Spreadsheet bookkeeping & alternatives

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Since 2021, I maintain administrations for two companies in spreadsheets (LibreOffice Calc, not Excel, although the principles are the same). Originally, this was a delight of simplicity. But over time, I get the feeling that this is too simple: Whenever I want something more (e.g., a way to include past VAT errors in the upcoming VAT submission), it becomes harder and harder. Maybe time for something more serious? Some alternatives:

Build a database application

It really shouldn't be too hard to build a more-or-less complete bookkeeping system in MySQL. After all: I can do it in a spreadsheet, so I surely can do it in MySQL or MariaDB.

Probably the main problem: What kind of interface? How to develop it?

Some options concerning front-ends:

MySQL Workbench

I guess I can't really do that in MySQL Workbench:

  • I even can't have dropdown boxes
  • When I want to see e.g., all mutations over a month, I have to manually run a query.

Django Admin



Use plain HTML, CSS, PHP & maybe even JavaScript.

Argh. That doesn't sound like fun.


Use a framework, e.g, one for Python. Isn't Django such a framework?

Database Application Builders

Use a database application builder like NuBuilder: https://www.nubuilder.com/, AppSmith, etc.


Probably almost as bad as using MySQL Workbench.


I really like Notion. It would be cool if it's possible to develop a reasonably functioning bookkeeping system in it


  • You could create daybooks (just different views of the same data), to make entering mutations easier
  • The user-friendliness of Notion
  • Integration possibilities, like import


Notion has some serious and often unexpected limitations. I doubt if it is sufficiently reliable. On the other hand: If it can be done in a spreadsheet, it can probably be done in Notion at least as well.

  • Can you create a chart in Notion? E.g., of the montly average deposits in a bank account? → Yes, but only through API [1]

Existing resources

There is hope: https://www.notion.vip/insights/learn-notion-by-building-an-accounting-system

Also: https://akshayhallur.com/blog/notion-accounting-templates


Creating a bookkeeping plugin in WordPress, seems quite straightforward to me. Indeed: https://wordpress.org/plugins/tags/bookkeeping/

  • CBX Accounting & Bookkeeping: Not double-sided bookkeeping, but a simpler way to keep track of some things - 300+ installations
  • Akaunting for WooCommerce: Only a WooCommerce addon?
  • Bizuno ERP/Accounting: Seems most promising

Traditional bookkeeping systems

Somehow, I really don't like this idea. I don't want to be stuck to something I'm likely to eventually hate. I think I rather keep messing with LibreOffice Calc, build something in Notion, or build a database application myself.