My use of Linux in a finance office started when, as a new employee,
I brought to my office desk a repurposed laptop which ran Linux from a
bootable flashdrive. Initially, I used the Linux laptop as one
would use a personal data assistant. I used cal
to make month calendars which I pasted to a file using
Note that I will use a bold, non-italic font to indicate a
Linux command, and I will use an italic font where needed to let you
know that I have made a special use of a word.
Then I added text about the dates of a month below each
calendar. This is different from the usual way of using a
calendar, but it worked well. I combined this with my SAM menu system to
make it easy to use. I will document this in the menu at the
There was another way also that I used Linux laptop (later I
replaced it with a Linux desktop PC)--together with my SAM menu
system--as a personal data assistant. That was to use it to
organize and document procedures. This took a little time, but it
paid off by keeping me organized and on-track. I discovered that
by documenting my procedures it helped me to learn them. I will
include links about this in the menu at the left.
My work was done on a networked Windows computer on which I used
Excel spreadsheets and the Shelby accounting software. I had
hardly begun using Shelby when we transitioned to ACS.
I soon became aware that there were opportunities for me to use
Linux and my Linux tools for tasks that integrated into the normal work
flow, yet gave the benefits of efficiency and clarity and made the
tasks less tedious and more pleasant.
Again, I did this with the help of SAM. SAM
allowed me to make menus of commands for processing data and sending
emails. The commands themselves were a combination of mostly
Bash, but also Python, C and even Excel macros.
I need to explain that I was the only person in the finance office
capable of using these tools. They were a great help to me, and I
had hopes that others would eventually use them also, however I
proceeded with caution. I was careful to invent and use methods
that were modular in the sense that they used tools that didn't
have to be used. For example. I made tools that sent
emails automatically. That saved me time, but the emails could
also be sent manually. Similarly I made tools which generated
batch import data for making journal entries. Again that saved me
time, but again the method was modular in that the elements of the
method could be replaced with other elements; The import files could be
made by hand or the journal entries could be done by hand--or these
could be done, as I learned from my peers, with the assistance of
spreadsheet techniques, such as vlookup and pivot tables. My
caution, as it turned out, paid off: sadly my tools were not used after
I left. The methods themselves lived on, however, in the form of
the paradigms that I pioneered.
I mentioned two categories of SAM-based tools in the paragraph
above: tools for sending emails and tools for making import files for
journal entries. There were other kinds of tools as well. I
hope to document them, soon, in the menu at the left.