ACCOUNTS drop-down lists of accounts

Hello again ACCOUNTS advisors and beta testers.

There’s something about the design that I’ve been wondering about, that I’d like your opinions on.

In drop-down lists of accounts, such as in the register windows, the Write Cheques window etc., the account names are indented according to whether they are top-level accounts, sub-accounts or sub-sub-accounts. However, no parent accounts are shown, because it’s only accounts that have no sub-accounts themselves that can have transactions posted against them, and thus only those accounts are shown in the drop-down.

This could be considered to be misleading, because if you (say) have a top-level account (call it A) that has no sub-accounts, and the next account in the drop-down list is a sub-account (call it B) of a different top-level account that isn’t shown (call it C), the indenting makes it look like that sub-account B is a sub-account of A, rather than of C that isn’t shown.

So, I’m wondering whether I should stop indenting account names in drop-down lists, unless there’s a case where all accounts are being shown in that drop-down list, not just ones that you can post transactions to. (I’m not sure there is such a case in the program so far.)

Opinions? As always, you can reply to this post online, or just email me your thoughts. Thank you.

11 thoughts on “ACCOUNTS drop-down lists of accounts

  1. My first reaction was to stop indenting; however, I’m not sure that it makes that much difference. I guess I kind of like being reminded that I’m posting to a sub-account as a double-check – there might be an occasion that I would go back and double check before processing a transaction. My “world” isn’t that complicated at this point, so it really doesn’t pose a problem either way.

  2. The indenting may be confusing so I’d say to just lost them. Is there a warning not to have similar-named sub accounts, so that if there is no indenting you’ll know which account it is? Karen

    Sent from my IPhone

    • Karen, the program prevents identical account names, but doesn’t look for or warn about similar ones. It would be really hard to know what to class as similar, I think. Most likely similarly named accounts would be of different account types (like “Building Fund Income” and “Building Fund Expense”) so they would be fairly separated in the list, and interspersed with other accounts of their own types.

  3. Dan,

    I had noticed the situation but considered it a “just the way it is”.. I do think not indenting anything is probably better in terms of not implying a relationship that is not there.

    QB Online handles this particular situation in a TERRIBLE manner.. they list all the account and sub-account names leading up to the posting account.. all in a single line.. with the addition of account numbers, it makes the name so long that you can’t even see the unique portion of the name.. I guess I should look for a setting to see if I can change that behavior!!


    • David, I don’t know about QuickBooks Online, but I’m pretty sure I have seen such a setting in Quicken and/or QuickBooks. However, one thing to keep in mind is that if it shows only the last part, QB doesn’t require sub-account names to be unique (as long as their parent account is different, of course).

  4. Dan, my preference would be to keep the indents.
    I do find it confusing the way it is – I lose track of where I am, and have difficulty finding a group.
    What I would like to see (but may not be feasible) is to show the parents but ID them as not accesible to posting – with italics, colour, underline or something.
    I would find it even harder to locate a particular account if there was no indent or groupong of some sort. kutgoow (keep up the gooood work)

    • I definitely considered that option, Bob, of showing all accounts, but I think that introduces a host of other problems, such has having to scroll quite a bit more to find accounts (if you are doing so by scrolling). I don’t think that will be the way I go, but I appreciate your offering this thought.

  5. You’re really good at this stuff, Dan. I also was originally inclined to say “lose the indents”, but the others have made some good points. Now it occurs to me that if I were scrolling rather than using “type-ahead”, it might be an indication that I wasn’t that familiar with the account groupings or naming conventions. In that case, the benefit of seeing the whole list might outweigh the liability of extra time spent scrolling. Glad it’s not me who has to decide!

    • Somen, given that currently parent accounts aren’t shown, the fact that something in the list is a top-level versus a sub-account isn’t really all that relevant, so I don’t think putting top-level accounts in boldface would be that sensible. If I was showing parent accounts (that you can’t choose) as well as accounts with no sub-accounts (that you can choose) it would certainly make sense for one of them to be bold and one not bold, to indicate the difference.

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