To Spend Or Not To Spend

I spent most of yesterday hunched over a spreadsheet trying to get my bookkeeping done. I like seeing all my money in charts, balance columns, and totals. I must’ve spent years on strategy games like civilization and Railroad tycoon where your next move came from studying a balance sheet as much as a battlefield. However, I’m still trying to find a decent accounting software for my computer. There are plenty of options for PC, but I don’t fancy firing up bootcamp every time I want to do some accounting. Right now I’m working out of a spreadsheet I got from the Self Employment program. The gentleman who made it was instrumental in explaining how it worked, but it’s still rooted in the old days of landscape paper ledgers. You enter the debit over heeere and then you scroll way over heeeeere and enter the credit. It’s second nature to accountants, but as a programmer I find myself envisioning something better. Something database based, something that I can keep online, out of my hard drive, something where I can upload the files that I download from my paypal, my credit card, and bank accounts. There’s LessAccounting, but do I really need to spend another $30 a month for another webapp?

It’s an annoying dilemma. On one hand, you want to show off your programming prowess by solving your own problem, on the other you need to free up more time for you to make actual money. I must have spent 5 hours tracking down and entering all the transactions to get my monthly P& L Report. LessAccounting’s $30 a month, and with the account integration services, I could probably reduce that time to about an hour. So, for $30, I save 4 hours of my time. That’s 4 hours of my time bought back for a fraction of my hourly rate. As the old saying goes, time is money, but unlike money, you can never make time back.