Don't understand imbalance

Robert Heller heller at
Fri Nov 21 12:55:36 EST 2008

At Fri, 21 Nov 2008 09:16:09 -0800 (PST) hh6199 at wrote:

> I don't record the credit card charges as I incur them. I don't use
> liabilities and then pay them. As I understand accounting (not very
> much) I am operating on a cash basis and therefore just pay the bills
> when then come in and are due. The check is made out to the credit card
> company but I split the total out to the different expense accounts.
> BTW this is not a business but my personal stuff. The splits are health
> insurance, books, and medical expenses. These splits add up to the
> amount of the credit card bill. Here is what it looks like:

This is really wrong. You should be recording each charge as a separate
transaction (from the credit card account to an expense account).

> Description                Account               Deposit          Withdrawal
> credit card                                                                                    366.90
>                                    health ins                        292.40
>                                     books                                 12.00
>                                    medical costs                    62.50
>                                    bank account                                             366.90
> Which 366.90 is the one not needed? Hope this comes thru sort of in the columns as I intended.
> Thanks
> Harold
> --- On Fri, 11/21/08, Mike or Penny Novack <stepbystepfarm at> wrote:
> From: Mike or Penny Novack <stepbystepfarm at>
> Subject: Re: Don't understand imbalance
> To: hh6199 at
> Cc: gnucash-user at
> Date: Friday, November 21, 2008, 10:12 AM
> > New to GnuCash. Coming over from Quickbooks. Running 2.2.6 under Mepis 8.0
> beta 5. I have a split transaction where I paid a credit card bill. The first
> row has the total amount in the withdrawal column. The split amounts are listed
> in the deposit column. The split amounts equal the withdrawal amount. The next
> row below the splits in the withdrawal column there is the same amount that is
> in the withdrawal column on the first row. I have other split transactions but
> this is the only imbalance that shows up when I open the imbalance account. Do I
> need to delete this transaction and re-enter it or can I fix it to get rid of
> the imbalance. Just guessing that the imbalance is not a good thing. 
> > Thanks,
> > Harold
> >  
> Imbalance very bad, something is wrong.
> But I can't understand what you are describing. Normally paying a credit
> card bill would not be a "split". You have an account of type credit
> card (a sub type of liability) and you are writing a check (decreasing the
> account of type "checking", a sub type of asset) and decreasing the
> liability (you are decreasing both because assets and liabilities are on
> opposite sides of the ledger). Though I could see that happening if you were
> writing one check to pay the balances of several credit card accounts. Tell us
> what are these splits. If you are trying to split expenses, wrong. Those you
> record as of the date you made the credit card charges (you paid not in cash but
> by assuming a liability) and not when you got around to paying the bill.
> Michael
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