GnuCash: Open Source Accounting/Finance Goodness
For many the idea of Linux accounting and financial software falls squarely in the lap of either Quicken or Microsoft Money. But did you know there was one particular open source alternative that offered nearly all of the features of both heavy hitters and was available for Linux, FreeBSD, Solaris, OS X, and Windows? That software? GnuCash.
GnuCash is a accounting software that uses a double-entry bookkeeping system similar to that of Intuit's Quicken. GnuCash isn't just for personal financing. GnuCash can be deployed for small business accounting as well.
I have been using GnuCash since prior to the earliest recorded release (1.21 released on 2/27/2000.) GnuCash has served my financial needs well. But is GnuCash right for you? Before I offer up my personal opinion on this piece of software, let's examine the features first. The latest review of GnuCash includes the following features:
- Checkbook Style Registry
- Double-entry accounting
- Reports and graphs
- Income/Expense account types
- Multiple currency support
- Stock and mutual fund portfolios
- Customer and vendor tracking
- Bill payment
- Tax and billing terms
- QIF import
- OFX import
- HBCI support
- Improved import transaction matching
- Statement recollection
- Transaction finder
- General ledger
- Online stock and mutual fund quotes
- Check printing
- Scheduled transactions
- Mortgage and loan repayment druid
- User manual
As soon as you open up GnuCash you will instantly feel at home with the user interface. Adding entries is as simple as clicking on a new entry, creating a description and then either enter the amount to subtract in the decrease column or the amount to add in the increase column. It's very simple.
Make note of the dates in the screen shot to the right. This version of GnuCash was just recently installed yet it works with files (I used an old GnuCash file as an example) that are nearly 6 years old!
Reports are an amazing asset to GnuCash. The amount of reports GnuCash can create is fairly extensive. There are 38 different types of reports and/or graphs ranging from simple asset reports to vendor reports and receivable ageing reports.
GnuCash also allows the user to connect via online banking. I have never used this feature because I have never needed it (and because setup requires a lot of information from your bank).
As I said earlier, I have used GnuCash for a long time now and have never had a single problem. GnuCash has handled multiple accounts for me and makes for some of the easiest backing up I have ever done (simply copy the flat text file GnuCash uses to a backup location or disk).
GnuCash is perfectly suited for anyone looking to replace Quicken or Money for a personal accounting software or a small business setting. For anyone needing larger scale financial needs, you need to look at a database-backend software that can handle scaling.
No matter what platform you are using, give GnuCash a try. You might just find yourself a free replacement for your standard accounting package. Just don't expect the ability to connect to your tax software - that's one feature GnuCash has yet to implement. Otherwise GnuCash is the perfect solution for your personal to small business accounting needs.Advertisement