ZenAccounting help

Main view, total, balance..

The main view has 5 parts

  1. accounts and smart-accounts
    You can select one account, or several accounts. ZenAccounting will only display and analysis the transactions belonging to the selected account(s).
    You can also click on “Account” title to select all accounts.
    You can also select one smart account – a saved search (see below)
  2. filtering
    filtering are conditions that select the displayed and analysed transactions. Filter can be set up through the “show filter” button (or filter button in toolbar), but also directly by right-clicking on a tag, by clicking on the “filter” button of the month separator, or by double-clicking on the debit/credit graph
  3. Transactions
    Filtered transactions are displayed, sorted by date. For each transaction, the following information are displayed : date, detail, amount, transaction type. The total column shows the total of the displayed (filtered) transactions.
  4. Inspector
    Inspector part allow you to see more information about the selected transaction. For instance it shows the account name, and the balance in this account. Note that it is different from the total showed in transaction part ! It would only be the same if a single account is selected, and no filtering is applied
    Inspector allows you to add tags and comments on the transaction, as well as adjusting the amount, date and detail
  5. Analysis
    Analysis is always performed on the filtered transactions, i.e. the transactions that are displayed.
    The following tools are available : a summary of credit/debit, the tag cloud, time graphs and pie chart. Click on graph to have an enlarged view, then swipe right to show the different graphs.
    In the pie charts, double click to filter on a given tag.
    In the time charts, double click to filter on a given month or year, or double click on a point of the ledger balance time graph to show the corresponding transaction


Transaction reflect a bank transaction, i.e. a line in your bank statement. It contains the date of the transaction, the detail of the transaction, and the account of the transaction.

ZenAccounting automatically maintains the ledger balance on each account, and the balance at the moment of the transaction is visible in the inspector.

Transactions are normally to be downloaded from your bank web service, and then imported in ZenAccounting.

Transactions also have a “transaction type” field, which can be “other”, “card” (credit card), “check”, “transfert” or “internal transfert”. Depending on your bank service, the transaction type can be already set, but with some banks all transactions will have the “other” transaction type. You can then adjust manually the transaction type, and  ZenAccounting will propose you rules to do it automatically (e.g. transaction having a detail that contains “check number…” should have transaction type “check”)

The following types are special

  • “card” type : when importing credit card transactions, ZenAccounting will look for a parent transaction (see bellow) and will give priority to transactions (typically monthly credit card invoice) having a “card” type
  • “check” type : ZenAccounting will look for a matching pending check (see below)  only when the transaction type is “check”
  • “internal transfert” type cannot be set manually. All your bank transfers should have a transaction type of “transfer” (either directly set by your bank service in the OFX file, or set by a rule) ; ZenAccounting will automatically look for other “transfer” transactions in other accounts. If amount and date matches (with a couple of day margin), it will link together the two transactions and mark them as “internal transfer”

Note that transactions imported from an OFX file are locked, thus avoiding changing the information inadvertently. Just click on the padlock icon to unlock the transaction if changes are needed.

Transaction manually added are unlocked by default



Transactions can have some sub-transactions. This is used for credit card monthly invoice (see below) but it can also be used for any transaction. For instance, you may add a transaction corresponding to a cash withdrawal, and you’re using part of this cash to pay theatre tickets.

An “other” transaction is automatically added, matching the rest of the amount.

Tags applied to the withdrawal transaction concern only the “other” amount.


Credit cards

Depending on your bank services, and the kind of credit card you use, credit cards transactions

  • can appear “normally” with other transactions (check, ATM, bank transfer), in which case there is no special handling (i.e. you can skip the rest of this section)
  • can be grouped together (specifically for deferred credit card) in a different set of transactions ; in this case, your main account will have a single transaction for all the purchase of the month. ZenAccounting will put the credit card transaction as sub-transactions of this total.

Credit card in OFX files are identified by the card number ; the first time ZenAccounting import credit card transaction, it will prompt you to associate the credit card with an account.

You can suppress the credit card using “Document Preferences” menu

ZenAccounting will automatically find the parent transaction for credit cards transaction. It will prompt you when several transaction could match. Note that it is important that the parent transaction has a “credit card” transaction type. ZenAccounting will propose you rule to automatically set the transaction type if needed.


Missing transactions

Though it depends on your bank service, OFX file often contain a ledger balance. I.e. OFX file contains a set of transactions, and the account balance after these transactions. ZenAccounting automatically take this balance into account, and insert a balance point after the transaction. It then compute the difference between the transaction total and the real balance, and insert an adjustment point before the transactions, corresponding to the “missing transactions”

There are two cases where you may have missing transactions

  • on the first OFX import : obviously when you start using ZenAccounting, you already have an account and its balance is unlikely to be zero ; missing transactions then reflect the initial ledger balance
  • bank service usually allow you to download only the last 2 months of transactions, so if you are not downloading the OFX file regularly, you may miss some transactions

When you click on the balance point, transactions view will scroll to show you the adjustment point (where the missing transactions are)

In tag cloud or pie chart, if you click on “(missing transactions)”, ZenAccounting will show you all balance and adjustment points.


You can add a balance point manually – specifically if your bank service does not include the ledger balance in the OFX file, either by a long click on the “add” button, or through the “add balance” button.


Multiple accounts, currency, ..

You can add several accounts in ZenAccounting. This is normally done by importing OFX files, but you can also do it manually.

If you add account manually, make sure the account numbers are correct otherwise they will not match when later importing OFX files.

Each account can use a different currency.

Click on the account name to change it’s nickname.

Right-click on the account to edit the account detail.



Tags is a central feature in ZenAccounting, and the main key to analysis your expenses and incomes.

Tags are different from categories (as one can find in many accounting applications) because a transaction can have several different tags, and there is no predefined relationship between tags.

For instance, property tax can be seen as a taxes, but also as part of expenses you spent for your houses. With ZenAccounting you can just add two tags (“taxes” and “home” for instance). The “property tax” will appear when you filter on taxes (“how much taxes do I pay ?”) or when you filter on “home” (“how much I pay for my home)

Right-click on a tag to edit it (e.g. change its colour or label)

Note that, following the “property tax” example, when analysing expenses with pie graphs, ZenAccounting cannot display both “home” and “taxes” on the same graph – because they are not separated. It will therefore propose 2 graphs – two way of seeing your expenses – one considering “taxes” and one considering “home” expenses.

Untagged transactions

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Automatic rules are another central feature of ZenAccounting. Because the goal is to make accounting easy and effortless.

Whenever you add a tag to a transaction or change the transaction type, ZenAccounting will propose you a rule, so it can automatically do that for you on existing and future transactions.

If you don’t want to set up a rule, just continue typing ignoring the popup (or click on cancel)

Rules condition can apply on

  • existing tags
  • account
  • detail

Most of your rules will depend on detail containing a certain string. ZenAccounting propose you in yellow which part of the detail field shall match to apply the rule. Just select the text to change this part.

You can have a complete view of all rules by selecting the “rules” view ; double-click on a rule to change it or to delete it.

Note that, for rules that set tags, you can also right-click on a tag (if the tag was set by a rule or was used to define a rule)

When you change a rule, you have to tell ZenAccounting what to do with the existing transactions, where tags had already been added by the rule :

You can either

  • not reapply the rule : existing transactions are unchanged, the new rule will apply to future transactions
  • apply the modified rule on existing transactions : tags added by the old rule will not be changed, but all transactions will be checked against the new rule (in other words : new rule will be applied, but no tag will be removed)
  • remove tags set by old rule, then apply modified rule : all tags set by the old rule will be removed, and new rule will be applied. In other words, existing transaction tagged by the old rule will be rechecked against the new rule, possibly removing the tag

You get similar choice when you delete a rule

You can either delete all tags set by the rule (i.e. if the rule itself was incorrect) or keep existing tags (the rule was correct but does not apply anymore)

Quick search

You can use the “search” field from the toolbar to quickly filter transactions. It will automatically set the filters condition corresponding to the string you entered

Advanced Search

You can setup complex filtering conditions, to display and analyse only some transactions.

Click on the “Show Filters” button to show the filtering conditions

You can also add filtering conditions by clicking on the “filter” button of the month or year delimiters, and by right-clicking on a tag.

Double clicking on pie chart graphs also add a filter condition on the selected tag

When using filters, you can easily go back and forward in the filters you defined

Smart accounts

Smart Accounts are used to save some search condition. For instance, you can make a smart account for transactions having the tag “car”. Content of smart account will automatically be updated whenever new transactions having this tag are added

To create a smart account, use the filtering tool, and click on “make smart account” button

A smart account will be created.

You can change the name of the smart account by clicking on it.

By right-clicking, you can edit :

  • the list of concerned bank account (this are the accounts that were selected when the smart account was created)
  • the search filter


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Bank checks

Bank checks are usually cashed several days after you emit them – possibly several months – and the bank statement usually only contains the check number, and not the check receiver.

To handle this, ZenAccounting can maintain a list of pending check, and automatically compare them to bank statements.

Whenever you issue a check, just click on “Add Check” button in toolbar to add a pending check.

The check number will help finding the matching transaction (which usually includes the check number), but you don’t need to enter the full check number, only the last digits will be enough. The amount itself can be approximated too.

You can view and edit pending check by selecting the “Check” view.

By default, only pending checks (checks for which no transactions had been found) are displayed. Unselect the “View only pending checks” button to show all checks.

Double-click on a check to edit (or delete) it.

Pending checks will be compared to transactions (either existing, or when they are imported) to find the matching transaction.

  • only transactions having a “check” transaction type are considered
  • amount must match approximately
  • transaction date must be later than the check date. ZenAccounting will try to find transaction with the date close to the check date (i.e. less than 1 month)

When a transaction matches a check, the description entered when adding the pending check is automatically appended to the transaction detail field