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Flexible reporting of GnuCash file transactions for everyday personal accounting.

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Search Gnu Cash

For Version 0.1.0

These are programs to allow very specific searches from a GnuCash data file with optional selection criteria of strings, dates, accounts, and more..

GnuCash is a full double-entry bookkeeping system and yet is easy to use by nearly anyone. All data you put in is under your control on your computer and it is easy to extract when and if you want to switch to some other system. Proprietary accounting systems often provide no practical way to extract your data out of its files (locking you in).

While GnuCash has many very essential and useful report options its reports do not seem useful for dealing with some kinds of problems relating to single transactions in doing one's personal bookkeeping.

The report(s) searchgnucash provides are intended to be concise and readable yet suffiently complete for immediate use.

For example, reconciling a transaction with many entries (called 'splits' GnuCash) on a credit card for a month with the report from the credit card company can be difficult when comparing two lists of thirty items (lists usually not in the same order!). Or when one thinks one's own typo (possibly in a date) has caused a tranaction to move to an unexpected place and you need to find it. Issues like this motivated writing this code.

See www.gnucash.org for documentation and more.

Ubuntu: sudo apt install gnucash

Searchgnucash requires $HOME/searchgnucash.conf be created to specify globally meaningful basic information. Copy searchgnucash.conf from the source to $HOME, and update $HOME/searchgnucash.conf to match your situation.

Python3 defaults to UTF-8 characters so the content is not restricted to ASCII.

An actual gnucash data file consists of gzip'd xml. Amounts in the file are expressed (in the xml) as rational numbers such as 1123/100 meaning USD11.23 here (applicable to US Dollars or any currency with 100 'pennies' per basic unit). This approach GnuCash has taken lends itself to any currency, though the programs here are expecting USD values. See the function 'stdval()' in searchgnucash.py, the only place where the issue arises.

We internally treat the values as floating point. Note that python3 floating point can accommodate extraordinarily large (arbitrarily large?) values without loss.

Since the gnucash data file is plain text xml one can copy or move a GnuCash file to any other machine (of any endianness) without problems.

searchgnucash

This is the command line program, it produces text output. It produces results in a pleasant human-readable format.

It uses $HOME/searchgnucash.conf to find a default GnuCash file to read, but one can use the -f option to name another file to read.

To see all the available options with explanatory details:

searchgnucash -h

If parts of that are unclear consider posting an issue on github explaining what is confusing.

Use Case: Simple Report

For example, to restrict to transactions in 2022 with the letter pair PG in a description or memo field:

searchgnucash -d 2022 -s PG
# To look for all transactions with value 255.41
searchgnucash -s 255.41

Multiple -s options are allowed.

Use Case: Comparison

Assuming you have two GnuCash files (lets call them a.gnucash and b.gnucash) with slightly different content and one is not sure where there is any difference (but hopefully not thousands of differences!!) one can see the differences easily. Of course usual options such as -s and -d etc allow more selectivity when you know more precisely where to find differences of interest. One has to do regular (frequent) backups of the gnucash data file for this to be of much use.

searchgnucash -f a.gnucash  >a.temp
searchgnucash -f b.gnucash  >b.temp
# then
diff   a.temp b.temp
# or use a graphical diff, for example:
fldiff a.temp b.temp

Use Case: Account Names

Sometimes one needs the precise spelling of a GnuCash account. This lists all the account names.

searchgnucash  -printacctnames

Use Case: Spreadsheet (csv)

Given a transaction with many splits (anything over 20 or so) reconciling with other records can be a chore if the sum in a transaction splits does not seem to match other relevant data.

Here searching the gnucash file named in $HOME/searchgnucash.conf:

searchgnucash  -d 2022-02-24 -s Chase -csv >a.csv
# Now read in a.csv with a spreadsheet, such as
# soffice, and select only comma separation of fields when
# the spreadsheet program asks how to deal with the csv.
# The split entries will be in a three-column format
# with the second column the values.
soffice a.csv
# Save the spreadsheet (as a .ods, for example)
# And add a sum() cell to add the entries 
# of interest from column B.

searchcash

This is a python/tk/ttk graphical front end to searchgnucash.

It's main panel allows entry of search terms, dates, and more.

Click 'Quit' to exit the program.

Much of what searchgnucash can create is reportable and searchcash assumes that a pdf output is desired rather than plain text. The pdf is created in the ~/Desktop directory.

This is most useful for reporting a modest-size output based on the selected options.

The appearance of the panel is automatically consistent with other graphical panels of whatever OS you are running (Linux,Windows,Macos).

searchcash on Macos

One must have Apple command line tools available. These are free from Apple.

One needs the tool named 'py2app' on Macos to turn searchcash into a runnable Macos app one can put into /Applications and the Apple Dock.

See READMEMAC.md for details.

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