hledger powers the accounting for my company. It’s fantastic software and I recommend it highly.
Does it handle all the various tax rules of each country? I would assume it does not.
No, but neither does Ledger, as far as I know. Nothing other than commercial software that I’ve encountered can handle that, unfortunately. Ledger (and hledger) are more of a nice little UI to a double-entry accounting database in a lot of ways than a legit full-blown business accounting solution. That said, since both systems are pretty easy to script/code against, and since they use virtually identical file formats, it wouldn’t be too technically complicated to write the tax rules for any given country, and once someone has written them, they ought to work for both systems. I’ve never written tax rules this way, but I’ve written things for e.g. the depreciation of my car and technical equipment over set time periods.
I’m a big fan of command line accounting software, and use a similar program to ledger called beancount, with fava as an alternative GUI for introspection. Here’s a good breakdown on the differences between beancount and ledger. I do a lot of input manually, but there are a bunch of scripts out there to try and download and auto-classify transactions to make maintaining transactions a bit easier.
EDIT: Also, this is a great resource for all projects like ledger: http://plaintextaccounting.org/
I’m with @elasticdog, I prefer Beancount, too. It has more checks builtin to detect mistakes (protecting me from myself) and fava’s pretty sweet. My family also uses Moneydance (also recommended, but not command line) and I export that data as XML and swizzle it into Beancount. Very happy with this system.
Martian has done a great job documenting Beancount, too. Checkout the Cookbook and all the Beancount documentation.
Thanks for these resources.
I manage to balance my entire year’s accounting using Ledger every year. It’s a marathon session every time, but it works. It also may be time for me too look at improving my process.
Yes, thanks for the link! I’ve tried to read introductions to accounting before, but I have quickly been defeated. I just started reading the one by Beancount’s author here and it’s the only one that’s ever really been helpful. The focus on +/- rather than debit/credit makes so much more sense to me.
Fuck blockchain, let’s just all have public, self hosted, inter-linked ledger files.
But then you need some sort of security that the ledger files haven’t been tampered with, which takes you back to a block chain—something like Git, at a bare minimum. And if you like the double-entry part and the block chain part and are actually railing against Bitcoin’s block chain in particular, then you’re describing Stellar.
I suggest anything that requires complexity of level of git or blockchain whose workings are immediately unintelligible by most people, is not good for those people to use for a day to day value transfer system (see current economic situation - money is a very poorly understood utility).
<expound>If you simplify down to bare bones properties of a self issued currency that is useful and understandable and could be enabled by self hosting ledger-cli text files, I like the idea of something like:
Emergent properties of this:
I’ve been using gnucash for years, but maybe its time to change.
ledger also has a nice time tracking mode. I kept my time for consulting with it for a few years. It’s not forgiving, though: you have to end every task you start, even if they are abutting.
I use Abandon these days. It’s a ledger clone written in Scala and has a nice GUI reporting system.