Wednesday, 2018-05-30

*** accounting-bot` has joined #npoacct00:04
*** accounting-bot has quit IRC00:05
*** ChanServ has quit IRC00:12
*** ChanServ has joined #npoacct00:33
*** sets mode: +o ChanServ00:33
*** mjw has quit IRC01:03
*** mjw has joined #npoacct08:00
*** bkuhn has joined #npoacct15:52
balrogbkuhn: moving here :)18:34
balrogI looked across what commercial software is available that fits the bill and it seems like it's either custom software that's really expensive or one cloud based product which would be Aplos18:34
bkuhnThat's correct as far as I know.18:34
balrogwhich is also not particularly cheap, and cloud based has its own issues18:34
bkuhnwhich non profit are you looking for software for?18:34
balroga small hackerspace.18:34
balrogbut that opened a rabbit hole into investigating what's out there.18:34
balrog(since that's what I tend to fall into... heh)18:36
bkuhnwell, the Open Source and Free Software solutions are not that good -- they are mostly giant ERP systems that take so much configuration and studying to make work that you might as well write you own.... and the communities are dominated by consultants who make their living do that, so they have no interest in making it easier to use.18:37
balrogYeah, that really is what it feels like.18:37
bkuhnour system uses Ledger-CLI and is documented here:
bkuhnWe have more difficult needs than most non-profits as a fiscal sponsor.18:38
bkuhnbut those requirements don't preclude use by an org without fiscal sponsorship.18:38
balrogfiscal sponsorship is something I may be in a position of having to deal with in the future18:38
bkuhnThe real warning I have is that if you keep the books the way we do, you need someone comfortable with the command line and a text editor to keep the books.18:39
balrogyeah, and that's an issue if you have turnover.18:39
bkuhnwe're working ot build software on top that makes that no longer an operation requirement.18:39
bkuhnbut we're far from that now.18:39
balrogcan you describe how far from that? early planning stages at this point?18:42
balrogAs for fiscal sponsorship -- while many nonprofits don't have to deal with that, restricted grants are not unusual18:43
gamambelthere is a small initiative to improve and build upon beancount and the fava web interface but it's also not quite far yet18:52
bkuhnYeah, we're planning to switch to Beancount.  I'm not completely sure the web interface will work with us.19:37
bkuhns/with us/for us/19:38
bkuhnThe web interface really looks too much *not* like what accountants expect, which I prefer, but ultimately we need a web interface that looks like other systems.19:38
bkuhnWe don't have a timeline, we're so understaffed that everything must go slow19:39
bkuhnwe look for places to make incremental improvements19:39
bkuhnbcs_ for example has lately worked on an import system to make it easier to import things to Ledger-CLI (which is easily adapted to beancount).  That work is here:
tbmbkuhn: what about web UI for projects and Excel spreadsheets for audits?19:44
bkuhnYeah, we definitely will be doing that eventually, but I see that as incremental progress I mentioned.19:45
bkuhnFrankly, I doubt our member projects would useful use a web interface if we put in the work to provide it19:45
bkuhnUltimately I think the best thing to give them is interim reporting in the same format we give the auditors, just narrowed to transactions related to their projects.19:45
tbmbkuhn: do you have examples of what web interfaces look like that an auditor would expect?  I didn't think fava looked that strange (I guess traditional systems would have debits/credits)19:45
bkuhnyes, definitely.19:45
bkuhnI went to an Abilia demo at one point19:46
bkuhnI have wondered if they have one online19:46
bkuhnthey are the primary proprietary "upstart" competitor to Black Baud for fiscal sponsorship accounting19:46
bkuhnand I think we should imitate them.19:46
bkuhnnot because they are GOOD, I would hope a beancount-based system would allow for multiple guis.19:47
bkuhnbut because we can say: "Hey, we're just as good as this company that does fiscal sponsorship accounting"19:47
balrog[15:38:52]  <bkuhn>The web interface really looks too much *not* like what accountants expect, which I prefer, but ultimately we need a web interface that looks like other systems.19:49
balrogI wouldn't say it's terribly awful, but I can see why19:50
balrogI like that it's extremely easy to see a transaction split. *so* much faster than quickbooks online :)19:51
balrogwhat I'd want? more metadata, better syncing with imported bank data. I really like QBO's "matching" against imported bank data feature20:00
bkuhnyeah, as I said, any web interface that beancount/ledger-cli -focused people develop is probably going to be actually *better* for computer geeks than one that's stodgy and "looks like every accounting interface back to the beginning of computing".20:11
bkuhnBut we'll ultimately need the latter if main stream NPOs will use it.20:11
bkuhnand to be able to hire "mere mortal" bookkeepers to keep books20:11
balrogregarding the latter -- I'm not saying you need to have built in import from bank functionality20:12
bkuhnafter all, nearly every bookkeeper working today ONLY uses Quickbooks.20:12
balrogI've been doing well with CSV import20:12
bkuhnbalrog: import2ledger solves that problem, that's under-the-hood stuff anyway, not UI.20:12
balrogbut being able to match the bookkeeping record against the actual record (bank/account data) is *really nice*.20:12
bkuhnanyway, not much more time to chat about this.20:12
balrogthat's alright, thanks a lot for your time so far!20:12
bkuhnBest I can say is that Conservancy knows long term we want to build on what we've done to make it easier to use.20:12
bkuhnwe have no timeline, but we're constantly thinking about it and looking for incremental steps.20:13
bkuhnand we'd be glad to collaborate if you want to work on it.20:13
balrogI probably should join the discussion room(s) for Fava and Beancount.20:13
balrogwell, having had to enter 2+ years of historical accounting data in a short period of time into Quickbooks made me very much aware of what is extremely useful and what the major pain points are :)20:14
bkuhntbm is doing a lot of stuff with those communities, and he's also on Conservancy's board, so he's a good connection point. :)20:14
balrogbkuhn: alright, thanks :)20:38
balroglarge institutions (mainly academia) have huge systems that keep track of fund, organization, account, program, activity, location, which leads to the acronym "FOAPAL" that people who purchase stuff often end up hating20:40
*** mjw has quit IRC20:43

Generated by 2.17.0 by Marius Gedminas - find it at!