Rewrite account names

Here's an example of using account aliases.

Say a sole proprietor has a personal.journal:

2014/1/2
    expenses:food  $1
    assets:cash

and a business.journal:

2014/1/1
    expenses:office supplies  $1
    assets:business checking

So each entity (the business owner, and the business) has their own file with its own simple chart of accounts. However, at tax reporting time we need to view these as a single entity (at least in the US). In unified.journal, we include both files, and rewrite the personal account names to fit into the business chart of accounts,

alias expenses    = equity:draw:personal
alias assets:cash = assets:personal cash
include personal.journal
end aliases

include business.journal

Now we can see the data from both files at once, and the personal account names have changed:

$ hledger -f unified.journal print
2014/01/01                                    # from business.journal - no aliases applied
    expenses:office supplies            $1
    assets:business checking           $-1

2014/01/02                                    # from personal.journal
    equity:draw:personal:food            $1   # <- was expenses:food
    assets:personal cash                $-1   # <- was assets:cash

You can also specify aliases on the command line. This could be useful to quickly rewrite account names when sharing a report with someone else, such as your accountant:

$ hledger --alias 'my earning=income:business' ...

See also How to use another account separator character.