[Debian-uk] open-source accounting in the UK?

Daniel Pocock daniel at pocock.com.au
Sat Oct 5 13:47:24 BST 2013

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On 04/10/13 23:23, Philip Hands wrote:
> Daniel Pocock <daniel at pocock.com.au> writes:
> ...
>>> Before that I tried OpenERP and then Tryton -- I probably
>>> would have stuck with Tryton if my experience with OpenERP's
>>> worthless UK chart of accounts, combined with my somewhat hazy
>>> understanding of what should have been going on, hadn't put me
>>> off the whole idea. I'd imagine that the chart of accounts has
>>> been fixed or at least deleted (well, they closed the bug
>>> report about 18 months after I reported it without comment, so
>>> I guess they did something about it -- right? ;-) ).
>> The problem is much the same for all of these systems - the 
>> conventions are slightly different in each country and they
>> basically need to create a different starter database for each
>> country.  For people maintaining free software that is just a
>> chore.
> Well, the problem in this case was that they lifted the UK chart
> of accounts from SQL-Ledger, which I think was probably not great
> to start off with, and during the import they sorted the file such
> that it totally mangled the hierarchy, so it was total bollocks
> after that.
> They then studiously ignored anyone that told them about it, for
> years:
> https://bugs.launchpad.net/openobject-addons/+bug/462806
> There was also a uk-chart-minimal floating around at the time,
> which was much less broken, but still not quite right:
> https://bugs.launchpad.net/openobject-addons/+bug/470815
> I guess they didn't see it as important, because they are used to 
> setting up a bespoke Chart for each customer -- which is
> understandable, if somewhat irritating (particularly when it
> results in an accounting system that cannot add up properly, out of
> the box).
> At least the Tryton folk had the wisdom to say "We don't have a UK 
> chart" at the same time, so you'd know you had to do it all
> yourself.

That is not ideal for packaged software promoted globally of course
(such as Linux distributions) - I'm hoping that the
internationalization phase of xTuple's crowdfunding project will
include some kind of welcome screen where people can pick their
country and get sensible defaults.  Even if they can do that for 10 of
the biggest economies and the English language, it will provide a
starting point for people from other regions and languages to adapt
and then merge their work back into the package.

Upstream has made a move to git/github recently in the hope that it
will enable crowdsourcing of improvements, presumably localization is
one of the most obvious that benefits from such a strategy

The best outcome would be to have some standard way of sharing such
data between all the competing free software accounting suites, this
would be particularly useful for those smaller locales where they
won't have the critical mass to localize every product independently.

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