GnuCash: Open Source Accounting/Finance Goodness - gHacks Tech News

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
  • Invoicing
  • Bill payment
  • Tax and billing terms
  • QIF import
  • OFX import
  • HBCI support
  • Improved import transaction matching
  • Statement recollection
  • Localization
  • Transaction finder
  • General ledger
  • Online stock and mutual fund quotes
  • Check printing
  • Scheduled transactions
  • Mortgage and loan repayment druid
  • User manual
GnuCash main window
GnuCash main window

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).

My Thoughts

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.

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Comments

  1. Ajay said on January 20, 2009 at 8:38 am
    Reply

    Out here, getting set with an online banking account is simple and recommended indeed.

    Does GnuCash support Paypal integration?

    I’ve been thinking of trying out Quicken but I guess it is customized for USA and not outside.

    BTW, I think you have a scraped pingback above.

    1. Martin said on January 20, 2009 at 10:27 am
      Reply

      Quicken is actually a German software :)

  2. Ajay said on January 20, 2009 at 10:35 am
    Reply

    Lol… strange!

    I’m going to give GnuCash a shot

  3. Paul. said on January 20, 2009 at 1:51 pm
    Reply

    Looks good and a christal clear explenation. I going to give a try.

  4. RogueSpear said on January 20, 2009 at 4:05 pm
    Reply

    I’ve been a Quicken user for over 15 years now. I’m currently on version 2007 and wishing I had stuck with 2006. Unfortunately reviews of 2008 and 2009 indicate the program is continuing it’s downhill run. I am wondering if there are any recovering Quicken users who made the jump to GnuCash. And if so is there anything done so differently or features missing that it took you a while to adjust?

  5. Liquidvitaminsupplement said on January 20, 2009 at 4:30 pm
    Reply

    Looks good!!

  6. Joe said on January 21, 2009 at 8:30 am
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    I’m using Quicken 2009– I too wish I’d stuck with my copy of Q2007. However, I prefer Quicken to GNU Cash. Not being the financial expert, GNU Cash’s learning curve was too steep for me. It just didn’t make intuitive sense, whereas Quicken does.

  7. Mike said on April 15, 2009 at 7:32 pm
    Reply

    I have downloaded and transferred my quicken files to GnuCash but don’t know if I will use it since it does not handle investments very well. There seems to be no way to track investment basis or capital gains when sold.

  8. Peter Anderton said on May 4, 2009 at 9:24 am
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    I’ve been using Gnucash since 2004 and have been delighted with its performance. It is now the first test I do before installing a new distro: if it doesn’t include Gnucash, it doesn’t get installed. Fortunately, most do. The Windoze version works too, except that it seems to have little tussles with printer drivers sometimes.

  9. Harley said on October 13, 2009 at 4:39 am
    Reply

    I AM LOOKING FOR A REPLACEMENT FOR QUICKBOOKS PRO 2008 AND AM CONSIDERING GnuCash. MOST OF THE COMMENTS I HAVE SEEN RELATE TO QUICKEN RATHER THAN QUICKBOOKS. THE PROBLEMS WITH QUICKEN ARE WORSE IN QUICKBOOKS, AND EVERYTIME YOU TURN AROUND, THEY WANT TO CHARGE YOU MORE MONEY. TWO QUESTIONS I HAVE IN PARTICULAR…IS THERE ANY PRACTICAL LIMIT TO FILE SIZE IN GnuCash? MY QB FILE IS APPROACHING 500,000 KB AND RESPONSE IS BECOMING SLOW. SECOND, DOES GnuCash HAVE A PAYROLL CAPABILITY? THIRD, CAN IT LINK TO ACT! 2010?

    1. c0nd3mn3d said on November 27, 2009 at 9:10 pm
      Reply

      please turn of your caps lock. block lettering is obnoxious. thank you.

  10. John said on January 8, 2010 at 6:50 am
    Reply

    Does GnuCash support download of data from banks, stock brokers, credit cards, etc.?

  11. Robert said on March 2, 2010 at 3:05 am
    Reply

    I’m trying out Gnucash for the first time. I’ve loaded ten years of
    Quiken files and I’m looking for similar report capabilities as I
    have in Quiken Can I, for example, get a report on transfers, giving me
    different brake downs of payments and or receipts. For example,
    in a Quiken category called transportation, with sub-category called
    fuel, ro. Can I generate a report that I could filter for dates and or
    other sub-categories?
    Should I even attempt to work with Gnucash if I’m not program
    literate.
    Thanks in advance for your attention
    Cheers
    Robert

  12. Mahek said on April 1, 2011 at 1:58 pm
    Reply

    If you are considering GnuCash for a small business, download a sample chapter of book Gnucash 2.4 Small Business Accounting: Beginner’s Guide just published. The book has a chapter on using your mobile phone to enter data into GnuCash.

    https://www.packtpub.com/gnucash-24-small-business-accounting-beginners-guide/book

    You can read reviews of my book on the GnuCash forum.

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