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GNU Cash for Marketers

Discussion in 'Business & Tax Advice' started by BlueTurtle, Oct 8, 2012.

  1. BlueTurtle

    BlueTurtle BANNED BANNED

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    I've just started using GNU Cash for my personal and business accounting needs and I think it's absolutely fantastic. It's my first exposure to double entry accounting and I love it.

    However, online marketing/CPA models are a bit different than typical business models where you do work, either an hourly service or provide a tangible product and then invoice.

    If your costs are fairly low then it's not really a problem, but if you're doing any sort of paid advertising or have scalable costs of any sort such as captchas then you need to keep a tight reign on the numbers. You can use a spreadsheet, but I don't really like that and prefer keeping everything in the accounting software, GNU Cash in this case.

    So let's take a fairly simple example. 1 CPA account and 1 media buying campaign.

    We need to keep track of the profit/loss within GNU Cash. The way I was thinking was creating daily invoices to the CPA company(that are obviously just for your records) and then setting up expense accounts for the different campaigns, even setting up sub-expense accounts for the different banners you're trying within those accounts. You'd then set up income accounts for each of your campaigns, with sub income accounts for each banner.

    This way you can view income statements and cash flow statements where you can see in detail the profitability of your various campaigns/banners as well as various financial charts/graphs.

    When you get paid for a period you can mark all the invoices as paid and transfer the money from income to your business account.


    If any of you guys are using GNU Cash I'd love to hear about your experiences with it and how you're using it to help with marketing and in general it would be good to hear about how different people keep on top of the numbers when running large complicated paid campaigns.
     
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  2. Indiigo007

    Indiigo007 Junior Member

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    I was unaware what GNU Cash was, so I looked up "GNU" and found this, a Gnu:

    [​IMG]

    Somehow, I think my efforts were misguided.
     
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  3. BlueTurtle

    BlueTurtle BANNED BANNED

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    Hahaha, thanks for the laugh, buddy :) That made my day!
     
  4. moloko

    moloko Newbie

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    Thanks. I will check it now for sure.
     
  5. audioguy

    audioguy Power Member

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    On topic of GNU, yea, it is the logo of gnu.org. And if you use Linux, chances are you use open source software from GNU.

    Used GNUCash back in early 2000, not pretty and a lot of missing features. But things have changed I guess. I'll try that again in near future.
     
  6. BlueTurtle

    BlueTurtle BANNED BANNED

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    What was missing that made it unusable for you back then?

    I don't think it has too much missing now, although I'm sure it's not got *everything*. It's a real beast though and is scary at first.

    Some of the notable features are:

    Double entry accounting
    split transactions
    budgets
    invoices
    customer list
    job list
    every report you could ever want, income statement, cash flow, balance sheet, expenses. I think you can make up custom reports too.
    Taxes
    multiple currencies (quicken is only usd which is LAME) -- You can mix currencies and view your net worth for each currency.
    plenty of business features, accounts receivable, accounts payable + invoices/customer/job/employee/payroll lists)
    reminders
    recurring transactions


    I absolutely love the split transactions. It just makes ms money or the online financial web 2.0's look like a PoS

    I just paid my credit card today, let's say it was £100. Some of that is interest and some goes back on the CC. With ms money you'd just log money out your checking account and mark it as a CC expense which is crap.

    With GNUCash I create a new £100 credit in my checking account(called current account in the uk), I then enter split that transaction and debit Expenses::CC_Name Interest for £30 and another debit for £70 for Liabilities:CC_Name

    The credit card interest expenses account will then increase by £30 and the credit card liability will debit for £70 bringing the amount owed down.

    It's so awesome, I absolutely love this double entry accounting stuff :)

    You can keep such a tight reign on your finances it's unbelievable.
     
  7. audioguy

    audioguy Power Member

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    Hmm... it was so long ago I forgot why.

    But one thing for sure. Open source projects come and go. Some of the best GNU projects remain. This should be one of them.

    Regarding how your track your campaign, personally, I wouldn't go as far as tracking each creative in every campaign. Is there any benefit for doing so? I mean, if I create 300 variations of ads in Facebook... I want to see which one works very quickly and move on to focus on and optimize on converting ones.

    Entering each ad variation into accounting system, that is full time work. From what I see, I'd like to keep stats separately.

    But you may not a lot of things I don't. So please keep sharing your experience in this thread.
     
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  8. BlueTurtle

    BlueTurtle BANNED BANNED

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    Haha, yes, I don't know why I expected you to remember something like that from 12 years ago!!


    The sub-accounts for different banners was an after-thought. I didn't really think about that one until you brought that point up! The sub-expense accounts would be superfluous, yes. Just 1 expense account and 1 income account per campaign would be perfect. Perhaps income accounts for the CPA networks then sub-income accounts for each campaign so I can see totals per network.
     
  9. lilpuable

    lilpuable Newbie

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    Hi BlueTurtle, I had a pm from you about a week ago asking for information about a specific method. I can't reply because of the posts limit, so consider contacting me again. Thanks!