[GNC] Basic Question (I hope) - End of Year Procedure

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[GNC] Basic Question (I hope) - End of Year Procedure

Jennym
Hi

I only started using GNUCash last April for simple, personal accounting, so
I'm at the 'basic' stage. I'm using it with:

a) Current bank account
b) Two credit card accounts
c) Personal Wallet
d) Three income accounts
e) Normal household accounts
f) Budgeting (manually entered, not automatic via the system)

So what I'd like to do:  Retain all of 2018 accounts (having them to hand
for easy access), but have them zeroed for 2019.

My worry is that if I do anything wrong, there's no historical 'undo' button
to backtrack.

Would really appreciate any advice. (Basic of course). Thank you








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Re: [GNC] Basic Question (I hope) - End of Year Procedure

GnuCash - User mailing list
Hello,
Welcome to gnucash, if rather belatedly. 
Your question is one that comes up at this time of the year, and can generate quite a bit of responses. You should definitely read the wiki page on this subject: 
Closing Books - GnuCash  
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Closing Books - GnuCash
 

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Best,David
 
  On Mon, Dec 24, 2018 at 10:32, Jennym<[hidden email]> wrote:   Hi

I only started using GNUCash last April for simple, personal accounting, so
I'm at the 'basic' stage. I'm using it with:

a) Current bank account
b) Two credit card accounts
c) Personal Wallet
d) Three income accounts
e) Normal household accounts
f) Budgeting (manually entered, not automatic via the system)

So what I'd like to do:  Retain all of 2018 accounts (having them to hand
for easy access), but have them zeroed for 2019.

My worry is that if I do anything wrong, there's no historical 'undo' button
to backtrack.

Would really appreciate any advice. (Basic of course). Thank you








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Re: [GNC] Basic Question (I hope) - End of Year Procedure

GnuCash - User mailing list

Apologies.  My mail program ate the link. 
wiki.gnucash.org/wiki/Closing_Books
 
 
  On Mon, Dec 24, 2018 at 13:46, David T. via gnucash-user<[hidden email]> wrote:   Hello,
Welcome to gnucash, if rather belatedly. 
Your question is one that comes up at this time of the year, and can generate quite a bit of responses. You should definitely read the wiki page on this subject: 
Closing Books - GnuCash 



|  |    |

  |

  |

|  | 
Closing Books - GnuCash
 

  |  |

  |

  |

 
Best,David
 
  On Mon, Dec 24, 2018 at 10:32, Jennym<[hidden email]> wrote:  Hi

I only started using GNUCash last April for simple, personal accounting, so
I'm at the 'basic' stage. I'm using it with:

a) Current bank account
b) Two credit card accounts
c) Personal Wallet
d) Three income accounts
e) Normal household accounts
f) Budgeting (manually entered, not automatic via the system)

So what I'd like to do:  Retain all of 2018 accounts (having them to hand
for easy access), but have them zeroed for 2019.

My worry is that if I do anything wrong, there's no historical 'undo' button
to backtrack.

Would really appreciate any advice. (Basic of course). Thank you








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Re: [GNC] Basic Question (I hope) - End of Year Procedure

David Cousens
In reply to this post by Jennym
Jenny
As well as the wiki that David T mentioned the help manual also has a
section on closing the books:

https://www.gnucash.org/docs/v3/C/gnucash-help/tool-close-book.html
and the wiki:
https://wiki.gnucash.org/wiki/Closing_Books .

Gnucash's report structure is also capable of preparing standard end of year
type reports without having to perform a formal closing of the books as per
standard accounting practice. The main function in a business is to transfer
the profit into equity in the case of a business and deal with tax and other
matters which might depend upon the profit for the period. For personal
accounts this may not really be necessary.

David Cousens





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Re: [GNC] Basic Question (I hope) - End of Year Procedure

Mike or Penny Novack-4
On 12/24/2018 4:22 AM, David Cousens wrote:
> Jenny
> As well as the wiki that David T mentioned the help manual also has a
> section on closing the books:
>
I will add something to this because of your "no magic undo button"

There sort of is. You can always make a copy of a file before you do
some irrevocable change (this of course doesn't apply just to gnucash files)

Even if you do not ordinarily make backup copies of your books,
especially if you are going to do a "close the books" operation, I
suggest a backup copy before this operation and after (represents the
state of the file at the start of the next year)

Michael D Novack
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Re: [GNC] Basic Question (I hope) - End of Year Procedure

Stephen M. Butler
On 12/24/18 7:13 AM, Michael or Penny Novack wrote:

> On 12/24/2018 4:22 AM, David Cousens wrote:
>> Jenny
>> As well as the wiki that David T mentioned the help manual also has a
>> section on closing the books:
>>
> I will add something to this because of your "no magic undo button"
>
> There sort of is. You can always make a copy of a file before you do
> some irrevocable change (this of course doesn't apply just to gnucash
> files)
>
> Even if you do not ordinarily make backup copies of your books,
> especially if you are going to do a "close the books" operation, I
> suggest a backup copy before this operation and after (represents the
> state of the file at the start of the next year)
>
> Michael D Novack
>
There is another option if you are using the GnC method that simply
writes a set of transactions that zero out the Income and Expense items
and places the opposing entry in the appropriate location chosen by the
user.  You can simply delete those two transactions and the books are
magically no longer closed.

I found that out when I used that option to close a series of years one
after the other only to discover I'd messed up on an entry on year 1.  I
simply removed the closing transactions for that year, made the
appropriate changes, and redid the close for that year.


Note:  You don't really have to close the books for each year and GnC
will keep track of things for you.  But, I wanted to have a set of
Equity accounts showing the retained earnings for each year.  After all
that hard work, my wife indicated it wasn't really necessary.  <<sigh>>


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Re: [GNC] Basic Question (I hope) - End of Year Procedure

Colin Law
In reply to this post by Jennym
On Mon, 24 Dec 2018 at 05:03, Jennym <[hidden email]> wrote:
> ...
> So what I'd like to do:  Retain all of 2018 accounts (having them to hand
> for easy access), but have them zeroed for 2019.

I don't do this, for me there is no point. It is possible to view or
report on only transactions within a date range if one wants so I
don't see the advantage of closing the books.  If you do then you
loose easy access to the history, so for example when the dishwasher
fails and you think when and where did I buy that then you cannot
immediately find out.  I now have 18 years of personal accounts
history immediately accessible.

> My worry is that if I do anything wrong, there's no historical 'undo' button
> to backtrack.

If you do decide to do it then as others have pointed out, if you mess
things up then you can always go back to your previous backup.  If you
don't take regular backups then start doing so immediately.  Your disk
drive or PC may go up in smoke, literally or metaphorically, at any
time and the accounts file may be irretrievably lost.

Colin
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Re: [GNC] Basic Question (I hope) - End of Year Procedure

Mike or Penny Novack-4
On 12/24/2018 3:45 PM, Colin Law wrote:

> I don't do this, for me there is no point. It is possible to view or
> report on only transactions within a date range if one wants so I
> don't see the advantage of closing the books.  If you do then you
> loose easy access to the history, so for example when the dishwasher
> fails and you think when and where did I buy that then you cannot
> immediately find out.  I now have 18 years of personal accounts
> history immediately accessible.
Misunderstanding of what  "close the books" does?

It doesn't existing transactions in the "temporary" income and expense
accounts.

Assuming that it is implemented approximating the traditional process,
it enters a giant split transaction that closes (brings the balance to
zero) for all of these accounts with whatever is necessary going to
equity as the gain or loss for the period. In the old days, that was by
moving through another temporary account called "profit and loss" (all
the income and expense accounts closed to this account) which was then
closed to equity by the gain or loss amount.

Since gnucash can produce the report without this step (the "profit and
loss" account served as the report back then) there is no need to close
the books.

Michael D Novack
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Re: [GNC] Basic Question (I hope) - End of Year Procedure

Colin Law
On Mon, 24 Dec 2018 at 22:39, Michael or Penny Novack
<[hidden email]> wrote:

>
> On 12/24/2018 3:45 PM, Colin Law wrote:
>
> > I don't do this, for me there is no point. It is possible to view or
> > report on only transactions within a date range if one wants so I
> > don't see the advantage of closing the books.  If you do then you
> > loose easy access to the history, so for example when the dishwasher
> > fails and you think when and where did I buy that then you cannot
> > immediately find out.  I now have 18 years of personal accounts
> > history immediately accessible.
> Misunderstanding of what  "close the books" does?

Thanks for that clarification, though I was also unclear on exactly
what the OP is asking for, which was to zero all the accounts for the
new year.  I thought she meant that she wanted to start from a
completely empty account file (the technique for which is described in
the wiki link posted, along with the technique to just zero the income
and expenses accounts).  You could be right though, perhaps the Close
Books feature built into the s/w does what she wants.

Colin
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Re: [GNC] Basic Question (I hope) - End of Year Procedure

Mike or Penny Novack-4
On 12/25/2018 4:45 AM, Colin Law wrote:
>   You could be right though, perhaps the Close
> Books feature built into the s/w does what she wants.
>
> Colin
>
Because I don't use it, I don't know what gnucash's "close the books"
actually does BUT what I described (entering a giant split transaction
that zeroed out all the income and expense accounts into equity with the
entry in equity being the net gain or loss) is what the MANUAL process
would be. Doing it manually (with one or two* giant splits) would be a PITA.

Michael D Novack

* so split just one one side, two way splits are their own PITA

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Re: [GNC] Basic Question (I hope) - End of Year Procedure

John Ralls-2


> On Dec 25, 2018, at 9:08 AM, Michael or Penny Novack <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> On 12/25/2018 4:45 AM, Colin Law wrote:
>>  You could be right though, perhaps the Close
>> Books feature built into the s/w does what she wants.
>>
>> Colin
>>
> Because I don't use it, I don't know what gnucash's "close the books" actually does BUT what I described (entering a giant split transaction that zeroed out all the income and expense accounts into equity with the entry in equity being the net gain or loss) is what the MANUAL process would be. Doing it manually (with one or two* giant splits) would be a PITA.
>
> Michael D Novack
>
> * so split just one one side, two way splits are their own PITA

That’s pretty much what the GnuCash close books function does. IIRC it’s two transactions, one for income accounts and one for expense accounts.

Regards,
John Ralls

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Re: [GNC] Basic Question (I hope) - End of Year Procedure

Stephen M. Butler
On 12/25/18 10:53 AM, John Ralls wrote:

>
>> On Dec 25, 2018, at 9:08 AM, Michael or Penny Novack <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>
>> On 12/25/2018 4:45 AM, Colin Law wrote:
>>>   You could be right though, perhaps the Close
>>> Books feature built into the s/w does what she wants.
>>>
>>> Colin
>>>
>> Because I don't use it, I don't know what gnucash's "close the books" actually does BUT what I described (entering a giant split transaction that zeroed out all the income and expense accounts into equity with the entry in equity being the net gain or loss) is what the MANUAL process would be. Doing it manually (with one or two* giant splits) would be a PITA.
>>
>> Michael D Novack
>>
>> * so split just one one side, two way splits are their own PITA
> That’s pretty much what the GnuCash close books function does. IIRC it’s two transactions, one for income accounts and one for expense accounts.
>
> Regards,
> John Ralls
Correct.  I've used it solely to book those two transactions to an
annual (new one yearly) "retained earnings" account.

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Re: [GNC] Basic Question (I hope) - End of Year Procedure

Christopher Lam
In reply to this post by John Ralls-2
On Wed., 26 Dec. 2018, 02:55 John Ralls <[hidden email] wrote:

>
>
> > On Dec 25, 2018, at 9:08 AM, Michael or Penny Novack <
> [hidden email]> wrote:
> >
> > On 12/25/2018 4:45 AM, Colin Law wrote:
> >>  You could be right though, perhaps the Close
> >> Books feature built into the s/w does what she wants.
> >>
> >> Colin
> >>
> > Because I don't use it, I don't know what gnucash's "close the books"
> actually does BUT what I described (entering a giant split transaction that
> zeroed out all the income and expense accounts into equity with the entry
> in equity being the net gain or loss) is what the MANUAL process would be.
> Doing it manually (with one or two* giant splits) would be a PITA.
> >
> > Michael D Novack
> >
> > * so split just one one side, two way splits are their own PITA
>
> That’s pretty much what the GnuCash close books function does. IIRC it’s
> two transactions, one for income accounts and one for expense accounts.
>

It is also a special transaction which has a KVP flag to mark it a closing
transaction, and the posted date is made to be end-of-day rather than
midday to ensure correct order in reports and register.

There's no other special formula associated with a closing transaction.

>
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Re: [GNC] Basic Question (I hope) - End of Year Procedure

Mike or Penny Novack-4
In reply to this post by John Ralls-2
On 12/25/2018 1:53 PM, John Ralls wrote:
> That’s pretty much what the GnuCash close books function does. IIRC it’s two transactions, one for income accounts and one for expense accounts.
>
> Regards,
> John Ralls
>
>
As I noted before, were I doing it manually, I would probably use two
transactions also, because of it being such a PITA to do a two sided
split. Or three were I going through a temporary "profit and loss"
account << would add that extra step only if teaching to somebody new to
gnucash but familiar with old fashioned pen and ink on paper bookkeeping
since that would be closest to what they were used to seeing.

Michael D Novack

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Re: [GNC] Basic Question (I hope) - End of Year Procedure

Stan Brown
In reply to this post by Jennym
Date: Wed, 26 Dec 2018 09:27:48 +0800
From: Christopher Lam <[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: [GNC] Basic Question (I hope) - End of Year Procedure

About GnuCash's "close the books" pair of transactions, you wrote:

> It is also a special transaction which has a KVP flag to mark it a closing
> transaction, and the posted date is made to be end-of-day rather than
> midday to ensure correct order in reports and register.
>
> There's no other special formula associated with a closing transaction.

I'm not sure what a KVP flag is, but that end-of-day setting explains why the transaction number is ignored. (After closing the books on the ordinary income and expenses accounts, I fold the special equity accounts lie Extraordinary Income and Gain or Loss on Investments into the main Equity account.)

How can I strip the end-of-day setting off of the closing transactions, so that they wil fall in the proper order with other transactions ased on transaction number within date?

--
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http://OakRoadSystems.com/

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Re: [GNC] Basic Question (I hope) - End of Year Procedure

David Cousens
Stan,

The easiest way to achieve that would be to manually perform the closing
transactions rather than use the inbuilt procedure, then they are just
ordinary transactionsand won't have the KVP pair in them.

For closing transactions, they should always appear after any other
transaction for the period being closed so that the transferred balances
represent the true state of the accounts at the end of the period. This was
why accountants introduced an artificial 13th month into the financial year
so that all closing transactions were forced to occur fater any other
transaction that occurred within the year. Any required adjustments to the
accounts  are also usually carried out before the closing transactions for
the same reason.

A list of key value pairs is a data structure that is part of each
transaction record. It allows arbitrary data to be added to the main data
structure (the transaction) without requiring that structure to be redefined
throughout the code. Only the code for processing the data in the KVP needs
to be added to the code base to add features requiring new data not
previously stored. The facilities for extracting it and adding it are a part
of the original transaction data structure. The KVP is also used in other
data structures within GnuCash for the same purpose.

David Cousens



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Re: [GNC] Basic Question (I hope) - End of Year Procedure

Colin Law
In reply to this post by Jennym
It is unfortunate that the original poster has not considered it
appropriate to respond to the help offered here.

Colin

On Mon, 24 Dec 2018 at 05:03, Jennym <[hidden email]> wrote:

>
> Hi
>
> I only started using GNUCash last April for simple, personal accounting, so
> I'm at the 'basic' stage. I'm using it with:
>
> a) Current bank account
> b) Two credit card accounts
> c) Personal Wallet
> d) Three income accounts
> e) Normal household accounts
> f) Budgeting (manually entered, not automatic via the system)
>
> So what I'd like to do:  Retain all of 2018 accounts (having them to hand
> for easy access), but have them zeroed for 2019.
>
> My worry is that if I do anything wrong, there's no historical 'undo' button
> to backtrack.
>
> Would really appreciate any advice. (Basic of course). Thank you
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
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Re: [GNC] Basic Question (I hope) - End of Year Procedure

Jennym
You're right Colin, and I do apologise.

It was the first time after being away I managed to read the comments last
evening. I didn't want to rush my replies as I want to 'digest' what's been
suggested.

This weekend I'll be going through each suggestion and will respond.

Many thanks to all who have responded, I appreciate your time.

I'll reply as soon as I get the opportunity to work out each suggestion.





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Re: [GNC] Basic Question (I hope) - End of Year Procedure

Jennym
In reply to this post by GnuCash - User mailing list
Thank you for the link! Will be carefully studying the page



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Re: [GNC] Basic Question (I hope) - End of Year Procedure

Jennym
In reply to this post by David Cousens
Thank you David, you're right, I don't need to 'close the books' as the
accounts are only for assessing where my personal expenditure is going, and
keeping track of 'cash-flow'. I hadn't thought about 'reports.'

I've now discovered how to set date parameters to produce a report, and when
the report is displayed on the screen, it's easy to cut and paste info into
an excel file to keep for 'prosperity' and playing around with budgets.

I had in the past tried to export an account into a format for Excel. But
failed several times, the above 'cut and paste' have worked well.

Thank you for the links, they're invaluable to understanding how GnuCash
works. At this point in time, I'm still getting my head around the info.




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