Proposed: Funding Open Source Accounting software

Anthony Towns aj at
Sun May 5 14:55:53 UTC 2013

+1 in general with the idea.

Based on the 31st Dec 2012 vs 31st Dec 2011 treasurer's reports; SPI's
general funds increased by $11k from $35k to $46k last year, so $10k sounds
like a sensible figure to choose too.

On 4 May 2013 03:16, Josh Berkus <josh at> wrote:

> > What I meant was: I don't see any requirements from our end.
> Part of the project will be developing requirements, as part of Phase 0.
> I will be contributing to that portion, and I suspect others from SPI
> will as well.

It might be helpful to have some "one sentence" requirements/problem
statements as to what's not working at the moment for SPI. I gather at
least one issue is "SPI's bespoke system isn't usable by external
bookkeepers, reducing the work that can be cheaply outsourced by the board."

For comparison, over the last couple of years Linux Australia has switched
to using Xero for its accounting -- it's a New Zealand based, proprietary,
software-as-a-service solution, that partners with banks to make inputting
data fairly easy, and has been a very effective solution, both at making it
easier on the volunteer treasurers involved, and in helping the
organisation scale to do more things. I'm not actually sure if SPI's
mission these days includes something like "promoting free software" per
se, but if so, this seems like an area that definitely needs it, and IMO
would justify the investment, even if SPI's accounting was already working
perfectly. I don't know how much (if anything) they're paying for that; I
think it's included under the ~$5000 of accounting services in the annual
report, but presumably no more than $770 pa based on the prices on Xero's
website. With that basis, a one-off $10k would certainly be a lot to invest
(though not necessarily an unreasonable amount) if the /only/ outcome of
relevance was to be improving SPI's accounting systems.


Anthony Towns <aj at>
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