Accounts vs Categories

Will's Avatar


17 Apr, 2015 07:17 AM

Why are accounts and categories chameleons of each other?!?! It seems depending on whether you do a search from "Summary," or look at an account (such as a bank account or a credit card account, NOT a category), or run a report, whether categories or accounts are shown in the "Category" column is always changing. I've made the terrible mistake of using Batch Convert > Categories instead of Batch Convert > Account to, um, change the CATEGORIES for a bunch of transactions. Now, when I do a "Summary" search for a Payee, those particular transactions show an account under the Category column, instead of a category like all the other transactions. And it seems impossible to simply change it to the category I want - I seem to be going in circles with the "Other Side." Is there any explanation, anywhere, of why Accounts and Categories are one and the same in Moneydance?...

  1. 1 Posted by dwg on 17 Apr, 2015 09:42 AM

    dwg's Avatar

    Moneydance has borrowed some concepts from double entry accounting, this is not unusual some other Personal financial software packages do likewise.

    In double entry accounting there is always two sides to every transaction so for every debit there must be a credit and visa versa. So for example if you credit an account with some funds another account must be debited for those same funds.

    Now for personal financial management this is something of an overkill. but by using this concept it can adapt it to being able to categorize your transactions and thus allow for reporting by these categories for example which is far more useful to the individual.

    Thus you may for example buy some fuel with a credit card, this transaction in itself tells MD very little, but by categorizing it as fuel you can use it in reports.

    Thus each category is somewhat like an account in that it represents the double entry for each transaction but it does not appear in account lists as they are not meant to be treated as accounts, a category can have transaction from any number of different accounts.

    In general it is recommended to always approach transactions from the account side, if you approach it from the category side you need to be absolutely certain of what you are planning to do. It is dangerous enough that you should ensure you have a good backup before you start changing too much from the category side.

  2. 2 Posted by Will on 17 Apr, 2015 11:55 PM

    Will's Avatar

    Hi, thanks for your response! I've been trying to overhaul a Quicken 2007 file (re-catorgizing pretty much everything in it) and I got frustrated with the inexplicable downgrade that is Quicken Essentials and its inability to provide meaningful reports, which brought me to Moneydance. Moneydance seems far more capable in the reporting department, but its user interface, data entry capabilities, and particularly its re-catorgization capabilities have been a nightmare, maybe because of the double entry "overkill." So now I'm back to Essentials, thinking I'll run simple reports to extract information, and then use Excel to do all of the analysis. Thanks again!

  3. Ben Spencer closed this discussion on 17 Apr, 2015 11:57 PM.

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