1 (edited by tomhallman 09/14/2009 06:53:34 pm)

Topic: Proposal for adding "tags" to Accounts and Dimensions

Hello everyone,

  I want to propose a small feature to FrontAccounting that I think could be helpful for its users.  I'm happy to do the implementation myself, but I wanted to submit the idea here so that I could get others' feedback and direction.  Please let me know what you think!

  I propose that FrontAccounting support a method of adding, editing and deleting arbitrary numbers of “tags” to both Accounts and Dimensions.  These tags could then be used to generate more sophisticated reports.

  Why this would be useful?  Here are a couple examples:

  For Accounts: Most organizations need to generate different kinds of reports for different people inside or outside the organization.  For example, if an organization had an Internship Director, he might want to see all activity related to internship accounts, but is not concerned with the rest.  Thus, we could tag every internship-related account with a tag called “internship.”  We'd then run reports filtered by that tag.

  For Dimensions: Similarly to above, a regional director may want to see all financial activity related to his local cost centers, but not those outside his region.  We could tag dimensions in his region accordingly, and then generate a report for him that would quickly show him the information he needs.

  Now, in both of these cases, we could generate this same data by writing custom reports, but these reports would need to be updated whenever an additional relevant account or cost center is added or deleted.  In addition, if multiple reports are generated for one of the individuals mentioned above, the problem becomes increasingly complex and error-prone.

  I've written up a full proposal that contains details on UI and database changes:


  I'm very eager for your feedback.  Is this something that could be accepted into the core code?  Do you have alternative suggestions?

  Note: I'll be going on vacation in two days for a week, so if I don't reply right away, it's not for lack of interest smile

  Thanks very much for your time!


Re: Proposal for adding "tags" to Accounts and Dimensions

I have heard of this before. Maybe this is a good idea to tag an account to not be normally shown. But couldn't it be dangerous to use? I mean if a GL posting only consist of one debit amount to an account with the tag and not the same amount in the credit? Well this was only quick thoughts. Let us see what other mean about that.


Re: Proposal for adding "tags" to Accounts and Dimensions

I can see this as being really useful for both dimensions and accounts.  Right now there doesn't seem to be a way to report on multiple dimensions and tagging certain ones will be helpful to report on a particular group of dimensions. 

Tagging the accounts can also be useful, particularly in the production of summarized reports.  For example, our board members only want summarized income statements that don't have the details of every single expense account.  So we group all the expenses in three different categories.  However each time we add an account, we must manually enter the account into a specific category because the accounting system doesn't allow us to group the account into various categories.  We have multiple reports that have to have this done and it gets rather tedious.  I can see the account tags as a way to give more flexibility in reporting, particularly in summarizing. 

Can you explain more of what you mean by it being dangerous?  I think I have an idea of what you mean, but it might be helpful to have a specific example. 


Re: Proposal for adding "tags" to Accounts and Dimensions

Well, it seems that this might be a really good idea. I will talk to my co-developer, Janusz, about thie.


Re: Proposal for adding "tags" to Accounts and Dimensions

Excellent!  Let me know what you decide.

Re: Proposal for adding "tags" to Accounts and Dimensions

Joe & Janusz,

  Hi guys!  I know you have a lot going on right now, but I was wondering if you got to talk about this "tags" feature?

  If so, what have you decided?  If not, do you know when you'll get to decide?

  I'd love to have this feature available soon, and I'd be happy to work on it myself (with your help) if you like.



Re: Proposal for adding "tags" to Accounts and Dimensions

Hi tomhallman

Your idea sounds OK for dimensions, but I think it's a bit risky for accounts to be tagged - mainly because the integrity of the DR/CR balancing transactions is compromised eg.. user enters DR/CR 3 months ago into accounts with different tags. You then run a report, it picks up the DR but not the CR = invalid report. This is a pretty serious problem to introduce into a ledger based system! I think this is the point Joe raised.

Back to the business need though - I can see a need to report on selected items - I'm just not sure tagging the G/L account is the right way to achieve this. Perhaps you could make your implementation, do some reports, and let people think about it some more when they've seen what it could do.


Re: Proposal for adding "tags" to Accounts and Dimensions

Hello Pete,

  Sorry for the delay in response.  It's been a busy week!

  I really appreciate your thoughts and concerns in your post.  Let me see if I can help clear things up.

  It sounds like your main concern has to do with report integrity.  I'm totally on board with that! smile  However, isn't it quite normal in accounting reports to list only one side of a journal entry in some reports?  For example, the "GL Account Transactions" report allows me to select a given account and view only certain transactions.  The report doesn't balance, but it's not supposed to.

  So, I'm not suggesting that all reports would necessarily utilize tags, but only ones for which it makes sense.  For example, when you generate your "List of Journal Entries" report, it will still show all accounts whether or not they're tagged, since that's what makes sense.

  I'm merely suggesting that we make more report possibilities available without having to generate custom reports (which are more error prone as accounts or dimensions were added/modified).  For example, we would use tagging for the "GL Account Transactions" report.  The built-in reporting doesn't allow you to select arbitrary accounts or dimensions.  If you want more than one account or dimension, it has to be in sequential order.  But if we added tagging ability to this report, things are much more flexible!

  A use case of tagging on accounts and dimensions for the "GL Account Transactions" report would be viewing all HR-associated expenses for all cost centers located within the Northeast United States.  To do this, we'd create tags for "HR-associated expenses" (accounts) and "Cost centers in Northeast US" (dimensions).  If we get a new cost center in Boston OR add a new HR-related account to our chart of accounts, we just tag it appropriately and our report will pick it up next time.  No need to write new reports or update old ones!

  Does that make sense?


Re: Proposal for adding "tags" to Accounts and Dimensions


As I see in RC2.2 release we have got account tags and dimension tags but I am finding difficulties in searching a place to pull report based on these tags. Major one is - Account Tags.

Could you please help me out here ?

With Regards,


Re: Proposal for adding "tags" to Accounts and Dimensions

Hi Chaitanya,

  Good observation!  We actually haven't released any reports that utilize tags yet.  But... it is now available for use in a future version.

  In the meantime, my organization has begun using them in custom reports, and that works great.

  Stay tuned!