[GNC] Customer Invoice Ledger Entries (Debits & Credits) for Freelancers?

GrantSRobertson grantsr at gmail.com
Thu Jun 17 19:07:53 EDT 2021

When entering a customer invoice, it appears that the only balancing accounts
(the non-Accounts-Receivable accounts) GnuCash will allow one to choose from
are income accounts and certain,  non-special, liability accounts. Normally,
this would be just fine for a business accounting system because businesses
accrue their income when it is earned. However, individuals (such as
freelancers) accrue their income only after it is paid. Therefore, if I am
not paid for months (it happens), then all my tax calculations will be off
because I will be paying taxes on income earned (the business way) instead
of only on income paid (the individual's way). 

If I had complete control, I would assign an Equity:Pending_Income account
as the balancing account, to show that I had "equity" but not income, up
until the time I actually get paid. Then, after I get paid, I would manually
transfer that money from that special Equity:Pending_Income account to an
appropriate income account. I recognize that when applying a payment to a
customer invoice, the only ledger entries made are the transfer from the
Assets:Accounts-Receivable account to the Assets:Whatever_Banking_Account
account. So, any other transfers/ledger-entries would need to be made by

However, because the above is not possible, I am looking for other

My first thought is to simply introduce another level to the income accounts
hierarchy. Something like:

Income:Paid   (placeholder)
                  :<all the other accounts normally under income>

I would still have to manually create a separate ledger entry to transfer
money from the Income:Pending account to the actual income account it
belongs in.

And, I would then have to figure out how to generate reports that ONLY
reported income from under the Income:Paid placeholder parent account. Would
that be too very difficult? Or would I just be creating an ever-increasing
amount of compounding complexity to my accounting workflow?

In the end, it seems GnuCash is not really designed for freelancers yet. All
assumptions are that one is operating as a business with paid employees. It
seems to me, to achieve the most flexibility, GnuCash should allow users to
custom configure the behavior of the invoice and payment features, to allow
us to automatically do whatever transfers and ledger entries we see fit to
achieve the intended goal. 

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