2021-02-15 GnuCash IRC logs

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06:16:02 <chris> CDB-Man: forgot to ask your opinion- legacy reports have a weird display/parent-subtotal-mode which is settable to 'true / false / text-book-style'. Can you check and tell me if there is *any* merit to the 3rd option? Because it will be removed in 4.5.
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09:29:26 <CDB-PHONE> Chris what is text book style again?
09:29:47 <CDB-PHONE> I use whichever option produces a parent subtotal at the bottom
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10:05:33 <Taiga003> anyone alive here?
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10:12:11 <chris-phone> CDB-📱 agree I refer to the bottom subtotals; there's a textbook-style option which imho is nonsensical. Please confirm.
10:15:35 <Taiga003> I have been using a program called AccountEdge for quite sometime. Its really good software however only supported on Windows and Mac
10:15:35 <Taiga003> <Taiga003> It does cost money but its affordable and also its not subscription based. And based on my experience using the software
10:15:35 <Taiga003> <Taiga003> I would like to help to add features to GnuCash that are similiar to Account Edge since its such a really good piece of software
10:15:35 <Taiga003> <Taiga003> https://accountedge.com/
10:16:10 <Taiga003> I would like to help add inventory management to GnuCash as this is a feature I need
10:27:09 <chris-phone> Taiga003: inventory management is difficult. However if you're up to the challenge then study the code and submit a PR. Devs here can assist if you're stuck.
10:31:51 <Taiga003> k sure. So where is a place to start studying the code?
10:31:52 <chris-phone> It's all available on GitHub. Plus Devs are in different time zones and I'm checking out soon, but others will awaken soon.
10:32:13 <Taiga003> Alright thanks. I will defiinitely check itou
10:32:21 <chris-phone> GitHub, the wiki, the doxygen docs, the mailing list.
10:32:29 <Taiga003> lots of reading I guess
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10:35:07 <warlord> Taiga003, Adding Inventory will absolutely be a lot of work. Right now GnuCash can keep track of the value of inventory, but keeping count of widgets and the purchase vs resale prices, COGS, etc -- that integration would be a ton of work.
10:36:01 <warlord> Not trying to dissuade you, just trying to ensure you're understanding it's not going to be a two-day project ;)
10:41:14 <Taiga003> Ya I am aware of that. I fully expect it to be alot of work and take time. However I am motivated to see features like Account Edge be in GnuCash as somepoint because I think having to pay expenive for business software is kind of ridiculous
10:42:21 <Taiga003> One of the easiest way to try about Account Edge is with the trial
10:42:22 <Taiga003> https://accountedge.com/trial/
10:43:34 <Taiga003> Only accounting software I have came across as of late that doesn't make use of online stuff, lets you build your database locally on a hard drive and no subscription. If you want the new version next year, just pay the upgrade fee
10:43:51 <Taiga003> buy it once and never be forced to have to buy again
10:44:08 <Taiga003> Buts its only Mac and Windows, no Linux support so ya.....
10:45:02 <warlord> Yeah, not surprised; Windows and Mac gets you 80+% of desktops.
10:45:30 <warlord> Another thing to consider would be a standalone Inventory management solution that *ties* into GnuCash.
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10:56:16 <CDB-PHONE> chris I'll go check later today what each option looks like again before commenting
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11:54:40 <jralls> warlord, chris, before we encourage someone to write an inventory module for GnuCash I think we need to decide whether we want to move GnuCash in that direction.
11:55:16 <warlord> Well, I was encouraging him to build a standalone inventory management system that would tie into GnuCash.
11:55:20 <warlord> ... which is different.
11:55:54 <jralls> I saw that as more of a suggestion, but I agree that it's probably a better course.
11:57:26 <jralls> The near-term problem is API stability, particularly for engine. The current API is a mess and if we start getting 3rd-party projects that depend on it we'll be stuck with it.
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12:05:15 <jralls> Either way we need also to impress on contributors of new modules that the commitment doesn't stop when the module is written: They have to support it too.
12:06:11 <Taiga003> Good point guys. A standalone inventory management system would be make sense. However the only thing I really need is a pricing system so that I can add an item then simply add the buy and sell price with adding tax options. I don't keep physical count of my items anyway.
12:08:01 <Taiga003> If you need an example play around with AccountEdge as it has this feature available. AccountEdge lets you opt out of having to keep physical count quantities and only use a listing system with pricing (at cost and what you sell at), and then tax is combined with the item.
12:08:36 <Taiga003> However on could calculate tax differently too. Even just a listing system with buy and sell price would be all that is really necessary
12:14:25 <jralls> Have neither the time nor interest to play around with a different accounting program.
12:15:09 <Taiga003> okay well just making people aware of it. How hard to would it be to make listing system?
12:16:15 <jralls> That said, I have a fair amount of experience with inventory management. If you're not keeping a count you're doing it wrong. You can't even correctly value your inventory if you don't have a count.
12:18:14 <jralls> warlord wasn't quite accurate when he said that GnuCash can't keep track of inventory. It can. Just follow the instructions in the Tutorial and Concepts Guide for investments.
12:18:32 <jralls> Instead of stocks you have widgets.
12:20:47 <jralls> What GnuCash doesn't have is tools to manage that inventory. You have to do everything manually. I don't use the business features so I don't know whether Invoices can handle sales from a commodity asset account; perhaps warlord can comment on that.
12:20:49 <warlord> Yes, you could leverage the stock system to fake an inventory solution. But it's not designed for hundreds, let alone thousands, of widgets. And it wont give you the pricing inputs you are asking for.
12:21:28 <jralls> Why not? It handles hundreds and thousands of shares just fine.
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12:21:39 <warlord> Yes, you can use an Asset account for an invoice line-item, but you need to enter it manually -- it's not an "automatic" account list like Income accounts are.
12:22:01 <warlord> You have hundreds or thousands of *different* stocks?
12:22:14 <warlord> Not talking about #shares of one stock.
12:22:59 <jralls> Not at one time, but I've got a couple of hundred different stocks in my book.
12:23:44 <warlord> pk
12:23:45 <warlord> oj
12:23:47 <warlord> OK
12:25:02 <jralls> The IC company where I was production control manager had maybe 50 line items of finished goods inventory over the 10 years I worked there; generally only a dozen or so were active at a time.
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12:28:59 <jralls> Inputs were 5 or 6 flavors of wafers and a dozen or so gasses. One could have used GnuCash for tracking either. It's WIP valuation that was complex and wouldn't have been possible with GnuCash.
12:30:02 <warlord> My parents' electrical contracting company had a warehouse with literally thousands of unique items. Imagine keeping track of just the 4 aisles of Home Depot..
12:30:22 <jralls> Now on the submarine I had something like 20000 line items of spare parts and a couple hundred of food. GnuCash wouldn't have worked well for that.
12:30:39 <warlord> Right.
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12:33:50 <Taiga003> Warlord you understand what I am looking for then as my parents have a plumbing and heating contracting company so we have similar need to your parents electrical contracting company. We don't care about keeping track of the inventory in accounting software. Don't have time and we can do it buy hand later
12:33:55 <jralls> So like everything else there's a scale line below which GnuCash works OK and above which users need to look elsewhere. It also matters what they're doing: No matter how small GnuCash isn't ERP and won't support manufacturing.
12:35:05 <jralls> Taiga003, you can't value the inventory without knowing how many you have: quantity * price = value.
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12:35:28 <Taiga003> That is why I think a widget listing system would be a good addition to GnuCash.
12:35:59 <Taiga003> jralls, true however what I am really after is automating the invoicing process to save time
12:36:03 <jralls> Or rather quantity * cost = value. quantity * price = revenue. revenue - cost = profit.
12:36:27 <Taiga003> My dad still uses quickbooks 3.1 with no search function and writes bills to customers by hand
12:36:35 <Taiga003> so damn slow
12:38:03 <jralls> A widget listing system would be utterly alien to GnuCash because it's alien to accounting. You can't magic up money, it has to come from somewhere.
12:38:47 <Taiga003> Well I don't know it lets me do that with AccountEdge
12:39:07 <Taiga003> Think I might be misunderstanding what your saying
12:39:09 <jralls> So what? That just means that AccountEdge isn't an accounting system.
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12:40:27 <jralls> Accounting works like this: In order to sell a 1/2" globe valve you have to have one in an asset account to sell. In order for you to have one in an asset account you have to have bought it at some point in the past.
12:40:28 <Taiga003> For example, when I had not inventory listing system, I just typed bills by hand with an invoice template. Time consuming. Much easier when a list is in place with pricing already added.
12:40:40 <Taiga003> True
12:41:08 <Taiga003> Account Edge lets me bypass that requirement as we don't fully use the all the features yet
12:41:42 <jralls> OK. GnuCash won't let you bypass it.
12:42:05 <Taiga003> Ah okay so that would be where the problem would come in
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12:42:15 <jralls> GnuCash *can't* let you bypass it. That's fundamental to GnuCash's design.
12:42:58 <Taiga003> So it would it have to be designed to somehow to having a listing system where the only accounts its affecting is Sales coming in and cost of sales
12:45:15 <Taiga003> For small business, the main thing people need right away is the ability to invoice and also a create an item database without the head ache of having to keep track at first
12:45:23 <Taiga003> At least to get them started
12:45:58 <Taiga003> I am buiding an inventory item database from scratch with Excel right now with extracted data from the old QuickBooks program my dad uses
12:46:55 <Taiga003> So eventually want to import that into a searchable database and then have it setup so it generates a report in this case an invoice and then that would be it for now
12:47:33 <Taiga003> Will expand on learning and building a better system with properly linked accounts later on
12:49:48 <jralls> Learn to use Access. I think it has the tools you need to be able to generate your invoices. Excel doesn't.
12:50:28 <Taiga003> ah okay. Well probably the better place to start then. I know you can add Excel spreadsheets into databas
12:50:31 <Taiga003> database
12:50:35 <Taiga003> I use Libre Office base
12:52:07 <jralls> You can import the contents of spreadsheets into databases and lots of people know how to use spreadsheets so it's a good data entry strategy. But you want to end up with the data in a well-designed database. It makes it easier to generate forms like your invoices and much easier to update.
12:53:48 <jralls> LibreOffice base is fine too, though IIRC it doesn't have the nice form-builder that Access has.
12:54:29 <Taiga003> Yep makes sense. So to get things going do that for now and spend all the labourious work GnuCash later on until you can get setup correctly and make it work the way you really want once you have time to properly set it up
12:57:46 <warlord> jralls, what Taiga003 is asking for is improved invoicing in GnuCash by providing a pre-built database of line-item entries with pricing data, so when you're invoicing you can pull down a list of line-items and just enter in the appropriate quantities.
12:58:31 <jralls> warlord, yes, I understand that. But those line-items have to come from somewhere, right?
12:58:47 <warlord> From an accounting PoV, that can all go to Assets:Inventory (without individually-enumerated items)
12:59:38 <warlord> So you still keep track of bought inventory and sold inventory, but you're not tracking "how much did I buy of widgetA vs widgetB"
13:00:17 <warlord> Based on that, I wouldn't call this an inventory system, but an invoicing auto-pricing system.
13:00:40 <warlord> It's almost like an invoicing auto-fill pricedb.
13:01:34 <jralls> Almost, it needs two values for each item.
13:02:07 <warlord> The "bought-at" and "sold-at" prices?
13:02:12 <jralls> Right.
13:03:19 <jralls> And you get into trouble as soon as the price on those 1/2" globe valves changes and you have some at the old cost and some at the new one in inventory.
13:03:22 <warlord> That can get very complicated when you buy the same widget and price changes week to week or month-to-month. It also depends on how much inventory you keep in stock vs using e.g. Home Depot as your warehouse ;)
13:05:50 <jralls> And on your plumber's or electrician's trucks... Like they're going to keep track of whether they used 5 or 6 1/2" street ells on the Jones job yesterday.
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13:09:30 <jralls> Maybe that's the scale line: GnuCash can handle your biz if you use a supply house as your warehouse, but as soon as you start carrying inventory you need something else.
13:11:01 <jralls> Though even in that case if you want to itemize the stuff you bought for the job it's going to be a painful and manual effort to cut the invoice.
13:14:10 <jralls> (Heh, I just realized I said globe valve. That's Navy. A plumber would say 1/2" multi-turn stop valve.)
13:17:27 <warlord> In my experience, you do keep track of "how many 1/2" bushings" you used on the Jones Job.
13:18:11 <jralls> OK, but electricians can count. I wonder about plumbers. ;-)
13:18:40 <jralls> Largely because electricians show up when they say they will. Plumbers...
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13:21:07 <warlord> LOL.
13:29:38 <Taiga003> was gone for a bit
13:29:52 <Taiga003> Yes we keep track of every item used on the job
13:30:17 <Taiga003> I can see your point jralls thought about price changes though
13:31:12 <Taiga003> So say for instance you changed the price and kept track of it like Warlord is suggesting? What happens?
13:31:29 <Taiga003> I still use the term globe valve by the way
13:32:38 <jralls> I didn't see warlord suggesting a way to manage cost changes for inventory items.
13:32:43 <Taiga003> Hey now, I know not all plumbers are cracked up to what they they say they are
13:32:44 <Taiga003> lol
13:33:39 <Taiga003> <jralls> And you get into trouble as soon as the price on those 1/2" globe valves changes and you have some at the old cost and some at the new one in inventory.
13:33:39 <Taiga003> <warlord> That can get very complicated when you buy the same widget and price changes week to week or month-to-month. It also depends on how much inventory you keep in stock vs using e.g. Home Depot as your warehouse ;)
13:33:42 <Taiga003> sorry nvm
13:34:00 <jralls> So for invoicing you could always use the latest cost and then run a trial balance once a month and take an adjustment for the imbalance.
13:34:08 <Taiga003> but I guess what my question is what happens if you just let the price changes happen
13:34:21 <Taiga003> Ya I suppose that is true
13:34:24 <jralls> Your book goes out of balance.
13:34:42 <warlord> If the price changes, your account may go out of balance. If the price goes down then you may lose money.
13:35:06 <Taiga003> When it comes to our journal entries, pretty much all that every gets tracked is invoices to customers, and then bills paid to vendors and expenses
13:35:21 <Taiga003> I see
13:36:09 <Taiga003> So I am guessing I am going to save myself a massive amount of time at first automating this stuff using a database software like Access or Libre Office?
13:36:46 <Taiga003> Libre Office base for that matter. I guess it will get me familiar with linking data at first too before trying to take on writing a module for something like GnuCash
13:37:29 <Taiga003> Plus I need to spend more time learning accounting anyway
13:37:30 <jralls> And get you some operational experience to see how well your design works with a lot less effort than coding it in C or Python.
13:37:42 <Taiga003> make sense
13:42:18 <jralls> You can use the database to keep track of how many of those globe valves and street ells you buy at what price and how many you use and what the customers get charged. After a few months run a report to see how it balances out. Do a spot check of a couple of high-usage items in the warehouse and on the trucks to see how well your guys are keeping track of what they use.
13:45:34 <jralls> In the Navy we paid a lot closer attention to the high usage stuff, IIRC the 100 line items that we had to order most often. Of the 20,000 line items, I turned over the same ones to my relief that I'd gotten from my predecessor for 19,000 of them.
13:51:07 <jralls> So you could do something similar and just track quantities of stuff you use a lot of because a) you don't want to delay a job because you ran out and b) that's the stuff that's going to make a difference to your bottom line.
13:53:15 <Taiga003> thank you for you solid advice jralls. I guess I know what I am going to do now. So glad I came on the IRC
13:53:20 <Taiga003> this IRC
13:53:58 <jralls> You're welcome. Good luck!
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14:00:54 <giuseppef> Just read all this talk. I have a question. I don't use stocks features, but how those are managed in calculating the portfolio value in balance?
14:08:20 <jralls> Number of shares * price = value. portfolio value = sum of share values.
14:08:38 <jralls> The tricky part is price, so there are choices.
14:09:50 <giuseppef> So you can opt for LIFO, FIFO (in different flavours) and CMP?
14:12:36 <jralls> No. You can opt for latest price, price closest in time to the report date, or price calculated from the transactions.
14:14:10 <jralls> LIFO and FIFO are options for calculating gain/loss. The lot scrubber can do that but it only knows how to do FIFO.
14:14:59 <giuseppef> ok jralls, now I understand. That code is not reusable for inventory to comply with different legal constrains. Even for stocks it can be not legal compliant
14:16:58 <jralls> Actually it could be reused for inventory. Legal compliance would depend on whether the simple FIFO algorithm is legal. ;-) Support for other policies just needs someone to write the code.
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14:23:35 <Taiga003> Just going to say once I get my inventory listing system worked out I will share with you guys and then hopefully it will help you make something for GnuCash
14:26:43 <jralls> Taiga003 I don't think any of us want to make something for GnuCash, but if you're still motivated to do so after getting a database version working we can discuss it.
14:28:06 <jralls> Maybe better, after you've gotten several months experience with a database version. Initial plans seldom survive reality. ;-)
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14:34:31 <Taiga003> True, however I would like to see an open source software that will stop keeping people dependent on QuickBooks or whatever. And they ability to store there accounting data locally. I really hate how so many companies have encouraged web based alternatives. Having access from anywhere is, also having a company have access to your financial records is a big T-Rex waiting around the corner to bite your head at a moments notice
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14:41:31 <Taiga003> https://thefrugalcomputerguy.com/seriespg.php?ser=15
14:42:07 <CDB-Man> chris: just took a look at textbook style again... yeah it seems absolutely useless
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15:36:08 <chris> CDB-Man: thanks! I'd half-expected you'd report it to be the proper presentation style. It'll go, banished in 4.5 and gone forever.
15:37:12 <chris> I was encouraging Taiga003 to look into the code and see whether an inventory system would fit in. Maybe find some more bugs.
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15:52:57 <CDB-PHONE> well in public company financial statements usually breakdowns requiring subtotals are avoided, just show the subtotal only
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16:53:55 <AdrienM> @tell Taigo003 there are quite a few open-source inventory and invoicing options out there that are not web-based. They may not all be pretty, or work exactly the way you want, or even been currently maintained, but they do exist, and being open, you can fork them and modify as needed.
16:53:55 <gncbot> AdrienM: The operation succeeded.
16:55:32 <AdrienM> I've seen a few in my searches that are 'office-suite' based that utilize a combination of spreadsheets, db, and word processors. If that is the route you want to take, I'm sure you can find something close and build from there.
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17:17:56 <fell> linas and www.gnucash.org disappeared this (european) afternoon. The last hop in mtr is ae8.cr11-dal3.ip4.gtt.net
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17:27:14 <Taiga003> AdrienM pmed you
17:38:38 <warlord> It could be the freeze/storms in Austin, TX
17:38:41 <warlord> (fell)
17:39:17 <fell> Ah, OK
17:40:19 <fell> BTW, warlord, your opinion on making the wiki a multilingual farm?
17:41:10 <fell> Linas has done his part, ;-)
17:43:28 <fell> we talked last about it at https://lists.gnucash.org/logs/2021/02/11.html#T15:43:39
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19:46:50 <Taiga003> AdrienM told me about Invoice Ninja. Pretty cool API
19:47:45 <Taiga003> Brings me the question is it possible to localhost a server for such an application and then access the database through a web-browser? Invoice Ninja's front end is web based
19:58:30 <chris> you can use https://wiki.gnucash.org/wiki/Python_Bindings
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20:20:23 <Taiga003> So based on Adrienm advice, apps like Invoice Ninja are a great way to get started and have beautiful front. However considering I want to keep my independence from self hosting a server, a database makes the most sense still and as it is I want to learn about this stuff so that's the best way to get started
20:22:04 <AdrienM> Not sure I'd qualify it as 'advice'. More of a 'hey this looks interesting'.
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