[GNC] Large Negative Account Total

D. sunfish62 at yahoo.com
Tue Jun 8 18:43:56 EDT 2021

Usually, income accounts and expense accounts are placed in different top level hierarchies (Income and Expenses, respectively). Rearranging the accounts to segregate these would be a first step to gaining some clarity. 

-------- Original Message --------
From: Jim DeLaHunt <list+gnucash at jdlh.com>
Sent: Tue Jun 08 17:23:55 EDT 2021
To: gnucash-user at gnucash.org
Subject: Re: [GNC] Large Negative Account Total


On 2021-06-08 14:04, Jack Frillman via gnucash-user wrote:
> …The parent account "Investment Misc" is an expense account and is 
> marked as a place holder account.…
> …In my account tabs the "Investment Misc" parent account shows a 
> negative amount. (-$70 K range) …
> Questions:
> + What can I do to get the large negative amount for the Investment 
> Misc parent account not to be negative?

Off the top of my head, I will guess that it is a sign that your 
investments are successful. Think about the signs of an expense-type 
account. You spend money, money goes out, the transaction has a positive 
sign. You get a refund, money comes in, the transaction has a negative 
sign. You get lots of refunds, you have a large credit in your 
expense-type account, you have a negative balance.

The parent account "Investment Misc" is a expense-type account. If the 
total of all transactions in its child accounts adds up to money coming 
in, then the "Investment Misc" account ought to show a negative balance, 
right?  It's a good thing! You have money!

Someone who knows accounting theory could probably explain this in terms 
of credits and debits to Equity and Assets. I think I have heard that 
Expense and Income, and positive and negative signs, are a layer of ease 
of use on top of these fundamentals.

An experiment to try would be to redesignate "Investment Misc" as an 
Income-type account. That might flip the sign of the account total.

> …I didn't what to go willy-nilly changing things in fear of really 
> messing things up.

Remember, every time you quit GnuCash, it makes a backup of your book 
file. If you want to try an experiment, you can:

1. Quit GnuCash.

2. Make a copy of the book file

3. Start GnuCash.

4. Try your experiment.

5. See if you like the results of the experiment.

6. If you do, keep using the new book. If you do not, then quit Gnucash, 
delete the most recent copy of your book file, and replace it with the 
copy you saved. Then restart GnuCash.

Best regards,
     —Jim DeLaHunt

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