[GNC] Budget Questions and Observations

Christopher Lam christopher.lck at gmail.com
Thu Dec 12 03:08:07 EST 2019

First, what is your global Reverse Balanced preference (Edit / Preference /
Accounts / Reversed Balance)?

On Thu, 12 Dec 2019 at 07:07, Tommy Trussell <tommy.trussell at gmail.com>

> Does anyone use the Budget features in GnuCash? I have been giving it a try
> and am finding some aspects quite puzzling. I have never been trained in
> budgets so maybe I need to read up on some particular methodology to make
> better sense of it. Maybe someone can weigh in with some background.
> A few weeks ago I asked about the lack of account codes in budgets and
> budget reports and got no response. I wasn't surprised as I am sure very
> few folks use account codes in GnuCash. I did open bug #797489.
> https://bugs.gnucash.org/show_bug.cgi?id=797489
> My greatest astonishment with Budgets has been that all the INCOME numbers
> on the budget show as NEGATIVE. Is this by design? I have concluded this
> must be a bug, but maybe I'm doing something wrong, so I thought I would
> ask here before reporting it.
> As a result of the negative income figures, to project budgeted income I
> have to enter income figures into the budget as negatives. Regardless the
> budgeted and actuals (by default) "normally" get displayed RED. (!) Then
> when I'm looking at the numbers, I have to tell myself that when looking at
> incomes, negative (red) incomes and differences are "good" and positive
> (black) income difference numbers are "bad." Is that right? I'm never
> certain. But I'm easily confused. Well, needless to say budgeted income
> numbers are darned hard to read.
> I keep wanting a way to pair up particular income and expense accounts in a
> budget so they offset each other. I realize this may be beyond the scope of
> the budget feature, but that one thing would it a lot easier to track
> encumbered or designated funds. (The budget I'm working with is for a
> church.) While I'm wishing, maybe budget and actual income and expense
> amounts could be grouped and added or subtracted usefully using some
> additional factor, such as account codes or search strings.
> When entering budget amounts it would sometimes be useful to be able to
> enter one annual amount OR separate monthly budget amounts. But even with
> the existing design, when entering budget figures over multiple months it
> would be great if GnuCash could handle the math rather than having to
> divide by 12 on a calculator. At the very least it could parse math
> expressions like it does in the registers. I opened bug #727488 for this
> one.
> https://bugs.gnucash.org/show_bug.cgi?id=797488
> GnuCash contains several specialized Budget reports... but I suspect most
> haven't been fully implemented or tested. (I haven't opened any bugs for
> the following.)
> The "Budget Report" works pretty well, but if you turn on all the columns
> and try to print it, you lose everything off the right side. (In other
> words, the report paginates properly vertically, but not horizontally.)
> Fortunately the Budget Report exports quite easily, so I can turn on as
> many columns I want and export the report and import it into a spreadsheet.
> With reformatting (like changing fonts and freezing column and row
> headings), a spreadsheet is a great way to view the budget numbers.
> Unfortunately copying and pasting into a spreadsheet from this report
> doesn't work reliably. You have to use the export feature.
> The Budget Chart report works, after a fashion. But its two chart options
> are limited and inflexible. I suspect exporting the Budget Report to a
> spreadsheet would be a better basis for generating charts.
> I am not certain I understand the purpose of the "Budget Income Statement"
> or "Budget Profit & Loss" They seem to show only budgeted amounts, not
> actuals. Are they intended to "test" a proposed budget for sanity? My
> negative budget amounts to workaround the negative income numbers (noted
> above) are not compatible with these reports because they work just the
> same as GnuCash's regular reports elsewhere.
> The "Budget Balance Sheet" and "Budget Flow" reports ... I do not
> understand how these reports could ever be used. What is the effective date
> of the Balance Sheet? It's not labeled, nor is it adjustable (unless I
> missed something). The flow report has no label to show the selected budget
> period, and no labels over the columns, so even if it contains some useful
> data, it's inscrutable. Furthermore, the flow report provides only a very
> limited period display option -- just one period at a time, no multiple
> period options.
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