Guidance on a Year-To-Year Comparison Report

David T. sunfish62 at
Sun Jan 23 23:48:14 EST 2011


I don't want to take advantage of your time and expertise unfairly, but I wonder whether you ever were able to figure out a way to make a report like this?


--- On Thu, 12/16/10, Phil Longstaff <plongstaff at> wrote:

From: Phil Longstaff <plongstaff at>
Subject: Re: Guidance on a Year-To-Year Comparison Report
To: "David T." <sunfish62 at>, stepbystepfarm at
Cc: "Users Gnucash" <gnucash-user at>
Date: Thursday, December 16, 2010, 10:25 AM


When I get home this evening (it's now 1:24PM EST), I'll take a look at the report and see if I can help.
I used to be a hypochondriac AND a kleptomaniac. So I took something for it.

From: David T. <sunfish62 at>
To: stepbystepfarm at
Cc: Users Gnucash <gnucash-user at>
Sent: Thu, December 16, 2010 1:06:00
Subject: Re: Guidance on a Year-To-Year Comparison Report


--- On Thu, 12/16/10, Mike or Penny Novack <stepbystepfarm at> wrote:

> From: Mike or Penny Novack <stepbystepfarm at>
> Subject: Re: Guidance on a Year-To-Year Comparison Report
> To: "David T." <sunfish62 at>
> Cc: "Users Gnucash" <gnucash-user at>
> Date: Thursday, December 16, 2010, 5:14 AM
> David T. wrote:
> > I am interested in having a two column report
> would compare amounts for two comparable periods of time.
> This would allow me to compare my spending in those accounts
> over two comparable time periods. The report would allow you
> to select the accounts to compare, and specify established
> time periods for the two columns (for example, Year-to-Year,
> Consecutive Quarters, First Quarter, etc.). Additionally, it
> might allow specification of the starting year (e.g.,
> entering 2008 would establish a report for 2008-2009).
> > 
> > I'd give it a shot with the new reporting modules in
> 2.3.17, but need help even knowing where to start.
> > 
> > TIA,
> > David
>> This is how a non-profit ordinarily presents its financial
> statements (two "Statement of Revenue"s aka "Income
> Statement and two "Balance Sheets"). When I first began
> using GnuCash for
 one of the organizations I asked the
> accountant type who would help me put the reports into GAAP
> format (treasurer of the state lawyer's association
> non-profit) if I should write custom coding for Gnucash to
> do that he said DON'T BOTHER. 

I appreciate your point of view on this. However, since I am neither an accountant nor a nonprofit organization trying to comply with legal requirements, this is somewhat immaterial.

I personally would like a report that will allow me to see (without data munging) account amounts for different periods for quick comparison. I would find it useful to be able to see quickly whether I am ahead or behind in various accounts.

> Just give him the two income
> statements and two balance sheets and he would use his
> favorite editing software to prepare the final version. WHY?
> Because still need to insert annotation explaining any
> items/amounts
 that would appear unusual. In other words,
> STILL going to need the capabilities of a full fledged
> editor to insert text, etc.
> This isn't ever going to be a "one size fits all"
> situation. Consider for how many jurisdictions we would need
> report versions if GnuCash were expected to be able to
> furnish a finished product of the financial reports as
> required by the laws of that jurisdiction. Better to produce
> just the simple standard reports and then let the user edit
> this data into the required format. And yes, GnuCash could
> be expanded to provide its own editor but there's lots of
> good editing apps out there so why reinvent the wheel.

Again, your point is taken, but again, I disagree. I think one reason that Quicken is so popular is that it is dead simple to create reports that quickly answer basic questions about your financial situation. I continue to
 hope for the same thing for Gnucash. I note that many changes have already happened to begin this process, but more will be needed.

Frankly, if it weren't so damned hard to create reports in the first place, then the whole "jurisdictions vary" argument would fall away, since it would be easy for users to modify and create reports to meet their particular jurisdictional requirements. If it were simple to create the report your accountant needed, I am sure she/he'd be happier to have the complete data ready to go, just needing his/her extra notes, rather than having you send rough data that s/he then has to compile before adding his/her notes to it.

I will try to look at some existing report and see whether I can force it into the form I seek.


> Michael D Novack, FLMI

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