Donor-advised fund on Balances sheet: neither Assert nor Liability; how do people categorize it?

I updated one of my feeds to use open banking and now my donor-advised fund balance has appeared in my Balances sheet as an Asset (default class from the feed). It is useful to see that balance, but as this is already-donated money this is not really an Asset of mine, and is certainly not a Liability.

If I make up a third class (“External” or something) in Accounts the balance disappears from Balances. I can display it on another custom sheet by pulling from Balance History, but I’m curious whether:

A) Anyone has a suggestion for what class a donor-advised fund should fall under. A special type of Asset, or a new class altogether.

B) Does the Balances sheet in any template have support for extra classes beyond Assets and Liabilities? Or maybe for Assets marked as not adding to Net Worth.

That’s a great question that I hadn’t considered before now. I’m not a financial advisor and can only give my opinion, but I do have a DAF that falls under the Asset column and I further categorize it as “Charitable” using the Group column in the Accounts tab. I’m ok to see it there because I view it as a Charitable investment account which can gain or lose value depending upon how it is managed. Even though I’m never getting the money back, I like to see it there for tracking and planning purposes. And since I’ve categorized it, I can see it broken out separately anyway.

All that said, I do agree that strictly speaking it’s not an Asset. A similar discussion might arise regarding a primary residence for those who are homeowners. Some don’t view that as an asset and some do - in any case, most everyone I believe will put it in the Asset column for tracking purposes, since to my understanding the only Classes available are Asset and Liability.

So as far as the impact on Net Worth, you’re right that it should be excluded. Maybe someone else will chime in as to whether there is a pre-built template that could handle another class. But in the meantime I can think of a simple solution that I’m planning to employ.

In the Balances sheet, in cell G5, I’ll enter the formula:


H5 is the cell that has the pre-built Net Worth total. “YOUR DAF” is the account name of the DAF. The lookup is important because that layout can change and move around.

This will display the Net Worth excluding the value of DAF next to the pre-built Net Worth value that includes it. I’ll put a label as such right above it. It could be done similarly in the Net Worth sheet or another template that displays Net Worth. I’m working on my own Net Worth sheet to customize my own layout at the moment.

Of course, the other option is to choose Hide for this one in the Accounts sheet and then it won’t show up at all in several reports like Balances and Net Worth. Then you could have your own separate report for that account or glance at it periodically on the Balance History sheet.

Great questions here @bruening - I hadn’t come across this scenario before so it’s helpful to learn about.

There isn’t a way to have a custom class besides Asset or Liability and have those appear on the Balances sheet.

Let us know if you tried @KyleT 's solution and whether that worked for you.

Was just thinking about this having added my DAF earlier today. Works like a charm. A little challenge getting the formula to work (not sure why) so re-wrote it from scratch vs. cut and past (changing nothing) and worked fine.

Thank you for the replies. @KyleT’s solution does work. I also have my own custom net-worth-per-year sheet where I can do custom accounting. @jeff1: the reason the pasted formula doesn’t work directly is that the quote characters are the unicode directional ones and not the plain ascii chars; once those are replaced with plain quotes it works.

Thanks @jeff1 for pointing out the flaw with the copy paste of the formula and thanks @bruening for clarifying the problem. I adjusted the formula so that it should work if anyone else tries it with a straight copy paste. The quote characters seem to get altered by the posting tool, but if you select pre-formatted text you can force it to the plain ascii quote characters.