[clug] Financial Accounting software

Jacinta Richardson jarich at perltraining.com.au
Sat Jun 10 04:35:14 GMT 2006

Conrad Canterford wrote:
> On Fri, 2006-06-09 at 12:19 +1000, Andrew Smith wrote:
>>Do any of you good people use accounting software under Linux?  If so, how easy 
>>is it to use and setup?  I'm only after a basic replacement for MYOB, so 
>>handling payroll and gst as well as the usual invoice things would be good.
> I use GnuCash, and run my business on it. Its very good, very stable and
> the (long overdue) port to use gnome 2 is only weeks from release
> (literally - in 2nd beta as we speak). Once that is done, development
> should start to move forward again.
> It doesn't do payroll, and it doesn't automatically do GST for you. But
> it is trivial to enter and track GST in my experience.

We use GnuCash as well for both personal and business accounting.  I can agree
with it being very good and stable.  There are a few bugs that bother me (such
as minor (but hard to fix) craziness on reports if you ever enter an invoice
with a negative value), but nothing big enough to change away from it.

The biggest bit of work is setting up the accounts correctly to start with.  It
helps if you have a basic understanding of double-entry book-keeping.  I can
probably help with setup questions if you need it.  Once everything's setup,
entering invoices, bills, payments, expenses and the rest is pretty easy.  It
probably takes us about two days (for one person) each quarter to get everything
up to date for the business and about half a day to get up to date with our
personal books for the same period.  This time is usually spread over the
quarter, but not always.

With just the two of us, payroll isn't much of an issue.  I don't know how I'd
set up payroll for a large number of people.  It probably wouldn't be too hard,
but I just don't have the experience.

Handling GST is just a matter of understanding split transactions.  Split the
entry, use the right category and all the GST is kept ready for you to reference.

Completing our BAS takes one of us less than 2 minutes.

We don't generate our invoices using gnucash because we use our tracking system
for that.  Having said that, we often duplicate this information in gnucash
anyway for tracking purposes so I can vouch for the creation of invoices as very
easy.  I'm not sure how easy or hard they would be to customise or tweak (if
needed) to match the ATO requirements.

I haven't used any other financial package, so I can't compare gnucash to them.
 I can say though, that one of best experiences each time I do the books is
having everything reconcile nicely.  I haven't found any mis-charges but it's
been helpful, at the very least, in discovering payments we'd made but somehow
not recorded (such as airfares).

If you have time to experiment, I'd suggest setting up your personal books in
gnucash and giving it a go for a few months.  Credit card statements, bank
accounts, mortgage/house insurance/personal loan/etc payments are usually a good
enough mix to give you an idea of how it all works.  I've also found it helpful
to get an idea of where the money goes.

All the best,


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