The Income and Expense Statement: Past, Present and Future

In this blog post, we examine the past, present, and future of this lynchpin reporting feature in PocketSmith. It's been a bit of a journey; join us!

In the beginning

Way back in August 2014, we released the first cut of the Income and Expense report. Up until that point, we spent most of our efforts on critical features that made PocketSmith stand apart from our competitors – the calendar, flexible transaction importing and search, and unique visualizations for budget analysis.

The Income and Expense Statement release saw us shift ever so slightly towards making the application just a little more like typical personal finance software, with a little more accounting to balance out all our quirkiness.

My co-founder Jason put it best in his commit message, when adding the feature scaffold: “Income/expense likely a better feature name than profit/loss for personal finance :-)”

The Income and Expense Statement, circa 2014

Until recently

Over the subsequent years, we frequently upgraded the Income and Expense Statement, and then we redesigned the feature along with the rest of the web app in 2015.

Small features continued to get added. A sidebar arrived, which contained filtering for transfers and better account selection. We also built a pop-up to show transactions when you click on transaction totals.

The Income and Expense Statement, circa 2020

During this time, we also rebuilt the analysis generation for the Income and Expense statement, making use of the same analytical backend as the Budgets page. Most wouldn’t have noticed this change, meaning it was a successful upgrade!

The present

Over time, the Income and Expense Statement became one of our most popular features, with feedback continuing to come in for what you wanted to see. A couple of months ago, we dove into this feedback and worked on a new, refined version of the Income and Expense Statement.

There were two reasons for this – compared to the heady, high-level work of data connections, achieving more straightforward – but significant – improvements was a welcome distraction for much of our team. The second reason is that hundreds of people use the Income and Expense Statement every day – changes here will benefit many people.

We chose some ideas that we thought had a high impact, which we could execute in the relatively short time frame we had available. After all, the data connections release was still looming!

The Income and Expense Statement, April 2021

We added a column showing differences between actual and budgeted figures, allowed rows to be sorted and filtered, gave better access to budget information and editing, and provided new exporting options. Then we gave the Income and Expense Statement a design refresh and fixed the header in place, making the information clearer and easier to navigate.

Other improvements are in progress, such as showing what percentage of the total a particular category represents. But now, it’s time to turn our attention to the future.

The future

The most significant addition we’d like to make to the Income and Expense Statement is adding comparison periods before and after the current period. Imagine loading up a particular period you’d like to compare your numbers for and then adding any number of period in the past or future within the same analysis.

This change will allow us to consolidate the Cashflow Statement feature into the Income and Expense Statement. After all, Cashflows is just a monthly I&E report with many months of comparison before and after today’s date. Off the back of this, we’ll be able to realize the many improvements requested for the Cashflow Statement (looking at you, fixed column and row headers) that we aren’t currently able to due to technical limitations of the aging Cashflow Statement.

Alongside this, we’d like to introduce the concept of saved Income and Expense reports. You’ll be able to configure a particular report precisely how you’d like, then save (or bookmark) that report for later – much like how saved searches work right now on the Transactions page.

There are many other improvements to make alongside the above – better category filtering, improved handling for parent and sub-category arrangements, and likely some new graphing options.

Overall, we’re still at the early stages of planning these improvements. Despite this, we recognize how vital the Income and Expense Statement is to our users, so we wanted to take this opportunity to outline a bit of its future.

In the meantime, please keep sending us your feedback on the Income and Expense Statement, your votes count!

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