Cost Centre Feature Suggestion

mark's Avatar


20 Jan, 2021 08:41 AM

I was on a Financial Independence Zoom meet up yesterday evening and saw how the organiser had graphed their expenses for the year using broad categories such as Fixed Costs and Variable Costs. I don’t think this is a feature supported in Money Dance right now, so I’m making the feature suggestion below. Please chime in if there is a way to do this already.

I am calling this the Cost Centre concept, where you choose arbitrary groups of categories to report/graph by. This isn’t a case of using the ‘root’ or parent categories as using these limits you to reporting according to the structural organisation of the categories. For example, travel insurance could be categorised under a parent category of insurance or of holidays - but not both! The reports group by parent categories only. Using cost centres we can form loose groups of categories allowing for different aggregations of the transactions: (this a more flexible group-by for those with a SQL background)

Fixed Expenses - eg mortgage, energy, water, professional memberships, etc.
Variable Expenses - eg groceries, clothing, gym membership, going out
One-Off Expenses - eg bathroom renovation, new boiler, new computer
Holidays - eg flights, hotels, spending money, travel insurance, car hire

As an example, we could then graph by month for the year based on four cost centres and then year on year see how well we’re succeeding at driving down the totals for each cost centre - if that’s your goal!

Money Dance has the great advantage that income/expense categories can be very granular and this is how I get most value from the software. However, I would find the ability to see a report/graph by cost centre as described above extremely useful for year end reporting.

I don’t think the cost centre concept can currently be modelled using either the existing app feature set or plug-ins. If this can already be done, then great! If not, please take this as a suggestion for a future version of Money Dance.

PS if it’s not supported does anyone have a view on whether a new plug-in could do this?

  1. 1 Posted by dwg on 20 Jan, 2021 09:30 AM

    dwg's Avatar

    I'm a fellow user.

    You threw me when you said cost centre.

    Cost centres are used in business, each department or group would be a separate cost centre, rather than a grouping of expense types.

    Moneydance does not allow for the arbitrary grouping of expenses under a heading, it is all based on the category structure. This is what would be needed to make it work within the existing framework.

    To do it today you would have to create a custom report (graph) for each grouping that you want. So you could certain get the data it is just not the presentation you want.

    I do not see why such a report could not be created by an extension, there have been reports created by extensions over the years.

  2. 2 Posted by mark on 20 Jan, 2021 12:09 PM

    mark's Avatar

    Point taken on the use of Cost Centre as a name for this feature.

    A more accurate description would be an ability to classify expense (and income) categories.

    This would allow for two types of classification that adds flexibility to the rigid requirement presently to report upon the category parent/child structure:

    Functional Classification - eg house, car, etc. (which is what we have today, except unrestricted by parent/child relationships)

    Natural Classification - eg fixed, variable, one-off as per my original post.

  3. 3 Posted by harold on 11 Feb, 2021 02:20 AM

    harold's Avatar

    Hi, wouldn't tags be helpful here: Fixed and Variable?

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