# Decimal places in reports

David Carlson david.carlson.417 at gmail.com
Tue Dec 29 20:07:12 EST 2015

```If you produce the report in dollars and cents then use a spreadsheet to
round all numbers to dollars, there will undoubtedly be some groups of
figures that appear to not add up, but in fact they do when cents are
shown, that would probably be good enough for most readers.  I would not
even bother to fudge any numbers to make them appear to add up.  You can
add a disclaimer footnote that numbers are rounded if you wish.  That is my
opinion.

David C

On Tue, Dec 29, 2015 at 10:00 AM, Mike or Penny Novack <mpnovack at mtdata.com>
wrote:

> On 12/29/2015 12:16 AM, David Solet wrote:
>
>> Hello,
>> Is there a way to format Gnucash reports so that the quantities are
>> rounded
>> to the nearest dollar? I find that people looking at these tables are
>> distracted by the cents. I realize I can paste the reports into a
>> spreadsheet and do the rounding myself, and am wondering if there is an
>> option in Gnucash. Thanks for any information.
>> David
>>
>
> There is a problem associated with automatic rounding to whole dollar. The
> operation "round" lacks an important mathematical property. Rounded (A) +
> Rounded (B) != Rounded (A + B).
>
> That means that a set of books in balance (not rounded whole dollar) will
> not necessarily be a balanced set of books (rounded whole dollar).
>
> In general, it will be necessary to "fudge" one or more amounts. Those
> here who are required to fill out governmental forms on a whole dollar
> balance (and that must be in balance with forms previously filed) probably
> know all about the issues. It generally takes me some time (an hour or two)
> to figure out a suitable fudging for a 990-EZ (must balance with previous)
> but quick and easy where a board wants a quarterly report displayed whole
> dollar and doesn't care if doesn't match the previous quarter by a dollar
> or two. Totally trivial if doesn't care if a current report is off by a
> dollar or two.
>
> The problem with "unbalanced" is you can't tell if that was just from
> rounding error or not (in which case a small difference does NOT
> necessarily mean a small error.
>
> What you perhaps want here is not an option to PRODUCE a report whole
> dollar but a function that takes a report xyz and returns a report whole
> dollar xyz (and you then fudge that if you have to). In general, when
> fudging you want to see the original amounts to decide how best (least
> distorting) to fudge. And this should be more general that simply whole
> dollar. Haven't you seen organizations where reports published in
> thousands, or even millions?
>
> Michael D Novack
>
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