Follow-up on “Accounting in 2016”

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Two months ago, I wrote an article on how accounting in 2016 still is a manual and tedious process. What made me write this article in the first place was the problem that I couldn’t automatically get the bank account statements for my business account into my accounting software because my bank’s online banking service and my accounting software have incompatible import / export file formats and neither exposes a public API for facilitating communication between and automation of accounting software components.

I seem to have broached a topic that’s a pain point to many other people, too. I was overwhelmed by the response – both in the comments under the article and on the related Hacker News thread.

I would like to thank everyone again, especially for the many links and tools provided alongside with some good explanations as to why many accounting systems today still are so arcane and archaic. If you run a small or medium-sized business and experience similar accounting woes please have a look at the comments for highly useful accounting tool suggestions.

One particularly interesting solution that came up in those comments is LeapIN. Building upon Estonia’s e-Residency programme LeapIN provides a turnkey business operation including incorporation, a bank account, accounting, taxes and compliance. While it might not be for everyone – it doesn’t sound particularly useful to already established businesses – this certainly is an intriguing approach, especially for location-independent online businesses.

Anyway, here’s how I finally went about solving my particular automation problem: After quite some research I found Banking 4 by Subsembly. Banking 4 (available for OS X, Windows and various mobile platforms) is an online banking software that allows transaction data to be exported in the infamous MT940 format. This data in turn can be imported into my accounting software Collmex.

Not a completely automatic solution, mind you, but much better than manually entering accounting entries.

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