Luca for Mountain Lion
Luca is an accrual-based accounting system that runs on OS X. It has the ability to handle real-time double-entry postings and multiple currencies, yet we try to make it very easy to use, so that it will require minimal accounting knowledge to operate. It is designed for small and medium-sized enterprises.
Luca's Design Objectives
The primary aim of an accounting system should be to help its users understand the financial information better. And we believe there's no finer platform for understanding information design than the Mac.
So we're trying to take advantage of all the wonderful user-interface design technology that is available on a Mac to provide Mac users with an inexpensive, easy-to-use accounting system that has most of the standard accounting features (e.g., double-entry, multi-currency, real-time P&L reporting, the ability to drill down and verify the source of any piece of data), and yet is still recognisably Mac-like in concept and navigation.
We take advantage of multiple windows to allow the user to focus on more-manageable pieces of information at a time, while providing the ability to drill down into the details or bring up related information with just one click. And we take advantage of a Cocoa application's ability to keep all its windows synchronised when you make changes in any piece of data.
Luca also exploits the relational nature of the underlying database to allow the user to analyse the data from any angle – for example, by starting at the Profit and Loss Statement and drilling down to the specific transactions that made up an account, or by starting at a specific transaction (say, an invoice) and looking up all the payment transactions, comparing them against the debtor’s credit history.
Luca has been built on very strong foundations. It has an open architecture, which allows users to choose which database they want to use to store the accounting data. Luca works with the SQLite database, by default, but users can choose to use it with MySQL or PostgresSQL.
Also, Luca is written in Objective-C and can be used as an embedded database in mission-critical applications, e.g., in CRM (Customer Relationship Management) or insurance systems.
Therefore, the way we've envisaged it, a user can begin to use Luca in a non-critical, entry-level setting. And we're hoping to make the data entry as streamlined as a Personal Financial Management Tool. Then if Luca proves to be useful, the user can look forward to exploiting the built-in scaleability of Luca's double-entry engine to handle the accounting requirements of even a large scale business.
The schedule for Luca for Lion's development is to add features like Inventory and Time Billing, and a feature for importing invoices to create associated vouchers automatically, etc.
Recurring vouchers can be created for General Vouchers, Cash Receipts or Disbursements, and Receivables or Payables.
Parameters can be set to repeat a voucher daily, weekly, monthly or yearly over a number of periods. Vouchers can also be set to repeat at intervals, e.g. at a bi-weekly or 6-monthly interval.
Printing and Exporting
The listings e.g. Chart of Accounts, Trial Balance, Journals and Statement of Accounts, etc. can be printed, saved as a PDF file or exported so that you may format it in your preferred spreadsheet application.
Currency display formats and decimal number precision can be set for individual currencies (e.g., the Japanese yen has no decimal places and you can set this, as shown below, by setting the Max fraction digits to 0) :
Luca is designed to make it very easy for novice users to establish an accounting system. When first launched, Luca displays an example Chart of Accounts and sample vouchers (e.g., payments, receipts, payables and receivables) for the current month.
The Luca for Lion Manual
There is a Luca Quick Start Manual that will use the example Chart of Accounts to show you how you could go about using Luca. You can go to work immediately, following the examples in the Manual. It describes one month's worth of accounting data that's already been entered into the system. And it takes you from the initial setup to handling a variety of common scenarios. The Luca for Lion Manual can be found here.
5.0 July 28th 2012. Luca 5.0 for Mountain Lion released.
5.0.1 August 8th 2012. NSTextFields in Mountain Lion now appear to have auto-formatting turned on (which is not the case with previous versions of OS X). In other words, when a number value is entered into a text field, the text field will automatically format its appearance according to the number display format the user had chosen in System Preferences. For example if 2012 is entered into a text field, NSTextField will automatically format it as 2,012. If you entered "abcd" into the text field, that will of course be displayed as "abcd". All very convenient. But if 2012 stands for the year we want to capture data for, then displaying it as 2,012 looks rather odd. Worse, when we take the value back as a string value and use it to compare against another string value like "2012", we find we're comparing "2,012" against "2012", thus throwing a lot of the embedded (and assumed) programming logic out of whack. So, in Mountain Lion, we've had to go through a lot of our code to clean up stuff like that. There may be more lurking that we have not yet spotted. So let us know as soon as you see something that isn't working as it should.
5.0.2 August 23rd 2012. Fixed a bug with case sensitivity when Lucadb is being exported to a PostgreSQL database. PostgreSQL is case-sensitive but Luca has to handle interactions with Postgres as though Postgres is not case-sensitive, as far as the user's view of Postgres is concerned. Somehow this export situation slipped through the cracks, so this is now fixed.
5.0.3 September 18th 2012. Can now set Luca up with a Financial Year Start Date ahead of the current year.