expense cash-flow report

Derek Atkins warlord at MIT.EDU
Thu Jun 10 17:07:04 EDT 2004

Larry Siden <lsiden at comcast.net> writes:

> 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
> account.  
> 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.

Eh?  You should enter the txn by hand when you get home and then match
it when you import from the CC later.  And yes, technically, this IS a
cash advance on the CC..  You should account for this with a single
split transaction.  The description should be "Olive Garden" which
should help you properly match later during reconcile/import.

> 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.

GAAP usually reduces the list to a very small set of "correct"
methods.  Sometimes that set is "one".  So, yes, it IS fair to assume
that there is one (or very few) "correct" methods to account for most

> 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"! ;)

But in this case I still want the double entry.  I want to keep it
distinct that I bought something and later returned it.  I dont want
the report to hide this from me.

> -Larry


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

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