Budgeting with GnuCash

Derek Atkins warlord at MIT.EDU
Sat May 29 21:10:55 EDT 2004

"John Arrowwood" <jarrowwx at hotmail.com> writes:

> Could someone please describe the features of GnuCash for use with
> budgeting?

Gnucash doesn't support budgetting...  You should go through the
archive from around September 2003 and read the huge thread on this

> Here's a summary of what I'd LIKE to be able to do.  Could someone
> please tell me which are doable now, and which would require changes
> to GnuCash?  And for those requiring changes, how hard it would be to
> get those changes?

The latter question is easy:  it's as easy as you sending in patches.
As for the former....

> * Ability to specify a budget amount for each account.
>   - the amount is for a given period, e.g. the week, month, quarter,
> or year.  (I'd be happy if it was just months)
>   - previous budget amounts are saved, facilitating budget vs. actual
> reports after-the-fact.

Nope, would require changes.

> * Budget vs. Actual report, single and multi-column

Would require changes.

> * Budgeting report - multi-column showing e.g. one column per month,
> with 'average' for the last column

Would require changes..  Seeing a pattern?

> * Spreadsheet like interface to budget amounts allowing easy data
> entry and scenario exploration
>   - alternatively, a report that exports a spreadsheet format which
> can be opened and tweaked
>   - maybe with auto-re-import of the spreadsheet after tweaking (yeah,
> right!)


> * Flag on transactions indicating that the transaction is
> 'placeholder' or budget
>   - allow alternate coloration for placeholder transactions for easy
> identification
>   - additional 'balance'...  one that includes placeholder
> transactions, one without
>   - alternatively, the field for reconciliation could just have
> another state for 'budget'

Uhh... This doesn't make sense.  The budgetting system should be
completely different from the financial transactions.  The budgets
should be directly mapped to existing accounts.

> * Additional transaction fields
>   - Transaction time
>   - Receipt?  (flag)
>   - Who performed the transaction
>   - Date cleared
>   - Bank transaction description
>   - ???

All of these would require changes..  The txn time is probably the
easiest of them all -- no data format changes at all, just a small API
and UI change.

> Is this doable with GnuCash, or would you suggest using something else?

Well, it's all "doable" if changes are made to the code.  None of it
is doable _now_ (i.e., gnucash doesn't do any of this right now).

You're welcome to work on this.  You should work with Darin Willits to
make sure you don't overlap with the budgetting work he's been hacking
on.  As much of this is UI work, it should happen on the g2 branch.

I look forward to your patches.  Thank you for volunteering!  :)

> Thanks!


       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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