Granular tracking of reimbursed expenses

Edward Doolittle edward.doolittle at
Sun Oct 16 19:22:07 EDT 2016

Hi Macho,

Here's a suggestion, that's maybe a bit kludgy and involves changing your
account structure, but it might spare you from having to code your own
custom report.

First, you don't necessarily need subaccounts of Assets:Reimbursable if
you're going to use the Cash Flow report. Subaccounts won't hurt, and they
maybe useful for other purposes, but for what I'm going to suggest you will
be creating a single cash flow report that includes all of the reimbursable
accounts. The cash flow report will just lump them all together anyway, as
transactions that are inside the membrane; the report will calculate the
amounts that cross the membrane.

The idea is to make the other leg(s) of such transactions distinctive. For
example, when you pay a $100 physio bill, for example, you would have

cr. Assets:Chequing:Insurance Policy A $100
dr. Expenses:Health:Insurance Policy A $20
dr. Assets:Reimbursable $80

When you get reimbursed,

dr. Assets:Chequing:Insurance Policy A $80
cr. Assets:Reimbursable $80

When you pay a dental bill might look like this

cr. Assets:Chequing:Insurance Policy B $200
dr. Expenses:Health:Insurance Policy B $40
dr. Assets:Reimbursable $160

When your dental bill is reimbursed,

dr. Assets:Chequing:Insurance Policy B $160
cr. Assets:Reimbursable $160

When you set up the cash flow report, include all the Assets:Reimbursable
accounts that hold insurance transactions. (In the above example, there's
only one, but you may want to break things into subaccounts, as Michael
Novack suggests.) Then the cash flow report will enumerate flow between all
your selected reimbursable accounts and each of the
Assets:Chequing:Insurance Policy x accounts, which is I think the
information that you want.

When you want a complete view of your chequing account, you'll have to
"open subaccounts". The same when you reconcile your chequing account.

Does that do what you want?


On 16 October 2016 at 16:44, Macho Philipovich <macho at> wrote:

> Thanks!
> This gets me immeasurably closer than I was before. Two problems remain,
> though.
> First, the Cash Flow Report aggregates all the children accounts into one
> global sum, and breaks its results down according to the accounts from
> which and to which the money came and went. Because I'm always paying from
> a single bank account, it ends up in one place, and so that's not fatal,
> except that the aggregate sum I end up with doesn't let me see whether, for
> example, I exceeded the $750 limit in the example I gave below on a
> particular child account. You can only see whether you exceeded the global
> cut-off.
> Second, although it is possible to get around this by creating a separate
> Cash Flow Report for each child account, that seems unnecessarily
> complicated and each report largely contains irrelevant information, with
> only one line being of interest, and that line is not particularly obvious
> to pick out.
> I suspect that on the basis of the Cash Flow Report I could code a single
> custom report that contains all the information I want (and not more) if I
> really had to, but I just want to check with the members of this list first
> that there's no out-of-the-box solution that would solve the problem before
> I go to the trouble. Please let me know!
> Thanks again,
> Macho
> On 2016-10-16 04:45 PM, Edward Doolittle wrote:
> I think you want a Cash Flow Report. Reports -> Income & Expense -> Cash
> Flow. In Options -> Accounts, select your Assets:Receivable (and perhaps
> click the button to Select Children). In Options -> General, select the
> start and end dates. It's best if you can use the drop-down menus to select
> current month or current quarter or current accounting period; otherwise
> you'll have to edit the start and end dates each time you use the report.
> You will have to check that there are no reimbursements from other sources
> in the account, or it will affect your subtotals. What I would do is set up
> a subaccount of Assets:Receivable for your insurance reimbursable expenses,
> then run the report on that subaccount instead of on Assets:Receivable.
> When you've set it up the way you like, you can save the report
> configuration for easy access.
> Edward)
> On 16 October 2016 at 07:47, Macho Philipovich <macho at> wrote:
>> Hi there,
>> I've been using an overarching Assets:Reimbursable account to handle my
>> reimbursable expenses. I'd like to be able to see how much I've been
>> reimbursed in the current period for specific costs, to make sure that I
>> don't exceed my insurance's annual maximums. For example, 80% of my
>> physiotherapy costs are reimbursed up to a maximum of $750 per year, which
>> I would like to stay within.
>> With my current setup, when I incur the expense, 20% is assigned to a
>> health expense account and the other 80% to reimbursable, but the 80% is
>> then subtracted off of that account when I'm reimbursed and the account
>> returns to zero, so there's no obvious way to me to do this cumulative kind
>> of tracking. I don't want to determine the how much has been reimbursed by
>> multiplying my health expense account total by four (80% ÷ 20%) for a few
>> reasons, notably because it would be broken by the fact that my expenses
>> become 100% reimbursable after I hit an overall annual out-of-pocket
>> maximum of $400.
>> Is there an easy fix that I'm missing?
>> Thanks so much for your help!
>> Macho
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> --
> Edward Doolittle
> Associate Professor of Mathematics
> First Nations University of Canada
> 1 First Nations Way, Regina SK S4S 7K2
> « Toutes les fois que je donne une place vacante, je fais cent mécontents
> et un ingrat. »
> -- Louis XIV, dans Voltaire, Le Siècle de Louis XIV, Chap. XXVI

Edward Doolittle
Associate Professor of Mathematics
First Nations University of Canada
1 First Nations Way, Regina SK S4S 7K2

« Toutes les fois que je donne une place vacante, je fais cent mécontents
et un ingrat. »
-- Louis XIV, dans Voltaire, Le Siècle de Louis XIV, Chap. XXVI

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