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Boring Software

Yesterday morning I had a meeting with an accountant. As part of my transition to my new job, I’m also transitioning from respectable, properly W2’d corporate flak to renegade, rebelious, “damn the man” 1099 contracter. OK, maybe not exactly that, but sometimes it feels that way. So my partner Garrett asked one of his co-workers for a CPA recommendation, and she recommended Randy. Now, even though I worked at an accounting firm for a while (where while == 4 months), I managed to avoid learning absolutely anything about accounting. In fact, I was a little fuzzy on exactly how deductions worked when I showed up for my appointment yesterday.

Lucky for me, Randy was more than happy to guide me through the maze of Schedule C, Section 179 and the like. He was also very frank about the fact that while he was happy to help me out, he wasn’t the accountant for me. Seems he does mostly Fortune 500 audits, and bills at around $250 an hour; not the guy I’m gonna rush to call with a question about my math. But he had taken the time to print off a stack of forms and documents for me to use, provided me with some excellent advice and references, and did it all for free. Someone should give him a cookie.

After my meeting, I decided to look for software that might help me out. I was even willing to try something like Quicken , or Money , if they would make my life more managable. What I found was slightly disheartening. First, both Quicken and Money do have editions available that manage things like Schedule C, Estimated Payments and Section 179. However, Money doesn’t support Mac OS (suprise, suprise) and Quicken’s Premier Edition (which you have to have to get the 1099-related features) is also Win32-only. These two points lead me to believe that 1099 support software is limited to the Windows world, which is amazing, if not completely suprising.

Consider: writing finance software is boring. To me, at least, and I don’t think I’m completely outside the norm. Writing finance software that needs annual updates to retain relevance to the current US Tax Code isn’t sometime that sounds like a nice Friday evening to me. GnuCash is a passable checkbook manager, but I guess I was looking for something a little more tailored to my situation. Maybe I should take the time to figure out how to hack GnuCash and add the features I want.

No, that would be boring.