D. sunfish62 at yahoo.com
Tue Jun 1 10:23:07 EDT 2021


Welcome to gnucash. 

The question about imbalance entries goes back a long ways in GnuCash, and you can find discussions about it in the lists over the years. 

Essentially, the debate boils down to this: is it better to allow a user to enter an imbalanced transaction and automatically create the balancing entry in a dummy account (Imbalance-XXX generically speaking), or should the program nag the user to balance the transaction every time? Gnucash choose the former many years ago, and has stuck with that model since. 


-------- Original Message --------
From: menace at fastmail.fm
Sent: Tue Jun 01 10:04:09 EDT 2021
To: gnucash-user at gnucash.org

Michael wrote 

" automatically-generated entries for Imbalance-USD would be placed in my existing Imbalance-USD account, which is located under Special Accounts. "

First, thank you to the developers of GnuCash.  I started using it a couple of months ago to replace Quicken because it drove me nuts with its constant nagging to update to a new version, and because I could not get the Quicken version I owned to work on my Windows 10 computers. It still works on my Win 7 computer, but that's it.   I've been very happy with GnuCash - you all have done a very nice job.  I also use QuickBooks for my business accounting and may end up switching those over to GnuCash at some point.

As I've been reading the discussion about the imbalance account, it occurred to me to ask why GnuCash allows entries that are out of balance?  In theory and practice, we should not have entries that don't balance...credits should equal debits...and if they don't, we have an error in the entry.  And not that I would say QuickBooks is a work of art, but it doesn't allow one to make an entry that doesn't balance.  In other words, it forces the user to at least consciously assign an imbalance to an account (either an already existing one or a new one.  This allows one to fudge the entry if one doesn't know the answer in that moment and then go find out the answer and fix the entry later).  But, the user is "on notice" that there was a problem with the entry.

As the discussion about the Imbalance account highlights, GnuCash does allow an out of balance entry.  This automatic action may easily be missed if one doesn't quickly the develop the habit of checking the Imbalance account.  

I'm simply curious, why doesn't GnuCash prevent these entries to begin with?

Thank you for your time to answer in advance, Laura
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