Comments on GnuCash project goals

Stanley A. Klein
Thu, 22 Feb 2001 20:37:38

Perhaps I haven't gotten far enough into GnuCash to do any transactions,
but the ability to do split transactions is absolutely essential for my
business accounting.  For example, when I enter a travel expense voucher,
parts of the expense go to the travel fares, lodging, local travel,
automobile expense, meals, and other sub-accounts of the travel account.  I
also have to keep separate records of automobile mileage on a spreadsheet
because Quick Books won't handle it.

Under US tax law, the fares and lodging are handled one way on the tax
form, the meals another, and the mileage yet another.

Your issue of tagging transactions could be implemented by the same tagging
of accounts that I need.  Just tag the accounts in the categories you
mentioned and put the transactions in those accounts.  Similarly, create
subaccounts of a dividend account for franked and unfranked dividends and
split the dividend into those subaccounts.  The account tagging is just an
additional user-defined parameter to be carried with the account
definition, that can be accessed for reporting purposes.

Recording the number of shares traded is comparable to my need for
recording automobile mileage.  In each case it would be a non-cash
parameter with calculations that turn it into a cash item.  (In the US you
have the option of recording your actual automobile expenses or taking a
prescribed flat rate per mile.  I usually take the flat rate, that normally
is announced once a year.)

Stan Klein

At 11:27 AM 2/23/2001 +1100, Patrick Caldon wrote:
>"Stanley A. Klein" wrote:
>> 1.   GnuCash needs the ability to import Quick Books files.  They are in
>> "QBW" format.
>> 2.   An important feature is the ability to tag income and expense accounts
>> with the tax line item under which they are to be accumulated in a tax
>> report.  Quick Books does it, but isn't very flexible in handling some
>> categories of items.
>One point that I'd make is that tax seems to roughly double the
>complexity of the application.  I prepared recent company/personal tax
>accounts using GnuCash; what I found I needed (for australian tax) was:
>1. Ability to tag transactions as to whether they're purchase/sale of
>capital goods, consumables, loans/bonds, etc.
>2. Ability to split/join/associate transactions together. For instance,
>here there is a system of "dividend imputation" where when a company
>issues a dvidend, some proportion is "franked" and some proportion is
>"unfranked"; a tax credit applies to the franked portion, and each
>company can choose how much franked/unfranked dividend is handed out. It
>would be nice for the interface to support this concept, by creating two
>transactions (4 entries) one for the actual dividend and one for the
>credit. Similar (but more complex) considerations apply to trust
>3. (minor) For the share trading report, it would be _really nice_ if it
>would record the number of shares traded - this makes calculating CGT
>much easier.
>Aside from this, an autosave feature would be really nice - I had a fuse
>blow and lost a day's work while I was doing this. And all this
>suggestion aside, GnuCash is a really capable product.