2021-01-19 GnuCash IRC logs
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07:21:51 <finster> hello. using gnucash 4.4. is there a way to disallow gnucash to delete accounting records?
08:00:32 <warlord> You can set a "don't modify before __" date. But no, there is no way to completely prevent deletion of records. NB, someone could just go into the data file and remove transactions, so I don't know how you would enforce it.
08:00:52 <warlord> Our recommendation, finster, is to periodically write the data to write-only media (like a CD-ROM)
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09:03:56 <psusi> So I wanted to keep separate books for the year 2021. I thought I could just start a new ledger and put in opening balances of whatever I had at the end of 2020, but the opening balance tab for my stock ledger is greyed out. Why?
09:40:54 <warlord> psusi, O-B is just a "standard" transaction to Equity. There is nothing magic about it. The UI to generate the O-B only exists during "New Account" creation. Once the account exists, you need to enter the O-B txn as you would any other txn.
09:41:18 <warlord> NB: there is no need to create new books for the new year. GnuCash will happily continue, and reports will be able to show you current year.
09:41:38 <warlord> If you DO restart, it will be hard(er) to look back at old data.
09:41:45 <warlord> FWIW, my personal data goes back to 2007.
09:43:17 <psusi> ohh... maybe I should look at the reports then I guess... but I'm creating a new account and it doesn't give the opening balance tab as an option when I select stock as the account type
09:43:42 <psusi> other account types work, just not stock
09:45:49 <warlord> Probably because for stocks you need more data for the O-B, so it makes you enter it manually.
09:46:07 <warlord> FWIW, I've never used the auto-O-B functionality; I have always entered the O-B by hand.
09:46:50 <psusi> so far I've just been looking at the current balance and comparing it with the opening balances that I started with... I just hit the profit and loss report and it appears to default ot YTD. how can I look at the previous year:?
09:48:12 <warlord> Like all reports -- set the report options.
09:48:44 <warlord> note with stock you need # shares and total value for O-B.
09:49:45 <psusi> where do you set options?
09:51:18 <warlord> Click the "options" toolbar button (looks like a wrench).
09:51:25 <psusi> for that matter profit and loss seems to only be looking at my fees and interest accounts, not the stock
09:52:50 <warlord> Correct, P&L only looks and Income and Expense accounts.
09:53:55 <psusi> Is there one that can show how much profit I've made trading stock? or maybe more generally, account balance vs the negative equity?
09:55:14 <psusi> for that matter, why is the opening balance pulled from an "equity" account that has a positive balance instead of a negative one?
09:55:16 <warlord> Stock trades should always touch an Income or Expense account for Cap Gains (Losses). So if you account for your trades properly they will show up on the P&L
09:55:48 <warlord> GnuCash displays a reverse-balance on some accounts. See your Edit -> Preferences
09:55:53 <psusi> I set up a cash account and a stock account and all of the trades move between the two
09:56:02 <warlord> .. for accounts that are normally "negative"
09:56:44 <warlord> When you sell, you should have 4 splits to the sale transaction: Base Sale, Cash Out, Basis Adjustment, and Income/Loss
09:57:43 <psusi> hrm... not sure what you mean... buy transactions are positive shares at price for total buy value in the stock account
09:58:03 <psusi> and conversely they show as a withdrawl from the cash account
10:00:16 <psusi> I also set up a fees account and interest account to transfer between those and cash
10:00:16 <warlord> psusi, I say "when you sell", not "when you buy"
10:00:27 <warlord> s/say/said
10:00:37 <warlord> Yes, when you buy, it is a simple transaction
10:00:50 <psusi> sells in stock are just the reverse: negative shares, value in the sell column, and cash shows it as a deposit
10:00:50 <warlord> But when you SELL, you need to account for the gain/loss, or it will throw your books out of balance.
10:01:01 <warlord> psusi, and I am telling you that's wrong.
10:01:02 <psusi> how so?
10:01:24 <psusi> if I sell at a gain, then cash ends up with the gain added to its balance
10:01:44 <warlord> When you sell, you need to have negative shares and value, cash deposit to bank, but you ALSO need to account for the change in Basis & Gain/Loss
10:01:56 <warlord> But that gain needs to come from somewhere.
10:02:05 <warlord> and you're not accounting for that
10:04:40 <warlord> Simple example. You buy 10 shares of X at $10 each. So you have a transaction that looks like: credit bank $100; debit stock X10.
10:04:53 <psusi> hrm... I'm just not able to see this structure you're trying to describe.. if I buy 100 shares using money from the cash account at 1$, cash shows a withdrawl of $100... now later when I sell 100 shares at $2, you're saying that sohuld look like what now?
10:05:09 <warlord> Now you sell 5 shares at $20 each.
10:05:53 <psusi> isn't that backwards? If you are debiting the stock and crediting the bank, that's a sell of shares?
10:06:57 <warlord> So you have a transaction that credits stock 5X (-5 shares) @ $20, and debits cash $100. BUT now you have to account for the change in basis. Those 5 shares were bought at $10 and sold at $20, so of the $100, $50 is gain. So you need to account for that $50 gain as well via two more splits, one to Income and the other to stock.
10:07:16 <warlord> No. Debit increases Asset, Credit decreases Asset.
10:07:39 <psusi> right... and if you are buying shares, it is the stock that should be credited
10:07:41 <warlord> Your Bank considers your account a Liability, and your bank statement is from THEIR PoV, not yours... So the labels are reversed.
10:07:48 <psusi> because you are increasing the amount of stock you own
10:07:53 <warlord> re-read what I said.
10:07:58 <warlord> DEBIT increases.
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10:08:16 <psusi> wait... what? no?
10:08:23 <warlord> so when you buy stock, you DEBIT stock (and credit cash)
10:08:53 <psusi> that's back asswards
10:09:15 <warlord> Sorry, no... Your bank has confused you.
10:09:38 <warlord> (a very normal reaction, mind you -- quite common)
10:09:53 <psusi> Deposit = Credit, Withdrawl = debit
10:10:01 <warlord> Anyways, the point remains, when you sell stock, you need to account for the gain/loss and basis change .
10:10:11 <warlord> sorry, psusi, that is incorrect.
10:10:30 <warlord> From YOUR side to a bank or other asset, Deposit == Debit; withdrawal == credit
10:10:53 <warlord> From THEIR side (where your account is a liability), a deposit is a credit and a withdrawal is a debit.
10:11:07 <warlord> this is why pepole have it backwards.
10:11:16 <warlord> Your bank statement shows it from the BANK side, not YOUR side.
10:11:30 <psusi> well... yea.. why would you think of it the other way?
10:13:23 <warlord> Why would I think of what, which other way?
10:14:00 <psusi> why would you think of it from the other side rather than the cash account side, where a credit/deposit means an increase in balance?
10:14:36 <psusi> sure, a credit here is paired with a debit elsewhere, but if we're talking about the cash account, why would you think of it as a debit?
10:14:39 <warlord> No, for a cash account, a DEBIT (deposit) increases the balance.
10:14:49 <warlord> because that's what it is
10:15:00 <warlord> For a cash account, a debit increases it.
10:15:02 <psusi> only from the OTHER account's perspective
10:15:09 <warlord> No, from YOUR perspective.
10:15:26 <warlord> If I deposit a check into my bank account, *I* am debiting MY asset account.
10:16:05 <warlord> psusi, try https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwit_eaDpajuAhXPs1kKHTeiBUAQFjABegQIChAC&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.accountingtools.com%2Farticles%2F2017%2F5%2F17%2Fdebits-and-credits&usg=AOvVaw0FszNHN1lZWy8iDji5keVh
10:16:18 <warlord> or better: https://www.accountingtools.com/articles/2017/5/17/debits-and-credits
10:16:43 <warlord> DEBIT increases Asset
10:16:51 <warlord> a bank account is an asset (to you)
10:17:03 <warlord> So when you account for depositing a check into your bank account, you DEBIT it.
10:17:21 <psusi> hrm.... weird.
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10:19:12 <warlord> Like I said, most people learn it backwards because they learn the terms from their bank statements. But those bank statements are from the BANK's perspective. Your account at the bank isn't an aseet to the bank, it is a liability (they owe you that money). So when you deposit into it, you are increasing their liability to you, which is a credit.
10:19:38 <warlord> (a credit from the bank's point of view)
10:19:54 <warlord> which --balances-- the debit from your point of view.
10:20:06 <warlord> And all is right in the world, because debits == credits :)
10:20:23 <warlord> value is neither created nor destroyed when it moves from one form to another.
10:21:16 <warlord> ... which brings us back to your original issue -- when you buy stock at $10/share and sell at $20/share, that increase in value needs to come from somewhere -- because value can be neither created nor destroyed as the value changes form (from stock to cash).
10:21:36 <psusi> wait a second... dictionary says debit: an entry recording an amount owed, and a payment made or owed... whe I deposit money into the bank account, the bank ledger records that they owe me money... which should be a debit wouldn't it?
10:21:37 <warlord> So you need to account for that change in value via a split to Income (gain) and back to the stock (basis)
10:22:31 <psusi> meh... I guess it's all a matter of perspective... screw it.. let's go on
10:22:36 <warlord> Yes, it is recording money owed to you. When you deposit $100 in a bank, you are recording that the bank owes you $100
10:23:55 <psusi> so when I sell the stock, it should deposit only the cost basis to the orignal account, and any gains to a different account?
10:25:48 <warlord> Not quite. A sale transaction requires 4 splits:
10:25:58 <warlord> 1) credit stock (removing stock from the stock account)
10:26:12 <warlord> 2) debit cash (the total sale amount you receive)
10:26:31 <warlord> 3) credit gain
10:26:39 <psusi> ok, those two I get when I add a saleentry to the stock
10:26:42 <warlord> 4) debit stock basis == gain
10:27:05 <warlord> 3 is an Income account
10:27:31 <warlord> 4 is the same stock account, adjusting the "value" in the stock account without changing the # shares.
10:27:59 <warlord> back to my original example: buy 10X @ $10 == $100; sell 5X @ $20 == $100.
10:28:04 <psusi> how does that last part work? the value is number of shares * market price isn't it?
10:29:16 <warlord> So 1 is -5X @ $20 ($100 total value); #2 is $100 into cash; #3 is $50 to Income:Cap Gain; #4 is 0X value $50
10:29:50 <warlord> GnuCash only stores #shares and $total. The price is always computed. So you can enter 0 shares for $50 total, and that's okay.
10:30:27 <psusi> yea, but where did you withdraw the $50 from?
10:31:58 <warlord> It's all 1 transaction. That $50 is coming from income.
10:32:14 <psusi> I thought it went *to* income?
10:32:17 <warlord> (Income and Expense accounts are the "magic" that lets you bring value into or send value out of your books)
10:32:39 <psusi> ok, it comes from income, but where does it go to? what's the other end?
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10:34:11 <psusi> like, I don't see a cost basis in the stock account
10:34:18 <psusi> it only seems to maintain a running balance of number of shares
10:36:05 <warlord> It maintains running balance of number of shares, but it ALSO maintains the "total value" put into the stock account. If you buy 10X@ $10 ($100) and then sell 5X @ $20 ($100), then you technically now have 5 shares that you bought for nothing.
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10:36:27 <warlord> But that's not right. Your basis in the remaining 5 shares is $50, so you need to account for the change in basis.
10:37:07 <psusi> I don't see that when I view the stock account... I don't see a basis or total value anywhere
10:37:24 <warlord> You COULD do it in 3 splits, but then you lose the sale-price. (E.g., sell 5X @ $10; gain $50; cash-out $100)
10:37:38 <warlord> No, it's not shown to you, but it's there.
10:37:50 <warlord> you have to manually add up all the entries in the "value" column
10:38:43 <psusi> so how do you have a transactoion that takes out the value to the gains account, but doesn't move any shares?
10:39:09 <psusi> the stock window seems to want shares * price = buy/sell amount
10:41:17 <psusi> ohh... I see... total value minus opening balance = gains
10:41:46 <warlord> Yes... And you need to account for those gains and "adjust" the basis.
10:41:53 <psusi> but it doesn't show total value after each transaction
10:42:17 <warlord> Correct.. GnuCash does not show that to you currently.
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10:42:42 <warlord> So you need to figure it out and account for it. Or turn on Trading Accounts, and I think GnuCash will somewhat account for that for you.
10:43:54 <psusi> so if I make a a gains account and transfer that difference there, that should make current value = opening balances, and all of the gains will be pulled out to that account?
10:44:44 <warlord> In my simple example of 10X@$10, the total basis starts at $100. Then you sell 5X@$20, for a sale of $100. But the basis of each share is $50, so you reduce your basis by $50, so the remaining basis is $50..
10:45:04 <psusi> for some reason the accounts view doesn't show the total value... it's just mentioned at the end of the transactoins view
10:45:34 <warlord> You can add that column to the CoA. there is a pull-down on the right side to add columns.
10:45:49 <psusi> right but gnucash can't keep track of the basis of specific lots of shares right?
10:47:59 <warlord> It can, under the hood.
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10:49:50 <psusi> so I think I see your method, but why is that any more correct than just leaving the accumulated gains in the brokerage account rather than shifting them over to the income account?
10:50:48 <psusi> wait, I still also don't understand how you can subtract the gains from the stock account without changing the number of shares
10:51:06 <warlord> C.F. "value cannot be created out of thin air"
10:51:37 <warlord> You put $100 of value into the stock account, then pull out $100 of value... But you still have stock left over, so that extra value had to come from somewhere.
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10:51:47 <psusi> except in the "magic" accounts?
10:51:47 <warlord> The only place value can "come from" is Income
10:51:52 <warlord> right
10:52:41 <psusi> so what I'm hearing is that gnucash lets you magically create value in income accounts, and that should be the only place. But it also lets you do it in stock accounts, but you shouldn't do that, so instead you should transfer that to an income account.
10:53:44 <psusi> ok, let me try making this income account and see how the heck you do it
10:54:28 <warlord> close enough...
10:57:13 <psusi> ohh... right... there's also a difference between realized and unrealized capital gains... and moving the gains after every sale is the only way you can keep those two separate
10:58:06 <warlord> Yep!!
10:58:29 <warlord> You need to account for realized gains via Income accounts
10:59:44 <psusi> ok, so how do you do that? I tried and ended up with what looks like a buy of some wierd fractional number of shares in the stock account
11:00:05 <psusi> like I said, AFAICS, you can't have a transfer of value out of the stock account without reducing the number of shares
11:01:58 <warlord> Sure you can.
11:02:27 <psusi> ohh.. I found some knob that made it leave the shares and price blank... ok.. didn't know you could do that
11:03:05 <warlord> In the stock register, expand the transaction, then on the blank split line enter in the account, then tab to shares and enter 0. Then tab to buy (or sell) and input the basis offset.
11:03:34 <psusi> but why is it showing up as a buy in the stock account and has not changed the value at all?
11:03:41 <warlord> So long as you only two 2 of the 4 columns (shares, price, buy, sell) then gnucash will do the right thing.
11:04:12 <psusi> ahh, I started on the capital gains end and added an income entry to the stock
11:04:25 <warlord> Because the register shows all splits into the account, and this is a split that adjusts the basis (which changes the total value without changing the total amount (# shares).
11:04:46 <psusi> right, but the total amount didn't get changed
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11:07:00 <psusi> even though I have a positive balance in capital gains account now, the stock's current value hasn't changed, and that plus the value of the remaining cash in the brokerage account still differs from the opening balances by the amount in gains
11:07:16 <warlord> If by "amount" you mean "# shares" -- yes.
11:07:38 <psusi> no, I mean the current value
11:07:56 <warlord> Can you take a screen shot of this sale transaction and post it somewhere I can see it?
11:09:04 <psusi> probably easier to type it: transfer: caital gains, shares: price: buy: 7969.54, balance: 2973 ( same as prev )
11:10:10 <psusi> the gains side shows: transfer: scwab:irmd, charge: income: 7969.54, balance: 7969.54
11:10:28 <warlord> Right, because #shares is 0... So balance (which is denoted in # shares) wont change
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11:11:11 <warlord> Did *that* balance change?
11:11:26 <psusi> yes, that's the only transaction in capital gains
11:11:48 <warlord> okay.
11:12:13 <warlord> The only thing I would add it is, generally, one would combine this transaction with the sale transaction -- making it a single, 4-split transaction.
11:12:25 <psusi> you can do that?
11:12:48 <psusi> I thought always two there were, no more, no less
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11:14:58 <warlord> Yes, absolutely you can do that.
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11:15:13 <warlord> It is not "always 2".. It is "at least 2"..
11:15:24 <warlord> The important thing, however, is that total credits == total debits
11:15:48 <psusi> interesting
11:17:25 <psusi> but doing it that way would mean I would have to look up the cost basis and capital gains on each lot of shares sold and put that in at the time, right? I don't really want to go back and re-enter all of the trades I've made over the last year
11:18:41 <psusi> hrm.. I wonder why that transfer isn't adjusting the current value of the stock account
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11:20:18 <warlord> Where are you seeing "current value" of the stock account.
11:20:25 <psusi> wait... using your method, how do you reinvest the gains into buying more stock?
11:20:37 <warlord> If you mean in the CoA -- that is only showing you stock balance * current price from PriceDB
11:21:09 <psusi> both in the accounts tab ( balance usd column ) and the footer of the stock balance sheet when I open it
11:21:13 <warlord> I would do a BUY transaction from Income:Dividends -> Stock
11:21:48 <warlord> Yeah, those values are balance * price, not sum-of-basis. We probably should add a basis display somewhere.
11:22:06 <psusi> that's why I have: transfer: capital gains, buy: 7969.54
11:23:17 <psusi> ohh, yuo mean after moving the gains out, you'd move them back in as a buy that actually buys stock?
11:34:26 <warlord> Or don't even move them out if it's a direct Income -> new shares
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11:37:42 <warlord> Your input into gnucash should model real life. For example, if you sell share of X for a gain, why would you go re-invest them in X?
11:37:50 <warlord> That just doesn't make sense.
11:42:54 <psusi> I think I got it now... I just wish I could actually *see* the cost basis figure
11:43:33 <psusi> I would go re-invest them in X because the market price has come back down so I can buy them back low, then sell later when it goes high ;)
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12:02:12 <warlord> I believe if you run with Trading Accounts it will show you the cost basis.. I think.
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19:55:56 <tom> I have a handful of invoices that are marked unpaid that have payments that are listed as prepayments. How do I tie these payments to the invoices?
19:55:56 <gncbot> tom: Sent 11 weeks, 2 days, 0 hours, and 18 minutes ago: <chris> and jralls in the import matcher you can rubberband multiple imported splits to assign to a different account. i often do this after sorting by description.
19:58:26 <tom> I should add that these were months ago, and I have reconciled accounts since then, if that matters.
20:10:25 <warlord> tom, you can apply the transaction as payment.. Should still be able to do it even after you recociled.
20:11:34 <tom> How do I do that?
20:14:03 <tom> Actually, that was enough, I found it in the transactions right click menu. Thank you for the help!
20:14:38 <warlord> you're welcome!
20:19:13 <tom> One more question. Is there a way to run a Customer Report on all customers? And if so, with non-default options, perhaps from a saved configuration?
20:26:54 <chris> tom: no
20:27:40 <tom> Okay. I appreciate the help.
20:27:46 <chris> warlord: stock txns are waiting for https://github.com/Gnucash/gnucash/pull/818 to be complete... aims to handle majority stock activity
20:28:31 <chris> tom: usually you'd use the receivables aging report as a dashboard
20:37:02 <tom> I'll take a look at that. Another approach that just came to mind, that would give me what I need what I believe is in an easier manner. Is there a way to export an income account to a csv?
20:37:59 <tom> What I am trying to do, if maybe there is a better way, is to print donations for receipts to donaters for the year.
20:38:13 <tom> If I can get a csv I can easily write code that will do exactly what I want.
20:41:09 <tom> I found it!
20:41:24 <tom> I think I'll leave y'all be for the night. Thanks again for the help.
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