OLBK arose out of frustration in using spreadsheets to manage our banking and accounting needs every year.
As our needs grew, so did the complexity and number of spreadsheets that we had to manage going back several years, and covering multiple entities.
This gave rise to the first version of OLBK, written sporadically during 2008 and 2009. This initial version of OLBK worked very well for our purposes, and it stayed that way for several years.
Then between 2012 and 2013 we decided that this time we would rewrite OLBK to be fully internet accessible. That went online in 2014.
At the end of 2018, we decided to fix some bugs and added a whole bunch of extra functionality so that it would be useful for more people. This went online in early 2019.
The current version of OLBK is best suited to individual contractors who are selling time and expertise, and by individuals to keep track of their own and their family's expenses and income. They do not have to be working as contractors - it will work for permanent employees as well. In this case, they could use it for understanding what their money is being spent on.
It is also very suitable for individuals in the freelance/gig economy, although it doesn't yet support invoicing. This is on the OLBK roadmap.
It is not suitable for use by those individuals who use the accrual accounting method as it does not support that method of accounting.
OLBK doesn't support automatic transaction updates from your bank, so it is not useful for those who need a real-time view of their banking transactions. The decision to not support automatic updates from your bank is purely a financial one automatic updates cost money to provide and that means OLBK cannot be free.
In summary OLBK is the natural evolution of spreadsheet accounting, without throwing you into the world of fully fledged accounting packages and the need to understand accounting practices and terminology.
OLBK was written for ourselves, for our accounting problems.
It is released as a free-to-use service because if we benefited from it, it may help others. And the software is already written anyway.
The only ongoing expense we have is the usage (CPU cycles) and data storage on our cloud provider. At this point in time, that figure is insignificant.
The transaction data stored in OLBK must be input via CSV files downloaded from your bank, therefore it is not useful for people who want to manage their money on a real-time basis. Typically, a weekly or monthly update is sufficient and that is also a major reason why we can keep OLBK free to use - the resources used during this periodic update are pretty minimal.
If the usage charges go up significantly, our plan is to sell additional modules for example, an ‘invoicing module’ to fund the platform charges so that it remains free for the majority.
Note: To automatically fetch transaction data from multiple bank accounts requires that the user authorise the banking integrator to access their accounts. Usually this comes at a price - one that OLBK cannot absorb as a free service.