Corresponding bugzilla item: https://bugzilla.gnome.org/show_bug.cgi?id=700802
Budgeting system similar to YNAB, "You Need A Budget". It needs to carry forward over/under spent on budget category from month to month. I cannot use GNUCASH's budget system.
Baptiste Roussel commented
We must not confuse planning for the future and recording transactions.
GnuCash’s greatest strength is that it is built on sound accounting principles. While financial accounting is all about recording transactions that occurred in the past. Managerial accounting is all about forecasting the future. What our best estimates of future Income; Expenses; Assets; Liabilities and Equity. These forecast are then used to answer questions. One of the most critical questions being “Will I have the cash to pay the cash outflows as they are expected to occur?”
As a side note, proper use of both is brilliantly described in: “Gnucash 2.4 Small Business Accounting: Beginner's Guide”. The author suggests using GnuCash to assist in the initial ruth forecast. He then exports to Excel for adjusting the numbers and generating reports.
I recommend this book to either anyone new to GnuCash and especially to those with no “business” accounting education. You can get Ashok Ramachandan’s book here: https://www.packtpub.com/hardware-and-creative/gnucash-24-small-business-accounting-beginners-guide (To the best of my knowledge, I am in no way, directly or indirectly, affiliated to the author of this book.)
My personal rant with using GnuCash for budgeting = forecasting = managerial accounting is that I just can’t. Why? I plan 12 months ahead (trailing 12 months).
• The software gets very slow.
• The display of column is impractical and whenever changed reverts to its previous annoying state.
I suggest getting a managerial accounting on board to assist with the task.
GnuCash is an outstanding piece of software to record past transactions (financial accounting). Yet, it’s potential as a rock solid tool to assist in planning for the future (budgeting = managerial accounting) remains mainly untapped.
Just like in the Ghost Buster movie, in accounting bad things happen if you the mix the streams (past & future).
PS: Whether you want peace in your personal life finances or have ambitions to grow or start a business you can find accounting courses online on Coursera; EdX and the like.
Agree with Most of the comments regarding improvements.
Additionally, I would find it useful to also be able to create sub line items to the budget account. E.g. under my "Restaurants" Expense Account, I would like to budget saying "Cafe once per week" with say $80 in every month, then a separate line "Dinner out once per month" with $50 listed in each month. It would then add up the totals per month for all the items I have added.
I can do this with sub-accounts, but then I have the annoying accounts listed within my account view.
Peter Jackson commented
The ability to use + and - keys to adjust budget figures (as available in Registers) would be very useful.
There is a bounty available for implementing this feature.
David Schmitt commented
I've discovered that newly registered users cannot add new pages to the Gnucash wiki for the first week. Once that restriction expires I'll attempt to document my budget approach.
Regarding the Dutch bank transactions: Manfred, are you saying that they don't provide QFX/OFX downloads?
Manfred de Jong commented
I'd love to hear your approach!
The second problem for me as a Dutch user is the fact that I cannot directly import from my bank website. I need to download, convert with a very old perl script that gives incomplete results and then import and clean up. That is so not helping...
David Schmitt commented
I have had excellent success using GNUCash as-is for zero-balance budgetting with a virtual envelope type system (similar to YNAB I believe). I would certainly be willing to document my approach and the one or two limitations I encountered.
I agree that GNUCash needs a lot of work to become a good program for budgeting.
I can't speak for YNAB since I have never used it but if it works on the envelope system I am all for it. I recommend looking at the idea that Alan put forward as one good solution to the problem. I don't know how to link to the page but here is the address...
I agree, one weekpoint of gnucash is it's budget - it's barely there. My thanks to those who have worked on it but it does need a lot of help. Carry overs, repeating amounts, summaries - at least a year summary would be nice and make it usable. Right now I use the budget report for actuals but keep my budget in an openoffice (Libreoffice) spreadsheet.
The idea of carrying forward the budget should really be just a reporting option. It shouln't be that difficult to implement. Well, who am I talking, never having looked at the code of GNUCASH at all...?
While someone is at it: It should be possible to somehow copy one months' budget to the next month - or did I somehow overlook such a feature? Having to enter each months' budget manually is stone-age technology :)
I can't claim I'll be able to produce results, but anything that I do will be a long time coming as I'm just starting to read the code base. If I get as far as I'd like to, automatic transactions would be accounted for in the budget, and since these don't have to be auto-entered will at least suffice for any custom system. This is something I want badly so hopefully I won't get discouraged.
one problem i have with budgeting is that i can only enter the total for an account. if for example i want to budget a weekly visit to the movies then i need to add up the cost of the ticket times the people in the family times the weeks in the month.
if one of those variables changes, i have to recalculate the total all over again.
improving this could be as simple as allowing to enter a formula. just like you can enter it in a transaction: 10*4*3
I've only used MS Money and GnuCash so far and both appear to have the same budgeting focus, monthly. YNAB looks to have that same focus but much closer to what I think needs to happen. Budgeting for categories. Months don't matter, only when money is needed for bills and what income is like. I'm going to see if I can get down and dirty with the code, but anything I do will be modeled after 50-30-20 from "All Your Worth."
Manfred de Jong commented
From my user perspective the tool is half baked without a budged option. I know that there are many caveats and forms of budgeting, but just choose one sort and implement that in total. Better something then nothing.
really needs normal budgeting tool. Existing budgeting is almost a joke... not usable at all