I also tried to make the plugin system as friendly as I could so people for people to add their own financial instutions. I'm optimistic someone will contribute a plugin one day :)
"Weboob is a collection of applications able to interact with websites, without requiring the user to open them in a browser. It also provides well-defined APIs to talk to websites lacking one."
This runs locally and it has the ability to read gpg-encrypted credentials (using gpg-agent).
This of course gets complicated with TOTP tokens but I'll cross that bridge when needed :)
I would note that professional bank feed apis (e.g. yoodle) also use username password pairs and not only break when you change password but can result in a locked bank account due to too many retries.
That said, there is no universal solution in the US.
May I ask-- for those not in the know --that what is it? :) From your comment I'd infer that username/password, but that hasn't been the case for many years, at least at the banks I use (in Europe).
What types do you use is there a useful list, that I can then translate to SMB or Personal tax filing? A somewhat standardized structure of assets, liabilities, accounts payable, accounts receivable etc.
How do you deal with Cash? (EDIT: most answers assume that you only spend little cash, but in some countries cash can account for a decent amount of your income)
How do you deal with interest?
How do you keep your bank statements? I've tried using https://github.com/johannesgerer/buchhaltung which supports paypal ofx and hbci
How do you convert your balance sheet into a tax filing compatible format?
How do you track things like rent? Do you keep it as a recurring entry i.e. `~ Monthly` or do you only book it when you pay with buchhaltung?
Do you keep completely separate ledger files if you're sole proprietor or can you keep them semi separate and work with includes to create separate reports for private and sole proprietor tax filing?
How do you track small expenses on the go? There's a web app called fava from beancount which looks nice, but i'm not sure you want to expose it to the outside world and i'm not sure the files are fully compatible with hledger https://beancount.github.io/fava/
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
For personal finances, when I get cash (say from an ATM) I transfer the amount from asset Bank to asset Cash (i.e. CR Bank/DR Cash). I then record (important) expenses against either Cash or Bank (e.g. CR Cash/DR Groceries). At the end of the period, I check the actual amount of cash vs recorded, and charge the difference against a Misc expense account.
This is in the spirit of the standard accounting rules for handling petty cash in an organization.
> How do you deal with interest?
Consider interest an expense, e.g. CR Bank/DR Interest
Consider learning the following rules of double-entry accounting:-
Increase = DR, Decrease = CR
Increase = CR, Decrease = DR
Increase = CR, Decrease = DR
Increase = DR, Decrease = CR
Increase = CR, Decrease = DR
Aside: yes an increase in an asset like Bank is a DR. Your actual bank statement is showing what is recorded in your bank's accounting systems, not in yours. If you have a positive balance at your bank it is recorded as a CR on your bank statement because it is a LIABILITY for them, i.e. they owe you the money.
Knowing these rules allows you to think how to deal with things. For example, a purchase on your credit card is what?
Some example entries:
CR Income 100 (see table increase in Income) /
DR Bank 100 (see table increase in Asset)
CR Cash on Hand 20 (see table decrease in Asset) /
DR Groceries 20 (see table increase in Expense)
Purchase on credit card:
DR Airline Tickets 1,250 (see table increase in Expense) /
CR Accounts Payable 1,250 (see table increase in Liability)
Pay credit card:
CR Bank 1,250 (see table decrease in Asset) /
DR Accounts Payable 1,250 (see table decrease in Liability)
Interest on bank statement:
CR Bank 35 (see table decrease in Asset) /
DR Interest 35 (see table increase in Expense)
edit: tried to deal with HN not allowing any sort of text formatting
To answer your question
Re Cash: Note I may have a different definition of cash. In my ledger, cash is anything that I can liquidate in <1 days. That includes saving/checking/CD. As for your question about the real cash in your wallet, I tend to not account for those.
Re Interest: Interest should be correctly recorded. That means the interest for your checking/saving/CD should be recorded, as well as clearly separate your loan payment into two legs (principle and interest).
Move money from Asset:Checking to Expenses:Cash
Move money from Income:Interest to Asset:Depot
> How do you keep your bank statements?
I download CSVs once in a while an import them with hledgers import tool (see https://bloerg.net/2016/02/22/ledger-import-of-deutsche-bank...)
> How do you convert your balance sheet into a tax filing compatible format?
I don't, sorry. But it's actually pretty easy to get the relevant data if you split your taxable incoming accordingly.
> How do you track things like rent? Do you keep it as a recurring entry i.e. `~ Monthly` or do you only book it when you pay with buchhaltung?
It's part of the bank statement, so yes it moves money from Assets:Checking to Expenses:Rent whenever the transaction happens.
> How do you track small expenses on the go?
I don't. After a while I found it's not worth the effort. I rarely make financial decisions based on how much I spent on beers and sandwiches, so most of these little things are just subsumed in Expenses:Cash.
> I don't. After a while I found it's not worth the effort. I rarely make financial decisions based on how much I spent on beers and sandwiches, so most of these little things are just subsumed in Expenses:Cash.
Agree completely - when keeping track of expenses, it is only worth tracking the numbers that matter to you. If it won't effect your decisions, don't bother tracking.
> Move money from Asset:Checking to Expenses:Cash
I've been moving from Assets:Checking to Assets:Cash, and then from Assets:Cash to Expenses:Haircuts (or whatever)
"Pro-tip: tracking cash withdrawals and purchases can be a pain. I typically just maintain an Expenses:Cash account for these sorts of things. If I can remember how I spent a bit of cash, great: I can just debit Expenses:Cash and credit the appropriate account for what I spent the cash on after the fact. Otherwise, I just leave the amount attributed to Expenses:Cash. It's often not worth the trouble of trying to keep finer track of cash purchases than that." -- http://matthewturland.com/2014/03/29/ledger-basics-and-habit...
Sounds smart, though at the scale of my personal finances, I get much more value out of tracking the petty transactions. I guess I'm pound-wise but penny-foolish.
If you want an example for standardized structures of accounts take a look at the german "Kontenrahmen" https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kontenrahmen.
Cash can be dealt with in many ways. Some only track the ATM transactions.
Interests are just transactions, too.
HBCI/FinTS is a great way to keep track with your actual bank account.
Usually tax reports only need a few numbers. Write up some script that prints these numbers for your ledger account.
(H)Ledger does not support recurring transactions. But there are a lot of unix tools that do recurring things (cron, systemd-timers).
I would keep ledger files for private and businesspurposes seperate.
Keep in mind, that (H)Ledger is plaintext. Automation is simple. If you want to track expenses on the go, my advise would be to write a Telegram bot.
In particular section 3 answers some of your questions.
I tend to not keep things in order on the go, but I do organize things when I really need to understand my finances (e.g. when deciding if I should buy a house, take a new job, move countries)
Interest paid are expenses, interest received is income.
> How do you deal with Cash?
For petty cash, just treat it as its own expense category (i.e. consider the money spent as you withdraw it). For larger amounts, just treat it as an account in assets.
I use CSV export, and this: http://hledger.org/csv-import.html
Bank statements don't always tell the whole story. E.g. for my mortgage payments and my salary, I break these down further (e.g. bank statement only reflects net pay). They're usually the same, so often you can copy last month's record and just adjust the numbers.
You don't. Is the tax interested in your assets/liabilities? Generally I use ledger to verify my income statments (W-2 in the US) match what I actually received, and that interest-payment statements from my bank and lender do too. If I have costs to deduct, I keep those in separate expense accounts in ledger.
I don't bother if its cash (which I don't use much). For card transactions, I broadly categorize them according to the description that the bank gives me.
All that, with a gplv3 license, this is the kind of project I can get behind!
Integrated right into your calendar, I don't know about that part.
Depends on the calendar -- surely it could be integrated with cal(1).
Some of these processes are required by german law and many companys outsource these to accountants or tax advisors or buy shitty software from DATEV.
The great advantage in staying fully plaintext is, that you do not need to automate everything for the whole system to work.
Incoming invoices are frequent -> write a bash script, Outgoing invoices are frequent -> write a bash script. Paying the state back some VAT happens once a month, use emacs to do it manually. I really love it.
Especially how did you implement SKR03 (guess you use that) into your hledger account hierarchy, and how do you generate e.g monthly VAT reports, or yearly VAT and trade tax reports.
We use a custom "Kontenrahmen" based on the same ideas as SKR03, as using numbers is not necessary with ledger. That also means we can only communicate with tax advisors through paper. But as we communicate with the Finanzamt directly, thats ok.
I have been using this for almost two years now. I am not sure if there are any other users but I find it very convenient. (Disclaimer: I wrote the extension).
It is the transaction import script that has really worked well for me without quirks. A lot of people recommend "reckon"--which I've tried--but I found that while Bayesian scoring sounds good, a solid set of regex work better. icsv2ledger does a great job of allowing you to build up a pool of search terms to map inputs to categories. And since the regex set is an artifact that you can tweak and add to, you end up with a very stable and comprehensive import process.
I also like that it will (optionally) add the raw CSV that was imported as a comment in the transaction, and use that to avoid reimporting transactions. While this is a little visually noisy in the ledger file, I'm blind to it by now and it makes it rock solid to reimport CSV files without fear of duplicates. This also provides a neat way of dealing with each side of a transaction coming in separately. For example, both my checking and credit card list the transaction that corresponds to me paying my bill, but that is only one transaction in the ledger file. After I've done the import of everything, I simply delete one of the new entries but first copy its CSV comment into the remaining remaining transaction. So one ledger transaction lists both CSV comments, and subsequent imports from either account are duplicate free.
With that base structure, you can start answering any questions by just summing entries groupped by accounts filtered by a regexp on fullname and fitler on date. What is my cashflow for any time period, what is my equity, what is my balance sheet, what I actually have, what changed recently, how any of this develops over time...
I wanted more pleasant entry. It became tedious/error prone to search for similar entries with vim and copy pasting. I could have made a specialized tool with nice autocomplete on top of ledger, but then why not drop the entire thing and use a database, where you don't need to re-invent groupping, sorting, filtering, summing, date interval operations and all the mundane stuff.
I also wanted to import data from a bank, and keep all the info associated with the entries. Easy to do in a database, not so in ledger text format.