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Simple ingesting tools for Beancount (plain text, double entry accounting software). More importantly, a framework to allow you to easily write your own importers.


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Beancount Red's Importers

Simple importers and tools for Beancount, software for plain text, double entry bookkeeping. More importantly, a framework to allow you to easily write your own importers.


This is a reference implementation of the principles expressed in The Five Minute Ledger Update.

Importers can be ugly and painful to write, yet are important in automating the grunt work out of maintaining personal finance software. The philosophy is to make writing sustainable, dependable importers easy. To achieve this, the design separates importers in to three parts:

  1. file format reader (reusable)
  2. transaction builder (reusable)
  3. institution-specific declarations and code (minimal, institution specific) <- The only one you have to write

This design helps move most of the heavy-lifting common code into (1) and (2) above. Writing new importers is made easier since one only has to write code to address the institution-specific formatting and quirks for each bank/brokerage. See working examples of an ofx based and csv based importers.


File format readers included are:

  • .ofx
  • .csv (single and multitable support)
  • .xlsx (single and multitable support) (pip3 install xlrd if you plan to use this)

Transaction builders included are:

  • Banking (for banks and credit cards, which benefit from a postings predictor like smart_importer).
  • Investments/brokerages (to handle the very many distinct cases of investment related transactions).
  • Paychecks (to handle paychecks, which typically contain very many mostly pre-determined postings in a single entry).

Input in .ofx format (over .csv) is preferred, when provided by the institution, as it minimizes data and coding errors, eliminates format breaking changes in .csv files, and typically includes balances that are used to generate balance assertions, and commodity prices.

See here for a list of institutions built-in. More investment, credit card, and banking institutions will be added in the future. Contributions welcome.

Tools and Utilities

These commands are installed as a part of the pip installation:

  • ofx-summarize: Quick and dirty way to summarize a .ofx file, and peek inside it
  • bean-download: Download account statements automatically (for supporting institutions), from your configuration of accounts. Multi-threaded.
    • bean-download needs-update is a configurable utility that shows you the last time each account was updated, based on the latest balance assertion in your journal. See this article for more.

The commands include shell auto-completion (tab-to-complete) via click. bean-download, in particular, can complete the account or account groups you want to download, which can be handy. To enable it in zsh, do (see here for other shells):

mkdir -p ~/.zcomplete
_OFX_SUMMARIZE_COMPLETE=zsh_source ofx-summarize > ~/.zcomplete/ofx-summarize-complete.zsh
_BEAN_DOWNLOAD_COMPLETE=zsh_source bean-download > ~/.zcomplete/bean-download-complete.zsh

# Place this in your shell's rc file (.zshrc or .bashrc or .fishrc):
for f in ~/.zcomplete/*; do source $f; done


  • supports Beancount output via bean-extract
    • should be easy to extend to ledger/hledger, etc. (contributions welcome)
  • automatically generates balance assertions
  • support for:
    • investment accounts (brokerages including retirement accounts)
      • handles sweep funds, money market funds, and all standard brokerage transactions
    • banking and credit card
    • paychecks
  • file format independent (ofx, csv, xlsx supported out of the box; single and multitable for csv and xlsx; write your own reusable handler if needed)
  • supports commodity-leaf accounts
  • see The Five Minute Ledger Update for automating downloads via ofxclient, connecting to smart_importer to auto-classify transactions, and more


pip3 install beancount-reds-importers

Or to install the bleeding edge version from git:

pip3 install git+


Running the included examples:

  1. cd <your pip installed dir>/example #eg: cd ~/.local/lib/python3.8/site-packages/beancount_reds_importers/example
  2. ./ OfxDownload.qfx # Imports investments
  3. ./ transactions.qfx # Import bank transactions; uses smart_importer to classify transactions

Creating and running your own config:

  1. Create your own my.import. An example my.import is provided. At the least, include your account numbers
  2. Include fund information. Copy the included to start with.
  3. You can now run bean-identify, bean-extract, etc. See the included script: Run ./ <your_input_ofx>
  4. If identifier/cusip/isin info is missing, the importer will let you know. Add it to your See this article for automating and managing identifier info

Configuring balance assertion dates

Choices for the date of the generated balance assertion can be specified as a key in the importer config, balance_assertion_date_type, which can be set to:

  • smart: smart date (default; see below)
  • ofx_date: date specified in ofx file
  • last_transaction: max transaction date
  • today: today's date

If you want something else, simply override this method in individual importer

smart dates: Banks and credit cards typically have pending transactions that are not included in downloads. When we download the next statement, new transactions may appear prior to the balance assertion date that we generate for this statement, which renders this balance assertion invalid. This problem manifests occasionally as an existing balance statement breaking when a new statement is downloaded and is an annoyance as it needs manual fixing.

To minimize this, we set the balance assertion date to either two days (fudge factor to account for pending transactions) before the statement's end date or the last transaction's date, whichever is later. To choose a different fudge factor, simply set balance_assertion_date_fudge in your config.


Depending on the institution, the payee and narration fields in generated transactions may appear to be switched. This is described by libtransactionbuilder/, and the fields can be swapped in a custom_init.



pip3 install xlrd

Some importers are tested with Run pytest --generate then pytest.

Anonymized data to increase regression test coverage is most welcome. Please submit a PR if you can. See here for an example to follow.

More broadly I run tests across hundreds of actual ofx and csv files, against reference outputs that I know to be correct from my personal file. However, I'm unable to share them since these are personal. Testing against real world files is best, so I recommend you do this with your own input files.


Feel free to post questions/concerns in the Beancount groups or on The Five Minute Ledger Update site. For bugs, open an issue here on Github.


Features, fixes, and improvements welcome. New importers for institutions with test input files appreciated. Sharing importers helps the community! Remember:

  • Feel free to send send pull requests. Please include unit tests
  • For larger changes or changes that might need discussion, please reach out and discuss first to save time (open an issue)
  • Please squash your commits (reasonably)
  • Use conventional commits for commit messages

Thank you for contributing!


Simple ingesting tools for Beancount (plain text, double entry accounting software). More importantly, a framework to allow you to easily write your own importers.







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