What do you do with old uncleared transactions?

Tommy Trussell tommy.trussell at gmail.com
Wed May 13 11:02:02 EDT 2015

On Wed, May 13, 2015 at 9:15 AM, David Carlson <david.carlson.417 at gmail.com>

> On 5/12/2015 11:55 PM, Alice Lee wrote:
> > Instead of voiding the transaction, you should reverse the transaction in
> > the current period.  Then you can clear both transactions because they
> > offset one another.  If you void a transaction that is several years old,
> > you change the balance for all succeeding periods so that reports that
> you
> > have run will not have the correct balance.
> >
> >
> > On 12/05/15 22:29, Maf. King wrote:
> >> On Tue 12 May 15 22:16:46 John Dablin wrote:
> >>
> >>> Sorry if this is a silly question, but how do you 'void' a transaction?
> >>> I've an  uncleared cheque from several years ago which will never be
> >>> paid in now, but it still sits there forlornly waiting to be
> reconciled.
> >>>
> >> Hi John,
> >>
> >> Make sure you are in the relevant account register view, with the
> >> cursor in the  transaction in question.
> >>
> >> Transaction Menu -> Void Transaction
> >>
> >> HTH.
> >> Maf.
> >>
> > Wow! So easy, thank you very much.
> > John
> Alice,
> You make a very interesting point.  Wouldn't that be important only if
> you use accrual accounting?
> I tried using that tool last week and it did not give me an opportunity
> to select a date.  In fact, for a time I thought that it did not work.
> Later I found it under today's date.  There was also no opportunity to
> give it a transaction number or reference to help find the source
> transaction later, when it might matter for the accounting trail.  FYI.
If it's a check, then of course you would probably be looking for a missing
sequence number. The voided transaction (including its number) remains in
the account register, marked VOID. I believe you can choose to include
voided transactions on some of the reports. If necessary you could add a
sequence number or some other notation to the transaction's fields before
voiding it, plus of course you add an additional "reason for voiding the
transaction" description when voiding it.

I recently had a charity donation transaction that never completed late
last year. It never showed up on two following credit card statements, so I
called the organization to investigate, and they had already credited me
with having given in October (even though they never received the funds). I
wanted to report the donation for 2014, so I voided the original
transaction, entered a new transaction dated December 31st 2014 with an
annotation saying the transaction was to replace the missing one from the
specific date in October and was processed on the date in January that I
created the replacement transaction. That way my 2014 reports, including
donations to charity, reflected my intent.

I could have done the same thing without voiding the original transaction,
but I wanted a bit more of a trail in case I ever get quizzed about it.
Unless I'm very rattled in a tax examiner's office, I would probably notice
such adjustments on the last day of the calendar year in which I claimed
it. That way I don't have to recall exactly which day and on which credit
card the missing transaction was initiated or the date the replacement
donation got processed by the bank.

I am not an accountant, and I am sure my books in GnuCash don't always
follow accounting rules (whatever they may be) but having clear annotations
helps me talk to the folks who DO follow (and enforce) the rules.

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