Is anyone doing plaintext accounting? I recently started with Ledger and I'm enjoying it so far.

I'm still in the process of setting it up. I'm migrating from a budgeting spreadsheet on google drive. I like how I can make it as simple or advanced as I need it to be.

@hund The sweet spot was a few years ago, when you could use #GNUCash for a rich GUI (but useless for automation & CLI work), and #ledger-cli could operate on the same db as GC. Then ledger dropped support for GC, which really makes life hard. I hack an old ledger-cli to keep it on life support but I'm not sure how long that can be sustained.

@hund yeah I love it too :) I use it for both personal and business finance. Weirdly satisfying and feels in-control

@hund I use an UI. It's easier for my monkey brain to see what is going on :)

@Ghosty @hund I didn't want to think about/remember how to use a CLI app while trying to do my books, and didn't like the options for GUI apps i found at the time, so i wrote #flowlog. It's at for people who want something easy to use and might not have any experience with accounting/bookkeeping. On the fediverse @flowlog. But wait, there's more! :)
I tried #Eekboek a few years ago, which was supposed to be a European (Dutch) equivalent of #GNUCash. Never did a lot with it though, my accounting is still the mess it has always been...

@hund I discovered it and started using it last day of last year! Loving it so far. With it just reading a text file it doesn't touch, it makes you feel like you can change any formatting at any moment, so one doesn't have to worry about designing how to format stuff.

@taamas That's what I love about it. It can never go wrong with plain text and it's so easy to use and make changes!

@hund just started with this a few days ago. Still learning but already a powerful method

@davidoclubb @yarmo The first bad thing I found about was the fact that it's cloud based.

I want something local, offline, open data, open source, simple to use, preferably plain text and I want to be in 100% control. :)

@hund I’ve been using beancount for about six months. Favs is the killer feature that makes it easy to look at with my wife

@jiewawa Is that saying software or an actual bean counter?

Beancount is a tool similar to ledger but written in python. My favourite thing about it is its web view called “Fava”.

@hund Do we need to be doing accounting? :) I don't think my finances are complicated enough. Any benefits from doing it?

@rzg I want complete control as I have strict goals with my economy; being able to retire early and have economic freedom. :)

@hund @rzg I would never spend all this rigorous effort on my personal finances. It's enough that I have an idea of what goes in, what goes out and what's the current balance. I do accounting because of business.

@clacke @rzg I do it because I want complete control over my personal finances. I don't track the changes on the stock market though, that would be a full time job in itself.

I wrote a Bash script that converts the CSV files from my banks into the plaintext format that Ledger likes, so it shouldn't be that much work in the future for me. :)

@hund Finally tried it out because of this message. Went in with hledger.

Really like it so far. I used GNUCash so the principles of double entry are not unknown to me - this is the hardest part to get around IMO.

I like it more than GNUCash simply because when you fuck up, you can just go in an edit the text file. GNUCash is super fiddly.

One minor downside, and I might be doing it wrong, is that GNUCash allows you to 'open' an account to work on it. This means that if an entry is already there (say you transferred an asset to an asset), it's clear. In hledger once or twice I already entered an entry in duplicate.

@ben Cool! If you add them in order is should be easy to spot an already entered entry. :)

@hund Yeah and it's just a workflow thing. If I just print the register before I start adding entries it takes care of itself.
@hund I love it in theory, and it's better than the alternatives, but so far I haven't seen a tool that handles goods stock, foreign currency and rounding errors correctly.

@clacke Ledger is "currency agnostic". I'm not sure what you mean with goods stock or rounding errors?

Is this[1] something of interest?


@hund When you have goods or foreign currency that aren't priced in even cents, you always get rounding errors sooner or later. When you then `ledger -X HKD register` or whatever, those rounding errors should go as expense or income, but instead Ledger does an "adjustment" that is entirely outside the double ledger.

I would like to be able to enter everything in whatever commodities they are, and then `ledger print -X HKD` to get my pure-HKD balanced ledger with rounding error accounts configurable depending on the accounts involved, and that would be it.

I made a Calc spreadsheet for it, but it became unwieldy and I reverted to ledger-cli, basically semi-manually writing the pure-HKD ledger based on the almost-double-entry output from the mixed-commodities ledger.
That's before getting to the subject of automatically doing FIFO of differently-valued lots.
@hund It makes me want to take two years off from everything and just write accounting software. =)
@hund Any year now! After I take two years off from everything and revolutionize how we do software reuse!
@hund A protocol for flow-based programming over unix pipes and frameworks in multiple languages that transparently allow nodes in the flow graph to be in-process or out-of-process in the same language or another language.

Fractalide minus the cryptocurrency, component store, decentralized networking and GUI components (for now).

@hund Beancount here. Almost 20 years of data moved over from GnuCash.

@jorgee Cool! I have added it to my list of things to check out.

@hund make sure you look at screenshots of Fava. It may not be enough to make you switch from Ledger, but it's a very nice web frontend to Beancount

Sign in to participate in the conversation

Fosstodon is an English speaking Mastodon instance that is open to anyone who is interested in technology; particularly free & open source software.