My personal finance application has to do only two things, but it has to do them well. It needs to effortlessly import transactions and additionally, create year-end tax reports which I then hand over to my accountant. GnuCash does both of those things very well. In this post we’ll look at creating year-end tax reports in GnuCash.
Below is a year-end tax report in GnuCash titled Geek Expenses, and is exactly the kind of report I generated in Quicken over the years. Most of you reading this post probably create a similar report for your Accountant, though no doubt with additional categories like travel expenses or office supplies. You can see we have a Business Checking Account Fee category followed by Conference expenses, Hardware and so on. A Grand Total is generated at the bottom.
I should add that if you don’t like the color scheme or fonts they can be easily changed by creating a new stylesheet from one of GnuCash’s default report style sheets.
GnuCash supports many types of reports, including Custom Reports.
And when we create our Geek Expenses report it will be available on the Custom Report list.
Creating the Report
There is no “Create New Report” menu option in GnuCash, but we’re going to do exactly that by selecting “Transaction Report.”
We next click Edit Report Options.
Side note, this is the same “Edit Report Options” function in the Edit menu you’ll use to modify the report while creating it.
Here we select the accounts to be included in the Transaction Report. Because Geek Expenses occur in multiple accounts including PayPal, we select All Accounts and Filter by our Geek Expenses and all Child Geek Expenses categories.
Sorting is an important concept to understand for GnuCash Reports. Here’s the sorting settings for the Geek Expenses report shown above. Our Primary Key is the Other Account Name (our filtered “Geek Expenses” accounts) with which we will generate a subtotal. Our secondary sorting key will be date so that all expenses within a category will be listed chronologically.
When we’re happy with the report we use the Add Report menu option to add it to our Custom Report list.
Here’s a helpful tip when just starting out creating GnuCash reports. There is no “Update Report” function in GnuCash, or at least none that I’ve seen. I’m using the current stable 2.4.13 release, so perhaps it will be added in GnuCash 2.5 now in development. To update an existing report you’ll want to delete the existing report from the custom report selection dialog we saw earlier. Additionally, changing the report title always enables the “Add Report” option. Weird, but real easy once you do it.
Final bit of GnuCash Reporting happy information is that unlike some of the other Linux Personal Finance applications, GnuCash supports full report printing to Printer, PDF, and even export to HTML.