Accounting like it's 1999

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, March 22, 2023, 5:55 PM | comments: 0

People often call me a "computer guy" because they don't really understand what I do. That's fine. But they also appreciate that the technology that I use is pretty good stuff, and that's true. A master mechanic wouldn't buy their tools at Walmart, after all. So you'd be surprised that, to this day, I manage my personal bank accounts with Microsoft Money 97 and the business accounts with QuickBooks 99.

I'm so ashamed.

But the thing is, accounting is fundamentally boring and uninteresting, and I've had little interest in spending money on it. Business transaction volume is very low, but I still need to track a P&L for tax purposes once a year. Personal finance involves almost everything going through a single credit card, with a checking account receiving payroll and paying that credit card and big monthly things like the mortgage and utilities. But boy, reconciling that credit card every month is an arduous task that takes at least 20 minutes. I don't care for it.

Fortunately, there's this thing, the "Internet," which is a network of computers that can talk to each other and do stuff. Reconciling your banking is one of those things. But with so little income in the business, you can imagine how little I'm interested in paying a monthly or yearly fee for that, since all of the services start at $15 a month. I can stomach four or five bucks a month for the personal stuff though.

It looks like Zoho Books is free if I have revenue of less than $50,000 (no danger of that). I fired that one up, and it looks like it does all of the things as I would expect. Having done integrations with QuickBooks Online in previous jobs, and having my own thing since 1999, I know more about accounting than I would like. The personal finance thing is more tricky, because honestly the main reason that I use Money 97 is because you can add recurring things to a calendar and predict your balance. That's huge to enable me to pay off credit cards and save as much as possible. It looks like Intuit's Simplifi can do it, and it's $48 a year, which isn't great, but not horrible.

Eventually, I'm going to have a computer that can't run that old software. Those things have 16-bit installer headers that the current version of Windows will run for compatibility (the programs themselves are 32-bit), but probably not forever. In fact, the ARM version of Windows does not support it. And really, why should any operating system support something that's over two decades old?


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