10.5. Tracking Currency Investments (How-To)

Currency investment is when you decide to invest in different countries currency, and hope that their currency will raise in value relative your own currency.

When you enter these transactions into GnuCash, you will have to decide on how much details you would like to have.

If you are not interested in details at all, a very simple account structure would be enough. Something like this;

    Assets:Investments:Currency:Bank (USD)
    Assets:Investments:Currency:XXX (XXX)

But, if you do want to be able to track the Capital Gains or Losses, as well as the various fees, you do need a bit more complexed layout. Something like this;

    Assets:Investments:Currency:Bank                    (USD)
    Assets:Investments:Currency:Currency Bank:XXX       (XXX)
    Expenses:Investments:Currency:Currency Bank:XXX     (XXX)
    Income:Investments:Currency Bank:Capital Gains:XXX  (XXX)

Where XXX is the currency you are investing in.

10.5.1. Purchasing a currency investment

A typical purchase order might be something like this, seen from the Assets:Investments:Currency:Bank.

Table 10.1. Buying a currency with a Split Transaction Scheme

Assets:Investments:Currency:Bank Invested Amount
Expenses:Investments:Currency:Currency Bank:XXXExchange Fee 
Assets:Investments:Currency:XXXInvested Amount - Exchange Fee 

You should get an Exchange Rate window popping up when you leave the last row in the split above (Currency Transaction). If this window do not pop up, right click on the row, and select Edit Exchange Rate. In the Exchange Rate window you specify the exchange rate you got from the bank.

10.5.2. Selling a currency investment

Entering an currency you are selling is done in the same way as buying one except the you are now transferring money from the Currency account to your Savings account (very much similar to (Section 8.7, “Selling Shares”).

The proper recording of the currency sale *must* be done using a split transaction. In the split transaction, you must account for the profit (or loss) as coming from an Income:Capital Gains account (or Expenses:Capital Loss). To balance this income, you will need to enter the Currency asset twice in the split. Once to record the actual sale (using the correct amount and correct exchange rate) and once to balance the income profit (setting the amount to 0).

In short, a selling Currency transaction should look something like below, seen again from the Assets:Investments:Currency:Bank.

Table 10.2. Selling a currency with a Split Transaction Scheme

Assets:Investments:Currency:BankSold Amount - Exchange Fee 
Expenses:Investments:Currency:Currency Bank:XXXExchange Fee 
Assets:Investments:Currency:XXX Sold Amount
Income:Investments:Currency Bank:Capital Gains:XXX[LOSS]PROFIT
Assets:Investments:Currency:XXXPROFIT (with To Amount = 0)[LOSS (with To Amount = 0) ]