When I was in college I got my degree in Business Administration with an emphasis on Human Resources. I have yet to use any of that information as part of my day job. Mostly, I figured out that you just need to complete a degree and people suddenly think you are hire-able regardless of what that degree was. (This doesn’t apply to all degrees; for example English teachers need to be trained specifically in the major of English and Literature!)
Well, the byproduct of my education is that I do have a reasonable understanding on what it is to run a business, although I don’t have a huge amount of experience in actually doing it. I had been involved in several non-profit organizations at various levels but I always found myself more serious about the business than my colleagues.
Anyway, the point of my post:
I had to take Accounting 1 as part of my major. In that I was lucky enough to learn how to do some basic book-keeping and I was smart (or lazy) enough to keep the workbook that actually explained how to do Journal keeping. So, as an exercise in getting rich slowly, I’ve started to track my woodshop as if it was a real business (at least financially).
Not to go into a lot of detail, but I looked around at several different bookkeeping software packages. There wasn’t one that had a free version that would work with even the smallest workshop. I’m basing this on the lack of inventory and raw materials tracking available in the freeware versions. There were a couple that I could get close to what I wanted but their interfaces were such crap that in one situation I couldn’t even delete an error I had just made during an entry. Crazy.
Well, I have access to Microsoft Office both at my day job and at my house. Excel is a spreadsheet dream for people like me that don’t mind working with it. However, after setting up a bunch of the information, my wife decides that she hates Windows and that she is now going to run everything off of Linux (she does this for a living). So, the home MS Office doesn’t work anymore and I don’t have any way of running it.
Well, here comes my new favorite freeware to the rescue: Google Documents. It is completely online and completely free. All you need is a gmail account and you’re set. The programs are a bit less powerful than MS Office, but they can import and export Office files with ease and they work 100% online. After a little tinkering, I’m hooked.
My only word of caution is that you shouldn’t keep any information out there that you don’t want to be unsecure. Google usually does a good job of keeping your stuff private, but they are a large web-based company so they are likely to be a target. That being said, if you keep your account #s off of there, keeping the financial docs isn’t so bad. Seriously, what does a hacker care that I happen to have just bought $100 in 2×4s from Lowes???
Anyway, I’ll probably post more on how this is going later, but if you have the opportunity and need a free Office-like program suite, take a look at Google Docs.
-- He said wood...http://hickbyassociation.blogspot.com/