To setup investment accounts in
GnuCash you can either use the
predefined investment account hierarchy or create your own. The minimum
you need to do to track investments is to setup an asset account for each
type of investment you own. However, as we have seen in previous chapters,
it is usually more logical to create a structured account hierarchy,
grouping related investments together. For example, you may want to group
all your publicly traded stocks under a parent account named after the
brokerage firm you used to buy the stocks.
Regardless of how you setup your account hierarchy, remember that you can always move accounts around later (without losing the work you’ve put into them), so your initial account hierarchy does not have to be perfect.
The Investment Accounts option of the
New Account Hierarchy Setup assistant will
automatically create a basic investment account hierarchy for you. To
access the predefined investment accounts hierarchy, you must make
GnuCash file is open, switch to the
Accounts tab, and choose
→ . This will run the New
Account Hierarchy Setup assistant and allow you to select
additional accounts to add to your account hierarchy. Choose the
Investment Accounts option (along with any
others you are interested in). Assuming only investment accounts were
selected, this will create an account hierarchy as shown
You can also run the New Account Hierarchy
Setup assistant by creating a new
You will probably at least want to add a Bank account to the Assets and probably an Equity:Opening Balances account, as we have done in previous chapters. Don’t forget to save your new account file with a relevant name!
If you want to set up your own investment accounts hierarchy, you may of course do so. Investments usually have a number of associated accounts that need to be created: an asset account to track the investment itself; an income account to track dividend transactions; and expense accounts to track investment fees and commissions.
In a typical account structure, security accounts are sub accounts of an asset account representing an account at a brokerage firm. The brokerage account would be denominated in your local currency and it would include sub accounts for each security that you trade there.
Related purchases, sales, income and expense accounts should also be in the same currency as the brokerage account.
The security sub accounts would each be configured to contain units of a single security selected from the master (user defined) security list and they are expected to use the same currency as the brokerage account.
Security prices are kept in a separate area of
(the Price Database - → ). This
contains prices for individual securities (not security accounts). All
prices for an individual security are in a single currency. If a
security is traded in multiple currencies, then a separate security and
separate accounts should be set up for each currency.
The following is a somewhat more complicated example of setting up
GnuCash to track your investments, which has the advantage that it
groups each different investment under the brokerage that deals with the
investments. This way it is easier to compare the statements you get
from your brokerage with the accounts you have in
GnuCash and spot where
GnuCash differs from the statement.
Money Market Funds
I*Trade Municipal Fund
Money Market Funds
Active Assets Fund
Treas Bond xxx
Treas Note yyy
There really is no standard way to set up your investment account hierarchy. Play around, try different layouts until you find something which divides your investment accounts into logical groups which make sense to you.