Teach Me About Linux Bookkeeping

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To be blunt, I hate my current workflow. I’ve got my business running with such a nightmare combination of software and hardware, and something’s got to change.

I’ve got desktop software mixed with online apps, paid mixed with free, Windows laptop mixed with iPhone. In my attempt to have each component be the best choice for me, I’ve ended up with something even Dr. Frankenstein would disown.

What I want to do is get some consistency throughout my setup, even if that means not all of the components are #1 in their respective fields. So, either I go all Windows, all Mac, or all Linux. Maybe that’s a bit extreme, but I’m willing to try it out to see if it improves my output.

The catalyst for this was twofold. I need a new phone, and I want to get more of my operation online. I’ve been going back and forth between iOS and Android. (I’m currently running a very beat up iPhone 3G) I’ve got a ton of music, which favours iPhone, but I hate being tied down to iTunes and Apple’s crazy control-freak tendencies. My reliance on desktop software for bookkeeping is also frustrating. Now that I’m working more with people remotely, I’d like to be able to run a program that lets them check in to their data from time to time. So far, I haven’t found any online bookkeeping software that lets you manage multiple clients like I can in QuickBooks.

So, this post is both an announcement and a call for help. My plan was to either try switching to Linux or Mac as an experiment. After speaking to my bookkeeper (you may know him as…me), we decided all new Mac hardware wasn’t in the budget. Instead, I’ve got Ubuntu dual-booting on my Dell Studio 15, and I’m going to see if it’s possible to get my work done in Linux.

To my current clients, don’t worry. I’m testing this out on my own books for now, so your data is safe. Part of my test will include running QuickBooks using a couple different methods (once again, using a copy of my own business’ data). I’ll also try out online options, as well as a Linux desktop program.

I would love, and really need, your insight. Although I have used Linux before, I never stuck with it long enough to be an expert. I certainly haven’t tried doing the books with it before. If you have any experience with bookkeeping in Linux, please let me know your results. I’m also open to suggestions about my new smartphone. I’m on Rogers, but could also switch to Bell if the right phone came along.

I’ll keep you up to date on this experiment as it unfolds.