Bank Sync Account Transfer

I’m seeking confirmation for which “Type” is best for Bank Sync account transfers. I got two separate transactions from each financial institution with one having a debit balance and the other credit.

I originally selected “Account Transfer” because that’s what it is, but it duplicated my transaction since I had two separate transactions.

Would it be better to use “Income & Expense” respectively for each separate transaction?

Hi Kayla,

If you are tracking both of the accounts involved in the transfer, we do recommend changing the Type to “Account Transfer.” You’re right that if you do it for both halves of the transaction, you’ll get two sets of transfers. Currently, you’ll need to delete one of them to avoid the duplicates. We understand that that’s not ideal and are working on a solution to handle transfers in a more elegant way.

Thanks for your patience,

How is this not ideal? Every transfer is a credit from one account and a debit to another account. This exactly matches what is happening. There are not two separate transactions, there is one transaction spanning two financial institutions.

No, this is not ideal.

When you have Bank Sync, each financial institution will reflect a transaction that needs to be accounted for in GoodBudget.

When you select “Account Transfer” for one transaction, say the credit, it creates two records (the credit and debit).

When you do that process for the other transaction, say the debit, you now have two additional records that are duplicated.

Thank you for your insight, Becky! I will use Account Transfer for only one transaction and delete the other.

A credit is not a transaction, it is only half of a transaction. A debit is the other half. They go together and must always go together and must always be equal. That is the first commandment of accounting. Creating a full transaction for one credit, and another full transaction for the corresponding debit is actually incorrect and of course will result in a duplicate transaction.

Yes, technically your bank sync is creating at least two transactions (probably more, if we consider all the journals being affected). Bank A is debiting money from your account A and crediting it to some other account in their ledger. Bank B is debiting money from one of their ledger accounts and crediting it to your account B. The banks then have some kind of settlement process between them which likely aggregates all such transactions between them for all customers over some time period into a single larger transaction via the Federal Reserve settlement process (which itself probably aggregates transfers from A to B with transfers from B to A and only remits the balance to the appropriate institution).

But none of that matters for your personal accounting. From your perspective there is a single transaction. A debit of Account A and a credit of Account B. One transaction, not two, no different than if both accounts were at the same bank and you simply moved money from Savings to Checking. This is the ideal solution and is elegantly reflected in a single transaction from Account A to Account B.

There’s nothing for GB to change or fix here. The only way to “solve” this non-problem would be for GB to create/manage pseudo-accounts for the financial institutions just to hide the “invisible” credits and debits generated when you transfer money between accounts at different institutions. That only complicates the system and now forces everyone to enter two transactions when there’s only need for one.

@kschedler Kurt, I think what they’re saying isn’t about the semantics of the transfer, but rather the function of the automatic sync/import. If both financial institutions record a debit or payment, then they’ll both be imported automatically into Goodbudget. Your logic is sound, but the reality of having the separate transactions automatically synced, and therefore duplicated, seems to be what’s at issue here.

Oh is that what is meant by bank sync? I thought we were talking about bank-to-bank sync of some sort and entering both sides by hand as separate transactions.

Although, if you import the file from Bank A, and add the debit as an Account Transfer to account B, by the time you import the file from Bank B, shouldn’t it match the credit to the other half of that first transaction?

I don’t use multiple banks so I’ve never encountered this use case.

That is exactly the issue. Thank you for understanding, Tiffany.

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Ok, when I get a direct deposit on payday, it shows up in my checking account as a credit. When I import my checking account QFX file from the bank, I drag that deposit to the Account Transfer option and select Projected Income account as the source. It creates the single transaction record in GB with a “from” side and a “to” side. Then I go and manually clear the Projected Income side of the transaction (because it’s not a real bank account so there’s no file to import).

If there actually was a file for that “from” account and I imported that file, wouldn’t GB just match the withdrawal to that transaction entered from the first bank file? Why would it create an entire second transaction?

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It’s a new function they’ve just launched with automatic “pulls”—this isn’t the import we’ve been using all along but rather a sync to the bank happening in the background. It’s passive, so these duplicate transactions have to be actively deleted since they’re coming in from both sides.

Well I learned something today :slight_smile:

A temporary fix (until the permanent solution is implemented) is to create an account called Transfers. When a transfer transaction comes in, select the Transfer account as the other account. This way you don’t have to delete transactions and the Transfer account should be zero balance once both sides have come in. Also - your total available balance is always correct.

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When will this be updated? If you have several accounts, it sometimes requires logging into multiple accounts to understand the account transfer. If I have to log into multiple accounts, I might as well go back to downloading multiple accounts.