Invoice Payment Problem, + A/R question

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Invoice Payment Problem, + A/R question

W Geoffrey O Black

I recently changed computers and upgraded to GnuCash 2.6.1, with Mac OSX 10.9.1. I had previously been running the 2.4 series (most recently 2.4.15), on OSX 10.7. I was pleased to find that after upgrading, I could open my data file and take up where I had left off before the upgrade, with only a few minor preferences tweaks needed to make the registers display the way I wanted.

However, I’ve run into an issue with invoices and payments that I can’t seem to resolve. A regular part of my workflow is to create and print invoice reports. When I do this, I always select the checkbox to display payments (in the display tab of the report options window). (It is mysterious to me why this is not selected by default, since I don’t understand why anyone would want to send an invoice showing an Amount Due that does not reflect payments the customer has already made. But that’s beside the point.) Since upgrading to 2.6.1, when I create an invoice report (Reports—Business—Fancy Invoice), it ONLY works if the invoice number I select is an unpaid invoice. As soon as I choose an invoice number that has payments associated with it, I get the message "An error occurred while running the report.” The error message goes away if I uncheck the box to display payments, but that really doesn’t help me, as I want the payments included on the invoice I print!

Can anyone tell me why this is happening and what I can do to fix it? I have reproduced the problem both with pre-existing invoices originally created in version 2.4.x, and with newly created invoices. The payments are there (they show up in A/receivable, and the invoices are marked “paid” in the “Find Invoice” window), but somehow trying to display them on a report is making GnuCash freak out. Any ideas?


A second question which may or may not be related: I have noticed that since upgrading to 2.6.1, when I process a payment, it creates two separate transactions in Accounts Receivable: one labeled “Payment,” one labeled “Lot Link” (with the memo line "Internal link between invoice and payment lots”). Is this a new behavior introduced in 2.6? And what is the purpose of it? This “link” type of transaction never showed up when I was using 2.4. I am willing to put up with it if it’s doing something useful, but it’s annoying to have extra “transactions” that don’t affect the balance cluttering up the A/R register.


Thanks,
Geoffrey

W Geoffrey O Black

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Re: Invoice Payment Problem, + A/R question

Geert Janssens
On Friday 07 March 2014 12:54:34 W Geoffrey O Black wrote:

> I recently changed computers and upgraded to GnuCash 2.6.1, with Mac
> OSX 10.9.1. I had previously been running the 2.4 series (most
> recently 2.4.15), on OSX 10.7. I was pleased to find that after
> upgrading, I could open my data file and take up where I had left off
> before the upgrade, with only a few minor preferences tweaks needed
> to make the registers display the way I wanted.
>
> However, I’ve run into an issue with invoices and payments that I
> can’t seem to resolve. A regular part of my workflow is to create and
> print invoice reports. When I do this, I always select the checkbox
> to display payments (in the display tab of the report options
> window). (It is mysterious to me why this is not selected by default,
> since I don’t understand why anyone would want to send an invoice
> showing an Amount Due that does not reflect payments the customer has
> already made. But that’s beside the point.) Since upgrading to 2.6.1,
> when I create an invoice report (Reports—Business—Fancy Invoice), it
> ONLY works if the invoice number I select is an unpaid invoice. As
> soon as I choose an invoice number that has payments associated with
> it, I get the message "An error occurred while running the report.”
> The error message goes away if I uncheck the box to display payments,
> but that really doesn’t help me, as I want the payments included on
> the invoice I print!
>
> Can anyone tell me why this is happening and what I can do to fix it?
> I have reproduced the problem both with pre-existing invoices
> originally created in version 2.4.x, and with newly created invoices.
> The payments are there (they show up in A/receivable, and the
> invoices are marked “paid” in the “Find Invoice” window), but somehow
> trying to display them on a report is making GnuCash freak out. Any
> ideas?
>
Hi Geoffrey,

This was a bug in GnuCash 2.6.1 and has been fixed in the just released 2.6.2.

>
> A second question which may or may not be related: I have noticed that
> since upgrading to 2.6.1, when I process a payment, it creates two
> separate transactions in Accounts Receivable: one labeled “Payment,”
> one labeled “Lot Link” (with the memo line "Internal link between
> invoice and payment lots”). Is this a new behavior introduced in 2.6?
> And what is the purpose of it? This “link” type of transaction never
> showed up when I was using 2.4. I am willing to put up with it if
> it’s doing something useful, but it’s annoying to have extra
> “transactions” that don’t affect the balance cluttering up the A/R
> register.
>
Lot links were introduced to allow handling of credit notes and more flexible payment options.
They are plainly visible because the accounts payable register was never intended for direct
user manipulation/consultation. However you are not the first to trip over them. It's on my list
to try and reduce its use to a minimum.

Geert
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Re: Invoice Payment Problem, + A/R question

W Geoffrey O Black

On Mar 8, 2014, at 1:51 AM, Geert Janssens <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On Friday 07 March 2014 12:54:34 W Geoffrey O Black wrote:
> >
> > I’ve run into an issue with invoices and payments that I
> > can’t seem to resolve. Since upgrading to 2.6.1,
> > when I create an invoice report (Reports—Business—Fancy Invoice), it
> > ONLY works if the invoice number I select is an unpaid invoice. As
> > soon as I choose an invoice number that has payments associated with
> > it, I get the message "An error occurred while running the report.”
> > The error message goes away if I uncheck the box to display payments,
> > but that really doesn’t help me, as I want the payments included on
> > the invoice I print!
> >
> > Can anyone tell me why this is happening and what I can do to fix it?
>  
> Hi Geoffrey,
>  
> This was a bug in GnuCash 2.6.1 and has been fixed in the just released 2.6.2.

Thanks for the quick reply, Geert. Just downloaded 2.6.2, and indeed, problem solved! Gosh, I like it when the bugs I come across have already been discovered and fixed. Makes life easy for me.

> > A second question which may or may not be related: I have noticed that
> > since upgrading to 2.6.1, when I process a payment, it creates two
> > separate transactions in Accounts Receivable: one labeled “Payment,”
> > one labeled “Lot Link” (with the memo line "Internal link between
> > invoice and payment lots”). Is this a new behavior introduced in 2.6?
> > And what is the purpose of it? This “link” type of transaction never
> > showed up when I was using 2.4. I am willing to put up with it if
> > it’s doing something useful, but it’s annoying to have extra
> > “transactions” that don’t affect the balance cluttering up the A/R
> > register.
> >
> Lot links were introduced to allow handling of credit notes and more flexible payment options. They are plainly visible because the accounts payable register was never intended for direct user manipulation/consultation. However you are not the first to trip over them. It's on my list to try and reduce its use to a minimum.

I understand that the A/R register is not meant for direct manipulation, and I am careful not to make changes when viewing it. I guess I had not realized it was not even meant to be consulted. Sometimes when I need to review a transaction and I know it was simple and recent, it seems more convenient to simply open Accounts Receivable and view it there, rather than searching for it through the Find Customer or Find Invoice interface. It’s not like I have any complaints about those interfaces—I’m just not in the habit of using them every time. I reckon I will quickly get in the habit of using them if I have to sift through “dummy” transactions to find what I’m looking for in the register, though. Again, if the lot links are serving a useful function, I don’t mind changing my workflow to account for their presence.

I am curious to know a bit more about the use of “lots” in GnuCash overall. I’m not sure I understand the term. Other than the “lot links,” the only direct reference to lots I have noticed as a user is “View Lots…” under the Actions menu. This brings up a dialog I can’t make much sense of (and therefore haven’t played with at all). Is there any documentation explaining what this is for or how to use it? If this is a function not intended for the average user, I will happily go on ignoring it, but stumbling across it (when searching through the menus for something else) has piqued my curiosity.

Thanks Again,
Geoffrey
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Re: Invoice Payment Problem, + A/R question

Geert Janssens
On Saturday 08 March 2014 22:53:07 W Geoffrey O Black wrote:

> On Mar 8, 2014, at 1:51 AM, Geert Janssens <[hidden email]> wrote:
> >
> > Lot links were introduced to allow handling of credit notes and more
> > flexible payment options. They are plainly visible because the
> > accounts payable register was never intended for direct user
> > manipulation/consultation. However you are not the first to trip
> > over them. It's on my list to try and reduce its use to a minimum.
> I understand that the A/R register is not meant for direct
> manipulation, and I am careful not to make changes when viewing it. I
> guess I had not realized it was not even meant to be consulted.
> Sometimes when I need to review a transaction and I know it was
> simple and recent, it seems more convenient to simply open Accounts
> Receivable and view it there, rather than searching for it through
> the Find Customer or Find Invoice interface. It’s not like I have any
> complaints about those interfaces—I’m just not in the habit of using
> them every time. I reckon I will quickly get in the habit of using
> them if I have to sift through “dummy” transactions to find what I’m
> looking for in the register, though. Again, if the lot links are
> serving a useful function, I don’t mind changing my workflow to
> account for their presence.
>
> I am curious to know a bit more about the use of “lots” in GnuCash
> overall. I’m not sure I understand the term. Other than the “lot
> links,” the only direct reference to lots I have noticed as a user is
> “View Lots…” under the Actions menu. This brings up a dialog I can’t
> make much sense of (and therefore haven’t played with at all). Is
> there any documentation explaining what this is for or how to use it?
> If this is a function not intended for the average user, I will
> happily go on ignoring it, but stumbling across it (when searching
> through the menus for something else) has piqued my curiosity.
>
> Thanks Again,
> Geoffrey

Hi Geoffey,

I can't remember answering this, so here goes.

First, GnuCash 2.6.4 will have a reworked payment logic to pick the best of the old 2.4
behaviour and the new 2.6 behaviour. You can still select multiple invoices/credit
notes/prepayments together in one payment, but lot links will be used much more sparingly -
only to offset invoices/bills with credit notes. That should be rare enough to no longer clutter up
the AP/AR accounts. The description on the lot links has been improved as well. And to clean up
the existing lot links you can use Action->Check & Repair->This Account on your AP/AR
accounts.

Regarding the use of "lots". It's an internal mechanism used to link together splits from two
interdependent transactions, but that can't be represented in one single transaction. There are
two main use cases:
- linking an invoice to its payment(s), which you already have found
- purchasing and selling stock (stock, bonds, shares,...)

An invoice and a payment are necessarily two different transactions in your book, but at the
same time one would want to keep track of which invoices have already been paid or not. Lots
track this. Similarly the purchase and sale of a stock are two different transactions, but one
needs to link both of them together to calculate gain/loss on both transactions as a whole.
Again a lot is used for this.

In most cases there's no need to deal with them directly. So the lot viewer can usually be left
alone. In some exceptional cases the software handles the lots in another way than you'd like.
At that point you can use the lot viewer to manually make corrections. Unless you know what
you're doing I wouldn't advise this though.

Does that satisfy your curiosity ?

Regards,

Geert
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