A User's view of Hledger

Learning about hledger

Fewer errors in reconciling

One thing that I have noticed over the years of working with hledger, is that my reconciling errors have diminished over time. What I mean by a reconciling error is that I enter some transactions, then run an hledger command only to find out that the figure in the command output doesn’t equal the amount in a bank statement. The cause of the difference could be something like spending $12.17 on something but erroneously entering $12.71 in my hledger account.

I mention this for people new to plaintext accounting because these errors can be demotivating. However, if you are like me, you will find that reconciling becomes more and more error free over time. Yes, the first few times reconciling accounts can be frustrating, but there is hope!

To help avoid such errors, follow some suggestions that I have previously mentioned. For example, start with a small number of transactions to reconcile. Tracking down an error if you have only one new transaction is very straightforward. If you added 20 transactions and then discovered that there is an error someplace, it can be a real puzzle to untangle.

Book of the week

The book of the week is The AWK Programming Language, Second Edition. I had heard many good things about the first edition, which was out of print when learned of it. Unfortunately, it was so popular that used copies were selling for more than what the book cost new. That situation changed in September of this year when the second edition was released. I was able to snag a new copy of the second edition for less than a used copy of the first edition was going for earlier in the year.

The book works well, for me at least, both as a tutorial and as a reference. There are some minor issues with the book, such the pages seem a bit thin. Also, the book uses Times Roman, Courier, and Helvetica, which some people feel are overused. On the whole, it’s a purchase I am glad that I made. As I have mentioned before, Awk is a powerful tool for working with plain text, so this language should be on the radar of most plaintext accounting enthusiasts.