Impact of "Money in Excel" feature on Tiller

Hi everyone,

I just got an email today about how Office 365 is being renamed to Microsoft 365 which comes with a new feature called “Money In Excel”… essentially an Excel plugin that auto connects to banks to download transaction data. Looks like instead of using Yodlee, they’re using a company called Plaid to do it. Can do a Google search for articles and you’ll see the announcements.

Looks eerily familiar to what Tiller has been doing. :frowning:

I know Tiller has been mainly focused on Google Sheets based solutions and Excel is still in beta. I personally would prefer Excel given the wealth of options the desktop client has and their web client generally has full parity.

Will this mean more urgency for Tiller to support Excel or another data point to further reduce investment?

Mark

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Here is more information -




  1. Launches 04-21-20.
  2. Cost is $6.99 or $9.99 per month.
  3. Money in Excel is a Microsoft 365 exclusive feature with no free tier available. So if you want to take advantage of this, you’ll have to subscribe.
  4. See the Money in Excel video half way down the page in the first link. It shows four tabs; Welcome, Snapshot, Categories, and Transactions.
  5. The explanation says “It will automatically categorize spending habits into different groups so that you can easily see where your money is going every month.” Based on my experience with Copilot (which also uses Plaid), the transactions are indeed automatically categorized by Plaid.
  6. Another example of anybody who wants to be somebody is getting into data aggregation.
  7. Includes many templates to chose from to personalize your file.

Cheers,

Blake

Mark, thanks for the post.

This is a huge validation for the uninitiated that spreadsheets are an amazing way to manage money. Not a fringe solution, but with Microsoft’s endorsement it’s a very mainstream solution. (Of course you already knew spreadsheets were great - but many people still don’t.)

As you know, we offer Google Sheets (our longstanding solution) and Excel (in beta). We are getting great feedback on Excel. Our product focus this spring is improving our core feeds across Google Sheets and Excel, especially with banks that are using MFA. We just released our new Account Summary, and more is in the works. As that work completes, we’ll review feedback on the Excel beta, assess next steps with Excel, and share more about our plans.

I smile because my job working on Microsoft Money in 1994 was the seed crystal that started Tiller Money. By 2015 or so, I was wondering… “why hasn’t the state of the art for personal finance evolved much since Microsoft Money circa 1994?” With that we created Tiller Money. So, welcome back Microsoft!

Our team is fired up with the founding mission that got us here. We want to empower people with great personal finance solution in their spreadsheets, great templates, a dynamic community (you are a big part of that), and a business that promotes the privacy and security of our customers’ data. All of this is in service to giving our customers more control over their money, their lives, and their futures.

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Thank for the post Peter. I do worry that when a big company like MS steps in, there’s risk to the smaller startup. So knowing what are the key differentiators of Tiller would be great since just being a spreadsheet is no longer sufficient.

One area of differentiation that I can foresee is around privacy and security. I suspect that MS and Plaid like this solution because now they are one step closer to getting insight into their user’s financial data. This was the main reason why I stopped using Mint/Quicken because I just didn’t feel comfortable with them associating my user account with financial data.

I’m more comfortable with Tiller’s approach but think there’s value to further explain the security/privacy provisions you have in place. Or if there isn’t as much now, good opportunity to invest there. This is one of the benefits of old school MS Money (I loved that software). It was desktop software so you had assurance the data wasn’t in the cloud.

Mark

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Privacy is a core value for Tiller Money, and we’re unique among fintech services in that the humans at Tiller Money don’t have access to our customers transactions and balances. We will be talking more about this in 2020.

Beyond feeds in a spreadsheet, we want to be a home for anyone who wants to meaningfully engage in their finances while leveraging the power and flexibility of a spreadsheet. For us, this means continuing to invest in our community, Tiller Money Labs, great support, webinars, AutoCat, and our daily email. We are also improving the performance of the 21,000 financial sources we support today.

We’re excited about what’s ahead this year. We’ve never taken our position for granted, and we’re continuing to move fast to build on what’s working and add value to our customers.

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I’m looking forward to trying MS’s offering but I’m not terribly optimistic based on my experience with Plaid. Of the 30 or so accounts I track with Tiller only 1 is not currently supported. With Plaid based services, there are about 10 accounts that either aren’t supported at all, or don’t reliably connect. Based on that I don’t think Tiller has too much to worry about at the moment.

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So i have been using the Tiller Excel addin. Today i downloaded the Money in Excel template to see how it compares. I have built out my Tiller Excel Spreadsheet using VBA so that it will autocat, breakdown my mortgage payment from a mortgage schedule. I have it working. I have found the data feed from Tiller to be reliable (in contrast with Quicken which was getting quite bad). I added accounts to the Money in Excel to see how it would work. I have Bank of America and Merrill Lynch which are owned by BofA. Well it downloaded the BofA data but so far has failed at downloading the Merrill data. It also had the Merrill Accounts under BofA which i suspect might have caused the downloading problem. So immediately i am encountering downloading problems. We will see where this goes. It also seems that Tiller kept their transactions and category sheets more customizable at first blush. I have to play around with that more. With Tiller I could make the transactions sheet a table and filter it easily which is really useful. Final judgement at this point, is that Tiller offers more flexibility. I wish Tiller had more template addons for Excel to work with.

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