you off, we provided some sample questions. For example, if you want to know what your balance looked like over the course of this month, simply search for “this month”. If you want to know into which categories your small purchases fall, try “under 100”. Comparing the last couple of days, weeks, and months of going out to eat is as easy as searching for “restaurants”. Elegant graphs render instantly to help you see the why behind the numbers.

This fun, intuitive feedback can inform your decisions and give you the ability to track them. Suddenly, data that had been right here in your account all this time comes to life. Information is beautiful: when your data can tell the story of your spending, you have a new way of looking at the everyday choices you make and the journeys you take. We hope you’ll make the best of them.