Equity amounts reporting as positive in one place, negative in another


If I go into Summary > Equity > Owner's equity, expense claims appear as positive, and drawings appear as negative. This is as I’d expect.

But if I go into Settings > Chart of Accounts > Equity > Owner's equity, the same amounts appear reversed—expense claims are now negative, and drawings are positive—which confuses me. Why is this?


Under double entry accounting every debit/positive has a corresponding credit/negative. An accounting entry records the source of the transaction and how it was applied. One side is the positive and the other is the negative. As an example if you buy a computer at a cost of $5,000 from your bank account it will result in a negative/credit to your bank account balance and a corresponding debit/positive to your computer equipment assets.


Hi Tony. Yep, I understand the basics of double entry accounting (mostly I think!), but I’m looking at the same account in both instances—Owner's equity. Equity accounts are credit accounts, right? So shouldn’t an increase in equity (e.g. an expense claim) always be positive? Why does it appear as a negative amount under Settings > Chart of Accounts > Equity > Owner's equity? Sorry if I’m missing something simple.


@Kal, I think you are too far down in the weeds. To see the numbers you mention, you actually had to drill down one more level below what you described by clicking on the number of transactions in a specific account in your chart of accounts. The Settings tab is not where you should look for account balances. Do that from the Summary page or from a specific tab. What you are concerned about is really getting into the inner workings of the program rather than the results in produces. And if you understand double-entry accounting, you know that positive numbers become negative numbers if you move an account to the other side of the accounting equation (as in Assets = Liabilities + Equity being equivalent to Assets - Liabilities = Equity).

For example, if you look at the Expense Claims tab, all claims entered are positive. They are liabilities of the company. And if you drill down through Settings as you describe, and look at the same claim as it affects Owner's equity, it is also positive. But if you drill down through the chart of accounts to the Expense claims account, it will be negative.

Trust me; if @lubos had this wrong, every other user would have noticed. :wink:


Hi Tut. Yes you are right, you have to click on the number to actually see entries in each case (the balance under Summary, or the number of transactions under Settings). That’s actually one thing I found unintuitive when I first moved to Manager—but we digress I think.

Interesting that you say Expense Claims under Owner's equity are always positive on your system. That’s not what I’m seeing. Screenshots:

Under Summary > Equity > Owner's equity:

Under Settings > Chart of Accounts > Equity > Owner's equity:

I’m on version 15.6.61. Note, the interface under Settings doesn’t actually tell you what account I’m looking at, so you’ll have to take my word for it that I’m looking at these transactions under Equity > Owner's equity.


I’m on the same version, @Kal . The difference is probably due to the fact that I’ve eliminated all my standard equity and capital accounts. Because my business is a sole proprietorship, I simply renamed Retained earnings as Owner's equity. Financially, my approach is equivalent. It is how most accountants would set up a sole proprietorship/trader business. Capital accounts are typically used for partnerships. And the phrase “retained earnings” normally applies to corporate entities. Regardless, it refers to equity in the company.

In fact, after I originally explained my approach to him, @lubos was recommending it to newcomers. More recently, he’s stopped doing that, though I don’t know why. It keeps you from having to mess with capital accounts at all. I take my draw directly from the renamed account, with no intermediate drawing account. Quite simple.


Okay, your approach makes sense I guess. I renamed Capital Accounts to Owner's equity. I probably saw that recommended on the forum somewhere! :smile:

I still don’t understand though why my transactions all appear reversed between those two screens. Shouldn’t they be exactly the same? I guess at this point it’s more of a curiosity than something I need to know. I realise that I could happily ignore Settings > Chart of Accounts until I need to create or edit an account.


I can’t answer your questions,@Kal, because I don’t know either. You would have to have access to, and understand, the underlying code.


Okay, no worries then. It shall remain one of life’s mysteries, unless we here from Lubos.


I think when clicking on list of transactions under Chart of accounts, it is more appropriate to show whether the amount is debit or credit. So that’s what I’ve done in the latest version.


Hey, I like it! Now if I can’t remember what’s a credit or a debit (assuming I need or want to know!), I can just go take a peek in Chart of Accounts. Nice.