Empty entries in Retained Earnings account

In auditing my books for 2015, I noticed quite a number of nearly-empty entries in the ledger for my Retained Earnings account. Specifically, these entries come in clumps and include the date and a $0.00 amount, but nothing else. The Edit and View buttons are deactivated:

I was able to correlate all of these blank entries to line-item entries in the Billable Expenses module. For example, for the ten blank lines shown above in the Retained Earnings ledger on 12/10/2015, I was able to find ten lines on a Billable Expenses entry. I confirmed that the entries were connected by changing the date on the latter and observing that the dates on the former changed, too. (These expenses were subsequently invoiced to the Customer and reimbursed.)

Why are there $0.00 entries in the ledger? Even it the $0.00 entries are appropriate, shouldn’t the ledger lines have some notation (like Billable Expenses and preferably also the Customer name) rather than just being empty?

This doesn’t look right at all, @Jon. Expense claims are normally not viewable in the Retained earnings account (which, by the way, you might want to just rename Owner’s Equity for a proprietorship or single-member LLC), but they should be editable. And you should see a transaction type, description and contact (payee, for example). And when you invoice them, they don’t go away. They are just balanced out by a later transaction. So something definitely looks awry.

I thought maybe this stemmed from blank lines on an expense claim, but I tried that and it doesn’t produce this effect. Somebody else is going to have to help on this one.

Wow, this is a first! I’ve stumped @Tut! :wink:

To clarify: These weren’t Expense Claims, per se. They were billable expenses, which I believe I originally entered simply as Spend Money under my Cash account, using Billable expenses and the customer’s name as the transfer account.

(And indeed, I renamed my RE account to OE, but I didn’t want to confuse the issue.)

I’m not able to reproduce this issue. Are you able to reproduce it in some test file or send me the accounting file where you see this?

Typically, I try to make it so transactions with zero amounts don’t “leak” into general ledger as they don’t have any effect anyway.

My sincere apology. I misread your post. Billable expenses, of course, should not appear in Retained earnings (Owner's equity) at all, because the debit is to Billable expenses and the corresponding credit is to whichever bank or cash account is the source of funds. That is, the debit and credit are both to asset accounts, so no change in income, expense, liabilities or equity, and no net change to assets.

The fact that anything shows up, blank or not, zero or not, may be the clue needed to sort this out.

Here you go. (@Lubos, I’m emailing you the file.)

In a new Business, do the following:

0) Summary > Set Period > Accounting Method:
    Cash Basis, JAN/01/2016 until TODAY

1) Create a cash account "Cash" and a customer "Test Customer One"

2) Cash Accounts > Cash > Receive Money:
    Dr Cash $10,000
        Cr Owner's Equity $10,000
3) Cash Accounts > Cash > Spend Money:
    Dr Reimbursable expenses:Test Customer One $500
        Cr Cash $500
4) Customers > Test Customer One > Uninvoiced > New Sales Invoice:
    Dr Accounts Receivable:Test Customer One $500
        Cr Reimbursable expenses:Test Customer One $500
5) Customers > Test Customer One > Accounts receivable > View > Receive Money:
    Dr Cash $500
        Cr Accounts Receivable:Test Customer One $500
6) Summary > Owner's Equity:
    Notice zero-amount line for FEB/03/2016 (corresponds to Step 4 above).

I think step 0 is key here. If you’re in Accrual Basis, the $0 line doesn’t appear.


Does it disappear if you switch from cash to accrual accounting? And does it then reappear if you switch back?

Or does this only happen if the transactions all occur while set to can basis?

Change to accrual basis, it disappears:

Change back to cash basis, it comes back:

So the answer to your first question is Yes.

Change to accrual basis, then create a new $1,000 Billable Expense as outlined above, expensed on 19/FEB/2016, invoiced on 20/FEB/2016, paid on 21/FEB/2016:

Then change back to cash basis, and there’s a new $0.00 blank entry on 20/FEB/2016:

So the answer to your second question is No.

I fixed this issue in the latest version (16.2.45)