Showing posts with label gnucash. Show all posts
Showing posts with label gnucash. Show all posts

09 August 2017

644. Redmine -- project management -- briefly.

I've reached the point in my career that I need to start thinking seriously about how I organise my work. It used to be enough to work with a white board, google calendar (w/ lightning + thunderbird) and lots of post-it notes.

Somehow it's not working anymore, in part because I'm getting older and find it difficult to remember things -- in particular short-term.

Running a group is much like running a company (I imagine):
1. you have to manage your funds
2. you have to manage projects over short, medium and long-term
3. you have employees that need taking care of -- PhD students and Postdocs

I manage my funds using GnuCash. It's not perfect, but once you've set it up it works well enough to keep track of your assets. Of course your university accountants/administrators will do the same, but there's always a lag between you spending your money and getting updated financial reports. It's also nice to be able to 'lean' money in case of future spending. I've found that the financial reports that I've been getting from the different institutions that I've been working at have not dealt well with salaries.  I mean, salaries get taken out monthly, but as they are predictable expenses I as a PI don't want to see the money -- I want it removed from view.

Also, every now and again the accountants make a mistake, and you're much more likely to discover it if you have a means of comparing your financial reports with what you would be expecting to see.

Taking care of and managing employees is a different kettle of fish altogether, and at this point I haven't found any magic bullet in terms of management style. I'm simply being me -- which sounds fine -- but that doesn't always work due to personality clashes etc. Sometimes it's probably better to have a professional persona that you can put on.

Anyway, this post is about project planning -- I need to plan my work and my private life. I've looked at a few solutions. Most of these are serious overkill for what I need. All are free, although their websites heavily advertise paid options.
* TaskCoach
* Project Libre
* RedMine
* Odoo (formerly OpenERP)

I really wanted something like the project tracker in github, but the programs that support that style seems to be cloud based, and I'd much rather have something that I can run locally.

TaskCoach is in the debian repo, as is redmine. Project libre and odoo have debs available from their respective websites.

I failed to get odoo working -- otherwise it looked nice in the screen shots on their website.

TaskCoach was easy to use, but not very pretty, and it just didn't feel 'right' for me in terms of look/layout and workflow. If I hadn't found redmine I probably would've stayed with TaskCoach.

I got lost and confused when looking at ProjectLibre, and gave up.

Redmine has the advantage of the redmine website running on redmine, so you can see exactly what it looks like and how it works. That's what I'm using now, and it seems to work with how I think about things. I like being able to attach files, make lots of short notes that show up and give a good overview what's going on.

I don't need time tracking, Gantt charts etc -- I just need to track the qualitative progress of what I'm doing.

I installed redmine on debian jessie according to
I did
sudo cp  /usr/share/doc/redmine/examples/apache2-passenger-alias.conf /etc/apache2/sites-enabled/redmine.conf

I then edited redmine.conf to include
ServerName localhost
but made no other changes.

I could then access redmine at localhost/redmine

04 January 2012

40. Getting started with GNUCash

I've both recently relocated and started my own research group, so keeping track of money has become important -- it's difficult to get an overview of your economy in the beginning in a new country, and you better keep track of your research grants because the University WIL screw it up.

As someone with nil background in finance getting to grips with GnuCash has taken some time.

I've got two databases -- one for my personal finances, and one for my grants. I'll only show how to set up a database for personal finances here.

For most of the steps there isn't much to say...
Choose the simplest type of account -- Checkbook.

You now have four main types of accounts: Assets, Equity, Expenses and Income. The assets accounts has a sub-account called  Checking Account.

Double-click on the Checking account, put the current amount of money in your account under Deposit, and select Equity:Opening Balance under Transfer.

You now have money to spend.

Time to customise the set-up. Create an new account -- select placeholder, income and New Top Level Account. We're calling it John Doe.

(You'll find that only top level accounts can be all types of accounts. Some accounts can only be income/expenses, while other types (e.g. Bank) can't be either of those.)

 Next, create a series of accounts and select either income or expenses depending on type:

 If you have cash in your wallet you can put that cash as the opening balance of a cash account under current assets -- put the current amount of money in your account under Deposit, and select Equity:Opening Balance under Transfer. Make main expenses and income accounts under your name. Add specific sub-accounts.

Note how it says Imbalance: 3,000 (the amount added to income/salary). Transfer that money (income/salary) to your checking account:

 Then you get:

 We can move money from the checking account to cash (i.e. ATM withdrawal), pay by cash etc.

Here's the double-entry aspect of GnuCash -- every transaction shows up twice:

Here's another overview of the accounts:

Anyway, at this point it's fairly easy to start exploring and setting up more complex accounts.

Essentially, GnuCash SEEMS to be powerful, but for some reason I can't bring myself to read the documentation. Maybe it's the way it's written, maybe it's the topic at hand (few scientists relish the dirty world of money...or so we like to think), or maybe it's just me. Regardless, it's a piece of software you SHOULD learn how to use if you need to keep track of spending -- as most scientists do.