Grouping of transactions in transactions report

Eric Weir's Avatar

Eric Weir

23 Feb, 2021 06:54 PM

I just created two reports of political and charitable contributions. There is something puzzling in the former. Payees are not grouped consecutively, but broken up in several groups interspersed with groups of other payees. Also, listings within groups are not in date order.

In one case the fragmentation of groupings is a result of my not describing the payee consistently. In two others, even with the same descriptions, groupings are fragmented.

I have tried to see how this may have been a result of the way I set up the reports. But I don't come up with anything. I'm attaching a screenshot of the setup of the report.

Thanks

  1. 1 Posted by dwg on 23 Feb, 2021 08:49 PM

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    I'm a fellow user.

    I'm seeing a couple of small oddities in the subtotalling of this report.

  2. 2 Posted by Ben on 24 Feb, 2021 12:31 PM

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    How curious! I find I get the same. It seems to group separate transactions properly but break up split transactions. I have one split transaction - same category, different memos and amounts - that the report fragments into two groups, putting one part out of sequence in the alphabetic ordering by payee.
    I've just now managed to cause another break into two separate groups (but in correct alphabetic order this time) by splitting a transaction and assigning different memos. Give the two splits the same memo and they're properly grouped again.

    PS I see the same in both the Transactions and the Transactions Filter reports.

  3. 3 Posted by Art on 24 Feb, 2021 02:13 PM

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    This has always been the case with this report (MD confuses the "Description" and "memo" fields and gives you a mixup of the two in reports that contain both non-split and split transactions). This also occurs in the Expenses Graph on the Summary Page. If you drill down from a category and then again to transactions, you'll see the same thing where sometimes a "Payee" will be shown (transactions that do not have splits) and other will show the memo entered for splits.

    In this case, the Find and Replace Extension and a spreadsheet are your friend. In Find and Replace, make sure to check the box "Splits as Memos". In fact, if you watch the list of transactions as you check and un-check "Spits as Memos" you'll see the changes in the Description field for split transactions as it toggles between the main transaction Description and the split memos.

    Hope that's not too confusing, but I think it has to do with the way MD handles transactions as double entry.

    Art. Just another user - not MD support.

  4. 4 Posted by Ben on 24 Feb, 2021 02:59 PM

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    Aha! I’d never quite figured out what “Splits as Memos” did, as memos aren’t displayed, but now I see: it toggles whether a split’s memo fields appear under descriptions. Thank you! You've clarified a lot (though I'm not convinced this is about double entry - yet. :) ) Now I can see why my tests gave haphazard results, so...

    Eric, we have a possible solution, if it is indeed split transactions that are causing trouble in your reports. Put the same Payee in the Memo field of each line of the split. If you still need further info in the split's memos, add it after the payee (eg "My Party - dinner" and "My Party - auction" so that even though there'll be two groups in the report, at least they'll appear one after the other.

  5. 5 Posted by Stuart Beesley ... on 24 Feb, 2021 04:11 PM

    Stuart Beesley - JUST A FELLOW USER's Avatar

    All transactions consist of a 'Parent' and at least 1 split. The parent holds the Description and a 'Memo' field and the splits each hold the content of the actual txns:
    - e.g. the amount(s). - e.g. a memo/description field A single line entry actually has one split..

    The split can only hold a single description field which actually appears as 'memo' when you view the split txn. The Parent holds the Description and also a memo..

    It is entirely possible that a single split/line transaction can hold:
    - Parent Description - Parent Memo - Split 1: Description (which shows as a Memo)

    If there was a 2nd split, then this can also hold a Split 2 Description - and so on...

    Confused yet?! Now you can see why the reports have problems

    I haven't analysed your problem, but if the report is trying to sort / Total including split data then this may be confusing the logic/output...

    (not support, just a fellow user)

  6. 6 Posted by Ben on 24 Feb, 2021 08:14 PM

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    Thanks, that does make it clearer, especially considering that Split#1Description's populated with Parent Description (we don't usually see it but it appears when we split a transaction).
    A little more testing suggests that when set to Subtotal by Payee:
    Transaction Filter subtotals by SplitDescription, but labels the total with the Description of the last transaction in the group
    Transactions subtotals by SplitDescription+Description, but sorts by SplitDescription+Date.

  7. 7 Posted by Eric Weir on 25 Feb, 2021 08:26 PM

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    Thanks, Art. And to all others who’ve responded. Grateful to find this is a quirk of MD, not a quirk of my brain.

    So, I’ve checked out the find and replace extension. Never would’ve occurred to me if it hadn’t been suggested. For the category I want to get a report on I get a list of transactions ordered by date.

    There is one recurring transaction that is split. All the rest are not split. I don’t need to have the splits reported separately. Checking the “consolidate splits” box gives me what I want, the total expenditure.

    I imported the date ordered list from the find and replace extension into a spreadsheet. There was some disorder in the imported list that was a result of inconsistent characterization of related transactions, It’s been a while since I worked with a spreadsheet so the mechanical reordering was a bit cumbersome process.

  8. 8 Posted by Eric Weir on 28 Feb, 2021 07:05 PM

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    On Feb 24, 2021, at 9:59 AM, Ben <[email blocked]> wrote:

    Eric, we have a possible solution, if it is indeed split transactions that are causing trouble in your reports. Put the same Payee in the Memo field of each line of the split. If you still need further info in the split's memos, add it after the payee (eg "My Party - dinner" and "My Party - auction" so that even though there'll be two groups in the report, at least they'll appear one after the other.

    Thanks, Ben.

    Being retired with a relatively simple income stream I do not need to be very detailed in my accounting, e.g., I am ever unlikely to need to report splits separately. Checking the “consolidate splits” box gets a transaction list/report that meets my needs.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Eric Weir
    Decatur, GA  USA
    [email blocked]

    "What does it mean...that the world is so beautiful?"

    - Mary Oliver












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