expense cash-flow report

Larry Siden lsiden at comcast.net
Thu Jun 10 16:36:15 EDT 2004

I read Benoit's suggestion and it makes perfect sense, HOWEVER ;), often
there is no delay between the time I pay for dinner with my cc and the
time that my friend hands over his share of the meal.  They both occur
at the same time, so there is no point in maintaining such a
"receivables" account that would act as little more than a clearing

OTOH, I could credit my cc account with $40, debit Expenses:Dining with
$20, and debit Assets:Cash with $20 in one transaction.  However, to me
at least, this obscures the true nature of the transaction, as it makes
it appear as if I had received a $20 cash advance from my cc company,
which of course I had not.  It's true that on my side of the fence, the 
net result is indistinguishable from a cc cash adv. (disregarding the
interest expense I would accrue if it were a real cash advance), but
when I download my cc transactions from my statement and import them
into GnuCash, I have a single $40 charge to Olive Garden to clear, and
would have to remember to edit the transaction and debit $20 to cash.

I think it goes almost without saying that different people will account
for these types of transactions differently, depending on what kind of
information they want to retain for use later.  So I don't think it is
fair to assume that there is one "correct" method that all users should
adhere to.

Another prime example where I might credit an expense account is after I
return merchandise.  When I download my cc statement and import it into
GC, now there will be two transactions to clear, one for the purchase
which generates an expense to say, Clothing, and one that might occur a
few days later for the return which negates part of the above expense. 
On my ideal expense report, I would like the sum for Clothing for that
time period to reflect one number for the net expense, not two numbers
for "inflow" and "outflow".  (After all, I'm not one who returns store
merchandise for "income"! ;)


On Thu, 2004-06-10 at 09:30, Derek Atkins wrote:
> Larry Siden <lsiden at comcast.net> writes:
> > The reason that I would like this is because, for example, when I go out
> > to dinner with a friend and pay for the tab with my credit card, I will
> > credit my cc account, say, $40 and debit Expenses:Dining.  Then my
> > friend gives me $20 cash for his share and I debit Cash with $20 and
> > credit Expenses:Dining.  If that were my only night out for the month, I
> > would like the report to show a single line for Expenses:Dining - $20
> > instead of two lines: an outflow of $40 under "Money ... comes from" and
> > an inflow of $20 under "Money ... goes to" as it does now.
> As pointed out by Benoit, you are accoutning for this transaction
> incorrectly.
> >> > * It would show expenses only.
> >> 
> >> Uhh, then you don't want a cash-flow report.  Or I'm not understanding
> >> what you're trying to achieve.
> >
> > You are right, Derek.  What I really want is a true "Expenses" report,
> > not Cash Flow.  The reason I said "Cash Flow" is because this is the
> > closest one I could find, so I selected it as my starting point.
> Why?  There are the expense pie/barcharts.  Aren't those sufficient?
> >> > * It might be capable of averaging weekly/monthly/quarterly, etc.
> >> 
> >> This would be a good addition to the existing report.
> >
> > Yes, and I would expect that it is quite easy to accomplish, even for me
> > with my total lack of experience with Scheme.  Might be the perfect
> > intro project for me.
> Yep :)
> -derek

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