Why Cheqbook has one column for debits, credits, deposits, payments, yada, yada, yada.

One of the things you will note right away about our register (whether it's a checkbook register or a credit card) is that there is only ONE column for numbers.

We argued about this for literally months (OK years, we still do actually) but in the end having one column instead of two has remained victorious.

Why?  Well, two columns can be avoided if you simply put a negative '-' symbol in front of any number.  For example in a check register payments reduce the balance so you'd put a negative because after that payment you have less money in the bank.  Bank deposits would increase the balance so are positive.

Now this get's confusing (BUT big hint coming shortly!) because the correct sign changes depending on the type of account you're in.  For example when you're in a credit card register payments you make with it (i.e. charges on the card) INCREASE the balance because you now OWE the credit card company more money - instead of having less money in your checking account. 

Now almost every other software creates two columns so you don't have to use a negative number, and then goes on to tell you what each column is for.  In a bank the first column is 'payments' and the second 'deposits'.  On a credit card register the first column is 'charges' and the second is 'payments' (for payments made against your credit card balance).

We decided (and it may turn out we were wrong) that we could save space for tablets and other smaller screens by eliminating the column.  However, here's the HINT:  we still tell you what to do in the title.  A bank account register header is "Deposits/<Payments>" and a credit card register is "Charges/<Payments>".  The brackets "< >" is an old school accounting format for negative numbers.

So instead of needing two columns, just put a negative in front of the numbers that need it.  We think it's better, what do you think?

Have more questions? Submit a request


  • 0
    Eze Ogueri

    Doug you have only succeeded in explaining why this software is not flexible at all. The users know what they need and they are the ones paying for the software. By telling users how to address whether a number is a deposit or disbursement all that has been done is to admit that the software programmers are not open to change. This will affect subscriptions negatively. 

    Apart from whether an amount is a payment or deposit , additional columns are needed for other non numerical features such as notes, comments, tags, labels , events, projects or classes. A user may want to associate each transaction with any of these identifiers or dimensions and then analyze his transactions based on these parameters. 

    Please reconsider this request and enhance this software by adding additional columns . This will justify the monthly subscription payment.


    Thank you.

  • 0
    Doug Levin


    Thanks for the comment, no software is truly flexible.  The register we created is incredibly complex and has easily over 1000 hours of work in it.  To add the columns would be a major undertaking.  

    Perhaps more importantly I'm not sure it's better to have two columns.  I use the software all the time, and in QuickBooks I have to tab over to the other field, in Cheqbook I just put a minus symbol.  Once you get used to it you can work just as fast.  

    Change is often good, but not if it doesn't lead to something much better.  We like this approach, so we stay with it.

    As for other fields, we have a notes/comments field, hit the "more" button.  We don't have classes (events, projects, etc.) because then the transactions absolutely cannot be auto categorized for you.  That does limit who can use us, but we're not built for mid sized businesses, only small ones.

    As for tags or labels, I've never seen these metadata tools in accounting software before.  However our search feature is powerful and pulls data from these fields if you place the tags in the notes field.  

    Thank you too!

    Edited by Doug Levin
Please sign in to leave a comment.