I imported (Actions > Online Actions > Get Transactions...) transactions of my two of my accounts (bank account and credit card). Among these transactions is one that transfers money from the bank account to the credit card. It has the same absolute amount (with opposite sign), but different descriptions (and different types of information encoded in the description).

After I finished the import, I set the transfer field of both transactions to "bank account" and "credit card", respectively. Now both transactions show up in the opposite account, i.e. there are now two transactions showing up for this transfer, and the balance of both accounts is off by the amount transferred.

How do I fix this, without loosing the individual transactions, i.e. without deleting one of them? Does GnuCash have a way to tell it "this transaction in account A is actually that other transaction in account B"?

I found the question "How do I join transactions after importing from multiple bank account statements in GNUCASH?", but the answer there involves deleting one of the transactions, which would mean that I loose the information encoded in its description, which I do not want.

  • Although the transaction bridges two accounts, it is a single entity in the tool and thus can only have one description. Thus, one way or another you will have to delete one of the duplicates. When you have additional information to retain on a transaction, such as the description from a second account, you can use the other fields like the split memo to store it. When you right-click on the transaction and view splits, you will see the memo fields. – Derek_6424246 Jan 31 '19 at 20:01
  • I temporarily used splits to store the information, but was afraid that this might confuse GnuCash when syncing the dataset with my bank using the online services. – devurandom Feb 3 '19 at 20:51
  • I see where you're coming from now! Yes, it's unfortunate that only one account can "work smoothly" when both are being updated online. One important thing to remember is to take time while updating account2, and use the tool to "merge transactions" and identify and eliminate duplicates from the imported data. – Derek_6424246 Feb 4 '19 at 16:20

Let's say you have the following transactions in separate asset accounts, and you want to link them. For generality, I'll assume that the accounts named in the Transfer columns are different.

  • "bank account": $100 Withdrawal from "BTransfer", comment "the other comment is true"
  • "credit card account": $100 Deposit to "CTransfer", comment "the other comment is false (just kidding)"

Create another asset account, which I'll name "logical linkage account". You can call it whatever you like. In each of the above transactions, replace both "BTransfer" and "CTransfer" with "logical linkage account".

You can then open up "logical linkage account" to match up the amounts visually. This matching is still a manual process, but at least the link is made within a single account. Note that if BTransfer and CTransfer were a single account (say, Transfer) then you don't have to do anything. Just open up the "Transfer" account to match the amounts.

Alternatively, if you want to have a direct link, you can reverse the two transactions and create a third. This retains the original imported transactions with their separate comments. You then zero-out the dollar figures by either deleting the Deposit and Withdrawal amounts for the two transactions, or by adding two reversing entries:

  • "bank account": $100 Deposit (Transfer = "BTransfer"), comment "reversal"
  • "credit card account": $100 Withdrawal (Transfer = "CTransfer"), comment "reversal"

This cleans the slate, and you can now put the money back in using a properly-linked account:

  • "bank account": $100 Withdrawal (Transfer = "credit card account"), comment "inter-account payment"

Note that if you opt to delete the dollar figures in the original transactions, you're changing the imported transactions, which might mess up the bank reconciliation process. Doing the reversals explicitly allows the whole paper trail to be visible.

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