Changeset - 68d036aa0292
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Bradley Kuhn (bkuhn) - 10 years ago 2013-04-29 20:27:45
bkuhn@ebb.org
Documentation of Receipt: tag and its appropriate uses.
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npo-ledger-cli-tutorial.md
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@@ -101,97 +101,125 @@ The main command-line program though, that generates the chart of accounts
 
looks like this:
 
    $ ledger -f accounts/main/books.ledger -V -F "%-150A\n" -w -s -b 2012/01/01 -e 2013/01/01 reg
 

	
 
Note that this is bound by date.  Typically, it makes sense to list your
 
chart of accounts for a specific period (e.g., your fiscal year), since your
 
accounts might have some cruft in them from previous years that should now be
 
ignored.  (For example, if your organization simplified its chart of accounts
 
in later years, you don't want to report those old accounts that are no
 
longer used.)
 

	
 
Handling Fiscal Sponsorship
 
---------------------------
 

	
 
NPOs that do not provide fiscal sponsorship services will find this section
 
somewhat useless.  One of the biggest benefits of Ledger CLI is its
 
incredible flexibility that just does not exist in other accounting systems.
 
This section describes how to exploit that flexibility to provide a
 
separation in your books and reporting to handle earmarked accounts for
 
fiscally sponsored projects.
 

	
 
NPOs that don't need this feature can, in most cases, use the methods
 
described herein to deploy Ledger CLI, but should leave out the `:General:`
 
and `:ProjectNAME:` parts of the account hierarchy, since these are the
 
primary mechanisms used herein to handle the fiscal sponsorship structure.
 

	
 
### Earmarked Accounts
 

	
 
Many fiscal sponsor NPOs keep earmarked accounts for their member/affiliated
 
projects.  Furthermore, these projects often may either (a) terminate their
 
agreement with the NPO, and thus deserve a copy of their books that they can
 
"take away" with them, or (b) might be affiliated with *other* NPOs that also
 
hold accounts.  This system of earmarked accounts is designed to make it easy
 
for projects to have a copy of their own accounts, but not interfere with nor
 
even be aware of (a) the books of other member/affiliated projects, and (b)
 
the overall books of the entire NPO.
 

	
 
On the latter point, this system utilizes a directory structure and separate
 
`.ledger` files to separate out the different projects into different
 
structures.  This allows member/affiliated projects to take their data and
 
run `ledger` commands against it, separately and without access to the other
 
`.ledger` files of the NPO.
 

	
 

	
 
Proper Documentation For Accounts
 
---------------------------------
 

	
 
Ledger CLI offers a flexible structure of tagging any entry, including
 
separate tags for parts of a split transaction.  This system uses those tags
 
to ensure proper entry is included.
 
to ensure proper documentation is included for each financial transaction
 
that occurs for the organization.
 

	
 
### Tags Used In This System
 

	
 
A list of tags can be found in the file `accounts/config/config-tags.ledger`
 
in this project.
 

	
 
#### Receipt Tag
 

	
 
The `Receipt:` tag refers to receipt of some sort.  Typically, this is a
 
document that shows clear confirmation that the transaction has already
 
occurred.  The value of the `Receipt:` tag is always a valid pathname in the
 
repository to the document.
 

	
 
Some examples of appropriate uses of the `Receipt:` are:
 

	
 
* a point-of-sale credit card receipt from a purchase, given by a cashier or
 
  sent via email after the purchase has occurred.
 

	
 
* a deposit slip given at the bank upon making an over-the-counter deposit of
 
  paper checks.
 

	
 
* a confirmation document showing an outgoing wire transfer made by a bank.
 

	
 
* a confirmation document showing transfer of funds between two bank
 
  accounts.
 

	
 
* A pay advice document generated upon payment of an invoice.
 

	
 
### Expense Account Documentation
 

	
 
Each Expense account entries need to be tagged with an `Invoice`, `Receipt`,
 
or `Statement` tag.  The value of the tag is a relative path name of a file
 
elsewhere in the same repository that documents the specific expense.  For
 
example, an entry like this:
 

	
 
     2012-02-05 Office Supply Galore - Online Order
 
         Expense:Main Org:Office Supplies      $35.00
 
             ;Receipt: accounts/documentation/org/receipts/2012-02-05_office-supply-galore.txt
 
         Liabilities:Credit Card:Visa         -$35.00
 

	
 
shows that a purchase was made at Office Supply Galore's online store for
 
$35.00, and the file `accounts/documentation/org/receipts/2012-02-05_office-supply-galore.txt`
 
contains the receipt from that purchase.
 

	
 
#### payee with "NEVER CHARGED"
 

	
 
The only exception to the standard tagging requirement is when the payee has
 
been modified to indicate that the expense was `NEVER CHARGED`.  This is an
 
historical special-case.  The solution was originally design for the
 
following scenario:
 

	
 
Suppose an expense was expected — for example, a situation where you
 
gave a credit card number to charge something and the charge never came
 
through — but it turns out the charge never happened.
 

	
 
The recommended way to resolve this problem in the system is to just delete
 
the entry entirely from the Ledger file, and allow the VCS to log the fact
 
that the charge was expected, but the vendor never billed the credit card.
 

	
 
The reason the `NEVER CHARGED` payee text was added was to handle the
 
situation where the books included this charge, but the books were already
 
closed for the financial period (e.g., the books had already been audited).
 
Changing the payee was a method for documenting the expense.  You might use
 
it like this:
 

	
 
    2011/05/28 My Bad Billing Hosting - NEVER CHARGED
 
        Liabilities:Credit Card:Visa            $-100.00
 
        Expenses:Conservancy:Hosting             $100.00
 

	
 
    2012/01/01 My Bad Billing Hosting - REVERSAL - NEVER CHARGED
 
        Liabilities:Credit Card:Visa             $100.00
 
        Expenses:Conservancy:Hosting            $-100.00
 

	
 
However, going forward, you'd likely never enter anything the ledger
 
**until** you had real proof via an Invoice, Receipt or Statement that showed
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