What is Plain Text Accounting (PTA)?

Plain Text Accounting (PTA) is a method of accounting that involves manually entering transactions into a plain text file in a specific format. These text files can then be used to generate financial reports or be imported into various PTA tools such as Ledger, HLedger, or Beancount. PTA has gained popularity in recent years because it is a simple, transparent, and flexible method of accounting. In addition, for the more technically inclined the plain text nature of the files makes for easy (and fun!) automation.

One of the key challenges of PTA is that it can be time-consuming and tedious to download transaction data from various financial institutions. This can involve logging into multiple online banking portals, downloading transaction data in various formats, and then manually entering this data into the PTA file. This process can be prone to errors, which can make it difficult to maintain accurate financial records.

You can learn more about PTA here: plaintextaccounting.org

What is LedgerLinker

LedgerLinker is a service that helps to simplify the process of importing transaction data into PTA tools. Instead of manually downloading data from multiple financial institutions, LedgerLinker uses what’s called “account aggregation” to securely connect to your financial institution (banks, credit union, brokers, etc) and automatically download transaction data. This data is then formatted as a CSV file, which can be easily imported into any PTA tool that accepts CSVs.

Security and Trust

Sharing your banking credentials with a third party can be a cause for concern. As PTA affectionados ourselves, we want to automate our bookkeeping, but at the same time, keeping our financial information secure and our funds safe is of paramount concern. In building, LedgerLinker, we have taken security very seriously and has implemented measures to ensure that we have as little of your data as possible for the shortest amount of time.

LedgerLinker works with our aggregation partner, Plaid, which is a well-established financial technology company that specializes in account aggregation. Plaid has a good reputation and has been trusted by millions of users to securely connect their financial accounts with third-party services.

When you link your financial accounts with LedgerLinker, your banking credentials are securely transmitted to Plaid, not LedgerLinker. Plaid uses bank-level encryption to securely retrieve your transaction data, which is then sent to LedgerLinker in a secure format. LedgerLinker only retains a single token that it can supply to Plaid to access your transaction data. This token cannot be used to access any other details of your account or initiate transactions. Additionally, LedgerLinker does not store your transaction data, which means that your financial information is safe and secure.