Accounting and Invoice software - Akaunting

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Fargo
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Accounting and Invoice software - Akaunting

Postby Fargo » 10 Jan 2018 18:19

Recently I've been looking into bookkeeping software to use for small business. I am just a sole proprietor doing service work. So I don't need anything complicated. Yet traditional software like gnucash doesn't quite fit my needs either. So I have been scouring the internet the last few days trying to find something I like. Most seem to be either too simple for my needs or too complicated. I don't need a full ERP. Just a nice clean way to maintain my books and reconcile my banking/checking account. I have found a few online services such as SlickPie and Zipbooks, but they are proprietary and only cloud services. Open source options like InvoicePlane or Invoice Ninja look great, but they only create invoices and do not offer a ledger or bank reconciliation features. I want something that offers basic accounting needs and could be installed locally. I found other software like NolaPro that appears to meet my needs and can be installed to a local host, but setting up a server is a complicated mess that I never figured out. So I failed at that. I'm also unsure on the license of NolaPro.

So then I started thinking about SolydK BackOffice. Knowing that Scheoje has a heart for business and was willing to setup a selfhosted server I started looking more at open source programs like Front Accounting that are local hosted software or web based. I then came across an open source web based program called Akaunting. Although I have not been able to setup a local host server it appears that it can be done. This appears to be a new project that only started a few months ago, but it looks very mature and polished.

With that I would like to gain some input on this software and ask Scheolje if it is something that can be setup in a repo for easy self hosted use. I prefer actual native programs to selfhosted servers, but if this can be setup easy enough and security kept safe, it might be a great option for various types of business. Something that I think Schoelje has been looking for.

So lets hear your thoughts on Akaunting or any other bookkeeping software you have found.

EDIT: Here is the website for Akaunting
https://akaunting.com/

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ilu
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Re: Accounting and Invoice software - Akaunting

Postby ilu » 10 Jan 2018 20:03

If you are asking about accounting please provide the country you operate from. Bookkeeping is highly connected to national legislation in various aspects (taxes being the obvious one). I think that's the reason why FOSS is not as widely available as for other tasks.

Fargo
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Re: Accounting and Invoice software - Akaunting

Postby Fargo » 10 Jan 2018 20:12

I am in the USA. Thats a good point about different accounting requirements.

I have been playing with Akaunting, but unfortunately, it appears it may not have a reconcile feature. So it wouln't be able to be used to maintain a banking/checking account. I'll keep testing though and post back if I find anything more.

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ilu
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Re: Accounting and Invoice software - Akaunting

Postby ilu » 10 Jan 2018 23:52

Reconcile? I looked up the translation but I still don't know what you mean by that.

From a workflow point of view I'd consider the following modules and their "universality" - please excuse my very poor terminology, I know what I'm talking about but I lack the correct vocabulary:
1. Managing orders and deliveries or services - universal
2. Write invoices - probably also universal, if configuration is possible
3. Transfer data from your bank account to monitor payments - most probably national or even bank specific
4. Manage your own payments - most probably national or even bank specific
5. Compare outgoing and incoming invoices with imported bank data - universal
6. Sort everything into bookkeeping categories - most probably national, unless freely configurable
7. Balance everything and deduce the tax declarations - definitely national

So you see that only steps 1, 2 and 5 can be done with international software. Please feel free to correct my list or to add missing tasks. I'm really interested in this topic.

Fargo
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Re: Accounting and Invoice software - Akaunting

Postby Fargo » 11 Jan 2018 03:33

To reconcile your accounts is the process of comparing the monthly statement that the bank sends out and matching it to your personal records. Making sure that the bank counted correctly every deposit that you made and every payment that you made. If your keeping your books properly and the bank is keeping their books properly everything should match. It basically just comes down to checking each debit/credit for the month to make sure they match.

Unfortunately, in the modern age of computers, most people just assume the statement that the bank sends out is correct and they never check it. I think some people actually just download the banks statement into their software without checking it against anything. That actually makes no sense to me. Why bother downloading the data from the bank if your just going to trust it blindly anyway.

As far as your points. I thought there actually were some international accounting standards but I do not know if they are regulated or by all countries. Or even my own country for that matter. Obviously things like taxes are handled differently between countries. Even the 50 states of the United states all have different tax codes. But I would think that the rest of the work flow would be pretty similar across the world. Its basically just keeping track of income and expenses. Although those 2 items can get quite complex in some industries.

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Arjen Balfoort
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Re: Accounting and Invoice software - Akaunting

Postby Arjen Balfoort » 11 Jan 2018 08:37

This is an interesting discussion. Unfortunately I don't know anything about accounting. When I had my own (one-man) company I simply never had the time to learn about those things and I was lucky that a friend and accountant of mine was willing to do that for me. I also have to admit that numbers work well on my insomnia....

However, I can tell something about the Back Office Edition. It was aimed at startups to help them setup their business processes. These were the applications I included:
  • Internal information streams with LetoDMS.
  • Employee management with OrangeHRM.
  • Customer relations, and leads with Zurmo.
  • Build and manage a professional site with Typo3.
  • Invoicing with SiWapp.
You see, there is no accountant software. Because of the reasons mentioned in the previous posts, I never found a solution to tailer all.

My wife reminded me why I stopped developing this edition: "I didn't see you for days on and you were grumpy as hell because you never were satisfied with the result". She is right, all these applications are server based applications and updating a database on an existing (being in production) is incredibly complicated, time-consuming and has a high risk of failure.

Later we had a discussion about reviving SolydK Back Office and again the conclusion was that it's not really viable: viewtopic.php?f=72&t=6556


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mhwelsh
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Re: Accounting and Invoice software - Akaunting

Postby mhwelsh » 11 Jan 2018 10:03

My limited experience of accountancy software is QuickBooks(commercial), GnuCash and Kmymoney.
QuickBooks was good but it decided to withdraw the en-uk edition so that was the end of them. It is easily adapted to do other jobs like run the local horticultural show where categories are points prizes or cups.
Gnucash operates this double entry scheme which I cannot cope with.
KmyMoney I still use but I don't think it is very strong on invoicing. It is international, it used to be very approachable but has been superceded by the KDE machine. It does have shortcomings for instance, the Share Price update mechanism demands an understanding of regular expressions not an attribute of normal human beings.

Please feel free to ask if you want any more details.

martin welsh

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Arjen Balfoort
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Re: Accounting and Invoice software - Akaunting

Postby Arjen Balfoort » 11 Jan 2018 11:47

This list with Open Source Accounting Software might be of interest for US users: https://financesonline.com/best-free-ac ... ider-2017/

I've also been looking for accounting software (including invoicing, quotations and reminders) tailored for the European market but I only have found paid software so far. In all these searches GnuCash was mentioned as a good alternative, also for the Dutch market.


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ilu
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Re: Accounting and Invoice software - Akaunting

Postby ilu » 11 Jan 2018 16:27

I'm sometimes working as an accountant so I have some idea what I'm talking about. I have zero international experience though. I just know that you have to consider tax laws pretty early in the workflow. The EU is constantly working hard to keep their members systems in line and I think it would be feasible to have something that works in EU countries. Outside ... I don't know. I know that most international companies comply with at least 2 systems depending on which stock exchange they are listed on.
Fargo wrote:To reconcile your accounts is the process of comparing the monthly statement that the bank sends out and matching it to your personal records. ...
Hm, the way I know that this is done is called ... according to freetranslation.com .... double entry bookkeeping? That way you can just download your bank data (so you don't have to enter it manually) because things need to sum up at the end and if the sum is not 0 (zero) you know there's a mistake. That's the usual way things are done and I think that's also the international accounting standard. But as folks say here, the devil hides in the details.

If you don't want double entry bookkeeping, preparing yourself a spreadsheet is the easiest way. The necessary calculations are not too difficult and you can set it up in a way that exactly matches your needs. I have done that for clients and they usually handle it better than any specialized software. Advantage is that if you made a mistake somewhere you can easily change the entries. (For me correcting mistakes in a way that doesn't causes more mistakes is the most painful thing in double entry bookkeeping.) Unfortunately that's exactly the reason why spreadsheet bookkeeping is nowadays forbidden by EU tax laws for almost all businesses.

Fargo
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Re: Accounting and Invoice software - Akaunting

Postby Fargo » 11 Jan 2018 16:36

Martin - I am currently using Quickbooks for my business and KMyMoney for personal use. GnuCash could possibly work for my business if they had a list of items to select from for my services and if their invoicing setup was better. I don't want to deal with the hassle of having to input all my invoice information in the ledger. I want to open an invoice page and create an invoice and let the software link that invoice to my accounts receivable account. I don't want to be doing all this work manually. In short GnuCash just has terrible workflow and could use a couple of minor tools/features. But its close. KMyMoney, Skrooge and other open source programs don't have an accounts receivable account and can not create/track invoices. So they are non-starters for me.

Schoelje - I remember your BackOffice plans. It was always too much for my needs, but I appreciated your goals and your desire to create a distro created for business. Its that desire for a business focused distro that keeps me coming back to SolydXK. I also remember those other post that you mentioned and the difficulty of trying to find a good accounting software for BackOffice.

In regards to your comments about server based applications. How hard would it be for an individual to maintain a single localhost edition of an accounting software? I've tried to setup a couple but haven't gotten them to work. Is that typical or just a steep learning curve for me. I'm just wondering if I want to bother with setting up a localhost server for myself. It seems like a lot of work just for accounting software. Would I be better off to just look to cloud services or sticking with a virtual machine or Wine for my accounting software?

I did come across https://www.manager.io/ that looks like a decent cross platform system. But I don't like that it uses mono-project. I get an unsettled feeling when I see those .dll and .exe files on my computer.

The list of software in that article looks like a good start, but most of those programs have short comings as well. My favorite on that list is Zipbooks.

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ilu
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Re: Accounting and Invoice software - Akaunting

Postby ilu » 11 Jan 2018 16:48

Fargo wrote:I did come across https://www.manager.io/ that looks like a decent cross platform system. But I don't like that it uses mono-project. I get an unsettled feeling when I see those .dll and .exe files on my computer.
Just use a virtual machine. I'll do that to test it ... as soon as I find the time :(

Fargo
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Re: Accounting and Invoice software - Akaunting

Postby Fargo » 11 Jan 2018 16:50

ilu wrote:
Fargo wrote:To reconcile your accounts is the process of comparing the monthly statement that the bank sends out and matching it to your personal records. ...
Hm, the way I know that this is done is called ... according to freetranslation.com .... double entry bookkeeping?
I think double entry bookkeeping is different than reconciling. Double entry bookkeeping is the method to maintain your own books to prevent a mistake. Double entry means recording a debit ad a credit into 2 separate accounts within your own books. Reconciling is part of your checking/banking account. It is comparing your books against the banks books.

Maybe I am just old and not understanding the new way of doing things? Here is a description of reconciling. But I don't know if this is very clear either. https://www.accountingcoach.com/blog/ba ... nciliation

Fargo
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Re: Accounting and Invoice software - Akaunting

Postby Fargo » 11 Jan 2018 16:52

ilu wrote:
Fargo wrote:I did come across https://www.manager.io/ that looks like a decent cross platform system. But I don't like that it uses mono-project. I get an unsettled feeling when I see those .dll and .exe files on my computer.
Just use a virtual machine. I'll do that to test it ... as soon as I find the time :(
Oh I've tested Manager on my live hardware. It seems to work fine. The only problem is that I have a hidpi monitor and it does not scale up. I assume that this is an issue with mono-project. I just question if I am compromising my computers security by running mono.

I was asking about VMs in regards to setting up a server. I don't know if its worth the hassle to setup a localhost server or if I am better off to continue to run quickbooks inside a VM and forget about self hosted accounting software.

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ilu
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Re: Accounting and Invoice software - Akaunting

Postby ilu » 11 Jan 2018 17:11

Regarding reconciling: "the balance on the bank statement is probably not the amount that appears in the company's records" - it should be the same and with internet banking being the norm it usually is. The problems discussed then are mostly about checks. This is something almost nobody uses in the EU. The last check I saw was several years ago and already then only one insurance company used them. All small businesses I know book payments the same day the bank does. I know that big companies with a lot of money flowing in and out will have to do different but that's a non-issue for me and my clients. The only time of the year you might have to care is 31.12./1.1. but even then our tax laws give us a grace period.

Regarding server setup: I've never set up a server on a VM. I did it once on localhost and I forgot how I did it :shock: . For security reasons I would always avoid running server services on a desktop machine. VM doesn't make a difference. So I would use a dedicated (old) computer and do a standard headless (=no desktop) server setup with debian. I would recommend doing that for whatever purpose because you will learn a lot!

I've had a look at the cloud services at manager.io and akaunting.com. The people behind both sites sound like they have good intentions but the least I expect from an internet service is a clear and open impressum. Both sites don't have it. manager.io just says "australian based" and akaunting.com mentions a company (Inc.) of the same name - internet search shows that the programmer is albanian. Not even their terms of service mention who your contractor really is. Manager.io doesn't even show the terms before you contract. That's just ... saaaad. :P

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Arjen Balfoort
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Re: Accounting and Invoice software - Akaunting

Postby Arjen Balfoort » 11 Jan 2018 17:17

Fargo wrote:In regards to your comments about server based applications. How hard would it be for an individual to maintain a single localhost edition of an accounting software? I've tried to setup a couple but haven't gotten them to work. Is that typical or just a steep learning curve for me. I'm just wondering if I want to bother with setting up a localhost server for myself. It seems like a lot of work just for accounting software. Would I be better off to just look to cloud services or sticking with a virtual machine or Wine for my accounting software?

I did come across https://www.manager.io/ that looks like a decent cross platform system. But I don't like that it uses mono-project. I get an unsettled feeling when I see those .dll and .exe files on my computer.

The list of software in that article looks like a good start, but most of those programs have short comings as well. My favorite on that list is Zipbooks.
Using a SAAS solution is absolutely a possibility. Depending on how you feel about trusting a third party with your financial data (or even your customer data).

I had a lot of trouble of packaging those server based applications. I knew that most users, even when they know Linux, would have difficulties configuring those applications and that's why I wanted to do that for my users. You can follow Ilu's advise on using a dedicated server but if that's too much for you (as it is for me) a VM is good enough. I even backup the vdi file regularly (especially just before an upgrade on the database). That way I can always revert and I don't have to be afraid if an upgrade of the host fails.


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ilu
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Re: Accounting and Invoice software - Akaunting

Postby ilu » 11 Jan 2018 17:32

Schoelje wrote:... (or even your customer data). ...
That's a very serious problem for everyone in the EU. And rightly so. Using a service where you don't know who is behind it and what's done with the data should be a no-go for every responsibe entrepreneur.

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Re: Accounting and Invoice software - Akaunting

Postby Fargo » 11 Jan 2018 17:55

Let me try this again. I think I had some confusion here in regards to the VM. The way I see it I have 4 options. Which would you recommend for a one man business.

1) Install Manager (Not the server edition) - This is a .NET/Mono program with a .deb file that installs easily. All data remains on my local computer. Just like Gnucash or anything else. Biggest concern is security issues. Will Mono run a Micorsoft virus?

2) Self host accounting software - So far this has been a huge pain. I don't know how to set up a server. Is self hosting always this difficult? If I understand Schoelje correctly It sounds like it is.

3) Windows VM Continue to run Quickbooks or other Windows software inside a Windows VM. I'm trying to get away from this.

4) Cloud /Software as a service - Move everything to the cloud. This may be the easiest and offers the best looking interface. But I don't like using my browser for everything. On top of that, I could be risking my financial data and client info to someone else. Choosing the right provider is important here.

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Re: Accounting and Invoice software - Akaunting

Postby ilu » 11 Jan 2018 19:50

Self hosting is not easy and involves dedication and time investment. I'd vote for:
5. Install manager in a Linux VM to solve the mono security problem.

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Arjen Balfoort
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Re: Accounting and Invoice software - Akaunting

Postby Arjen Balfoort » 12 Jan 2018 07:06

Yes, I'd choose for that too.


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Fargo
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Re: Accounting and Invoice software - Akaunting

Postby Fargo » 12 Jan 2018 16:54

Thanks guys. I never thought about installing Mono in a Linux VM. I guess thats an option. But is is necessary?

Will a virtual machine isolate me from a virus? If so, wouldn't it isolate a windows machine just as well?

If a virtual machine does NOT isolate me from a virus, than isn't Mono inside a linux VM just as likely to transmit a virus as it would if it was running directly on Linux without the VM?


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