Simple Accounting is Not So Simple
I’m looking for a simple web-based accounting package. At this point, I just want to capture expenditures and associate documentation (receipts) with the entry for tax purposes.
Local desktop is a fallback, but I’d prefer to keep everything web-based because then I can access it from anywhere.
I don’t want to shell out for QuickBooks ($13/month) at this point. My needs are so simple, there must be an open source web-based product that meets them, right?
I started this list:
FrontAccounting looked promising. But I found the installation docs a bit weak. There is no guide in the docs on how to CHMOD files, which is pretty standard. I also was not impressed by the QA of their error messages
I sorted that out, but got this:
Fixed this (perms) but once inside I kept finding misspellings:
The current fiscal year was set to 2011 (hellllllo installer). Changing that involved closing all previous fiscal years, deleting them, then creating 2012, closing and deleting 2011, etc.
One of the key features I wanted was to be able to document things. I envision a system where I can attach documentation for each purchase, etc. so that if I’m ever audited, everything is right there. This is so painful with FrontAccounting.
Want to purchase something? I thought I’d click on “Payments to Suppliers”. This lead to:
OK…but gee, do you think you could put a link in to add one?!?
Found and added a supplier. Then went to create a purchase transaction:
No place to upload/attach documentation. But wait, later I saw a link to upload documentation. Clicked it and saw:
Wait…I have to remember the transaction number? Sheesh.
I decided to stop fighting with the software and its awful user interface. Next!
You know, I could probably root around in the code to figure out what the problem is, but seriously, doesn’t anyone test? You’ll notice step 8 is to enter MySQL DB information…I can’t get to that point. Next!
LedgerSMB is a project I looked at years ago when it was sql-ledger. Unfortunately, it only runs on PostgreSQL. Now I like postgres. I think it’s a superior DB. But my model for my internal apps is “small VPS + offloaded MySQL”. Firing up a Pg instance would break that. I’d have to allocate memory for Pg, add Pg to my backup routine, etc.
Even worse, the docs state that it requires the following:
LedgerSMB depends on these required perl modules:
Data::Dumper Log::Log4perl Locale::Maketext DateTime Locale::Maketext::Lexicon DBI MIME::Base64 Digest::MD5 HTML::Entities DBD::Pg Math::BigFloat IO::File Encode Locale::Country Locale::Language Time::Local Cwd Config::Std MIME::Lite Template Error CGI::Simple File::MimeInfo
I’m a perl geek at heart, but really…that’s a lot to install, even if some are available as distribution packages. Maybe as a last resource but for now…next!
Java-based is something I’d like to avoid. My wiki, etc. is all hosted on a 256/512 OvZ VPs and I’d rather not introduce something quite that heavy. That includes:
OpenPro is apparently proprietary, despite what Wikipedia says. No pricing on their site – request a quote. If I have to request a quote, I can’t afford it. I couldn’t find a link on their page for a download. Next!
That leaves me with PhreeBooks. Well, at least this one installed without errors! Last release was March 2012 which is encouraging.
Load it up and finding the chart of accounts was actually easy. Added a vendor and…wait, I have to think of the vendor ID? Grrr…fine…oh great, street address/city/state/zip are all mandatory. Lovely when it’s a VPS provider and their web site is the only important thing.
Fine, get that setup, then go to Pay Bills – why not? – click the little search icon and…I have no vendors. Oh, they show up in the Vendor Manager, but apparently there is no easy “click here to search” or “click here to select”…you have to remember and type in the Vendor ID.
I don’t know why simply doing GL is so difficult. That’s really all I want – not asking for payroll or inventory management, just simple GL.
I’m trying to resist the urge to fire up CodeIgniter and hash out a quick and dirty accounting system in an evening. I suppose I could swing through the desktop apps.
For now, I’m keeping a spreadsheet and putting this on the back burner to focus on other stuff.