Must we always reconcile transactions in both accounts?

David Hampton hampton-gnucash at
Sun Oct 29 11:35:14 EST 2006

On Sun, 2006-10-29 at 16:17 +0000, Andy Gimblett wrote:
> Hi there!
> I'm a newbie gnucash user, running 1.8.12 on FreeBSD 6.1, and I have a
> (probably naive) question regarding reconciliation.  In short: is it
> always required to reconcile a transaction (separately) in both
> affected accounts?

No.  Some accounts generally don't get reconciled.

> Here's the long version, in case that doesn't make sense...  Suppose I
> have two accounts:
>     Assets:Current account   (ie a normal "checking" account)
>     Assets:Wallet            (ie my cash in hand/pocket)
> I withdraw some cash (eg at an ATM), and money flows from the current
> account into the wallet account.  Now...  When I come to reconcile, I
> look at my current account statement, see the withdrawl, it matches
> what I've entered, so I mark it as reconciled.  Specifically, as I see
> it, I do the following:
>   1. Open the "Assets:Current account" account.
>   2. Select the "Actions->Reconcile" menu item.
>   3. Confirm the ending balance.
>   4. Tick that transaction as reconciled.
>   5. Finish.
> So far so good?
> Now comes the confusion...  The transaction is still not reconciled as
> far as the "Assets:Wallet" account is concerned, as far as I can see.
> So I have to open _that_ account too, and mark the withdrawl
> reconciled there.  Right?

If you want both sides of the transaction reconciled.  You would open
your wallet, count the money in it, and then reconcile the Assets:Wallet
account against that amount.

> Now, I can see the sense of this in certain situations.  For example,
> paying off my credit card with a bank transfer from my current
> account, I really do want to reconcile that in both accounts, at
> different times (ie when I receive their respective statements).

In this case you have statements for each of the two accounts that you
are reconciling.

> For many other settings, however, it seems to be less sensible.  It
> seems to me that I'd want either:
>   a) the ability to say "reconcile this transaction in both accounts,
>      not just this one".

This doesn't make sense unless you are simultaneously reconciling
against two (or more) different statements.

>   b) some accounts just don't get reconciled.


> Am I heading in the right direction here?  Does a facility for a)
> exist?  Is b) an appropriate strategy, otherwise?  Or am I missing
> something?
> To conclude, here's another example: suppose I bought some groceries
> using my credit card.  Money flows from "Liabilities:Credit card" to
> "Expenses:Groceries".  I clearly need to reconcile the credit card
> account when I get the statement, but does it make sense to reconcile
> the groceries account too?

Does someone send you a statement saying that you bought X dollars worth
of groceries this month?  :-)


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