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Show HN: Personal finance with 'hledger' in Emacs (github.com)
52 points by narendraj9 on Feb 5, 2017 | hide | past | web | favorite | 18 comments

For people interested in plain text accounting like this there's an entire site detected to the subject: http://plaintextaccounting.org/ and hledger alternatives etc.

Personally, I use http://furius.ca/beancount/ as I find it much more hackable (python) and stricter, additionally it's got an amazing webui https://github.com/beancount/fava

Oooh. Thanks for that head's up. I thought hledger has the only web ui for ledger, and it is lacking. fava looks pretty nice, and bonus for python.

I like ledger. We use it for the accounting of a small side project (few 1000 a year turnover), to track our VAT and general cash in/out. It gives me a sense of safety that our information is in plain text files (in git, backed up on a remote).

This looks nice, might give it a try later today.

This sounds cool. I have never used this for running a business.It would be great if you share your experience in a blog post or something. :)

I have been using this setup for the past one year. I have added a lot of things that I use almost regularly.

I used ledger to manage finances for a small nonprofit. It worked well, but we eventually moved to Quickbooks because I didn't want to be the only one who could do it. Amusingly, I found Quickbooks to be much more difficult to use.

I think the same thing can be done with hledger. What were the ledger features that you found yourself to be using most frequently?

I have the same problem. My co-founder (a developer nonetheless) has never taken time to familiarise himself with with ledger, making him uncomfortable to run our taxes.

Another benefit is that you can actually write unit tests and use CI with your company finances

I've been using hledger for almost 9 months now and I must say that it's been incredible. Never before have I been able to track and manage my personal finance this efficiently.

The Reports look really comprehensive and crisp. I will definitely use it. Thanks!

If you have used gnuCash before what would you say makes hledger better?

I used GnuCash years ago, then switched to KMyMoney. Now I use a hybrid of KMyMoney and ledger. The former makes it easier to enter transactions. Then I run a script that parses the KMyMoney file and creates a ledger output.


For me primarily: If you do envelope type budgeting, GnuCash does not support it. ledger/hledger does with virtual transactions (although hledger discourages it).

Other than that, I think there are other benefits. I could never remember the ledger/hledger syntax, but they conveniently let you export to csv, and I use Python scripts with pandas to extract what I want.

If there's any calculation you would like to do, it's easier with these tools. Say, for example, you want to calculate the effective rate of return for all your investments combined. I don't think GnuCash will let you do that across accounts, etc.

Glad that you liked it! :)

That's kind of cool. I was looking for something for small business but I don't really like Quickbooks or Xero. Was debating writing my own. Does this support double entry accounting with debits and credits?

Yes, `hledger' is based on double entry bookkeeping. But we do not use the Credit and Debit conventions. Instead we use negative numbers to imply deduction in the balance of an account. Each journal entry must be balanced.

I actually want to write an Emacs Lisp port of hledger/ledger. Just for fun sometime. I cannot do this in the near future though.

So you make sure everything sums to 0 instead of sum(credits) == sum(debits)?

any way to import existing data from ledger?

hledger and ledger are mostly compatible. Can you share what problem you are facing while using hledger?

You original journal file that you were using with ledger should just work with hlegder.

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