Advisors: Setting up a PocketSmith account and tips for financial advisors
We've compiled this guide to cover the basics of setting up a PocketSmith account, with tips specifically aimed at financial advisors to help you and your clients get the most out of PocketSmith!
For more on how to create a PocketSmith account with your client, including sharing access, and adding a subscription, please first check out this guide here: Using PocketSmith as a financial advisor
In this user guide
Overview of onboarding
Once created, there are four main steps to setting up a PocketSmith account:
Add bank accounts and import transactions ⚡️
Set up bank accounts and import transaction data into PocketSmith.
Categorize transactions 🗃
Sort transactions into meaningful categories so you and your client can understand where their money is going.
Create budgets 🗓👛
Prioritize spending and plan for the future.
View and analyze the data using PocketSmith's reporting and forecasting features 📊
Compare actual earning and spending to your client's budgeted amounts and see how planned earning and spending affects the future balances of their accounts.
When setting up a new account, you'll be presented with an onboarding checklist outlining these steps - read on to learn about each step in more detail with added tricks and tips along the way!
Adding bank accounts and importing transactions
The first step in setting up a PocketSmith account is to add bank accounts and import transactions. There are a few different options for importing client data into PocketSmith:
Bank feeds ⚡️
Bank feeds are the most convenient way to add accounts and import transactions automatically into PocketSmith. As adding a bank feed requires the client to input their online banking details, they will need to set this up themselves, or they will need to be physically present for you to walk them through this step.
We've got all the detail here: Adding a bank feed and establishing your accounts
If you would like your client to use a set of categories as recommended by your service, make sure they select the option 'Let me manage this myself, I got this' when prompted.
This will ensure that automatic categorization from the bank feed is not enabled, and the bank feed will not generate its own categories.
You can also follow these steps to disable this feature after establishing accounts: Turning automatic categorization from the bank feed off
Bank files 📂
Bank files are a great alternative method for bringing transactions into PocketSmith if there's no bank feed support available for your client's bank. Clients can easily export bank files from their online banking and import them into PocketSmith.
To learn how to import bank files see: Importing bank files into PocketSmith
Check out our Quick Import tool to upload multiple bank files to a PocketSmith account at the same time. We recommend using OFX file types (with the file name unchanged) where possible, as PocketSmith will attempt to automatically match each bank file to an existing PocketSmith bank account when they’re uploaded - making it even easier to upload new transactions!
You can find more about using this here: Importing multiple bank files to your accounts via the Transactions page
Following the initial bank file import, it's best to leave minimal overlap between the date of the most recent transactions and choose the option to replace transactions on overlapping dates.
For example, if the most recent transactions in the account are on May 31, then the next bank file import's date range should include and begin from May 31. This will ensure that there are no missing transactions.
Editing account details
On occasion, you may need to edit the details of an existing account, such as the account name, account type or account currency. You can do this from the Account Summary page by clicking MANAGE ACCOUNT > Account preferences.
For more detail see Edit the details of your accounts
Changing the balance option for an account
Bank feeds can sometimes default to the incorrect balance option - showing a positive balance when it should be negative, or, showing available credit instead of the current balance for a credit card or revolving loan account.
If the balance that has been pulled through by the bank feed is incorrect, you can also change the balance option as shown here: Balance options for an account
Adding categories and categorizing transactions
Once transactions have been imported into an account, they'll need to be categorized to get the most out of budgets and reporting.
If you have a specific set of categories you use as a financial advisor, we recommend adding these via the Categories page before your client gets started with categorizing their transactions.
Simply copy and paste your category template into the Add new category section on the Categories page.
For detail on adding categories in this way see: Adding new categories from the Categories page
Once the categories have been created, your client can get started with categorizing their transactions.
While there are a number of different places you can categorize your transactions. We recommend starting on the Categorize items page, where each transaction will appear one-by-one for you to consider.
You are able to categorize transactions manually, or using category rules and filters. For more detail see: The different ways to categorize your transactions
Using Category Rules to categorize transactions
With Category Rules, your client can set up their PocketSmith account to automatically categorize transactions as they're imported. Category Rules work by matching a transaction's merchant name to the merchant keywords belonging to a Category Rule. With this in mind, it's important to edit the merchant keywords for each category rule as you create them so that they will work effectively.
You can find more on creating Category Rules here: Using Category rules to automatically categorize transactions
Check out this guide to troubleshoot any issues relating to Category Rules: Editing & deleting category rules
Using Filters to categorize transactions
If your client requires more sophisticated auto-categorization for certain transactions they can use Filters.
Filters allow you to identify transactions using multiple parameters (merchant description, amount, account, etc) and then apply categorization as well as other actions (renaming, marking as transfer, etc) to any matching transactions.
For example; a client may have their car and home insurance with the same insurance company which they would like to categorize to Car insurance and Home insurance respectively. As the merchant description is the same for both transactions, a regular Category Rule won't work here. Instead, they can create a Filter that categorizes these transactions based on merchant description + the amount of the transaction.
For detail on using Filters and how to set them up please see: Everything you need to know about filters
Categorizing transfers, credit card repayments, and mortgages
PocketSmith allows you to create transfer categories and mark transactions as transfers in order to exclude them from income & expense reporting and from the overall budget summary figures.
You can set up multiple transfer categories depending on whether you'd like to budget for or track specific transfers between accounts. For example, you may wish to track Savings transfers separately from Bills transfers or Credit Card repayments.
For more on managing transfers in PocketSmith and creating transfer categories see: Dealing with transfers in PocketSmith
Credit card repayments 💳
As purchases made on a card are treated as expenses, we recommend treating credit card repayments as transfers to avoid double counting any expenses.
For further detail check out: Managing credit cards within PocketSmith
Mortgage setups for users can vary, and due to PocketSmith's advanced forecasting features, these can be a little tricky to set up in PocketSmith. We've created a guide that details how to track Mortgages, and keep forecasting accurate within PocketSmith.
Check it out here: Managing mortgages within PocketSmith
Bill and Scheduled income categories
Bill and scheduled income categories are reflected differently to regular categories on the budget page and in reporting. Treated as transactions paid or received in full in a single transaction, planned spending for bill categories won't be distributed over the category's entire budget period, unlike regular (non-bill) budgets. This means that the full amount for the budget will be included if the date range applied includes the budget repeat date.
For more detail, see: Bill and scheduled income categories
Category type options
There are three category type options and these determine how income and expense transactions within a category are reported on in PocketSmith reporting and budgets.
- Yes, this category can include both income and expenses (default)
A category with this option selected will treat income and expense transactions separately. This means that any income transactions within the category are seen as income, while any expense transactions are seen as expenses.
- No, this is an expense category (any income is a refund)
The category will only appear in the expense section of PocketSmith reports. Any income transactions will be treated as a reimbursement, which means that the income amount is deducted from the total expense amount for the category.
- No, this is an income category (any expenses are deductions)
When choosing this option, the category and its transactions will only show in income sections of PocketSmith. Any debit transactions that are assigned to this category will be subtracted from the income total.
For more detail on category type options, and to learn how to change them see: Category types in PocketSmith
Once your client's transactions are loaded into PocketSmith and categorized, you can start creating Budgets for each category.
We recommend creating Budgets for recurring bills or regular income payments on the date the transaction is likely to occur as this will result in more accurate forecasting and reporting.
For expenses that do not occur on a specific date, we recommend selecting weekly, fortnightly, or monthly options depending on how you'd like to structure the client's budget.
Learn how to create Budgets here: Creating a new budget
Budgets are also used to create forecast balances for a user's accounts (more on this later). Because of this, when creating a budget you'll be asked to assign it to an account.
Under ' Which account's forecast is this budget for?' select the account the transaction is most likely to occur in.
Any transactions assigned to the category, regardless of the account they came from, will still be counted towards the budget, this is purely for forecasting purposes.
Understanding the Budget page
The overall budget summary displayed at the top of the Budget page ( Budgets & Reports > Budget) reflects a user's actual earning and spending compared to their budgeted earning and spending for the date range selected.
Further down the page, you'll see the budget progress for individual budget categories.
- If the budget summary date range has not been applied to the page, the budgets for individual categories will reflect the current budget period per category.
- If the budget summary date range has been applied to the page, the budgets will be distributed across the applied date range.
For more information, see: Using the Budget page
Calendar & forecast
The Calendar page and forecast graph allow you to see upcoming budgets at a glance, as well as future forecast balances, based on budgeted earning and spending 📆📉
Each budget event assigned to an account is used to project the account's future balance or 'forecast'. To ensure that it reflects your current financial position, forecast balances are always calculated from the current actual balance of your accounts.
Tick the ' Show actuals in history' checkbox to compare past actual balances to historic forecast balances.
For more detail on using these features, check out: Using the Calendar and Forecast graph
Reports and charts
PocketSmith has a number of reports to help analyze earning and spending and to uncover spending patterns or compare budgeted expenses compared to actual spending.
The Income & expense statement
The Income & Expense statement is similar to a business Profit & Loss statement, but for personal finances. It shows a breakdown of a user's earning and spending categories for any chosen date range. You can generate a statement for individual accounts, or a selection of accounts. Choose to include or exclude transfers.
The Cashflows statement
The Cashflows statement provides a monthly breakdown of your finances in the past and forecasted into the future, in a format similar to a spreadsheet. This report shows earning and spending per category, but also the surplus/deficit. Note that transfer categories and transactions are not automatically excluded from the cashflows statement.
Use the Trends page to quickly analyze individual categories and view actual vs budgeted spending broken down into weeks, months, years, or budget periods.
For a quick overview of recent activity and current finances hop over to the Dashboard! The Dashboard features a net worth graph, accounts list, recent transactions list, and the Earning & spending chart.
The Earning & Spending chart allows you to easily view a visual breakdown of earning and spending by category for a chosen date range. Total income and expense figures are also displayed.
We've got an overview of the available reports in this short video:
Using the Transactions page
The Transactions page is where you can find all of the transactions that have been imported into PocketSmith. From here you can categorize, edit, split or delete transactions. You can also add labels and notes, as well as upload attachments for record-keeping.
You can view a full picture across all of your accounts, or view specific accounts by selecting the account from the side panel on the left of the Transactions page. Use PocketSmith's powerful Search bar to find and filter transactions based on specific criteria.
Editing & splitting transactions, adding labels, notes, and attachments
- Editing and splitting transactions
On occasion, you may need to edit the details of a transaction or split the transaction in order to categorize portions of an expense separately.
To learn how to do this please see: Editing, deleting or splitting a transaction
- Attaching files and photos to transactions
You can store receipts, photos or important documents by attaching them to transactions! There are a few different ways this can be done including via the transactions page, via the mobile app, or by emailing files to attachment inbox.
For all the detail see: Attaching files and photos to transactions
- Adding labels to transactions
Use labels to keep track of related transactions that span multiple categories. This is useful for tracking tax-deductible expenses, or expenses related to a project, such as a home renovation.
For detail on using labels see: Everything you need to know about using labels
Using the search panel
The search panel is really handy for finding and analyzing transactions based on specific criteria. You can create saved searches so that you can quickly filter transactions with a single click.
A sum total of the search results will display, and you can further drill into search results using the Transactions income & expense pie chart.
For an in-depth look at this feature see: Using the Search Panel
Transactions income & expense pie chart
The Transactions pie chart allows you to see a breakdown of your transactions into income and expense or categories based on the criteria applied to the transactions page at the time. You can also use the pie chart to drill down into parent categories.
Check out Transactions income and expense pie chart for more information.
Net worth page: Assets and liabilities
For a full picture of their finances, clients can use the Net worth page to add any assets and liabilities not represented as bank accounts. This means they can add any assets such as a house or car, as well as any liabilities such as a car loan, or a personal loan 🏡🚗💰
To learn how to add assets and liabilities check out: Managing your assets and liabilities