In previous humble attempts to learning-the-ropes of household accounting (in conventional spreadsheet software) I used to have a column to hold the name of the counter-party, e.g. the supermarket chain or cafe or retail store etc.

In gnucash, options seem to be limited to what's already given (version 2.4.10 in Sept. 2013), namely and mainly

  • date
  • description
  • transfer
  • "amount" and the optional
  • num

see, for instance, here. As I don't have any practical use for the num column, I intend to use it as my name-of-counterparty column: luckily, it accepts alphanumeric characters, so it seems to do the trick.

Otherwise, I could open sub-accounts for my regular cafes and the chuck all occassional one-off cafes into a common account. But that seems over the top...

By making use of the (dormant) num column I can instead keep track of the cafes in which I drank most coffee (beancounters' delight! ;).

  • Can you see anything wrong with my reasoning?
  • Or would you say this is a legitimate / good use of the num column?

I use the description column for that. The good thing is GnuCash remembers your account-description-account combinations. So every time I add a transaction in my 'Cash in Hand' account with a description 'coffee', GnuCash automatically picks a transfer account based on last transaction history. Ofcourse, can change this to other as you wish but for me, it is a very good productivity feature.

  • In what way does this answer my question, which is explicitly about the num column?
    – shoyu
    Jan 21 '14 at 6:09
  • Well, all I am saying is for naming counter-party, description column serves better. I am not sure either of what the num column is intended to do. hope it helps Jan 21 '14 at 7:04
  • 3
    @shoyu The num column is used to write down the number of the check/invoice related to the transaction. While technically you can use it as you describe, it will not be as helpful as using the description/transfer combination - as Atif described in his answer. In fact, the way Atif described is the right way to do what you want to do.
    – littleadv
    Jan 21 '14 at 7:59
  • @littleadv Respectfully disagree.
    – shoyu
    Jan 21 '14 at 16:15

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