[GNC-dev] gnucash-devel Digest, Vol 222, Issue 6

john jralls at ceridwen.us
Mon Sep 6 23:49:33 EDT 2021

> On Sep 6, 2021, at 12:22 PM, Borden via gnucash-devel <gnucash-devel at gnucash.org> wrote:
>> I see references/comments in the PR referring to ?Fiscal? year.  Just my
>> view but ?Fiscal? seems to be one of those terms that are rarely used by
>> anyone except federal treasurers and finance reporters. Perhaps more
>> understandable to use FinYear / FinancialYear or similar.
> Well, "Fiscal Year" is the proper terminology in IFRS and US GAAP in the same way that "Assets", "Liabilities", "Equity", "Debits" and "Credits" are. So, unless you want to confuse and irritate people who've been raised to use the official terminology, I'd avoid using the "layman's terminology."
> And fiscal year support is something that transcends the Australian tax system. Entities are free to pick their own fiscal year and, in fact, are encouraged to pick one _after_ their busy season so there are fewer distractions when they do their closing procedures.
> So every GNUCash file really should track the entity's year-end (defaulting to the calendar) and adjust reports accordingly by default. That how I learnt accounting, at least.

Yeah, me too. I agree with the premise, it's the practical issues of making it happen that are in the way. It's not as trivial a change as it might seem.

Formal vs. layman terminology--or behavior for that matter--is a constant tension in GnuCash. AFAIK none of the developers has formal accounting training past one or two college courses; most rather less. Even fewer of the user base have any formal accounting training at all and so we try to be very gentle about using formal accounting jargon: For example one must override a default preference to see Debit and Credit column headings instead of Deposit and Withdrawal. I guess Fiscal Year vs. Accounting Period falls in the same bucket except that nobody's ever added Fiscal Year to the formal accounting labels in GnuCash.

John Ralls

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