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missing documentation

Thomas Bushnell BSG
I understand what happens if I import a QIF to start a new set of
accounts: the wizard works with me to figure out what the file says, and
then sets up accounts.

But I haven't got a clue what happens if I import a file from my bank.
Why would I want to?  What would happen?  The documentation assumes that
everyone knows why.  I don't...

What happens if you connect directly to your bank using aqbanking?  Who
would want to to? Why?

Thomas


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Re: missing documentation

Derek Atkins
Thomas Bushnell BSG <[hidden email]> writes:

> I understand what happens if I import a QIF to start a new set of
> accounts: the wizard works with me to figure out what the file says, and
> then sets up accounts.
>
> But I haven't got a clue what happens if I import a file from my bank.
> Why would I want to?  What would happen?  The documentation assumes that
> everyone knows why.  I don't...
>
> What happens if you connect directly to your bank using aqbanking?  Who
> would want to to? Why?

It's intuitively obvious what happens in these two cases.  ;)
Seriously, a novice user shouldn't care about it, and if you want
to do it you probably already know what it's for.

But feel free to donate documentation.

> Thomas

-derek

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       Member, MIT Student Information Processing Board  (SIPB)
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Re: missing documentation

Thomas Bushnell BSG

On Fri, 2008-01-04 at 17:31 -0500, Derek Atkins wrote:
> It's intuitively obvious what happens in these two cases.  ;)
> Seriously, a novice user shouldn't care about it, and if you want
> to do it you probably already know what it's for.

Actually, I haven't got a clue.

Does it just enter transactions from the statement?  Doesn't that make
reconciliation kind of pointless?

How does it know what the expense categories are for a given
transaction, or where the income came from?

I understand that there are other features that direct connect supports,
depending on your bank, where you can manipulate your accounts, though I
don't understand why that will be better than using my bank's existing
web interface.

Really, I just ain't got a clue.



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Re: missing documentation

Ian Lewis-3
Thomas,

Using Direct Connect and importing of QIF files etc. are simply there so you
can import the transactions from your bank without having to enter them by
hand. This can be a real time saver and doesn't really affect
reconciliation. Basically looking at the web interface for your bank and
entering transactions based on what's written there and importing from
Direct Connect or a QIF is the same. Except that there is less chance for
human error and less time spent when importing. You can then reconcile
normally.

Ian

2008/1/5, Thomas Bushnell BSG <[hidden email]>:

>
>
> On Fri, 2008-01-04 at 17:31 -0500, Derek Atkins wrote:
> > It's intuitively obvious what happens in these two cases.  ;)
> > Seriously, a novice user shouldn't care about it, and if you want
> > to do it you probably already know what it's for.
>
> Actually, I haven't got a clue.
>
> Does it just enter transactions from the statement?  Doesn't that make
> reconciliation kind of pointless?
>
> How does it know what the expense categories are for a given
> transaction, or where the income came from?
>
> I understand that there are other features that direct connect supports,
> depending on your bank, where you can manipulate your accounts, though I
> don't understand why that will be better than using my bank's existing
> web interface.
>
> Really, I just ain't got a clue.
>
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> gnucash-devel mailing list
> [hidden email]
> https://lists.gnucash.org/mailman/listinfo/gnucash-devel
>
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Re: missing documentation

Thomas Bushnell BSG

On Sat, 2008-01-05 at 10:28 +0900, Ian Lewis wrote:

> Thomas,
>
> Using Direct Connect and importing of QIF files etc. are simply there
> so you can import the transactions from your bank without having to
> enter them by hand. This can be a real time saver and doesn't really
> affect reconciliation. Basically looking at the web interface for your
> bank and entering transactions based on what's written there and
> importing from Direct Connect or a QIF is the same. Except that there
> is less chance for human error and less time spent when importing. You
> can then reconcile normally.

Ok, that's what I meant by making reconciliation pointless...since you
are now "reconciling" the same data against itself.

Normally in accounting, reconciling is where you compare your own record
against the bank's record to make sure they agree.  But if "your own
record" is just a clone of the bank's record, there isn't any actual
accuracy check going on.

Thomas


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Re: missing documentation

Ian Lewis-3
How do you keep your own records? I don't keep these in gnucash. Normally I
just keep the bank notes when I withdraw or deposit money. I then download
the transactions from the bank into Gnucash, and "reconcile" against the
records I have. I put quotes around reconcile because I don't actually use
the gnucash reconcile process (I might if I was running a cash drawer or
something). I just check my records with what was downloaded from the bank.
This process saves me from having to input the transactions one by one into
gnucash. I can just download transactions from the bank and then change them
or dispute them where necessary.

In any case if it doesn't work for you, or you don't like doing that then
there is nothing wrong with entering the transactions yourself and
reconciling that against the bank.

Ian

2008/1/5, Thomas Bushnell BSG <[hidden email]>:

>
>
> On Sat, 2008-01-05 at 10:28 +0900, Ian Lewis wrote:
> > Thomas,
> >
> > Using Direct Connect and importing of QIF files etc. are simply there
> > so you can import the transactions from your bank without having to
> > enter them by hand. This can be a real time saver and doesn't really
> > affect reconciliation. Basically looking at the web interface for your
> > bank and entering transactions based on what's written there and
> > importing from Direct Connect or a QIF is the same. Except that there
> > is less chance for human error and less time spent when importing. You
> > can then reconcile normally.
>
> Ok, that's what I meant by making reconciliation pointless...since you
> are now "reconciling" the same data against itself.
>
> Normally in accounting, reconciling is where you compare your own record
> against the bank's record to make sure they agree.  But if "your own
> record" is just a clone of the bank's record, there isn't any actual
> accuracy check going on.
>
> Thomas
>
>
>
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Re: missing documentation

Thomas Bushnell BSG

On Sat, 2008-01-05 at 12:45 +0900, Ian Lewis wrote:
> How do you keep your own records? I don't keep these in gnucash.

The account register for my checking account functions in just the way I
would use a paper checkbook.   I enter transactions into gnucash just as
I would enter them in a paper checkbook if I used one.

Thomas


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Re: missing documentation

Tim Wunder (Lists)
In reply to this post by Thomas Bushnell BSG
On Friday 04 January 2008 04:12:49 pm Thomas Bushnell BSG wrote:

> I understand what happens if I import a QIF to start a new set of
> accounts: the wizard works with me to figure out what the file says, and
> then sets up accounts.
>
> But I haven't got a clue what happens if I import a file from my bank.
> Why would I want to?  What would happen?  The documentation assumes that
> everyone knows why.  I don't...
>
> What happens if you connect directly to your bank using aqbanking?  Who
> would want to to? Why?
>
I don't direct connect to my bank for my checking account, but I do use it to
connect to discovercard.com for my credit card account. The importer
remembers associations to accounts for expenses. Gas purchases are usually
assigned to expenses:auto:fuel, for example. The transaction matcher is
pretty good at figuring out what goes where. Sometimes it guesses wrong, but
it's easy enough to fix.

I used to save my credit card receipts and enter them manually. Now I import
them. Much easier to download transactions than to key them in every week (or
so). As a result, I stay more current and gnucash's balance matches the
credit card balance better.

The transaction import marks the transactions as cleared. Then I'll use the
reconciliation process to make sure transactions weren't missed in the
downloads, which has happened once or twice over the span of several months.

Tim
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Re: missing documentation

Thomas Bushnell BSG
On Fri, 2008-01-04 at 23:13 -0500, Tim Wunder wrote:
> I used to save my credit card receipts and enter them manually. Now I import
> them. Much easier to download transactions than to key them in every week (or
> so). As a result, I stay more current and gnucash's balance matches the
> credit card balance better.

I track all my expenses, including cash, so I've already taken that time
hit.  The cost of the smaller number of bank transactions is no hassle
at that point.

> The transaction import marks the transactions as cleared. Then I'll use the
> reconciliation process to make sure transactions weren't missed in the
> downloads, which has happened once or twice over the span of several months.

But a big part of the reason behind reconciliation is to catch errors or
fraud.

If someone steals your card and charges gas, you'll never notice it--or
only because you rely on your memory and not the accounting system.

Thomas


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Re: missing documentation

Tim Wunder (Lists)
On Friday 04 January 2008 11:23:21 pm Thomas Bushnell BSG wrote:

> On Fri, 2008-01-04 at 23:13 -0500, Tim Wunder wrote:
> > I used to save my credit card receipts and enter them manually. Now I
> > import them. Much easier to download transactions than to key them in
> > every week (or so). As a result, I stay more current and gnucash's
> > balance matches the credit card balance better.
>
> I track all my expenses, including cash, so I've already taken that time
> hit.  The cost of the smaller number of bank transactions is no hassle
> at that point.
>
Good for you. I wasn't being that diligent. I'd save my receipts, but the time
delay to getting them entered into gnucash resulted in me spending time
catching up at the end of the month.

> > The transaction import marks the transactions as cleared. Then I'll use
> > the reconciliation process to make sure transactions weren't missed in
> > the downloads, which has happened once or twice over the span of several
> > months.
>
> But a big part of the reason behind reconciliation is to catch errors or
> fraud.
>
> If someone steals your card and charges gas, you'll never notice it--or
> only because you rely on your memory and not the accounting system.
>
I disagree. If I download my transactions on my credit card weekly and look at
the transactions there, I'm much more able to spot fraud than by waiting for
my paper statement and reconciling. It may be true that I should save my
receipts anyway and reconcile them against the download, but I'm not that
diligent.

You asked why direct connect would be used. I answered with my use case. If
that doesn't suit you, so be it. It /helps/ me keep a better eye on my credit
card than keying in paper receipts did.

Tim
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Re: missing documentation

Thomas Bushnell BSG
On Fri, 2008-01-04 at 23:40 -0500, Tim Wunder wrote:
>
> You asked why direct connect would be used. I answered with my use case. If
> that doesn't suit you, so be it. It /helps/ me keep a better eye on my credit
> card than keying in paper receipts did.

Apparently the conversation has gotten confused.

I was asking actually what it *did*, not whether people found it useful.
I'm certain people find it useful or it wouldn't be there.

Then I said, "it doesn't help with reconciliation" (per se), which still
seems to be true, and there was then confusion about what reconciliation
is.  So I clarified that.

And then, somehow, you seem to have thought I was trying to argue it was
useless or something like that.  Not sure how that happened, but that
wasn't actually what I said.

Thomas


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Re: missing documentation

Tim Wunder (Lists)
On Saturday 05 January 2008 12:05:19 am Thomas Bushnell BSG wrote:
> On Fri, 2008-01-04 at 23:40 -0500, Tim Wunder wrote:
> > You asked why direct connect would be used. I answered with my use case.
> > If that doesn't suit you, so be it. It /helps/ me keep a better eye on my
> > credit card than keying in paper receipts did.
>
> Apparently the conversation has gotten confused.
>

apparently... probly my fault.

> I was asking actually what it *did*, not whether people found it useful.
> I'm certain people find it useful or it wouldn't be there.
>
> Then I said, "it doesn't help with reconciliation" (per se), which still
> seems to be true, and there was then confusion about what reconciliation
> is.  So I clarified that.
>

It clears existing transactions through transaction matching and enters (and
clears) non-existent transactions. Reconciling cleared transactions is
automatic. I guess it can be thought of as a pre-reconciliation reconciling.
So yes, it does help with reconciliation. Any cleared transactions in the
statement period are automatically marked as reconciled in the reconcile
process.

> And then, somehow, you seem to have thought I was trying to argue it was
> useless or something like that.  Not sure how that happened, but that
> wasn't actually what I said.
>

One of those cases where what was said (written) wasn't what was heard (read).
My bad.

Regards,
Tim

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Re: The Point of Transaction download *and Reconciliation (was: missing documentation)

Christian Stimming
In reply to this post by Thomas Bushnell BSG
Am Samstag, 5. Januar 2008 06:05 schrieb Thomas Bushnell BSG:
> > You asked why direct connect would be used. I answered with my use case.
> > If that doesn't suit you, so be it. It /helps/ me keep a better eye on my
> > credit card than keying in paper receipts did.
>
> (...)
>
> Then I said, "it doesn't help with reconciliation" (per se), which still
> seems to be true, and there was then confusion about what reconciliation
> is.  So I clarified that.

Here's the answer: Yes, it does help with reconciliation, as "downloading a
file and importing it into gnucash" will mark transactions as "cleared" which
were imported from the downloaded file. Hence, these are marked as "yes,
those transaction have been executed by the bank on your account".

However, the reconciliation is still useful because importing transactions
always has the issue to detect and avoid duplicates. Depending on the file
format and download protocol, this duplicate detection doesn't work as
flawlessly as we'd hope - yes, there are download formats that do *not* have
a unique identifier of each transaction.

Hence, the user still needs to manually reconcile, but those transactions that
came from an import will have the check mark already set.

Christian
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