Open Source

Top 10 Linux financial tools

Many people don't realize the wealth of applications available for Linux -- and that includes financial software. Jack Wallen introduces 10 Linux apps that will meet your financial needs, whether you just want a digital replacement for your checkbook or you're looking for a full-blown accounting package for your organization.

Many people don't realize the wealth of applications that are available for Linux. I am asked all the time about X and/or Y application on Windows and whether there's an equivalent on Linux. Most of the time the answer is yes.

The arena of finance is no exception. Plenty of outstanding financial applications are available for the Linux operating system. From personal finance to business finance, there is an application for nearly every need. Let's take a look at the top Linux financial applications.

Note: This information is also available as a PDF download.

#1: Gnucash

I start off with this application simply because it's my financial application of choice. Gnucash is released under the GPL so it is fully open sourced and is available for Linux, BSD, Solaris, OS X, and Windows. Gnucash features double-entry accounting, stock/bond/mutual fund accounts, small-business accounting, customer/vendor/job invoicing, QIF/OFX/HBCI Import/Transaction matching, reports/graphs, scheduled transactions, and financial calculations. Gnucash is incredibly easy to use and handles multiple accounts. Importing QIF files is simple, and entering transactions is intuitive. Gnucash can export to TXF format for tax preparation programs.

#2: KMyMoney

This is a finance application often included in KDE. KMyMoney has a user-interface similar to Quicken. In fact, those familiar with Quicken will find themselves right at home with KMyMoney. The biggest difference between KMyMoney and Quicken is that KMyMoney can't communicate directly with financial institutions. You can import QIF and Gnucash data, but the only format that can be exported is QIF. KMyMoney is also licensed under the GPL.

#3: Moneydance

Moneydance is proprietary software that's available for Linux, OS X, and Windows. Moneydance is one of the more fully featured financial applications available for Linux and includes such features as online banking and bill payment, budget management, scheduled/recurring payments, portfolio tracking, report generation, Quicken and Money data importation, encryption, and international support. Moneydance does require Java. Fortunately, there are versions of Moneydance that come prepackaged with Java, so those who are a bit weary of the task of installing Java (especially on a Linux machine) don't have to worry. The interface is very intuitive. Moneydance costs $39.99 per license. There is no corporate or individual licensing.

#4: Appgen MyBooks

If you're looking for commercial or accounting level software, this might be just what you need. Written for Linux (Linspire, to be exact), OS X, and Windows, this software package is double-entry and fully audited and conforms to the standards of GAAP (generally accepted accounting principles.) MyBooks can be purchased as a single-user license, two-user license, and 10-user license. It can be set up as a single system or as a client/server network system. A free trial version of MyBooks is available. This package also handles inventory (including perpetual inventory), service-based businesses, charting, statements, batch entries, ODBC, and vouchers.

#5: Nolapro

Don't let the free price tag of Nolapro fool you. This is for serious business. Although not open source, this package is free to use in any size environment and handles everything from inventory, accounts receivable, general ledger, POS, vendors, customers, B2B, online shopping cart, and payroll. Nolapro does require a database installation, but other than that, installation is simple. Nolapro is designed to be a network installation so the server can be accessed by multiple clients via browser. The license is unlimited users, unlimited companies, and unlimited books. For personal finance, you might want to skip Nolapro — its feature list will probably overwhelm you.

#6: Linux Business Accounting Systems BasicBooks

Linux Business Accounting Systems offers BasicBooks General Ledger for Linux. This application features complete financial reporting, support for all decimal-denominated currency, and unlimited transactions. BasicBooks uses the PostgreSQL database and is easy to use and learn. One of the nicest features of this package is that transaction databases can be loaded into spreadsheets for report creation. System requirements are low (Linux OS with GTK+ library and PostgreSQL; the program requires only 373K bytes). BasicBooks costs $20 per CPU and is available in binary package form (for RedHat, Fedora, SuSe, Ubuntu, Vector, and others), which includes the user reference manual.

#7: Quasar Accounting

This particular package is part of a full-fledged POS package that can be run as stand-alone accounting software. Quasar is not open source (although a purchased commercial license provides full access to the source code) and is available for Linux and Windows. Features include international support, outstanding GUI, simple data entry, error correction, backup/restore, online help, multi-company support, data import, mailing labels, user-level security, chart of accounts, statement printing, journal entries, customer quotes, sales orders, invoicing, multiple taxes, discounting, price management, accounts receivable, and cash reconciliation. You can download an evaluation version. A free single-computer edition is also available.

#8: SQL-Ledger

This is one of the oldest Linux accounting/ERP systems. SQL-Ledger is a double-entry accounting system that has an amazing list of features, such as accounts receivable, accounts payable, voucher system, general ledger, inventory control, billing, time cards, POS, check printing, purchase/sales orders, taxes, multi-user/company, audit control, SQL server backend, templates, customers, vendors, chart of accounts, and financial statements. SQL-Ledger is often considered the "best of" for Linux accounting. Obviously, this is another package that's far more than a financial tool. Someone looking for single-user financial software might want to look elsewhere. But if you need a small to midsize financial solution, you should look here first.

#9: Rapid Graphing Software for Technical Analysis of Stocks and Commodities

If you don't have or follow stocks/stock portfolios, you won't know what Rapid is for. Features include candlesticks, OBV, moving averages, Macd, Stochastics, RSI, Wilder DMI, Fibonacci, and Slope. Rapid will import text data and includes multiple journals that allow you to record your trades, graph trading performance and calculate totals for tax purposes. The Linux version of Rapid can print and share charts over the Net. Rapid is free to use and simple to install.

#10: Crossover Office

Those of you who can't live without Quicken or Money can always use Crossover Office and install either of those applications. You will have to pay for both pieces of software, but if you need Quicken's (or Money's) features, you're in luck.

Linux can handle nearly every financial need you can think of. Whether you're a single user wanting a simple digital replacement for your checkbook or a company looking for a full-blown accounting package, Linux has you covered.


Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website

Editor's Picks