Use of lots for gains/losses when using multiple currencies

Wm... wm_o_o_o at
Mon Oct 17 14:31:29 EDT 2016

On 03/10/2016 15:23, Stefan Söffing wrote:
> Dear all,
> I'm trying to use separate accounts to track cash in foreign currencies
> (mostly the cash I spend during vacations). Now I'd need to get my
> balance right and I was playing with the "lots" feature to do so.

Trading accounts do this better, whether you use them or not depends on
how many currency tx you have and how often they occur and how exact
they need to be.

Easiest way to check Trading accounts is start a new book and try a few
tx and see if they look more how you expect.

> First of all: I haven't found much documentation about it. What is its
> status, is it considered a stable feature - should I use it at all?
> Second I'm having some trouble in using it, here's the situation:
> Usually I'll have transactions from my credit card (base currency - EUR)
> to the foreign currency cash account (rate is determined by credit card
> company). 

sounds ok

> Then I'll spend some of the money, say on food - which is an
> expense account also in base currency. I'll use up-to-date exchange rate
> at the time when I spend the money, which is probably different than
> when I pulled the cash out of the ATM.

For food and other consumable things it doesn't really matter what the
rate is so long as you decrease the correct amount of money in the
actual currency spent.

> I understand that I'll need to account for gains/losses explicitly 

why? unless there is a traded commodity on *both* ends of a tx it is
best not to bother, a house or an artwork is another story, of course.
the EUR value of the meal you paid for in PLN is arbitrary

> and
> that the "lots" feature is supposed to assist. However, in my case, it
> seems not to be able to assign lots, since the "value" attributed to the
> splits is sometimes given in base currency (EUR), sometimes in foreign
> currency (PLN in this example). See the screen-shot attached.

trading accounts avoids that, also no screen shot when your message got
to me

> It seems that it depends on from which account the transactions are
> created, since this determines whether the exchange rate is saved as EUR
> -> PLN or PLN -> EUR. The value used for lot tracking is determined by
> the first currency used in the exchange rate dialog.

the exchange rate should be the same regardless of direction at a point
in time, use the reciprocal (1/[rate] = [other_rate]) to check

> My impression is that I can work around that by entering the transaction
> always in the base currency account. But that's quite inconvenient when
> I want to enter the amount of foreign currency cash spent and use
> GnuCash's built-in conversion tool.

spending from the foreign currency account seems more natural to me but
either way you get a chance to convert at an amount or a rate and maybe
using amount rather than rate would suit these tx better

> I'd by very happy if someone could enlighten me. Thanks a lot.

Hopefully some choices


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