The OP was fairly light on details. (and gave a general “I don’t understand” 
but never said specifically ‘what’ they didn’t understand)

It seems a few people hazarded a guess and might have gotten it right. (we 
haven’t heard back from the OP yet since)

Another approach would be to tell someone, “Forget about any advice from 
elsewhere concerning ‘journal entries’ and just follow the Help & Guide with 
respect to entering your expenses. If you have specific questions trying to do 
that, let us know.”

If the OP started with the Help Manual (or only read that one) I can understand 
their frustration. It isn’t a “How do I do this” it is a “How does the program 
work from a technical perspective once I’ve already figured out what I need to 
do”. I’ve always thought of the Help Manual as more of an Appendix sort of 
reference in many respects and not an actual Help that most other apps include 
and that I’m certainly used to referencing. The Help manual doesn’t tell you 
how to keep track of your expenses. That is covered in the Guide. But the 
necessary Setup work and the technical step by step of entering transactions 
generically is covered in Help. I personally think this is a mess and I know 
there are strong opinions in favor of the present situation, but this list 
seems to bare out that it needs serious rethinking and re-ordering.

Now that I’m off that soap box, perhaps an approach to this type of question 
should more specifically be, “Read Chapter 2 ’The Basics’ of the Tutorial & 
Concepts Guide first to get a grasp on what needs to be done, then follow the 
‘Setting Up' from Chapter 5 and 'Entering Transactions' from Chapter 6 of the 
Help Manual. Let us know if you have any questions.”

The fact that someone needs to be directed *to get started* to Chapter 2 of one 
manual and Chapter 5 & 6 of another should illustrate the confusing nature of 
the current documentation organization.


> On Aug 14, 2019, at 8:56 AM, Dale Alspach <> wrote:
> This does not really address the issue. Quickbooks, for example, is a
> double-entry accounting system. What is being provided by the user
> interface is an alternate method for entering transactions. (A perverse
> user could enter every transaction from the general journal screen in
> Quickbooks. )
> The start of this thread was a question from a new user about journal
> entries as he understood them from being a Quicken user. (I believe Quicken
> is a personal accounting version of Quickbooks. Quickbooks is targeted at
> small to medium size businesses.) My post was an attempt to explain why a
> new user coming from Quicken might have a different notion of journal entry
> and not understand the responses he was getting from this list.
> The question that remains is what should/could be provided in the
> documentation to help users transitioning from these double-entry
> accounting programs with a sophisticated user interface and a different
> approach to entering transactions to Gnucash.
> Dale
> On Wed, Aug 14, 2019 at 5:15 AM Liz <> wrote:
>> On Tue, 13 Aug 2019 17:04:55 -0400
>> Mike or Penny Novack <> wrote:
>>> If you mean "differences from other applications that are NOT
>>> standard accounting" why should that be necessary. Shouldn't simply
>>> saying that gnucash is "double entry bookkeeping" enough? The
>>> documentation DOES make that clear. Not up to gnucash to point out
>>> that non-double entry isn't standard accounting.
>> Some type of writing that says
>>        "Gnucash enforces the industry standard of double-entry
>>        accounting. You may have been using a package which works
>>        differently, and if you have been using X Y or Z we recommend
>>        that you read about double-entry accounting before you
>>        start." (Links to suitable sites)
>> This would be preferable to no information - and perhaps drop by one
>> third the number of queries here which have started with a
>> misunderstanding about accounting and blame the program.
>> Liz

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