Transaction Codes

Reference for the tran code resource within a Twisp Ledger.

The Basics

Transaction codes (AKA "tran codes") define how ledger entries are written in Twisp. You can think of them as macros or templates for transactions; instead of writing out every transaction by hand within your application layer, you design the tran codes to match every type of transaction in your funds flow.

In a nutshell, transaction codes accept input values and write a multi-entry transaction to the ledger.

In this way, tran codes form a self-documenting API for your funds flow. The benefits of this approach are legion:

  • Strong separation of concerns between accounting logic (i.e. how ledger entries need to be written to which accounts) and product/business logic.
  • All transactions are executed atomically. Enforcing all-or-nothing commits leads to correct and easy-to-reason-about systems.
  • Centralized interface for defining every type of transactional activity that your system handles, providing a rich view into your funds flow.
  • A linear—not exponential—growth curve in system complexity as more and more transaction types are added to reflect the growth of your financial product.

With tran codes as the mechanism for structuring your transactions, you can reign in your funds flow and prevent it from becoming a tangled and unmanageable mess.

Components of Tran Codes

There are 4 primary components which define a tran code:

  1. Code: a unique name to identify the tran code, usually formatted in UPPER_SNAKE_CASE. When posting a transaction, this is the value supplied to the tranCode field to specify which tran code should be invoked.
  2. Params: the definition of the parameters available when invoking a tran code. This allows values to be supplied at runtime which can be injected into the Transaction and Entries written by the tran code.
  3. Transaction: the specification of values to be used for the Transaction written. Invoking a tran code writes a single transaction into the ledger, and the values used for that transaction are defined either as literals or else are derived from values passed in params.
  4. Entries: the specification of values to be used for the ledger Entries written for the transaction when a tran code is invoked. The values used for these entries are defined either as literals or else are derived from values passed in params.

In addition, tran codes have other properties which are common to all records in the accounting core:

  • ID: a universally unique identifier (UUID) for the tran code.
  • Description: a free-form text to be used for describing anything about the tran code. We recommend using this field to summarize what the tran code is for and when it should be used.
  • Created & Updated Timestamps: self-evident: when the tran code was created and when it was last updated.
  • Version & History: tran codes, like every other record in the accounting core, maintain a list of all changes made to them in their history field, and the version field indicates the current active version of the tran code.

Tran Code Invocation

Whenever you post a transaction in Twisp, you must supply a tran code to invoke. There is no way to post transactions outside of a tran code invocation. In this sense, posting a transaction is how you invoke a tran code. One cannot happen without the other.

Posting a transaction requires only three components: a transactionId to ensure idempotency for the transaction, the tranCode identifier matching the code field of the tran code to invoke, and the params object to provide parameter values for the tran code.


mutation PostACHCredit(
  $userAcctId: UUID!
  $amount: String!
  $effective: String!
) {
    input: {
      transactionId: "66fcf002-f815-4608-ad38-8455a46d7f02"
      tranCode: "ACH_CREDIT"
      params: { account: $userAcctId, amount: $amount, effective: $effective }
  ) {
    tranCode {
    entries(first: 2) {
      nodes {
        amount {
          money: formatted(as: { locale: "en-US" })
        account {

The above example will write a Transaction and Entries as defined in the ACH_CREDIT tran code, using the parameters supplied.

Tran Code Operations

Use GraphQL queries and mutations to read, create, update, and delete (lock) tran codes:

Further Reading

To learn how to work with tran codes, see the relevant tutorials on Building Tran Codes and Designing a Tran Code.

For more context on how and why Twisp uses tran codes, see Encoded Transactions.

To review the GraphQL docs for the TranCode type, see TranCode.