[GNC] Suggestion to ease newbies import problems

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[GNC] Suggestion to ease newbies import problems

ornd25
As a newbie I did (and do) have some trouble with GnuCash, but my largest concerns were with the  import process. I have a few suggestions that might ease the path of the next newbies to come. The import process, per se, seemed to go smoothly - it was the assigning appropriate splits that took me a few weeks. May I suggest that the Tutorial and Concepts Guide, Chapter 3, be expanded very slightly with regard to comma separated value (csv) files?

First, and most simply, the Guide refers to "Base Account" and "Destination Account," while the Import wizard itself has the word "Transfer" apparently in lieu of "Destination; I didn't understand this for some time.

Second, the Guide in "Import Panel" refers to "minimum to import data," while "optimum" would have aided me significantly. Adding a column in a .csv file with the Destination (Transfer) would have saved me many double-clicks in the Matcher. Perhaps a sentence added would help: "Those planning to import large amounts of data by .csv will be aided by adding a Destination column in their import file."

Finally, after adding the new column, the Importer led me to a page that confused me for a short time. It said something about needing to change or add Links. On my test (well after completing this the hard way) It wanted me to change From Expenses:Miscellaneous to Expenses:Miscellaneous. I'm certain this is nothing more than a last check to ensure that you will be importing them to where you really want them, but perhaps if the words match so exactly the question might be changed to something like, "Unless you change links your Exp:Misc will have a Destination of Exp:Misc," or something similar.

There were other instances of mild confusion, but they applied to my attempting to convert credit cards as expenses to credit cards as liabilities and would not necessarily apply as broadly as the above.

On the good side, the time I spent converting 10 years of old data made me quite comfortable with GnuCash, so it wasn't time wasted.


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Re: [GNC] Suggestion to ease newbies import problems

David Cousens
This post was updated on .
Thanks for the feedback. I am currently rewriting part of the documentation
in the Help manual on importing. The comments about Base, Destination and
transfer accounts are quite timely and I have struggled with  that
terminology while doing the rewrite.

The difficulty arises primarily because in accounting terms there  is really
no difference in the accounts associated with the various splits in a
transaction. Which is the base/source account and which is the transfer or
destination account is really determined by which register you are viewing
the transaction from and/or into which account/register you are importing
the transactions into.  There is an inherent ambiguity that can be difficult to
describe in all circumstances.

The "minimum to import data" is actually correct in that a csv file must at
least contain those columns for data to be imported at all. GnuCash or the
user can assign the destination account. It is not necessary, although
certainly desirable to dhave the destination account specified in the input
file. Unfortunately GnuCash is not the origin of most files to be imported
and as these are from banks and other institutions in the main, the
terminalogy used is optimal for their needs and not really for GnuCash
specifically. Your point about adding and populating a destination account
column before importing is taken.  This of course presumes one has a fully populated
CoA setup before starting to import.  

One of the reasons for the recommended procedure of initially importing in
small batches is to at least get the core of  the CoA setup and to at least
partially train the Bayesian matcher before importing the bulk of the data.
The Bayesian matcher only derives its data from the import process and does
not use any information about existing transaction account assignments
which may already be present in Gnucash unless they have been imported.

I have expanded the description of the import matcher considerably. The Help
manual is oriented more towards a description of the interfaces. In some of
Geert' more recent improvements the dialogs lead you through the process
fairly effectively so a guide section almost becomes redundant.  I am
planning on adding sections to the guide illustrating the import process in
more detail for a few example cases , particularly the CSV import(minimal
import, multiline multisplit data, GnuCash exported data( simple layout and
multiline), stock and currency) where the format is not constrained by any
standard. Flexibility has its price unfortunately.

One of the perennial problems is terminology. If you come from another
program or even from a general accounting background  the previous use of
terms within another context can make it difficult to interpret the help and
guide, at least initially. A glossary was fairly recently added to the
Tutorial and Concepts Guide by @sunfish62. Unfortunately this simply puts
the header information from the glossary up in the popup and not the
definition part in the current DocBooks implementation for html.  It may be
possible to alter this behaviour, but I will have to experiment with the xslt
processing to create the html document.  It is possible to
open the glossary in another tab in the browser however.

I hope to make the glossary
common to both the guide and the help manual in the future and I hope this
will go a long way to settling problems re slightly different usage of
terminology in different places in the guide and help manuals.

These changes probably won't be in the guide and help manual until V4 comes
out. Some of the sections on the import gui are currently being reviewed.

David Cousens



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Re: [GNC] Suggestion to ease newbies import problems

randix
When I transferred over to GnuCash from Quicken a number of years ago, after
first toying with the import directions/options, I opted to use the "6-pack"
method...

I bought several 6-packs of Stella, picked how many years I wanted to go
back to be reflected in GnuCash, and entered each and transaction manually.

Doubt I'd do anything different in 2019.  



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Re: [GNC] Suggestion to ease newbies import problems

David Cousens
That seems like an admirable and at least enjoyable solution.

David



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Re: [GNC] Suggestion to ease newbies import problems

John Ralls-2


> On Sep 25, 2019, at 5:15 PM, David Cousens <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> That seems like an admirable and at least enjoyable solution.

I'd be worried about data entry errors, especially after the second 6-pack.

Regards,
John Ralls

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Re: [GNC] Suggestion to ease newbies import problems

David Cousens
After the second six pack "What data errors?"



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Re: [GNC] Suggestion to ease newbies import problems

Adrien Monteleone-2
Data? Wha?

> On Sep 25, 2019 w39d268, at 7:35 PM, David Cousens <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> After the second six pack "What data errors?"
>
>
>
> -----
> David Cousens

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Re: [GNC] Suggestion to ease newbies import problems

randix
In reply to this post by David Cousens
In all seriousness, I recall that when I tried to import my data from
Quicken, I ran into so many problems and inaccuracies of the transactions
going into the wrong GnuCash account, etc., that I concluded it was just
easier and I'd have more confidence in entering the transactions manually
from the accounts that were important to me for X period of time, then have
to spend hours and hours reviewing "imported" entries and trying to chase
down inaccuracies.  It took me some time, obviously, but in retrospect, I
have no regrets over that approach, and the beer made it somewhat
enjoyable...



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Re: [GNC] Suggestion to ease newbies import problems

Kenneth Schneider
In order to minimize errors during import I first exported the account (categories) tree and imported that into GC. We’re there still errors?, yes but it was manageable. I then exported the data by year into qif files for import into GC. It made my life easier and reduced the number of errors I had to fix.

Ken Schneider

> On Sep 26, 2019, at 9:59 AM, randix <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> In all seriousness, I recall that when I tried to import my data from
> Quicken, I ran into so many problems and inaccuracies of the transactions
> going into the wrong GnuCash account, etc., that I concluded it was just
> easier and I'd have more confidence in entering the transactions manually
> from the accounts that were important to me for X period of time, then have
> to spend hours and hours reviewing "imported" entries and trying to chase
> down inaccuracies.  It took me some time, obviously, but in retrospect, I
> have no regrets over that approach, and the beer made it somewhat
> enjoyable...
>
>
>
> --
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