Automation Accounting Troubleshooting Notes

Automated Accounting Troubleshooting Notes.png

Long-awaited Update#

It's been a long time since I last tinkered with productivity tools. On one hand, after starting work, the multitude of work-related tasks has made me lose the desire to explore new things. On the other hand, living in a shared space at the company without relative privacy has naturally hindered my exploration of new things to some extent. It's always difficult to focus and complete independent tasks when there are people around, just like when you were in school and the invigilator stood beside you, making it difficult to even write a few words. Although what you write will eventually be seen by others, the presence of others and the noisy environment are not conducive to generating and sparking new inspiration. ^8b429e

The Essence of Accounting#

Today (actually last night, I finished this draft in the evening of the next day), I spent 20 yuan to implement an extremely elegant and simple automatic accounting logic on iOS, and theoretically it is permanently free. Over the years, I have spent a lot of time and money on accounting. In the process of exploring accounting and financial management software, I have tried many accounting software, spanning different systems and different accounting logics, involving both free and paid software. However, after all the tinkering, I discovered that the ultimate essence of accounting is not about being comprehensive or having detailed categorization and analysis, or complex requirements such as installment payments, mortgages, and automatic deductions. Instead, it is about being seamless, that is, whether the act of accounting itself is seamless enough. We have to admit that accounting needs to be remembered. You need to remember that you have spent money, and remember how much money you have spent. First and foremost, you need to be able to remember that you need to account for your expenses.

The above paragraph may sound a bit confusing, but that is the core of accounting. Many times, we cannot persist in accounting because there are always a few times when we forget to account for our expenses. When we remember, we find that a long time has passed, and then we need to retroactively record our past expenses. Over time, this creates resistance and costs. Coupled with human inertia, the act of accounting becomes unsustainable. So, is there a way to solve this problem?

Imagine if the action of accounting could be done automatically, or if the resistance to accounting could be low enough, wouldn't that be great? So how can we achieve this specifically? Through my accounting tinkering records, I have summarized the two most suitable methods for Android and iOS platforms, respectively, to solve this problem.

Introduction to Automatic Accounting#

Android Platform#

On the Android platform, we can use automatic accounting software like "Xiao Xing Accounting" to achieve automatic accounting.


The principle behind it is actually quite simple. It relies on the accessibility function of the Android system to monitor whether there are corresponding payment interface image features (such as WeChat, Alipay, UnionPay payment success interface, billing interface, etc.). Developers need to identify and adapt to specific payment and consumption software. For users who value privacy, this comes with certain privacy risks. Then, it uses OCR to recognize the consumption amount in the image, and then automatically pops up the accounting dialog through software by calling the accessibility service. The user can choose the appropriate category and confirm the recognized amount, thus completing the automatic accounting. In summary, on the Android platform, this is a relatively perfect automatic accounting solution.

iOS Platform#

On the iOS platform, the automatic accounting solution is much more elegant. We need to rely on two tools: the native iOS application "Shortcuts" and Feishu's multidimensional spreadsheet (or it can also be implemented using the built-in Numbers app in iOS).


In the iOS accessibility settings, there is a feature that allows actions to be triggered by double-tapping or triple-tapping the back of the phone. We can create a shortcut for accounting and trigger it seamlessly with a double-tap or triple-tap. The principle of the shortcut is to take a screenshot when triggered, then use iOS's built-in OCR capability to recognize the amount in the screenshot, and use the corresponding regular expression to filter out the consumption amount. Then, through a pop-up window in the shortcut, the user can choose other details of the bill. Finally, the data is filled into the remote Feishu multidimensional spreadsheet using the webhook function of the shortcut, and the multidimensional spreadsheet's data processing capabilities are used for storage, analysis, and visualization.


In comparison, the shortcut-based accounting method on the iOS platform is more native, stable, and cost-effective. On the iOS platform, apart from the slight difficulty in initial manual configuration, this method is currently the best solution for automatic accounting. On the other hand, on the Android platform, third-party software that relies on accessibility to recognize the screen not only has certain privacy issues, but also faces challenges such as background activity and power consumption. Different platforms have their own advantages and disadvantages. By comparing the advantages and the difficulty of implementing the functionalities, I hope everyone can find the best automatic accounting solution for themselves. Of course, the most important thing is to persist in accounting and maintain the habit of accounting in order to learn how to manage, analyze, and control your own income, expenses, and wealth.



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