Granular tracking of reimbursed expenses

Macho Philipovich macho at
Sun Oct 16 19:35:59 EDT 2016

Hi Edward,

Of course, that makes sense, thanks. I haven't tried it yet, and am 
somewhat uncomfortable about the implications of creating subaccounts 
under my chequing account, but if it saves me creating a custom report, 
then it probably makes sense.

Last question: Is it necessary to create subaccounts under 
Expenses:Health, the way you've done here? It seems to me the same could 
be achieved without doing so.

Thanks again for your help,


On 2016-10-16 07:22 PM, Edward Doolittle wrote:
> 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?
> Edward
> On 16 October 2016 at 16:44, Macho Philipovich <macho at 
> <mailto: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
>>     <mailto: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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