How do I reorganise my category structure?
Note: If you are deciding which categories to set up when you are starting out using ExpensePlus, see this separate help guide article.
If you already use ExpensePlus and want to change your category structure for the new financial year, this help guide article explains how to do that.
1. Setting up categories for your next financial year in advance
Within the last 6 months of a financial year, you can proactively choose to create and configure your categories for the next financial year using the 'Set Up Next Year' button on the Income and Expenditure Category settings screen.
The process duplicates all of the current year's categories, budgets and category connectors into the next year. You can then add, edit and delete categories and category groups as required.
This means you can add your next financial year's categories in advance, and then edit these to how you wish to structure your categories.
Note: Unlike funds or bank accounts, category totals reset each financial year and the balance of a category at the end of a financial year doesn't carry forward.
2. Top tips for reorganising your category structure in the new financial year
Categories are linked in the background between financial years, so when making changes to your category structure in your new financial year you want to AVOID:
- Deleting categories that are continuing (don't delete a category to then re-add it again) - if you do this, you will end up un-linking categories which will mean that things like memorised. transactions against these categories will have to be manually entered and re-remembered
- Editing a category that is no longer needed to be for something else - if you do this, then you may find memorised transactions being seemingly assigned wrongly.
If you are overhauling your category structure, we'd recommend you:
- Update the existing category group names (both income and expenditure) to have an 'x' in front of them e.g. 'Admin' -> 'x Admin' (to do this, just click on category groups to rename them)
- Add the new category groups you want to have (to do this, just click the 'add category group' button at the top of the relevant section)
- Move all existing categories into the new category groups added (to do this just click on the row and update the category group field)
- Delete any categories you no longer need, before deleting all your old category groups
- Add any additional categories needed
Frequently asked questions for reorganising category structure
Will it affect categories in my previous financial year?
Updating a category in one year won't affect categories in other financial years.
Therefore, you can add, edit and delete categories in the new financial year.
This is deliberate and allows you to have a different category structure, budget amounts, etc, in different financial years, and it avoids unintentional issues with previous years getting accidentally updated.
Are categories linked across financial years?
The categories in ExpensePlus are linked in the backgroup across financial years when they are automatically duplicated so that:
- any transactions that fall into the new financial year get automatically assigned to the correct category;
- transactions are remembered across years so you can continue to quick-match;
- when viewing reports, if you change the financial year, you remain in the same category.
For example, you have a category called 'Youth' and it is automatically duplicated into the new financial year. When you view your Income and Expenditure (by Category) report and you change the financial year dropdown, ExpensePlus knows that these two 'Youth' categories are related. So you can view the category 'Youth' in different financial years.
However, if you delete the 'Youth' category in your new financial year and then re-add it again, though they have the same name, those two categories will no longer be linked. Therefore, if you are looking at the Income and Expenditure (by Category) report and you change the financial year dropdown, ExpensePlus won't know that these two 'Youth' categories are related and you will need to reselect which category to view in the prior financial year.
Note: When deleting and adding new categories, or moving categories into different category groups, remembered transactions may require manual matching for the first month of your new financial year. These will then be able to quick-match for subsequent months.
Note: Any categories you add manually to a previous financial year (where a more recent financial year exists or has been created in advance) WON'T be linked (even if the category is given the same name)
Can I just change the names of categories when reorganising my category structure?
Because of this hidden link, we recommend you don't edit an existing category to be something completely different by just renaming it. Instead, you should delete the category you don't need and add a new category for what you do need.
For example, you rename the category called 'Youth' in your new financial year to be called 'Alpha'. However, because the category remains linked across years, when you are looking at the Income and Expenditure (by Category) report and you change the financial year dropdown this may look very strange as two non-related categories will be linked.