Budgeting [Was: GNUCash Development Plan?]

Jeff Kletsky gnucash at allycomm.com
Mon Feb 13 19:53:53 EST 2012

Looks like book-closing transaction flag was introduced in 
http://svn.gnucash.org/trac/changeset/19945 -- Thanks!

On 02/13/2012 04:12 PM, Jeff Kletsky wrote:
> On 02/13/2012 02:10 PM, Phil Longstaff wrote:
>> Budgeting is one area I want to work with.  What, specifically are 
>> you fighting with?
>> Phil
> From my perspective, which may or may not be well-aligned with other 
> perspectives, and what I remember from the past years:
> * Need a way that my wife and I can quickly see how we are doing 
> against budget
>   - Scheme rendering is painfully slow -- 
> https://bugzilla.gnome.org/show_bug.cgi?id=612215
>   - Existing reports are hard to read and have poor usability, even on 
> desktop screens
>   - Single-user access means that you can't just "pop in" to see a 
> report, even if it were usable
> * Would prefer if we could access current actual-vs-budget numbers 
> from any modern browser, including iPad, iPhone, and Android
> * Budget creation UI has severe usability issues including:
>   - Rendering/scrolling (column and row headers disappear is the most 
> annoying)
>   - Can't "tab" to next cell for quick entry
>   - Can't "fill right"
> * Budget code is just messed up with respect to internal 
> representations vs. UI display -- 
> https://bugzilla.gnome.org/show_bug.cgi?id=612214
> * Budget should distinguish between "no budget established" and "zero 
> budget set" -- For example, I may have a budget on Expenses:Gifts at 
> $100, but not have a budget set for either Expenses:Gifts:Alice or 
> Expenses:Gifts:Bob. Having an expense in Expenses:Gifts:Alice of $50 
> should not be an "over-budget" situation for that account, nor should 
> having $60 in Expenses:Gifts:Bob of $60, but I should see an issue at 
> the Expenses:Gifts roll-up level.
> * In some cases it would be beneficial if a budget could either or 
> both indicate a limit on the total at a roll-up point, as well as an 
> incremental amount (You can spend $100 on gifts, in total, but no more 
> than $10 on gifts that haven't been assigned to a sub-account)
> * The ability to determine if a budget is balanced (and, if not, the 
> residual difference and sign), especially while working on the budget, 
> is difficult. The reports related to budget balance have the same kind 
> of problems as the actual-vs-budget reports. I define "balanced" when 
> my budgeted changes to assets, liabilities, expenses, and income are 
> zero-sum in an accounting sense.
> * Because the tools within GNUCash for budgeting are so rough, I end 
> up working up my budgets in Excel. It would be on my wish list to have 
> an import/export feature.
> * As I recall, for example, budgeting income going into a non-cash 
> investment account that increased in value (especially non-realized 
> gain) was a puzzle that crossed my eyes and made my head spin. It is 
> that funny mix of trying to deal with cash-flow budgeting when the 
> budget is looking only at the change in the account's balance.
> * Until there is a way to identify a set of transactions as 
> book-closing transactions, either the last periods of the previous 
> year, or the first periods of the current year will be "corrupted" by 
> those transactions. Unfortunately, there "hack" of putting those 
> transactions on January 1st doesn't work too well if you have "real" 
> transactions on that day (as most individuals and some companies do).
> I know it is a pretty long list, but I'd be happy to contribute 
> thought or design feedback either here, on a wiki page, or directly, 
> as it most makes sense. I've looked at the C code in the past and 
> thought about some approaches, but the edict that everything needed to 
> be backward compatible made things pretty horrendous. Especially after 
> looking at the SQL schema in my current plan to implement off-line 
> budgeting and reporting, I really dislike KVPs as ad hoc object 
> extensions.
> Let me know how I can help.
> Jeff Kletsky
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