parsing QIF investment accounts?

Michael Leary
Sun, 10 Sep 2000 19:55:33 -0700

Dave Peticolas wrote:

> You need a separate account for commissions, but it would not be
> under the investment account, which is an asset account. Instead,
> it would be under in the Expense account portion of the tree.

OK, talked to my CPA friend trying to sort out the things I'm seeing... the
accounting classes are coming back to me.

    The commissions on stock transactions are double counted, resulting in a too
low balance in the top-level investment account.  On import, the total cost of the
stock purchase, for example, is divided by the number of shares to obtain the
price per share, *including* commission (incorrect, in my view, I think
commissions should be accounte for on their own; but wait, they are!).  But then
the commission is *also* debited (?) to the Commission account.  Thus the result
I'm seeing where the top-level investment account is too-low, by exactly the
amount of commisions (excepting the MargInt problem).

    I've got a big problem with the investment account ledger layout (an import
glich I hope), which shows the *number of shares* as the debit in a stock
purchase, when there are columns (filled) for total shares, price and value.
Debits and credits should be real numbers, calculated from the raw data of the
transaction; i.e. the debit in a stock purchase should equal the "Value" column.
I'm also doubting the wisdom of a one line mirror debit to the parent account,
just confuses things IMO.

    There are a number of ways to implement (i.e. graphically represent) the
double entry system (in the main window's chart of accounts), but one which my
friend suggested and which seems more "Intuit-ive", is to have there be
commission/interest subaccounts for each security account under the main
investment account -- or else, not as good, as accounts on the same level as the
subaccounts/securities.  Those are, of course, income and expense accounts
normally "appearing" as temporary accounts under OE in a chart of accounts.  But
this gets to my next, bigger issue ... (where I completely contradict that silly

    On the account types: there are only 3 real types - A = L + OE, right?  The
account type list in the "new account" dialog should reflect this by showing a
hierarchical view of account types something like this:

    Credit Card
Owner's Equity
        Capital Gains
        Auto payment

The design conflict (IMO, as evidenced on the main chart of accounts window) comes
when you decide how to present the accounts.  The thing that seems wrong with
gnucash is that there is a single tree presenting all accounts (no visual
separation between A, L, and OE, other than order within the tree -- which isn't
visually clear, and doesn't really show that conceptual separation anyway).  Yet
the organization of the accounts on import indicates a scrict separation between
income, expense, and what Quicken people would normally think of as "parent"
accounts -- leading one too think that the A = L + OE equation would be visually
represented as well, but it isn't.  Seems to be a confusing mix of both, half way
between either.

So, I guess what I'm getting at (finally!) is why not have the top level of the
chart of accounts be three trees: A, L, and OE, as illustrated above?

ramble ramble ramble ...