[GNC] Example of multi-split feature of CSV importer?

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[GNC] Example of multi-split feature of CSV importer?

Patrick-3
I would like to import split transacations from a CSV file. Based on the
help balloon for it, the "multi-split" option seems to be the way to do
this, but I am not sure how to use this option. Is there an example
somewhere of how to use this option?

To be specific, what I don't understand is that when the multi-split option
is disabled, I can set one column in the CSV to be the "Account", and
another column to be the "Transfer Account". Setting these two columns
allows me to specify the "credit" and "debit" accounts involved in the
transaction. However, when I enable the multi-split option, the option to
set a "Transfer Account" goes away. So, I am not sure how to specify the
second of the two accounts involved with the transaction when multi-split
is enabled.
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Re: [GNC] Example of multi-split feature of CSV importer?

David Cousens
Patrick,

The multisplit format is really only necessary for transactions which have
more than 2 splits. 2 split transactions can be accomodated with the Simple
Layout export and the import without multi-split selected.
The multisplit has problems importing multicurrency transactions at the
moment and I suspect but haven't checked yet whether it extends to trading
accounts.
There are no examples yet unfortunately. I am doing a lot of testing of the
new CSV importer  with a view to updating the importer documentationbut it
is still very much in progress. At the same time I am identifying any bugs
that come up for fixing when Geert has time to get to them. Also on holidays
in Singapore this week so not getting to much done.

David Cousens



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Re: [GNC] Example of multi-split feature of CSV importer?

Andrea Borgia
Il 17/03/19 08:54, David Cousens ha scritto:

> There are no examples yet unfortunately. I am doing a lot of testing of the
> new CSV importer  with a view to updating the importer documentationbut it
> is still very much in progress. At the same time I am identifying any bugs
> that come up for fixing when Geert has time to get to them. Also on holidays
> in Singapore this week so not getting to much done.

In case you need feedback, I am willing to test and report: while
splitting 20 years from 2 files into per-year files, I ran into
precisely this kind of problems.

Regards,
Andrea.
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Re: [GNC] Example of multi-split feature of CSV importer?

Geert Janssens-4
In reply to this post by Patrick-3
Op zondag 17 maart 2019 00:55:38 CET schreef Patrick:

> I would like to import split transacations from a CSV file. Based on the
> help balloon for it, the "multi-split" option seems to be the way to do
> this, but I am not sure how to use this option. Is there an example
> somewhere of how to use this option?
>
> To be specific, what I don't understand is that when the multi-split option
> is disabled, I can set one column in the CSV to be the "Account", and
> another column to be the "Transfer Account". Setting these two columns
> allows me to specify the "credit" and "debit" accounts involved in the
> transaction. However, when I enable the multi-split option, the option to
> set a "Transfer Account" goes away. So, I am not sure how to specify the
> second of the two accounts involved with the transaction when multi-split
> is enabled.

First off, strictly speaking each transaction is "multi-split" as even the simplest transaction (a
transfer from one account to another) has two splits: one in the source account and one in the
target account. The split itself doesn't know about the transfer. It only knows which account it
belongs to.

As a real example is always more helpful, let's assume a transaction that transfers $100 from
Account A to Account B. This would be represented with two splits:

Transaction date 2019-03-18
Transaction description "Transfer"
Split 1: Account A        $100 (Withdrawal)
Split 2: Account B                                       $100 (Deposit)

Converting this in a multi-split csv file that can be imported would yield something like this:
Date,Description,Account,Deposit,Withdrawal
2019-03-18,Transfer,Account A,,100
2019-03-18,Transfer,Account B,100,

As you can see there is no need for a "Transfer Account" column in this case. Each split is
associated with one account, you only have to define that account. GnuCash will use the
transaction related fields (in this case only "Date" and "Description") to detect transaction
boundaries. As both fields are identical on each line, GnuCash will assume both splits to be part
of the same transaction.

The single-line import format is a shorthand that can only be used in case of transactions with at
most two splits. For that situation each line represents such a full transaction and hence may
hold information to define two splits. For that reason it also provides two Account assignments
options (Account and Transfer Account) as each split in that transaction can have one. So the
above translated into a single line csv file would look like this:

Date,Description,Account,Transfer Account,Deposit
2019-03-18,Transfer,Account B,Account A,100

You could say the single line import format is a special case to simplify most imports from bank
accounts while the multi-split format is more generic and the only format that will ever be able
to import multi-split (that is more than two splits) transactions (1).

Regards,

Geert

(1) Note there are currently issues with the csv importer for multi-currency imports or stock
imports. These will eventually be resolved allowing the multi-split format to import every kind of
transaction gnucash supports internally.
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Re: [GNC] Example of multi-split feature of CSV importer?

Patrick-3
That makes sense. Thank you for the very helpful response and the example.

Regards,
Patrick

On Mon, Mar 18, 2019 at 5:45 AM Geert Janssens <[hidden email]>
wrote:

> Op zondag 17 maart 2019 00:55:38 CET schreef Patrick:
>
> > I would like to import split transacations from a CSV file. Based on the
>
> > help balloon for it, the "multi-split" option seems to be the way to do
>
> > this, but I am not sure how to use this option. Is there an example
>
> > somewhere of how to use this option?
>
> >
>
> > To be specific, what I don't understand is that when the multi-split
> option
>
> > is disabled, I can set one column in the CSV to be the "Account", and
>
> > another column to be the "Transfer Account". Setting these two columns
>
> > allows me to specify the "credit" and "debit" accounts involved in the
>
> > transaction. However, when I enable the multi-split option, the option to
>
> > set a "Transfer Account" goes away. So, I am not sure how to specify the
>
> > second of the two accounts involved with the transaction when multi-split
>
> > is enabled.
>
>
>
> First off, strictly speaking each transaction is "multi-split" as even the
> simplest transaction (a transfer from one account to another) has two
> splits: one in the source account and one in the target account. The split
> itself doesn't know about the transfer. It only knows which account it
> belongs to.
>
>
>
> As a real example is always more helpful, let's assume a transaction that
> transfers $100 from Account A to Account B. This would be represented with
> two splits:
>
>
>
> Transaction date 2019-03-18
>
> Transaction description "Transfer"
>
> Split 1: Account A $100 (Withdrawal)
>
> Split 2: Account B $100 (Deposit)
>
>
>
> Converting this in a multi-split csv file that can be imported would yield
> something like this:
>
> Date,Description,Account,Deposit,Withdrawal
>
> 2019-03-18,Transfer,Account A,,100
>
> 2019-03-18,Transfer,Account B,100,
>
>
>
> As you can see there is no need for a "Transfer Account" column in this
> case. Each split is associated with one account, you only have to define
> that account. GnuCash will use the transaction related fields (in this case
> only "Date" and "Description") to detect transaction boundaries. As both
> fields are identical on each line, GnuCash will assume both splits to be
> part of the same transaction.
>
>
>
> The single-line import format is a shorthand that can only be used in case
> of transactions with at most two splits. For that situation each line
> represents such a full transaction and hence may hold information to define
> two splits. For that reason it also provides two Account assignments
> options (Account and Transfer Account) as each split in that transaction
> can have one. So the above translated into a single line csv file would
> look like this:
>
>
>
> Date,Description,Account,Transfer Account,Deposit
>
> 2019-03-18,Transfer,Account B,Account A,100
>
>
>
> You could say the single line import format is a special case to simplify
> most imports from bank accounts while the multi-split format is more
> generic and the only format that will ever be able to import multi-split
> (that is more than two splits) transactions (1).
>
>
>
> Regards,
>
>
>
> Geert
>
>
>
> (1) Note there are currently issues with the csv importer for
> multi-currency imports or stock imports. These will eventually be resolved
> allowing the multi-split format to import every kind of transaction gnucash
> supports internally.
>
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Re: [GNC] Example of multi-split feature of CSV importer?

foxylady337
> On 18 Mar 2019, at 16:36, Patrick <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> That makes sense. Thank you for the very helpful response and the example.
>
> Regards,
> Patrick

Am I alone in finding the use of the word “split” in this context to be confusing?

In ordinary everyday English, splitting an object involves its being separated into two or more fragments.

When I split a log in two with an axe, the result is ONE split (the plane in which the log separates) and TWO smaller logs. If I keep on going, the outcome of N splits is (N - 1) smaller logs.

In the context of double-entry bookkeeping, each transaction involves two entries - one (for example) recording the issue of a cheque from a bank account, and the other logging the same transaction through the appropriate expense account.

When several expense accounts are involved in the same payment (e.g. if you buy petrol, milk and a bunch of flowers at a service station) there are actually three double entries. It’s convenient to record the cheque issued to cover all three expenses as one entry, and to allocate an entry for each of the separate expenses to put together as one (quadruple)-entry transaction.

So what you get when you split a Gnucash transaction is two or more _entries_ relating to the same financial transaction.

No?

Michael
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Re: [GNC] Example of multi-split feature of CSV importer?

GnuCash - User mailing list
GunCash’s use of the term “split” is quite specific, and defined in the Glossary of the Guide, as well as Chapter 4.1 Basics. Basic Concepts.

David

> On Mar 18, 2019, at 10:49 PM, Michael Hendry <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>> On 18 Mar 2019, at 16:36, Patrick <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>
>> That makes sense. Thank you for the very helpful response and the example.
>>
>> Regards,
>> Patrick
>
> Am I alone in finding the use of the word “split” in this context to be confusing?
>
> In ordinary everyday English, splitting an object involves its being separated into two or more fragments.
>
> When I split a log in two with an axe, the result is ONE split (the plane in which the log separates) and TWO smaller logs. If I keep on going, the outcome of N splits is (N - 1) smaller logs.
>
> In the context of double-entry bookkeeping, each transaction involves two entries - one (for example) recording the issue of a cheque from a bank account, and the other logging the same transaction through the appropriate expense account.
>
> When several expense accounts are involved in the same payment (e.g. if you buy petrol, milk and a bunch of flowers at a service station) there are actually three double entries. It’s convenient to record the cheque issued to cover all three expenses as one entry, and to allocate an entry for each of the separate expenses to put together as one (quadruple)-entry transaction.
>
> So what you get when you split a Gnucash transaction is two or more _entries_ relating to the same financial transaction.
>
> No?
>
> Michael
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Re: [GNC] Example of multi-split feature of CSV importer?

Geert Janssens-4
In reply to this post by foxylady337
Hi Hendry,

The term split has been in use in GnuCash long before I joined the project. As
I'm not an accountant, I don't know which would be the proper formal
accounting term to use in this context. And additionally it may be very hard
to change the use of this term throughout the project (though if there really
is a more correct term it may be worth gradually promoting it).

Regards,

Geert

Op maandag 18 maart 2019 18:19:00 CET schreef Michael Hendry:

> > On 18 Mar 2019, at 16:36, Patrick <[hidden email]> wrote:
> >
> > That makes sense. Thank you for the very helpful response and the example.
> >
> > Regards,
> > Patrick
>
> Am I alone in finding the use of the word “split” in this context to be
> confusing?
>
> In ordinary everyday English, splitting an object involves its being
> separated into two or more fragments.
>
> When I split a log in two with an axe, the result is ONE split (the plane in
> which the log separates) and TWO smaller logs. If I keep on going, the
> outcome of N splits is (N - 1) smaller logs.
>
> In the context of double-entry bookkeeping, each transaction involves two
> entries - one (for example) recording the issue of a cheque from a bank
> account, and the other logging the same transaction through the appropriate
> expense account.
>
> When several expense accounts are involved in the same payment (e.g. if you
> buy petrol, milk and a bunch of flowers at a service station) there are
> actually three double entries. It’s convenient to record the cheque issued
> to cover all three expenses as one entry, and to allocate an entry for each
> of the separate expenses to put together as one (quadruple)-entry
> transaction.
>
> So what you get when you split a Gnucash transaction is two or more
> _entries_ relating to the same financial transaction.
>
> No?
>
> Michael




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Re: [GNC] Example of multi-split feature of CSV importer?

Robert Heller
At Mon, 18 Mar 2019 18:54:30 +0100 Geert Janssens <[hidden email]> wrote:

>
> Hi Hendry,
>
> The term split has been in use in GnuCash long before I joined the project. As
> I'm not an accountant, I don't know which would be the proper formal
> accounting term to use in this context. And additionally it may be very hard
> to change the use of this term throughout the project (though if there really
> is a more correct term it may be worth gradually promoting it).
>
> Regards,
>
> Geert
>
> Op maandag 18 maart 2019 18:19:00 CET schreef Michael Hendry:
> > > On 18 Mar 2019, at 16:36, Patrick <[hidden email]> wrote:
> > >
> > > That makes sense. Thank you for the very helpful response and the example.
> > >
> > > Regards,
> > > Patrick
> >
> > Am I alone in finding the use of the word “split” in this context to be
> > confusing?
> >
> > In ordinary everyday English, splitting an object involves its being
> > separated into two or more fragments.
> >
> > When I split a log in two with an axe, the result is ONE split (the plane in
> > which the log separates) and TWO smaller logs. If I keep on going, the
> > outcome of N splits is (N - 1) smaller logs.
When you split a log, you end up two (or more) log sections (generally like
pie slices). One can say "one split that log". In the case of GnuCash, one
split the overall transation across two (or more) accounts. It is also common
English usage to "split the tab" when a group of friends goes out for dinner,
etc. This comes very close to what is happening in GnuCash.

> >
> > In the context of double-entry bookkeeping, each transaction involves two
> > entries - one (for example) recording the issue of a cheque from a bank
> > account, and the other logging the same transaction through the appropriate
> > expense account.
> >
> > When several expense accounts are involved in the same payment (e.g. if you
> > buy petrol, milk and a bunch of flowers at a service station) there are
> > actually three double entries. It’s convenient to record the cheque issued
> > to cover all three expenses as one entry, and to allocate an entry for each
> > of the separate expenses to put together as one (quadruple)-entry
> > transaction.
> >
> > So what you get when you split a Gnucash transaction is two or more
> > _entries_ relating to the same financial transaction.
> >
> > No?
> >
> > Michael
>
>
>
>
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Re: [GNC] Example of multi-split feature of CSV importer?

Adrien Monteleone-2
And to carry that on, I’ve worked with some POS (Point of Sale) systems in restaurants that referenced each portion of a split check as a ’split’ (noun) and not just as a verb. (the act of dividing it)

So there is some industry usage of each resulting portion being ‘a split’. (and probably why it never confused me as I was already familiar with that usage)

Of course, that too may have been an incorrect usage, and perhaps there is something more descriptive in formal accounting.

Regards,
Adrien

> On Mar 18, 2019, at 1:23 PM, Robert Heller <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> At Mon, 18 Mar 2019 18:54:30 +0100 Geert Janssens <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>>
>> Hi Hendry,
>>
>> The term split has been in use in GnuCash long before I joined the project. As
>> I'm not an accountant, I don't know which would be the proper formal
>> accounting term to use in this context. And additionally it may be very hard
>> to change the use of this term throughout the project (though if there really
>> is a more correct term it may be worth gradually promoting it).
>>
>> Regards,
>>
>> Geert
>>
>> Op maandag 18 maart 2019 18:19:00 CET schreef Michael Hendry:
>>>> On 18 Mar 2019, at 16:36, Patrick <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>>>
>>>> That makes sense. Thank you for the very helpful response and the example.
>>>>
>>>> Regards,
>>>> Patrick
>>>
>>> Am I alone in finding the use of the word “split” in this context to be
>>> confusing?
>>>
>>> In ordinary everyday English, splitting an object involves its being
>>> separated into two or more fragments.
>>>
>>> When I split a log in two with an axe, the result is ONE split (the plane in
>>> which the log separates) and TWO smaller logs. If I keep on going, the
>>> outcome of N splits is (N - 1) smaller logs.
>
> When you split a log, you end up two (or more) log sections (generally like
> pie slices). One can say "one split that log". In the case of GnuCash, one
> split the overall transation across two (or more) accounts. It is also common
> English usage to "split the tab" when a group of friends goes out for dinner,
> etc. This comes very close to what is happening in GnuCash.
>
>>>
>>> In the context of double-entry bookkeeping, each transaction involves two
>>> entries - one (for example) recording the issue of a cheque from a bank
>>> account, and the other logging the same transaction through the appropriate
>>> expense account.
>>>
>>> When several expense accounts are involved in the same payment (e.g. if you
>>> buy petrol, milk and a bunch of flowers at a service station) there are
>>> actually three double entries. It’s convenient to record the cheque issued
>>> to cover all three expenses as one entry, and to allocate an entry for each
>>> of the separate expenses to put together as one (quadruple)-entry
>>> transaction.
>>>
>>> So what you get when you split a Gnucash transaction is two or more
>>> _entries_ relating to the same financial transaction.
>>>
>>> No?
>>>
>>> Michael

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Re: [GNC] Example of multi-split feature of CSV importer?

foxylady337
In reply to this post by Geert Janssens-4
> On 18 Mar 2019, at 17:54, Geert Janssens <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> Hi Hendry,
>
> The term split has been in use in GnuCash long before I joined the project. As
> I'm not an accountant, I don't know which would be the proper formal
> accounting term to use in this context. And additionally it may be very hard
> to change the use of this term throughout the project (though if there really
> is a more correct term it may be worth gradually promoting it).
>
> Regards,
>
> Geert

Evening, Geert.

Agreed, in the glossary the definition of a split goes like this...

"Split
A split, or Ledger Entry, is the fundamental accounting unit...”

...I’ve been using Gnucash for 9 years and have coped with the concept in practice.

There is always a place for a tightly defined vocabulary in any technical context, but I’m puzzled at the choice of “split”, when “Ledger Entry” describes the idea so well, and split already means something else.

Perhaps it’s a UK/US usage thing?

I’ve never used the CSV import procedure, but I’ve been skimming the current threads on this topic and felt that Gnucash newbies might benefit from some clarification. For example, the term “multi-split” has no definition in the glossary.

“Multi-“ is conventionally used to mean “more than one”, but in this instance it’s been defined to mean “more than two”.

I’m not an accountant either, and I’m not necessarily arguing that the term “split” should be renamed, just pointing out that there is potential for misunderstanding.

Michael Hendry
(my email address has my surname and first name in that order because michael.hendry… was already taken when I signed up!)


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Re: [GNC] Example of multi-split feature of CSV importer?

Adrien Monteleone-2
I think the confusion lies with using the undefined term ‘multi-split’ at all.

As Geert pointed out, *all* transactions have multiple ’splits’. (when used as a noun to mean each ledger entry)

This reference to ‘multi-split’ likely arises because the register by default, as well as the CSV importer only show a single line with the ‘other’ account rather than both ledger entries. This is why I always recommend users just getting started with GnuCash to turn on the Transaction Journal view mode so they can see everything that is going on. It helps to understand the double-entry process. I preferred it so much (and many of my transactions contain 3 or more ledger entries anyway) that I just use it permanently. When trying to help family members learning GnuCash, I’ve found they are routinely confused when they only see the transfer account and then have to do a more complicated entry.

Regards,
Adrien

> On Mar 18, 2019, at 5:43 PM, Michael Hendry <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>> On 18 Mar 2019, at 17:54, Geert Janssens <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>
>> Hi Hendry,
>>
>> The term split has been in use in GnuCash long before I joined the project. As
>> I'm not an accountant, I don't know which would be the proper formal
>> accounting term to use in this context. And additionally it may be very hard
>> to change the use of this term throughout the project (though if there really
>> is a more correct term it may be worth gradually promoting it).
>>
>> Regards,
>>
>> Geert
>
> Evening, Geert.
>
> Agreed, in the glossary the definition of a split goes like this...
>
> "Split
> A split, or Ledger Entry, is the fundamental accounting unit...”
>
> ...I’ve been using Gnucash for 9 years and have coped with the concept in practice.
>
> There is always a place for a tightly defined vocabulary in any technical context, but I’m puzzled at the choice of “split”, when “Ledger Entry” describes the idea so well, and split already means something else.
>
> Perhaps it’s a UK/US usage thing?
>
> I’ve never used the CSV import procedure, but I’ve been skimming the current threads on this topic and felt that Gnucash newbies might benefit from some clarification. For example, the term “multi-split” has no definition in the glossary.
>
> “Multi-“ is conventionally used to mean “more than one”, but in this instance it’s been defined to mean “more than two”.
>
> I’m not an accountant either, and I’m not necessarily arguing that the term “split” should be renamed, just pointing out that there is potential for misunderstanding.
>
> Michael Hendry


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Re: [GNC] Example of multi-split feature of CSV importer?

GnuCash - User mailing list
In reply to this post by Patrick-3
Michael, Adrien,

Section 4.3 in the Guide is titled "Simple vs. Split Transactions" and explains in some detail what is meant. Perhaps the language there is not clear enough (improvements always welcome!), but it's not true that this isn't defined or explained.

David

On March 19, 2019, at 4:32 AM, Adrien Monteleone <[hidden email]> wrote:

I think the confusion lies with using the undefined term ‘multi-split’ at all.

As Geert pointed out, *all* transactions have multiple ’splits’. (when used as a noun to mean each ledger entry)

This reference to ‘multi-split’ likely arises because the register by default, as well as the CSV importer only show a single line with the ‘other’ account rather than both ledger entries. This is why I always recommend users just getting started with GnuCash to turn on the Transaction Journal view mode so they can see everything that is going on. It helps to understand the double-entry process. I preferred it so much (and many of my transactions contain 3 or more ledger entries anyway) that I just use it permanently. When trying to help family members learning GnuCash, I’ve found they are routinely confused when they only see the transfer account and then have to do a more complicated entry.

Regards,
Adrien

> On Mar 18, 2019, at 5:43 PM, Michael Hendry <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>> On 18 Mar 2019, at 17:54, Geert Janssens <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>
>> Hi Hendry,
>>
>> The term split has been in use in GnuCash long before I joined the project. As
>> I'm not an accountant, I don't know which would be the proper formal
>> accounting term to use in this context. And additionally it may be very hard
>> to change the use of this term throughout the project (though if there really
>> is a more correct term it may be worth gradually promoting it).
>>
>> Regards,
>>
>> Geert
>
> Evening, Geert.
>
> Agreed, in the glossary the definition of a split goes like this...
>
> "Split
> A split, or Ledger Entry, is the fundamental accounting unit...”
>
> ...I’ve been using Gnucash for 9 years and have coped with the concept in practice.
>
> There is always a place for a tightly defined vocabulary in any technical context, but I’m puzzled at the choice of “split”, when “Ledger Entry” describes the idea so well, and split already means something else.
>
> Perhaps it’s a UK/US usage thing?
>
> I’ve never used the CSV import procedure, but I’ve been skimming the current threads on this topic and felt that Gnucash newbies might benefit from some clarification. For example, the term “multi-split” has no definition in the glossary.
>
> “Multi-“ is conventionally used to mean “more than one”, but in this instance it’s been defined to mean “more than two”.
>
> I’m not an accountant either, and I’m not necessarily arguing that the term “split” should be renamed, just pointing out that there is potential for misunderstanding.
>
> Michael Hendry


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Re: [GNC] Example of multi-split feature of CSV importer?

Geert Janssens-4
In reply to this post by foxylady337
Op maandag 18 maart 2019 23:43:34 CET schreef Michael Hendry:
> Michael Hendry
> (my email address has my surname and first name in that order because
> michael.hendry… was already taken when I signed up!)

Oops, sorry for missing this. Probably I'm still  a bit jetlagged.

Geert


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Re: [GNC] Example of multi-split feature of CSV importer?

foxylady337
In reply to this post by GnuCash - User mailing list
> On 19 Mar 2019, at 01:19, D via gnucash-user <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> Michael, Adrien,
>
> Section 4.3 in the Guide is titled "Simple vs. Split Transactions" and explains in some detail what is meant. Perhaps the language there is not clear enough (improvements always welcome!), but it's not true that this isn't defined or explained.
>
> David

David,

The guide says:

"Every transaction in GnuCash has at least two splits, but a transaction can have more than two splits. A transaction with only two splits is called a simple transaction, since it only involves the current account and a single remote account. A transaction with three or more accounts is called a split transaction.”

A recurrent observation on this list is that GnuCash is based on the traditional paper-and-pen double-entry bookkeeping system, often linked with the comment that many of the queries that come up are not problems with GnuCash but with the poster’s lack of understanding of the manual system.

There seems to be no good reason for introducing the term “split”, and wielding  Occam’s Razor I suggest:

"Every transaction in GnuCash has at least two Ledger Entries, but a transaction can have more than two Ledger Entries.”

“A transaction with two Ledger Entries is called a simple transaction.”

“A transaction with more than two Ledger Entries is called a compound transaction.”

These three statements are entirely in keeping with bookkeeping usage, whereas saying that a transaction with three “splits” is a split transaction and then that one with two “splits” is something else is muddling.

I would omit “since it only involves the current account and a single remote account”, because neither of these terms is defined in the guide. “Current” has a special meaning in bookkeeping relating to Current Assets, but it is also used throughout the guide to refer to “the current month”, “the current transaction” etc. Further confusion might arise because, in UK usage, a current account is what Americans call a checking account. “Remote” implies to me something far away - on another computer, for example, as in this quotation from the guide:

"Q: Can I run GnuCash on Windows?
A: Yes. Starting with release 2.2.0, GnuCash is also available on Windows. Other related options would be colinux, VMWare and a windows-based X-server hosting a remote Gnu-Cash session.”

I would like “split” to be free for use in its normal non-specialist use as a verb - describing the division of a single-line entry in an Account Register into its component Ledger Entries.

I appreciate that changing the nomenclature would be non-trivial, but believe that the benefit (especially to new users) would be worthwhile.

Michael


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Re: [GNC] Example of multi-split feature of CSV importer?

David Carlson-4
There are many places in GnuCash where the presently selected account
determines the definition of which account is not presently selected, and
two line vs three or more lines in transactions is definitely one where I
was confused for a long time.  Another place where this is incredibly
confusing is when a user wishes to search for something which may either be
in the presently selected account or not.

Thus, I would also drop using the word 'current' in favor of 'presently
selected' anywhere it is important to note which account [register]
presently has the focus.

David Carlson

On Tue, Mar 19, 2019 at 5:45 AM Michael Hendry <[hidden email]>
wrote:

> > On 19 Mar 2019, at 01:19, D via gnucash-user <[hidden email]>
> wrote:
> >
> > Michael, Adrien,
> >
> > Section 4.3 in the Guide is titled "Simple vs. Split Transactions" and
> explains in some detail what is meant. Perhaps the language there is not
> clear enough (improvements always welcome!), but it's not true that this
> isn't defined or explained.
> >
> > David
>
> David,
>
> The guide says:
>
> "Every transaction in GnuCash has at least two splits, but a transaction
> can have more than two splits. A transaction with only two splits is called
> a simple transaction, since it only involves the current account and a
> single remote account. A transaction with three or more accounts is called
> a split transaction.”
>
> A recurrent observation on this list is that GnuCash is based on the
> traditional paper-and-pen double-entry bookkeeping system, often linked
> with the comment that many of the queries that come up are not problems
> with GnuCash but with the poster’s lack of understanding of the manual
> system.
>
> There seems to be no good reason for introducing the term “split”, and
> wielding  Occam’s Razor I suggest:
>
> "Every transaction in GnuCash has at least two Ledger Entries, but a
> transaction can have more than two Ledger Entries.”
>
> “A transaction with two Ledger Entries is called a simple transaction.”
>
> “A transaction with more than two Ledger Entries is called a compound
> transaction.”
>
> These three statements are entirely in keeping with bookkeeping usage,
> whereas saying that a transaction with three “splits” is a split
> transaction and then that one with two “splits” is something else is
> muddling.
>
> I would omit “since it only involves the current account and a single
> remote account”, because neither of these terms is defined in the guide.
> “Current” has a special meaning in bookkeeping relating to Current Assets,
> but it is also used throughout the guide to refer to “the current month”,
> “the current transaction” etc. Further confusion might arise because, in UK
> usage, a current account is what Americans call a checking account.
> “Remote” implies to me something far away - on another computer, for
> example, as in this quotation from the guide:
>
> "Q: Can I run GnuCash on Windows?
> A: Yes. Starting with release 2.2.0, GnuCash is also available on Windows.
> Other related options would be colinux, VMWare and a windows-based X-server
> hosting a remote Gnu-Cash session.”
>
> I would like “split” to be free for use in its normal non-specialist use
> as a verb - describing the division of a single-line entry in an Account
> Register into its component Ledger Entries.
>
> I appreciate that changing the nomenclature would be non-trivial, but
> believe that the benefit (especially to new users) would be worthwhile.
>
> Michael
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> gnucash-user mailing list
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> To update your subscription preferences or to unsubscribe:
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> -----
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--
David Carlson
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Re: [GNC] Example of multi-split feature of CSV importer?

Adrien Monteleone-2
I never understood the need or benefit to differentiate simple vs. split transactions since *all* transactions are split into two entries at least once. Perhaps dropping that distinction is in order, or does it serve some purpose that isn’t outweighed by the confusion it causes?

Regards,
Adrien

> On Tue, Mar 19, 2019 at 5:45 AM Michael Hendry <[hidden email]>
> wrote:
>
>> David,
>>
>> The guide says:
>>
>> "Every transaction in GnuCash has at least two splits, but a transaction
>> can have more than two splits. A transaction with only two splits is called
>> a simple transaction, since it only involves the current account and a
>> single remote account. A transaction with three or more accounts is called
>> a split transaction.”
>>
>> A recurrent observation on this list is that GnuCash is based on the
>> traditional paper-and-pen double-entry bookkeeping system, often linked
>> with the comment that many of the queries that come up are not problems
>> with GnuCash but with the poster’s lack of understanding of the manual
>> system.
>>
>> There seems to be no good reason for introducing the term “split”, and
>> wielding  Occam’s Razor I suggest:
>>
>> "Every transaction in GnuCash has at least two Ledger Entries, but a
>> transaction can have more than two Ledger Entries.”
>>
>> “A transaction with two Ledger Entries is called a simple transaction.”
>>
>> “A transaction with more than two Ledger Entries is called a compound
>> transaction.”
>>
>> These three statements are entirely in keeping with bookkeeping usage,
>> whereas saying that a transaction with three “splits” is a split
>> transaction and then that one with two “splits” is something else is
>> muddling.
>>


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Re: [GNC] Example of multi-split feature of CSV importer?

Geert Janssens-4
Op dinsdag 19 maart 2019 22:10:29 CET schreef Adrien Monteleone:
> I never understood the need or benefit to differentiate simple vs. split
> transactions since *all* transactions are split into two entries at least
> once. Perhaps dropping that distinction is in order, or does it serve some
> purpose that isn’t outweighed by the confusion it causes?
>
> Regards,
> Adrien
>
To my mind it serves a case in that we can offer a simplified input interface
for the two-split transactions.

We have long had the single-line interface to enter two-split transactions as
most new users find that interface easier to understand and use.

But this simplified interface can't be extended generically to also support 3-
or-more split transactions. In the personal accounting use case these are less
common however so we have optimized for the two-split use case (at least
that's what I suppose - it has been like that before I came into the project).

So you are right that all transactions are multi-split and it's not for the
transactions themselves we differentiate. We differentiate because for the
special case of only two splits we can offer simplified input interfaces.

Regards,

Geert

> > On Tue, Mar 19, 2019 at 5:45 AM Michael Hendry <[hidden email]>
> >
> > wrote:
> >> David,
> >>
> >> The guide says:
> >>
> >> "Every transaction in GnuCash has at least two splits, but a transaction
> >> can have more than two splits. A transaction with only two splits is
> >> called
> >> a simple transaction, since it only involves the current account and a
> >> single remote account. A transaction with three or more accounts is
> >> called
> >> a split transaction.”
> >>
> >> A recurrent observation on this list is that GnuCash is based on the
> >> traditional paper-and-pen double-entry bookkeeping system, often linked
> >> with the comment that many of the queries that come up are not problems
> >> with GnuCash but with the poster’s lack of understanding of the manual
> >> system.
> >>
> >> There seems to be no good reason for introducing the term “split”, and
> >> wielding  Occam’s Razor I suggest:
> >>
> >> "Every transaction in GnuCash has at least two Ledger Entries, but a
> >> transaction can have more than two Ledger Entries.”
> >>
> >> “A transaction with two Ledger Entries is called a simple transaction.”
> >>
> >> “A transaction with more than two Ledger Entries is called a compound
> >> transaction.”
> >>
> >> These three statements are entirely in keeping with bookkeeping usage,
> >> whereas saying that a transaction with three “splits” is a split
> >> transaction and then that one with two “splits” is something else is
> >> muddling.
>
> _______________________________________________
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Re: [GNC] Example of multi-split feature of CSV importer?

foxylady337
> On 20 Mar 2019, at 08:23, Geert Janssens <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> Op dinsdag 19 maart 2019 22:10:29 CET schreef Adrien Monteleone:
>> I never understood the need or benefit to differentiate simple vs. split
>> transactions since *all* transactions are split into two entries at least
>> once. Perhaps dropping that distinction is in order, or does it serve some
>> purpose that isn’t outweighed by the confusion it causes?
>>
>> Regards,
>> Adrien
>>
> To my mind it serves a case in that we can offer a simplified input interface
> for the two-split transactions.
>
> We have long had the single-line interface to enter two-split transactions as
> most new users find that interface easier to understand and use.
>
> But this simplified interface can't be extended generically to also support 3-
> or-more split transactions. In the personal accounting use case these are less
> common however so we have optimized for the two-split use case (at least
> that's what I suppose - it has been like that before I came into the project).
>
> So you are right that all transactions are multi-split and it's not for the
> transactions themselves we differentiate. We differentiate because for the
> special case of only two splits we can offer simplified input interfaces.
>
> Regards,
>
> Geert

Which supports my contention that the use of the term “split” for a Ledger Entry causes confusion.

Would anyone think it odd that a different process would be required when importing a compound transaction than when importing a simple one?

Regards,

Michael


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Re: [GNC] Example of multi-split feature of CSV importer?

Geert Janssens-4
Op woensdag 20 maart 2019 10:51:55 CET schreef Michael Hendry:
> Which supports my contention that the use of the term “split” for a Ledger
> Entry causes confusion.
>
Fair enough. As I said if there's a concise yet more clear term to use I'm
happy to switch to it.

Personally I'm not convinced yet "Ledger Entry" would be that replacement.
Surely it would appeal to people with an accounting  background, but it
doesn't feel like very intuitive for the casual user just wishing to keep
track of its personal finances in GnuCash. As English is not my native
language that may be a translation issue though. However perhaps more informal
terminology exists to describe subparts of a transaction ?

In addition it seems to me this thread has now evolved to discussing two
distinct terminology issues:
* the use of the  word "split" in itself
* the use of the term "multi" in "multi-split" to mean "more than two" rather
than "two or more".

> Would anyone think it odd that a different process would be required when
> importing a compound transaction than when importing a simple one?
>
I think that depends on the input source format: csv is generic and doesn't
strictly define how to encode accounting data.

GnuCash tries cater for as many formats as possible. So it offers a way to
import csv files with only one transaction per line or a csv file where each
line consists of one ledger entry/split and hence transaction can span
multiple lines.

As GnuCash doesn't define the input sources (those come from banks, a
spreadsheet, another accounting application,...) I don't see how that could be
covered  with only one import interface.

Regards,

Geert


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