Accounting using Excel or OpenOffice


Dave Boland

I'm looking for something like Quicken/Quickbooks and I'm
open to using Excel or OpenOffice to doing this. It will
mean some programming, but that is fine since it gives me
complete control over my destiny, and I learn more about
double entry accounting. This is for both personal and a
small consulting business.

I didn't find much on this topic on the 'net, so I was
wondering if anyone has done this? What were the problems?
Any other advice? Is there some way to do online
banking/bill paying via Excel or OpenOffice?





Have you looked at the new Simple Start by Quickbooks? Basic, easy to
learn, in plain english, with the double entry "hidden".

Dave Boland


One of my goals is to get away from Inuit, Microsoft
(accounting software), and perhaps Peachtree. All have
either propriety data formats or very limiting sunset
clauses, and all are trying to coral their customers. I
like open standards and open software so that my interests
are ahead of some software company's profit interests.

In addition, I would like to learn more about double entry
accounting. The best way to do that is to use it, but an
even better way would be to write some code to automate it.


Lance Mertz

Interesting exercise, but not very efficient or effective. If you are
running a company or business I would just buy software and run your
company. if you want to write software, write software... the writing
of a full double entry accounting package looks like a full time job
to me.

That said, go to or some such site and download one of
the lower end Shareware or Freeware programs. Most allow you to muck
about in the source code as well. This keeps you away from the
reliable, tested software that all real businesses use. Yes, I am
being sarcastic, because you are jumping over dimes to get dollars
here. Good (well sometimes not so good) business software is
expensive to maintain and and support. Most also offer the ability to
easily export reports and data.

Just because you cannot get in the back door and mess with data does
not mean they are bad. Those controls are there because accountants
demand audit trails and controls over the data they use and audi, not
because the software companies have a hidden agenda. No auditor would
trust your home grown software. Large firms that run thier own
in-house programs pay big auditing fees to test controls standard
packages come with.

So, the answer is, if you want to play with software have fun, but I
would just run my business and make money if I were you.

Lance Mertz

Dave Boland

Thanks Mike.

i think this is an admirable goal.

i don't know how high your geek-index is, but you might have a look at

the site includes on-line demos.

sql-ledger runs on windows, mac, unix, and linux.

since it's a web application, it's automatically multi-user and can be
accessed from any computer with a web browser, without licensing fees.

it uses standard databases to hold the data, so you can access it with
whatever tools you like for custom reporting etc.

there are mailing lists for free support. you can also get paid
support for a fraction of the cost of commercial proprietary software



Peter Embina


I appreciate quality open source software as much as the next guy. As a
businessman with some technical ability I know the value that quality
free software like OpenOffice can bring. However, I must agree with
Lance that if you are looking to program your own accounting
information system from scratch, even for learning and
personal/business use then you are being extremely inefficient.

If you are that confident in your programming abilities, have such
strong convictions for escaping profit-oriented software companies, and
have that much time to devote to this task, then why not look into the
GnuCash, TurboCash or other open source accounting software projects
and start contributing to the open source community. There are many
different existing open source accounting projects that can be found
easily by searching for "open source accounting" in Google.

However, is it possible you are simply frustrated with trying to learn
either the software or the accounting skills and have decided that the
only way that works is to do it all yourself? I only ask because I find
it confusing that you would ask how you could build software that would
give you "complete control over (your) destiny" using Microsoft Excel?

I understand that there are different learning styles and that some
people learn best by getting under the hood and seeing how things work.
However, maybe an analogy works for you here:


I'm looking for something like a Ferrari/Corvette and I'm
open to using scrap metal or pocket lint to do this. It will
mean some mechanical engineering, but that is fine since it gives me
complete control over my destiny, and I learn more about
automobile manufacturing. This is for both personal and NASCAR use.

I didn't find much on this topic on the 'net, so I was
wondering if anyone has done this? What were the problems?
Any other advice? Is there some way to make it turbo-charged via
scrap metal or pocket lint?


This is not to say that people haven't built their own cars - from
go-karts to hot rods, it's been done - but the scope of that kind of
project generally requires solid knowledge first - unless you don't
care how long it takes because you are doing it strictly as a hobby. If
that's the case, then have fun.



Feb 21, 2016
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I used the OpenOffice template found at to do double entry bookkeeping. It worked fine for the first year or so that I used it, but for some reason I can no longer get the formulas to work. I'm now deciding to switch to proper bookkeeping software, debugging mistakes in it (the no-longer-working formulas as well as mistakes in data entry) was just taking way too much time.

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