Average Balance Report

David T. sunfish62 at yahoo.com
Wed Oct 19 00:41:43 EDT 2016

> On Oct 18, 2016, at 11:28 PM, Wm via gnucash-user <gnucash-user at gnucash.org> wrote:
> On 18/10/2016 13:32, David T. via gnucash-user wrote:
>>> On Oct 18, 2016, at 5:17 PM, David T. via gnucash-user <gnucash-user at gnucash.org> wrote:
>>> I thought I’d dig into describing a few reports on the Using Gnucash wiki page, and started working on the “Average Balance” report. However, I ran into some difficulty. Could someone explain this report to me? I am curious, because it doesn’t really look like it shows averages of balances; rather, it appears to me to show the monthly value of Equity, as represented by the combination of Assets and Liabilities. If I am right, then is this report appropriately named? Would it be more correct to call it “Monthly Equity” or something similar? If I am misunderstanding, then I appreciate being set straight.
>> IN reply to myself, I now see that the “Average” is the Average over that given month. I discovered this when I added the Table at the bottom. 
>> I would still like some clarification about this; what is the primary purpose of the report? Is this report more useful than, say, taking the balance on the first day of each month? 
>> Furthermore, with the table loaded, I see figures that don’t make sense to me—specifically, the difference between monthly average figures and profit don’t match. This is understandable, given that the profit is a tallying of Gain and Loss for the month. However, it does look odd to show differences in Average and include an absolute Profit figure that differs from the balance changes.
> I think of this as one of those reports that was there at the start and
> no-one has ever used or looked at since.
> The Scheme
> \share\gnucash\scm\gnucash\report\standard-reports\average-balance.scm
> is quite well documented and says
> ===
> ;; average-balance.scm
> ;; Report history of account balance and other info
> ==
> ;; analyze-splits crunches a split list into a set of period
> ;; summaries.  Each summary is a list of (start-date end-date
> ;; avg-bal max-bal min-bal total-in total-out net) if multiple
> ;; accounts are selected the balance is the sum for all.  Each
> ;; balance in a foreign currency will be converted to a double in
> ;; the report-currency by means of the monetary->double
> ;; function.
> ===
>    ;; calculate the statistics for one interval - returns a list
>    ;;  containing the following:
>    ;; min-max acculumator
>    ;; average-accumulator
>    ;; gain-loss accumulator
>    ;; final balance for this interval
>    ;; splits remaining to be processed.
> ===
> i.e. it does what it does rather than being a _thing_ like a Balance Sheet.
> My favourite curiosities are the Inc & Exp vs Day of Week, that would
> never get added today if anyone thought about it.


WRT the Avg Balance report, perhaps you are right, and maybe it is like the two Day-of-Week reports—apparent vestiges of a time when someone said, “Well, what kinds of things can I do with this data, now that I’ve got it?”

Since these reports don’t seem to serve any actual accounting need, perhaps they would be better placed either in the Sample & Custom report group—or perhaps all of these example reports would be best moved to the wiki, and not included in the main package in the first place. The fact is, most users nowadays, I would hazard, are not actually going to dig into writing Scheme reports, and including these reports in the main package mainly serves to complicate matters. Many users would have a challenge even knowing where to find the source files in the first place (I know I do!).

Including them on the wiki allows those few who are looking to write Scheme.


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> Wm
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