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Suppose I am going to a restaurant with 5 friends. Suppose we are in the US because then we have to pay together. Suppose I take the bill of 500$ with my credit card. I receive the money of one friend via Venmo (100$), of one via PayPal (100$); one friend pays me cash (100$) and I pay for myself and my girlfriend (200$).

Now I could enter the transaction on my credit card account Liabilities:Credit Cards:Visa using the following splits:

Friend 1      Assets:Venmo                   100
Friend 2      Assets:PayPal                  100
Friend 3      Assets:Cash:Wallet             100
Girlfriend    Expenses:Gifts                 100
Myself        Expenses:Dining                100
              Liabilities:Credit Cards:Visa       500

An alternative way would be to have an intermediate account (or intermediate accounts) Assets:Lent:Friend 1, etc or Assets:Lent:Friends and the splits look like:

Friend 1      Assets:Lent:Friends            100
Friend 2      Assets:Lent:Friends            100
Friend 3      Assets:Lent:Friends            100
Girlfriend    Expenses:Gifts                 100
Myself        Expenses:Dining                100
              Liabilities:Credit Cards:Visa       500

Then, I separately make bookings from my Venmo & PayPal accounts, but also from my cash account. The individual transactions within Assets:Lent:Friends would look like:

Got money back from Friend 1   Assets:Venmo                   100
Got money back from Friend 2   Assets:PayPal                  100
Got money back from Friend 3   Assets:Cash:Wallet             100

Which of the two ways is the more preferred one? (I know both work)

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    I would only bother with the more complex option 2 if there was a long delay between paying the bill and being reimbursed. Is it really of interest in the long run that you covered your friends temporarily? – chepner Jan 8 '18 at 1:42
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    I always prefer your alternative way. – base64 Jan 8 '18 at 10:46
  • Is this really only a matter of taste? Any pros and cons for each way? – divB Jan 9 '18 at 0:17
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    The benefit to option 2 is that your records match the time frame of the actual transactions, and would simplify reconciliation. My primary comment on your example is that what we're talking about here is implicitly a loan (no matter how willingly you made that loan). Thus using accounts based in the Asset category is incorrect- it should be something like Liabilities:Loan to Friends. – Derek_6424246 Jan 10 '18 at 0:27
  • Hmm, I think only if I take a loan, right? If I borrow something it goes into Liabilities:Borrowed from Friends. But if I loan something it is actually an asset (or a pre-payment). I think I asked that long time ago on the gc mailinglist and got told to put that into Assets:Lent to Friends and Liabilities:Borrowed from Friends ... – divB Jan 10 '18 at 2:29

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