A commenter on my question “End of financial year: closing transactions” declares:

I think this answer is going to get closed b/c accounting is off-topic on this site

Isn't it the case, though, that personal finance book-keeping significantly includes discussion of accounting principles and practice? A flat “if it's about accounting it's off-topic” seems unworkable.

2 Answers 2


Since I'm the "commenter" mentioned in the question, I will answer. Basically, it's off-topic by definition. See my meta question

Why are accounting questions off-topic here, even though there are small business questions?

in addition to the other questions and comments linked through it. Also there's the help that includes this as explicitly off-topic:

Questions about accounting that are academic or have no bearing on personal finance

As regards your specific question on the (non-meta) site: You might say that your intent there is related to personal finance, and since you know what you were thinking you'd have more "direct" insight into that. As the question is written, however, I think it reads like a straight accounting question Hence my comment. There are currently 2 other votes to close, so at least some others agreed.

In the even that it hits the number necessary to close, you can still edit it to give it a personal finance element. You could also preemptively edit it now to try to avoid closure.

Even if it doesn't get closed, by the way, I stand by the other part of my comment that I don't think you're going to get the help that you need on this site. Your question really requires too much background on, well, accounting to be answered properly.

Also, keep in mind that I don't think it's a bad question. It's just not a question that's well suited (in my opinion) to the format of this site.

  • Thanks for the background. I don't see at the linked discussion support for the claim “off-topic by definition”, and I've updated my question here for the details.
    – bignose
    Jan 15, 2016 at 1:22
  • Your earlier meta question was similarly relevant and I've voted it up.
    – bignose
    Jan 15, 2016 at 1:35

Personal finances entail accounting and book-keeping of those finances, so it seems false on its face to say accounting as a whole is never on-topic for this site about personal finances.

What's explicitly off-topic is questions that aren't related to personal finances. I agree, and assume that's uncontroversial.

Accounting practices and principles overlap significantly with personal finance book-keeping. Balancing a cheque book, keeping multiple bank accounts, maintaining a sole proprietor business with one's personal finances: they're all deeply entwined with accounting practices and principles.

So it can't be the case that “accounting is off-topic for this site”; personal finance questions will frequently entail questions about accounting. I would say “if it's not about personal finances it's off-topic” is the clear, if not razor-sharp, line. Whether the question entails “accounting” or not, should be orthogonal to that.

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