Income/Expense Report

Mike or Penny Novack stepbystepfarm at
Sat Nov 14 07:27:39 EST 2009

>Is there a way to get a table that looks like the Income Statement but
>with multiple months/time periods, one in each column?
This came up with regard to the organization for which I keep books, 
because normal practice for a non-profit to present the data for two 
consecutive fiscal periods side by side like that. I asked should I 
write a "custom report" within GnuCash to produce that output (retired 
after a few decades designing software for financial systems) but was 
told "don't bother". That whoever is preparing the finished version of 
the report will want to use their favorite editor for the purpose so 
just have GnuCash produce the raw reports. Just as easy to have that 
editor copy in the data and place it wherever.

Why? Why editing? A proper according to GAAP report has more than just 
the raw numbers with no explanations. At each point there is something 
that would raise eyebrows and be questioned it saves time and trouble to 
place a "footnote". Let's take an example from my own organization. 
Let's say on the line for "annual meeting" expense the 2007 total was 
$500 and the 2008 total was $1500. Was there actually some big 
difference in cost? (note could explain why) or was this an illusion 
caused by books being on a cash basis (note might be explaining the 
illusion). In our case this was "$500 invoice for the printing/mailing 
for the 2007 meeting paid in Jan  2008" (so the expenses for both annual 
meetings about the same $1000). Having those notes in place saves time 
when presenting the report to the board and you DON'T want the 
government folks coming back to you with all sorts of questions about 
things that look strange but aren't (they'll begin thinking "where 
there's smoke, there's fire").

The point is each "finished" report as presented to the board of 
directors and filed with various authorities might have a half dozen 
such notations plus a significant amount of fixed text. Things like 
setting out what counts as a "fixed asset" vs what is immediately 
expensed and what is the depreciation schedule -- a non-profit is free 
to choose its policy as tax laws don't apply but must state what it is 
in the report. So you WILL be using an editor anyway, might as well use 
that editor for the whole job.


PS -- Yes I understand, many of you are "home users" not involved with 
formal reports. But you need to understand why the "pros" like myself 
who might have the expertise to write such reports or organizations 
willing to fund a project to do the work aren't stepping forward. Normal 
that the accounting software just produces "raw" reports and then the 
accountant uses that data to prepare the finished report.

There is no possibility of social justice on a dead planet except the equality of the grave.

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