> Date: Sat, 14 Apr 2018 11:24:58 -0700 (PDT)
> From: Johann Höchtl <johann.hoec...@gmail.com>
> 
> Suppose I buy sthg. but delivery takes time. So I have to make a 
> "pre-payment" ? / is this the same as a deposit? How would I structure that 
> in ledger?
> 
> Instead of
> 
> 2018-01-04 * TV set pre-paymant
>   Expenses:Electronics   $800
>   Assets:Banking
> 
> 2018-02-04 * TV set delivery
>   Expenses:Electronics   $250
>   Assets:Banking

This is reasonable for cash-based accounting when you're recording
only where the funds physically are, but wrong for accrual-based
accounting because you're really committing to your ownership of the
television set once yet there are two separate expense transactions.

> My idea would instead be: 
> 
> 2018-01-04 * TV set pre-payment
>   Deposit:Electronics   $800
>   Assets:Banking
> 
> 2018-02-04 * TV set delivery
>   Deposit:Electronics  $250
>   Assets:Banking  -$250
>   Expenses:Electronics
>   Deposit:Electronics   = $0 
> 
> Does this make sense? Are there better ways to represent pre-payments for 
> expected goods not yet delivered?

This is reasonable for accrual-based accounting, though I would put
Deposits under Assets, Assets:Deposits:Electronics (or even a more
detailed Assets:Deposits:ACME Vendor, Inc.:20180104 to separate it
from other deposits), since presumably if you don't make the second
payment then the vendor is obligated to return the funds, so they
count toward your assets until you commit with the second payment.

The other alternative is if the `prepayment' is a _down payment_ with
a loan, if the purchase of the television set actually happens in the
first transaction, as is usually the case for (e.g.) car and house
ownership in the United States.  In that case, it would be better
written as

2018-01-04 TV set purchase
   Expenses:Electroncs        $1050
   Liabilities:TV set loan    $-800 
   Assets:Banking             $-250

2018-02-04 TV set loan payment
   Liabilities:TV set loan     $800 = $0
   Assets:Banking

But your case sounds more like a deposit than a down payment.

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