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Joe's Life

Linux in the Finance Office:

I started by Using my Linux Laptop as a Personal Data Assistant

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 gpm.

    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 left.

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 also.  I hope to document them, soon, in the menu at the left.

© Joseph Rosevear
  |   Source touched: 2022-03-19 10:25:41   |