MJR's slef-reflections

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Updating the Accounts

Thu, 22 May 2008 08:52:23 +0100

I finally closed my cooperative's annual accounts for the year to 5 April 2008 yesterday. We wrote off one project (not bad for a year) and now we can start on the annual reports. For day-to-day entries, we're still using my simple scheme/web app called SQL-Journal and I should make a new release real soon now. I've added some features since 1.3 and there's a few more I want to add, but I'm no accountant, so it will remain simple and stupid, but good enough for me.

Bristol Wireless's accountant has written some comments on GNUcash which is an interesting view: "not quite there yet" which could help finance software developers.

Better searching is one thing I will add to SQL-Journal some time, but it will probably never have features like reporting (I either use an SQL-based report package or export to a spreadsheet) and I know it's no better at handling VAT, mainly because TTLLP isn't VAT-registered yet.

I also spotted Finance software in Emdebian, by Neil Williams recently. I wonder if the bursts of accounting interest are connected to the end of the financial year?

Tags: cooperatives, software, web.

Comments On This Entry

Submitted at 1231 on 22 May by Albert Lash

Hi MJR, the schema for SQL Ledger is nice and simple. As far as the code goes, all I can say is that its the first scheme program I've ever inspected! :-)

I've gone to great lengths to keep the data model for PBooks as simple as possible, one of the main differences being the general ledger table, which is really just a restatement of the same data in the journal, validated and optimized for reporting.

My work on PBooks definitely accelerated by the turn of the calendar, but I still have some work to do before filing our final statements.

Submitted at 1735 on 22 May by MJ Ray

I found PBooks but I stopped looking when I saw it's Affero GPL - not a licence that I regard as a free software licence and I don't want any copyright trouble from it.

Affero GPL licensing for a usually-internal web app like accounting brings a different set of questions to using it for a public web app, though.

Submitted at 1429 on 23 May by Albert Lash

Interesting! Would you mind elaborating on that? Are you concerned that by using it on an internal network, you would be required to release your modifications under the agpl as well?

I believe that only is required if you make the service publicly available. The affero gplv3 actually has some language in it about what constitutes an internal network, but I am not a lawyer!

I notice you use the GPLv2 for SQL-Journal. Do you feel that the GPL v3 is not free software as well? I was surprised that some GPLv3 licensed programs require stuff like "powered by" logos as allowed by v3. Although I'm not thrilled by it, it may be more practical.

Submitted at 2236 on 26 May by MJ Ray

No, I'm not worried about releasing modifications if it's used only on an internal network. Personally, I'm worried about the consequences of promoting the AGPLv3 mess, which I feel has unhelpful consequences and is generally a badly-made licence. I'll write more about that in future, when I've researched a bit more and have some time spare.

SQL-Journal is GPLv2 for the simple reason that it predates GPLv3. It will probably revert to zlib-like terms in future, in protest at the badly-made GPLv3.

I think GPLv3 is probably still a free software licence, although it's a much wordier and hacker-hostile one. I'm surprised and disappointed if "powered by" adware terms are actually enforceable beyond requiring display of a basic copyright credit.

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