So I Wrote My Own Accounting System

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One of the major features (yeah, I said features) of my OCD is that pretty much nothing that is created by others to help me is ever good enough. What I am generally talking about here is products, services, things from the corporate world. I happen to be lucky that I’ve been developing software since I was a little kid, and I’ve been developing on the web since around 1994.

Now to take a step back and extrapolate on my first pithy statement here… I know I have trust issues that are farther ranging than just my frustration with products, specifically software products. And those trust issues are not—in total—a “feature,” so to speak.

But my lack of trust that any off-the-shelf software is going to fully do what I need is not something I find all that harmful to my everyday life. Yes, there is always a decision—when you have software development resources as I have—between building and buying said necessary software. And every decision has pros and cons, and thus to tend so frequently to one end of any recurring decision isn’t fully healthy (that is to say, I probably build a lot of software that I, indeed, could have just purchased ready-made.)

I run a business. Like any business, it has specific needs for the vertical it sits in. Those needs are frequently addressed by general software and industry-specific software.

What’s key here is my OCD. While I put a lot of hours into work, and one could say I am obsessed with work in general, there’s something more to it with me that comes from my OCD. I’m may or may not be a workaholic. That’s for another time to dig into, but one thing I insist on is as much of the work as possible involved in running my business being automated. I don’t want to hire people when I just know software can do the work.

And thus I become not necessarily obsessed with work, but I am obsessed with getting the architecture of my thoughts on how to run the business out of my head and into code. With that, it is important to note that the way I run a business is very different than the way I know most others run businesses.

“Different” is the only label I wish to use, I don’t know if it is “better” or anything like that. I know I’ve been successful for decades, as well I’ve failed many times. But this isn’t a symposium. This is just me, trying to apply my thinking into something real. (Well, virtual, but… real.)

This really is an obsession, and really is part of OCD. I know this because while the business has been running for over two years now, I have constantly been obsessed with the fact that I don’t have something I can look at and use (software) to organize everything in the manner I need it organized. And so I will ruminate over this most every night.

So I finally decided to stop ruminating and start building. I am building something I know is somewhere around 75% contained in off-the-shelf products. But that remaining 25% is how I specifically think about the numbers, work efficiency, and the like. Nothing does things the way I need them done.

I say “accounting system” because that is the easiest thing to call it. It is a lot more than that. It is something other companies could use, but for now, it is just for me and my company.

It is not as massive of an undertaking (yet) as building what would be considered a full accounting system. But once I get going with something like this, my obsession pretty much carries on for months, years, and more until I’ve basically built something that massive.

Now, I could go on about many specifics of what I’m doing with this project, but that would veer off course of the discussion just of the root of why I feel I have to do this: my OCD.

It is a distinctive little nugget of OCD. It isn’t one I present as a problem. I think, in the end, the business will be much better off than others in our space because of it.

But make no mistake in analyzing my software—is comes from OCD. It exists because of obsession and compulsion.

And because of that, I would argue, it actually is “better.”