Proposal for modifying gnucash to use exact quantities

Richard Wackerbarth rkw@dataplex.net
Fri, 28 Jul 2000 05:38:23 -0500


On Thu, 27 Jul 2000, Gordon Oliver wrote:
> Hi all.
>   One commentary that I would have with exact values is that
> in this (and any I imagine) accounting scheme we are representing
> one side of the story, i.e. we don't care what the other guy discounts
> from the inventory, we care about 2 things
>   1) How much (of commodity X) we gave away.
>   2) How much (of commodity Y) we received.
> The price, though interesting, is not relevant to the accounting per se.
I think that much of the problem in the current gnucash implementation can be 
traced to the fact that it is attempting to place more significance on 
"price".
Each transaction needs to simply record the quantity of each "commodity" 
exchanged. Using "price" to simplify data entry by projecting the anticipated 
quantity is fine. But that should just provide a starting point  and any 
adjustments should not affect other entries.

>   The other approach is to provide a single precision for a given
> commodity/ currency. I.E. you can only transfer dollars from one account to
> another in units of 1/100 of a dollar, and you can sell wheat down to 1/64
> of a bushel (as arbitrary examples).

I think that you need to be able to exchange lots of a material for an 
equivalent amount in a different lot size.

For example, I might purchase a carload of soybeans and then move then to the 
warehouse inventory in bushels rather than carloads.
The "correct" unit for the purchase is the carload because I can purchase one 
carload or two carloads, but not 1.75 carloads (at that wholesale level).
However, in the warehouse, I can withdraw them in a smaller lot and therefore 
need different units.

>    Before we all lose track. The basic argument I am making is that we do
> _not_ need to represent price exactly. It is an intermediate value that has
> no real relevence to the accounting...

I agree. However, we still must be able to have some notion which is 
equivalent to price in order to make those intermediate calculations.