"Tools > Close Book" doesn't seem to do what I want, i.e., to shrink gnucash file by rolling up transactions

Mike or Penny Novack stepbystepfarm at mtdata.com
Mon Nov 24 12:11:48 EST 2008

Jonathan Kamens wrote:

>I see that recent versions of GnuCash have a "Close Book" item on the
>"Tools" menu.  I was overjoyed when I discovered it today, because I thought
>that finally, there was a supported way for me to shrink the size of my
>>10MB gnucash file which has several years of data in it.
>Alas, it appears that I was mistaken.  I tried to use "Close Book",
>specifying 12/31/2007 as the closing date, and when it was done, my gnucash
>file was actually larger than before.  It appears that it summarized data
>for Income and Expenses accounts but not for other accounts.
Not what is meant by "closing the books".

Accounting basics -- there are two fundamentally different types of 
accounts, permanent accounts and temporary accounts. Income and Expense 
accounts are examples of temporary accounts. At the end of the 
accounting period they are "closed" into equity (an example of a 
permanent account).

If data size if an issue, what you want to do is open a NEW set of books 
with just the balances of the "standing" (permanent) accounts as of some 
data. Just as if you were starting off from scratch. You can get the 
necessary amounts by running a "Balance Sheet" report on the old set of 
books. In the old "pen and ink on paper" days that's what they usually 
did, a physically new bound book for the new year/period. With computer 
apps, more usual to keep all the data immediately viewable with a 
"burned copy" made and given into the custody of a third party ensuring 
no backdated changes ever made.


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