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Is it possible to split a multi-account transaction (already) in the "generic import transaction matcher" - or only post-import, "manually" ?

It seems really strange that that should not (yet?) be possible... but couldn't yet find anything helpful via Google...

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  • Cf. also Import Match Editor.
    – shoyu
    May 5, 2022 at 11:02
  • Similar question was asked - but not yet answered - here: superuser.com/questions/1613475/…
    – shoyu
    May 5, 2022 at 11:18
  • Cf. Simple vs. Split Transactions.
    – shoyu
    May 5, 2022 at 11:20
  • Is "because no one has coded it yet" an acceptable answer? Software features don't magically appear just because you think they should.
    – D Stanley
    May 5, 2022 at 13:21
  • @DStanley Of course that would be an acceptable (and disappointing) answer - if that claim came from a qualified source that is and I guess there's a place for GnuCash feature requests out there somewhere...
    – shoyu
    May 6, 2022 at 7:11

1 Answer 1

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The short answer: No, you cannot split a multi-account transaction IN the import process. You do the splits either beforehand, or later.

Longer answer follows:

The GnuCash transaction importer is quite capable of importing transactions that contain a number of splits, provided that the various splits are properly coded in the applicable format.

For example, I typically use the GnuCash Android app on my phone to record purchases on-the-spot for later import into my GnuCash desktop installation. If I walk out of the Aldi supermarket having purchased groceries, wine, and clothes all with one payment, I can record the 3 categories of purchase in the app which will later produce a QIF-format output file containing a transaction with 4 splits (debits against the 3 different expense categories and a credit against my credit card).

Because this QIF file is correctly formatted and contains all of the relevant information, the subsequent import of this file into my main GnuCash installation goes smoothly and contains all of the required splits. I haven't tested other file formats (OFX, etc) but I expect that similar results would apply.

However, if you download a data file from another source (like your bank or credit card company) it is unlikely that all of the relevant information will be contained in the file - simply because your bank or credit card provider doesn't know.

As you no doubt know, you can "train" the GnuCash Importer to automatically assign transactions with specific descriptions to a particular GnuCash account. For example, purchases from Ampol Ltd typically would be petrol for my car. So any line in my credit card transaction download with a description of "Ampol Ltd" will automatically be coded to Expenses:Vehicle:Fuel because that's what I've trained the Importer to do previously.

However, if my Ampol purchase for a particular week was actually for petrol AND a chocolate bar and a can of soft drink, then the importer will follow its training and apply the whole amount to Expenses:Vehicle:Fuel. It doesn't know any better, because there was only one line of info on the credit card statement. I will have to go in later and manually edit the transaction to show that some of the amount was actually for Expenses:Snacks because I don't think that it's possible to do the splits during the actual import process.

This illustrates the benefit of capturing the full details using the GnuCash phone app to capture the full details of the transaction while you still remember them. Or whatever alternative method of preparing a file for import with full transaction details that you might prefer.

If this doesn't address your question (because I may not have understood the actual point of your question) please provide further details in comments.

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  • Doesn't make much sense / explain why creating a split should only be possible post transaction import... rather than already in the "generic import transaction matcher"-dialogue - other than that feature not yet being written / available...
    – shoyu
    May 5, 2022 at 11:07
  • And yes: my use case is downloading transactions (Actions > Online Actions > Get Transactions...) from my bank into my Gnucash "account" tracking by bank account; for some of these transactions so far I'll always need to manually "fix" them after importing to create a multi-account split. That's a bit of a nuisance... would be desirable if GnuCash could create a split for these (recurring) transactions on import... technically / accounting rules wise I do not see why that should not be possible.
    – shoyu
    May 5, 2022 at 11:12
  • OK, suppose that the download from your bank shows that you transferred $100 from your savings account to Aldi. Obviously, one split of the transaction that GnuCash will create is a credit of $100 against your savings account. But what combination of debits totalling $100 should GnuCash automatically create? Expenses:Groceries? Expenses:Tools? Expenses:Clothes? Expenses:Alcohol? Assets:Gift Cards? Or some bespoke combination of different categories that's unique to you? How do you suppose that GnuCash is supposed to create a complex transaction without the required information? May 5, 2022 at 22:54
  • What I would suggest is that you manually input your complex split transactions into GnuCash ahead of importing your bank transactions. The import process will recognise that the transaction already exists in GnuCash and not re-create the transaction. OR do what you're already doing and go in after the import process to "fix" the incorrect transaction by adding the additional split information that was not available to GnuCash at the time of the bank import. May 5, 2022 at 22:59

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