Budgets - Hiding Accounts Not of Interest

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Budgets - Hiding Accounts Not of Interest

Matt Graham
G’day Billy and Dale,

Still processing the massive wealth of comments provided by yourselves and others! Slow going – lots of considerations going in all directions.

Both of you mentioned that you want the ability to hide specific accounts within the budget view when you aren’t interested in budgeting for them. Are you aware of the current way to ‘hide’ accounts within Gnucash? I’d love to know if this achieves your purpose or if you believe further hiding is required.

How to:
From the Account tree (main account view, not the budget view) when you right click and go ‘edit account’ the edit account window pops up. In this window is a checkbox “Hidden”. A Hidden account is typically still shown (I think this is the default), unless you go to “View” => “Filter by...”, then click on the “Other” Tab. If you unselect the “Show hidden accounts” box, then you wont see the hidden accounts.

Note that the showing/hiding of Accounts selected as “Hidden” is done separately for each display. In other words you can have hidden accounts shown in your main account tree, but not shown in your budget screen. Thus you will effectively only show accounts you are interested in within the budget whilst keeping everything for overall transaction viewing.

Another option is to set accounts not of interest to zero, then (in the same area) unselect “Show zero total accounts”. that way the zero value accounts not of interest wont be shown.

Would this solve what you were requesting in terms of only showing the budgeted accounts you are interested in?

Cheers,

Matt G
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Re: Budgets - Hiding Accounts Not of Interest

sunfish62
Matt, 
I know about hiding accounts. The thing is, I have a large number of accounts that I actively but sporadically use. Hiding them is not an appropriate solution. I have many such accounts that I don't want to include in a budget.
Perhaps the first step for a budget could be to select the accounts to include, after which only those accounts would display in the budget window? 
David

 
 
  On Wed, Dec 30, 2015 at 20:50, Matt Graham<[hidden email]> wrote:   G’day Billy and Dale,

Still processing the massive wealth of comments provided by yourselves and others! Slow going – lots of considerations going in all directions.

Both of you mentioned that you want the ability to hide specific accounts within the budget view when you aren’t interested in budgeting for them. Are you aware of the current way to ‘hide’ accounts within Gnucash? I’d love to know if this achieves your purpose or if you believe further hiding is required.

How to:
From the Account tree (main account view, not the budget view) when you right click and go ‘edit account’ the edit account window pops up. In this window is a checkbox “Hidden”. A Hidden account is typically still shown (I think this is the default), unless you go to “View” => “Filter by...”, then click on the “Other” Tab. If you unselect the “Show hidden accounts” box, then you wont see the hidden accounts.

Note that the showing/hiding of Accounts selected as “Hidden” is done separately for each display. In other words you can have hidden accounts shown in your main account tree, but not shown in your budget screen. Thus you will effectively only show accounts you are interested in within the budget whilst keeping everything for overall transaction viewing.

Another option is to set accounts not of interest to zero, then (in the same area) unselect “Show zero total accounts”. that way the zero value accounts not of interest wont be shown.

Would this solve what you were requesting in terms of only showing the budgeted accounts you are interested in?

Cheers,

Matt G
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Re: Budgets - Hiding Accounts Not of Interest

randix
sunfish hits the bullseye.  i have accounts I have no wish to hide as I use them on occasion, although not often.  that's a whole 'nother subject as to what accounts i want to see on my budget list.  apples and pineapples.
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Re: Budgets - Hiding Accounts Not of Interest

William Starrs
In reply to this post by sunfish62
Good morning all,

I must say I agree with David on this one.  I would explicitly choose
accounts to include in a given budget.  For the UI I would see the
indented account list with a checkbox column for inclusion in the budget
with the typical "Select All", "Select None" buttons to speed things up.
Some users will want to budget a majority of accounts, others that are
mainly interested in personal discretionary spending will have a very
small % to worry about.

It would be useful as well to be able to lump things together in budget
categories that do not necessarily align to the account heirarchy.  I
have to do this at work where my reports from the accounting system show
spending in many small G/L accounts.. maybe 30 of them are concerned
with facilities maintenance.  At the budget level, I care about
facilities maintenance as a whole.  Our ERP system does not take care of
this for sure, I need to extract and consolidate in Excel.  Would be nice
if that feature were in the application instead of having to
post-process.


On Thu, Dec 31, 2015 at 06:22:16AM +0000, David T. wrote:

> Matt, 
> I know about hiding accounts. The thing is, I have a large number of accounts that I actively but sporadically use. Hiding them is not an appropriate solution. I have many such accounts that I don't want to include in a budget.
> Perhaps the first step for a budget could be to select the accounts to include, after which only those accounts would display in the budget window? 
> David
>
>  
>  
>   On Wed, Dec 30, 2015 at 20:50, Matt Graham<[hidden email]> wrote:   G’day Billy and Dale,
>
> Still processing the massive wealth of comments provided by yourselves and others! Slow going – lots of considerations going in all directions.
>
> Both of you mentioned that you want the ability to hide specific accounts within the budget view when you aren’t interested in budgeting for them. Are you aware of the current way to ‘hide’ accounts within Gnucash? I’d love to know if this achieves your purpose or if you believe further hiding is required.
>
> How to:
> From the Account tree (main account view, not the budget view) when you right click and go ‘edit account’ the edit account window pops up. In this window is a checkbox “Hidden”. A Hidden account is typically still shown (I think this is the default), unless you go to “View” => “Filter by...”, then click on the “Other” Tab. If you unselect the “Show hidden accounts” box, then you wont see the hidden accounts.
>
> Note that the showing/hiding of Accounts selected as “Hidden” is done separately for each display. In other words you can have hidden accounts shown in your main account tree, but not shown in your budget screen. Thus you will effectively only show accounts you are interested in within the budget whilst keeping everything for overall transaction viewing.
>
> Another option is to set accounts not of interest to zero, then (in the same area) unselect “Show zero total accounts”. that way the zero value accounts not of interest wont be shown.
>
> Would this solve what you were requesting in terms of only showing the budgeted accounts you are interested in?
>
> Cheers,
>
> Matt G
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Re: Budgets - Hiding Accounts Not of Interest & Grouping Budget Accounts

Matt Graham
Hi Guys, You have definitely convinced me on the selecting of accounts to
budget for (and have the program not display those that the user doesn't
want to budget for). Sounds like it would be a useful feature for people to
have available.

I'm also convinced we need *something* to allow users to group accounts in a
budget separately from the normal account hierarchy. Having said that, we'll
need to ensure that the tut & concept guide and help manuals etc to ensure
users don't try to use this feature to make up for a bad account
hierarchy....

So my basic understanding is that in a budget created by the user they would
be able to outline a budget account tree that can be completely separate
from the main account tree. Every account selected to be included in the
budget must be used somewhere in this tree and can only be present once in
the tree.

So for example, even if our main account tree has our shares income under
the income branch, and shares expenses under the root expense branch, the
user can move it around  in the budget view to have a "Shares" root that has
everything for shares under the one branch of the budget... The "Shares"
root "account" does not exist in the account tree - it is only present
within the budget (so as Dale said, you can't use them in transactions)

Let me know if I have misunderstood (or you can see problems with this
approach)!

Cheers,

Matt

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Re: Budgets - Hiding Accounts Not of Interest & Grouping Budget Accounts

William Starrs
Matt,

I agree.  Budget groupings should not be used in transactions and only
exist as collectors of real accounts.  In many cases they may not be
necessary if the regular account heirarchy works (i.e. Gas, Internet,
Electric all under the Utilities umbrella).  But if a user wants to
budget at the level of "Home Expenses", he/she may want to include
utilities, and homeowner's insurance, and property taxes, and any
shopping trips to the hardware store to fix the sink.

In the main account tree, you are forced to decide one and only one way to
divide things: i.e. Should I have an Insurance account with Auto, Home,
Life, etc?  Or should Auto, Home, Life be accounts each with an
Insurance sub-account?  Hard to argue for a "best" method but having
this feature in budgeting makes up for whatever inefficiencies exist in
the account heirarchy... this does not mean necessarily that the account
heirarchy is bad, just limiting.

As long as we consider budgeting to be a read-only, reporting layer
above the core transactional data, I think we can make the concepts
clear in the docs.

Happy New Year!

Bill


On Fri, Jan 01, 2016 at 05:15:03PM +1100, Matt Graham wrote:

> Hi Guys, You have definitely convinced me on the selecting of accounts to
> budget for (and have the program not display those that the user doesn't
> want to budget for). Sounds like it would be a useful feature for people to
> have available.
>
> I'm also convinced we need *something* to allow users to group accounts in a
> budget separately from the normal account hierarchy. Having said that, we'll
> need to ensure that the tut & concept guide and help manuals etc to ensure
> users don't try to use this feature to make up for a bad account
> hierarchy....
>
> So my basic understanding is that in a budget created by the user they would
> be able to outline a budget account tree that can be completely separate
> from the main account tree. Every account selected to be included in the
> budget must be used somewhere in this tree and can only be present once in
> the tree.
>
> So for example, even if our main account tree has our shares income under
> the income branch, and shares expenses under the root expense branch, the
> user can move it around  in the budget view to have a "Shares" root that has
> everything for shares under the one branch of the budget... The "Shares"
> root "account" does not exist in the account tree - it is only present
> within the budget (so as Dale said, you can't use them in transactions)
>
> Let me know if I have misunderstood (or you can see problems with this
> approach)!
>
> Cheers,
>
> Matt
>
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Re: Budgets - Hiding Accounts Not of Interest

David Cousens
In reply to this post by Matt Graham
Hi Matt,
From an accounting perspective a budget would normally be something against which you measure current performance against your performance expectations. I would have thought that the budget accounts should match reasonably closely the account tree. It may not be as detailed as the full account tree and information may be only entered at a header level rather than at each branch level.

Providing a totally separate budget account tree is likely to hamper the ability to use a budget as a measurement tool as you would then have to provide a mapping of one tree structure into the other.  The process of hiding accounts is as I understand it, a display control ( one of the developers may be better able to clarify this). If an account exists it can be used to accumulate data whether hidden or not and its data should be reflected and measured against a budget value somewhere.

Another approach would perhaps be the ability to flag branches in the account tree as including budget data or not ( for example accounts which record business transactions in progress but would be expected to have zero balances at EOY. If a branch is flagged then all parent branches would be included in a budget by definition. If the flagged level is a header/placeholder account and there are no flagged sub-accounts then budget information for that header account  would be compared with the sum of the current data for the unflagged sub accounts. This would also allow the possibility of breaking an initial budget down further if required by unflagging the header account, flagging the sub-accounts and splitting the header account budget value appropriately between the sub accounts.

Similarly if less detail is required then the sub-accounts could be unflagged, and existing budget data coalesced into the header account.  

Where an item like share income/expenses may affect accounts in both income and expense categories in a related manner specialised tools could be developed to enter the information once and enter it into the appropriate account.
Another possibility would be to create links between income and expense categories so that the budget data could be summarised at the report level rather than at the accounting tree level under those linked categories so that projected income and expense for a category of account would be presented in a linked manner rather than in separate income and expense sections.

Accountants generally do arrange account trees with matching income expense sections in any case and in most cases the difference between income and expense compared with what is budgeted, i.e. the actual vs expected profit for an activity is of major interest.

Budget data could then be attached to/incorporated into the account data using key-value pairs with an accounting period specification as the key and amount as the value. This may be necessary for some businesses which may have monthly, quarterly or semiannual budgeting and reporting requirements or where one may want to establish performance at a finer time interval than annual, e.g. where there are significant seasonal variations in business activity across various activities. I'm pleading for non hard coding of budgeting periods in this case with maximum flexibility and the ability to match accounting practice and the variations that will be encountered there.
David Cousens
Liz
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Re: Budgets - Hiding Accounts Not of Interest

Liz
On Fri, 1 Jan 2016 17:41:11 -0800 (PST)
DaveC49 <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Hi Matt,
> From an accounting perspective a budget would normally be something
> against which you measure current performance against your
> performance expectations. I would have thought that the budget
> accounts should match reasonably closely the account tree. It may not
> be as detailed as the full account tree and information may be only
> entered at a header level rather than at each branch level.
>
> Providing a totally separate budget account tree is likely to hamper
> the ability to use a budget as a measurement tool as you would then
> have to provide a mapping of one tree structure into the other.  The
> process of hiding accounts is as I understand it, a display control
> ( one of the developers may be better able to clarify this). If an
> account exists it can be used to accumulate data whether hidden or
> not and its data should be reflected and measured against a budget
> value somewhere.


Could you be more precise and state

"From a *business* accounting perspective"

because for a home or personal budget the rest need not be of concern.

Liz
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Re: Budgets - Hiding Accounts Not of Interest

David Cousens
Hi Liz,

Point taken. I am an accountant so I do tend to think of things in business terms.
Even for personal accounting though the basic purpose and process is similar, you initially want to plan your expenditure vs income and then measure your current state against the expectation, i.e. have I earned more or less than I expected and have I spent more or less than I expected is what you wish to know.  The major difference between a home or personal budget and a business budget is largely that a business account tree is structured largely against the external reporting requirements e.g. grouping and naming of accounts and a personal or home account tree may have a simpler structure (although not necessarily depending on the complexity of your personal affairs. Someone who manages a  personal share and property portfolio could easily require a structure like any small business.

My point is that the main difference between business and personal accounting is the basic structure of the account tree and the names assigned to to accounts not any significant differences in process

Cheers

David.
David Cousens
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Re: Budgets - Hiding Accounts Not of Interest & Grouping Budget Accounts

Phil Longstaff-5
In reply to this post by Matt Graham
On Fri, Jan 1, 2016 at 1:15 AM, Matt Graham <[hidden email]>
wrote:

> Hi Guys, You have definitely convinced me on the selecting of accounts to
> budget for (and have the program not display those that the user doesn't
> want to budget for). Sounds like it would be a useful feature for people to
> have available.
>
> I'm also convinced we need *something* to allow users to group accounts in
> a budget separately from the normal account hierarchy. Having said that,
> we'll need to ensure that the tut & concept guide and help manuals etc to
> ensure users don't try to use this feature to make up for a bad account
> hierarchy....
>
>
In general, I would like to see a report-design system where I can create
my own headings, tell it where to put specific accounts, tell it where I
want totals lines, etc.


>
>
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