Book clsoing [was: Re: Addition of HBCI support, Maturity of 1.7-branch, next stable release time frame?

Derek Atkins warlord@MIT.EDU
16 Apr 2002 14:13:30 -0400 (Linas Vepstas) writes:

> Gnucash does not support A/R or A/P.  If it did, then it would work
> exactly as you describe it.  When a bill as been paid off in full,
> it can be 'left behind' in the closed book.  Only partially paid/unpaid
> bills need to be kept in the current book.

Well, actually, it partially supports A/R and A/P.  There are A/R and
A/P account-types in CVS and the Payable and Receivable reports which
can give you histories and such.  But there is certainly more work to
be done.

For instance, there is no easy way to mark a transaction as paid, or
to check that it has been paid.  Also, with the UI that currently
exists to work with A/R and A/P through the business processes, there
is no way to pay any amount != the value of the bill.

> As to inventory tracking, the issue is identical: A 'bill' that has been 
> 'partially paid' is the same as a 'lot' of widgets of which only some
> have been sold. AR/AP simply tracks lots (and partial lots).   This
> is, in turn, *identical* to how one should track investments.  If AR/AP
> is implemented (correctly), then you *automatically* get ROI, Cap Gains,
> Inventory and all those other things.  That's why AR/AP is so important:
> its not just for bills.

Hmm.  I see what you mean.  Unfortunately this would be a lot more
work given the current infrastructure in gnucash.  Is it worth the
effort?  (note: that was a rhetorical question, it very well may be
worth the effort).  Given my other responsibilities at the moment I
haven't had time to think about or really work on this problem.

> Note: AR/AP assigns a tracking number to a 'lot'.  If the 'lot' has
> exactly one item in it, then you could say that this is the serial
> number of the item/widget.   And maybe this is what Derek meant by 
> 'tracking widgets': he really meant tracking lots where there's only 
> one thing in the lot (and the constraint that you can't sell only half 
> the 'lot').  (Note that this constraint is what the 'currency' type is

Sure, I'll buy that statement.  It's not what I had in mind but it
certainly fits my wetware model.

> --linas
> p.s. I wonder if it is important to implement ar/ap before releasing
> the book-closing code for general consumption...

I guess it depends what you mean by ar/ap, exactly.  I certainly think
that lot-tracking is definitely important to have across books.  It's
not so big a deal with the Postgres backend, because I presume you're
not building new tables across a book closure.  However I think it's
definitely important for XML or other file-backend so you don't have
to open "old" books to get data that is important in the current book.


       Derek Atkins, SB '93 MIT EE, SM '95 MIT Media Laboratory
       Member, MIT Student Information Processing Board  (SIPB)
       URL:    PP-ASEL-IA     N1NWH
       warlord@MIT.EDU                        PGP key available