Reconciliation

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Reconciliation

lingwitt
Hello,

What is the best way to reconcile my accounts out of order?

I have newer bank statements, so I can use them now to reconcile,
but I'll have to get older ones another time.

It seems like reconciliation out of order messes with the  
Reconcilliation
window's number fields in annoying ways. I'll have to end up doing
arithmetic on my own in order to match the fields correctly, because
the Reconciled Balance is accumulative.
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Re: Reconciliation

Derek Atkins
[hidden email] writes:

> Hello,
>
> What is the best way to reconcile my accounts out of order?
>
> I have newer bank statements, so I can use them now to reconcile,
> but I'll have to get older ones another time.
>
> It seems like reconciliation out of order messes with the  
> Reconcilliation
> window's number fields in annoying ways. I'll have to end up doing
> arithmetic on my own in order to match the fields correctly, because
> the Reconciled Balance is accumulative.

You can't.  Reconciliation is always "from the beginning to
<reconcile date>", which means you can't do what you want.  This
is always why it's suggested that you start from scratch instead
of importing years of history..   Or if you DO import years of history
just mark everything that WAS reconciled as reconciled all at once.

> Please remember to CC this list on all your replies.
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-derek

--
       Derek Atkins, SB '93 MIT EE, SM '95 MIT Media Laboratory
       Member, MIT Student Information Processing Board  (SIPB)
       URL: http://web.mit.edu/warlord/    PP-ASEL-IA     N1NWH
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Re: Reconciliation

lingwitt

On 10 Sep 2007, at 4:28:56 PM, Derek Atkins wrote:

> [hidden email] writes:
>
>> Hello,
>>
>> What is the best way to reconcile my accounts out of order?
>>
>> I have newer bank statements, so I can use them now to reconcile,
>> but I'll have to get older ones another time.
>>
>> It seems like reconciliation out of order messes with the
>> Reconcilliation
>> window's number fields in annoying ways. I'll have to end up doing
>> arithmetic on my own in order to match the fields correctly, because
>> the Reconciled Balance is accumulative.
>
> You can't.  Reconciliation is always "from the beginning to
> <reconcile date>", which means you can't do what you want.  This
> is always why it's suggested that you start from scratch instead
> of importing years of history..   Or if you DO import years of history
> just mark everything that WAS reconciled as reconciled all at once.

Is there a good reason for this restriction? I figured reconciliation  
was
more of a record keeping detail.
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Re: Reconciliation

David Reiser

On 10 Sep 2007, at 8:27:44 PM, [hidden email] wrote:

>
> On 10 Sep 2007, at 4:28:56 PM, Derek Atkins wrote:
>
>> [hidden email] writes:
>>
>>> Hello,
>>>
>>> What is the best way to reconcile my accounts out of order?
>>>
>>> I have newer bank statements, so I can use them now to reconcile,
>>> but I'll have to get older ones another time.
>>>
>>> It seems like reconciliation out of order messes with the
>>> Reconcilliation
>>> window's number fields in annoying ways. I'll have to end up doing
>>> arithmetic on my own in order to match the fields correctly, because
>>> the Reconciled Balance is accumulative.
>>
>> You can't.  Reconciliation is always "from the beginning to
>> <reconcile date>", which means you can't do what you want.  This
>> is always why it's suggested that you start from scratch instead
>> of importing years of history..   Or if you DO import years of  
>> history
>> just mark everything that WAS reconciled as reconciled all at once.
>
> Is there a good reason for this restriction?

It's the definition of reconciliation. If you want other behavior,  
then you don't want reconciliation.

> I figured reconciliation
> was
> more of a record keeping detail.

Certainly. But the detail is that once reconciled, you never have to  
go back further in time to find any error than to go back to the last  
reconciliation date.

--
David Reiser
[hidden email]

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Re: Reconciliation

Keith Bellairs
In reply to this post by lingwitt
Reconciliation serves 2 purposes. One is to check that the amounts of
the items charged to accounts are correct. The other is to make sure
that the bank's balance for the account is the same as yours. To make
the second work you need to know that the starting balance is correct.
So you need to reconcile bank statements in order. Gnucash does let you
mark the amounts as you compare them with the bank statement, even if
you do not do a reconciliation. So you can do 1 without 2 if you want;
you just cannot call the amounts reconciled.

Keith
Guelph

[hidden email] wrote:

> On 10 Sep 2007, at 4:28:56 PM, Derek Atkins wrote:
>
>  
>> [hidden email] writes:
>>
>>    
>>> Hello,
>>>
>>> What is the best way to reconcile my accounts out of order?
>>>
>>> I have newer bank statements, so I can use them now to reconcile,
>>> but I'll have to get older ones another time.
>>>
>>> It seems like reconciliation out of order messes with the
>>> Reconcilliation
>>> window's number fields in annoying ways. I'll have to end up doing
>>> arithmetic on my own in order to match the fields correctly, because
>>> the Reconciled Balance is accumulative.
>>>      
>> You can't.  Reconciliation is always "from the beginning to
>> <reconcile date>", which means you can't do what you want.  This
>> is always why it's suggested that you start from scratch instead
>> of importing years of history..   Or if you DO import years of history
>> just mark everything that WAS reconciled as reconciled all at once.
>>    
>
> Is there a good reason for this restriction? I figured reconciliation  
> was
> more of a record keeping detail.
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>  
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Re: Reconciliation [Proposed Change]

lingwitt
On 10 Sep 2007, at 10:28:47 PM, David Reiser wrote:

> Certainly. But the detail is that once reconciled, you never have  
> to go back further in time to find any error than to go back to the  
> last reconciliation date.

Definition (investopedia.com): An accounting process used to compare  
two sets of records to ensure the figures are in agreement and are  
accurate.


On 10 Sep 2007, at 10:33:14 PM, keith wrote:

> Reconciliation serves 2 purposes. One is to check that the amounts  
> of the items charged to accounts are correct. The other is to make  
> sure that the bank's balance for the account is the same as yours.  
> To make the second work you need to know that the starting balance  
> is correct. So you need to reconcile bank statements in order.  
> Gnucash does let you mark the amounts as you compare them with the  
> bank statement, even if you do not do a reconciliation. So you can  
> do 1 without 2 if you want; you just cannot call the amounts  
> reconciled.

It seems like the current version of reconciliation is incomplete.

To reconcile, one should specify two things:
       
        (1) Start Date
        (2) End Date

With that information, gnucash should present the user with 2
pieces of information:
       
        (1) The net change of money within that interval
        (2) The account balance up to that date

I suppose two versions of Reconciled Balance are
necessary too.

This way, reconciliation provides useful information
on both all time and intervals of time.

Simultaneously, it should be easy to find unreconciled
transactions.

It's not my fault that my Bank is another dipshit institution
run by computer illiterate geezers; I don't know why I
can't access all of my bank statements easily, so why
does gnucash have to give me a hard time too?

My Motto:
Humans should not work to make tools happy.
Tools should work to make humans happy.
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Re: Reconciliation [Proposed Change]

Derek Atkins
Gnucash doesn't store any balances.  It computes all balances on the
fly.  So there's no easy way to store an intermediary balance-as-of
date for many many dates.  You're basically asking gnucash to store
an undefined number of disconnected date-range balances, and, well,
that could be a LOT of storage for very little gain except in RARE
corner cases like yours.

So, doing what you're asking would be much more effort than the
minor gain you'd get by doing all the work.  But you're welcome to
submit a patch!  :)

-derek

Quoting [hidden email]:

> On 10 Sep 2007, at 10:28:47 PM, David Reiser wrote:
>
>> Certainly. But the detail is that once reconciled, you never have
>> to go back further in time to find any error than to go back to the
>> last reconciliation date.
>
> Definition (investopedia.com): An accounting process used to compare
> two sets of records to ensure the figures are in agreement and are
> accurate.
>
>
> On 10 Sep 2007, at 10:33:14 PM, keith wrote:
>
>> Reconciliation serves 2 purposes. One is to check that the amounts
>> of the items charged to accounts are correct. The other is to make
>> sure that the bank's balance for the account is the same as yours.
>> To make the second work you need to know that the starting balance
>> is correct. So you need to reconcile bank statements in order.
>> Gnucash does let you mark the amounts as you compare them with the
>> bank statement, even if you do not do a reconciliation. So you can
>> do 1 without 2 if you want; you just cannot call the amounts
>> reconciled.
>
> It seems like the current version of reconciliation is incomplete.
>
> To reconcile, one should specify two things:
>
> (1) Start Date
> (2) End Date
>
> With that information, gnucash should present the user with 2
> pieces of information:
>
> (1) The net change of money within that interval
> (2) The account balance up to that date
>
> I suppose two versions of Reconciled Balance are
> necessary too.
>
> This way, reconciliation provides useful information
> on both all time and intervals of time.
>
> Simultaneously, it should be easy to find unreconciled
> transactions.
>
> It's not my fault that my Bank is another dipshit institution
> run by computer illiterate geezers; I don't know why I
> can't access all of my bank statements easily, so why
> does gnucash have to give me a hard time too?
>
> My Motto:
> Humans should not work to make tools happy.
> Tools should work to make humans happy.
> _______________________________________________
> gnucash-user mailing list
> [hidden email]
> https://lists.gnucash.org/mailman/listinfo/gnucash-user
> -----
> Please remember to CC this list on all your replies.
> You can do this by using Reply-To-List or Reply-All.
>



--
       Derek Atkins, SB '93 MIT EE, SM '95 MIT Media Laboratory
       Member, MIT Student Information Processing Board  (SIPB)
       URL: http://web.mit.edu/warlord/    PP-ASEL-IA     N1NWH
       [hidden email]                        PGP key available

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Re: Reconciliation [Proposed Change]

lingwitt

On 11 Sep 2007, at 8:05:23 AM, Derek Atkins wrote:

> Gnucash doesn't store any balances.  It computes all balances on the
> fly.  So there's no easy way to store an intermediary balance-as-of
> date for many many dates.

Can't you just scan a selection of transactions and calculate the total
change?
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Re: Reconciliation [Proposed Change]

Tim Wunder (Lists)
In reply to this post by lingwitt
On Tuesday 11 September 2007 7:51:43 am [hidden email] wrote:

> On 10 Sep 2007, at 10:28:47 PM, David Reiser wrote:
> > Certainly. But the detail is that once reconciled, you never have
> > to go back further in time to find any error than to go back to the
> > last reconciliation date.
>
> Definition (investopedia.com): An accounting process used to compare
> two sets of records to ensure the figures are in agreement and are
> accurate.
>
> On 10 Sep 2007, at 10:33:14 PM, keith wrote:
> > Reconciliation serves 2 purposes. One is to check that the amounts
> > of the items charged to accounts are correct. The other is to make
> > sure that the bank's balance for the account is the same as yours.
> > To make the second work you need to know that the starting balance
> > is correct. So you need to reconcile bank statements in order.
> > Gnucash does let you mark the amounts as you compare them with the
> > bank statement, even if you do not do a reconciliation. So you can
> > do 1 without 2 if you want; you just cannot call the amounts
> > reconciled.
>
> It seems like the current version of reconciliation is incomplete.
>
> To reconcile, one should specify two things:
>
> (1) Start Date
> (2) End Date
>
<snip>
Where in the definition of reconciliation do you see the requirement that the
user gets to set an arbitrary Start date? The Start Date in gnucash's
implementation of the reconciliation process is set to the last
reconciliation date. I rather doubt that's going to change.

Your choices would seem to be, conform to gnucash's implementation, change
gnucash's implematiation, or use software that does what you want. My
relatively uneducated guess is that it would be a major task to change
gnucash's implemetaion of reconcilliation, so you really only have 2 choices.

My recommendation is that you pick a point in time where you /know/ all the
transactions are correct, and the balance is correct, then reconcile to that
point and move forward. That's what I did the 5 or 6 years ago or so when I
migrated my quicken data to gnucash.

Don't make it more difficult than it needs to be...

HTH,
Tim

--
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KDE: 3.5.7-9.fc6 Fedora
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Re: Reconciliation [Proposed Change]

Derek Atkins
In reply to this post by lingwitt
Quoting [hidden email]:

>
> On 11 Sep 2007, at 8:05:23 AM, Derek Atkins wrote:
>
>> Gnucash doesn't store any balances.  It computes all balances on the
>> fly.  So there's no easy way to store an intermediary balance-as-of
>> date for many many dates.
>
> Can't you just scan a selection of transactions and calculate the total
> change?

That would give you the delta, but not the opening balance.  How would
you compute the OPENING balance for a particular "start date"?  Right
now it's easy; it runs over all the reconciled transactions and the sum
is your reconciled balance.  That works because you're always reconciling
from the start-of-time.

But in YOUR proposal there's no way to compute the starting balances at
all, because the reconciled periods may be non-contiguous.  How do you
handle the start-date when there are non-contiguous pieces prior to
the "current" reconciliation period?  You can't just take the sum of
all reconciled transactions, because the starting sum on your statement
takes them ALL into account whereas gnucash only knows of a subset of them.
Oops!

You also an't just assume that everything dated prior to the start date
has been reconciled.  I've got a few transactions that are months old
that haven't cleared yet.

Also, your suggestion would make the reconciliation process more challenging,
because NOW if I go back in time I have to look in BOTH directions.
Let's say you've got the following periods reconciled:  T0-T1, T2-T3, and
T4-T5.  If I go back and reconcile T3-T4, I now have to make sure that
the starting AND ending balances in THIS reconciliation match the values
entered/computed in the previous two reconciliations.   Blah!  What a
pain in the patooee!

But as I said before, you're still welcome to submit a patch.

Enjoy!

> Please remember to CC this list on all your replies.
> You can do this by using Reply-To-List or Reply-All.

-derek

--
       Derek Atkins, SB '93 MIT EE, SM '95 MIT Media Laboratory
       Member, MIT Student Information Processing Board  (SIPB)
       URL: http://web.mit.edu/warlord/    PP-ASEL-IA     N1NWH
       [hidden email]                        PGP key available

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Re: Reconciliation [Proposed Change]

Keith A. Milner
In reply to this post by lingwitt
On Tuesday 11 September 2007 13:28:34 [hidden email] wrote:
> On 11 Sep 2007, at 8:05:23 AM, Derek Atkins wrote:
> > Gnucash doesn't store any balances.  It computes all balances on the
> > fly.  So there's no easy way to store an intermediary balance-as-of
> > date for many many dates.
>
> Can't you just scan a selection of transactions and calculate the total
> change?

This won't work on it's own. When (on the current system) Gnucash computes the
statement balance, it is very likely to be wrong (in my experience, almost
always).

This is because the transaction data as entered into Gnucash and the actual
transaction date on the statement are often very different. This can be for a
variety of reasons, including the payee not banking the transaction
immediately, cheque clearing house delay, or the artificial few days delay
the banks insert between debiting one account and crediting the other (c'mon,
it's 2007. Noone believe this is for anything except the bank extracting
additional interest benefits).

The upshot is the transaction date can never be relied on to produce an
accurate statement balance.

Currently Gnucash allows for this by alloowing you to overide it's computed
balance with that on the statement. Note that this override is temporary and
purely for the duration of the reconciliation "session". If you postpone the
reconcilation part-way through, you need to re-enter it when you come back to
the reconciliation.

If you then have two dates to consider (start and end dates) then the you have
two balances (start and end balances) and they need to be corrected before
reconciliation can take place. Currently the start balance for reconcilation
is computed from the last reconciled date. This is accurate and cannot be
changed. This is part of the reconcilation cross-check.

Now, it's entirely possible that you could allow arbitrary statements to be
reconciled out of order, but this would require that the statement dates and
start/end balances must be entered. I'm guessing it would be a significant
piece of work to put this in place. It would also mean that it would be
possibe to have "holes" in the reconciliation if you enter one of these
values incorrectly.

There's also a massive danger that having such a facility would break the
currently immutable cross-check of the starting balance needing to equal the
closing balance of the previous statement. This is a massively useful
facility and I, for one, would not be happy losing it to provide for (as
Derek refers to it) a "corner case".

I'm sure if you want to code this and submit a patch to demonstrate how
seamless and useful this is I'm sure we would all be interested.

Alternatively, change your bank, or report them to the local financial
authority or banking ombudsman as they may be breaking some code-of-conduct
or even the law by not providing proper statements.

Cheers,

--
Keith A. Milner
mailto:[hidden email]
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