Banking

Review: GnuCash financial accounting software

GnuCash is for any individual, SMB, or enterprise needing double-entry financial accounting software that is cost effective, feature-rich, reliable, and works across platforms.

Accounting applications are a must-have for any businesses' financial well-being (or personal finance for that matter). The de facto standard for small to medium business is probably Intuit's Quicken. But because one application rules the board, doesn't mean there are not other, quality applications available that can handle the same task. One such application is GnuCash. The biggest difference between GnuCash and Quicken is the price. GnuCash is GPL software and is free for the taking.

Specifications

Who's it for?

GnuCash is for any individual, SMB, or enterprise needing double-entry financial accounting software that is cost effective, feature-rich, reliable, and works across platforms.

What problem does it solve?

GnuCash enables the user to handle simple to complex financial/accounting tasks with a single, well supported tool. GnuCash allows you to track bank accounts, stocks, income, and expenses. With GnuCash you can track multiple accounts which is perfect for tracking the spending of multiple-department businesses.

Standout features

  • Checkbook style registry
  • Double entry accounting
  • Full suite of standard and customizable reporting and graphing tools
  • Income/Expense account types
  • Multiple currency support
  • Online banking support
  • Stock and mutual fund portfolios
  • Customer/Vendor tracking
  • Invoicing and bill payment
  • Tax and billing terms
  • QIF and OFX import
  • HBCI support
  • Transaction matching
  • Statement reconciliation
  • Transaction search
  • General ledger

What's wrong?

There is one big complaint with GnuCash and that is it currently has no means to work with a tax application. Many business (and home) users need integration with tax software so tax time is not such an issue. This is where applications like Quicken steal the show. In order for GnuCash to gain more success it will have to have better integration with standard tax tools.

Competitive products

Bottom line for business

If you are looking for outstanding double-entry accounting software, with loads of features, but do not depend upon your financial software to interact with your tax software, GnuCash might well be the solution for you. With plenty of features to appeal to all levels and needs, GnuCash is the finest of all the GPL accounting software. If, however, you need tax integration, you might have to look elsewhere.

User rating

Have you encountered or used GnuCash financial accounting software? If so, what do you think? Rate your experience and compare the results to what other TechRepublic members think. Give your own personal review in the TechRepublic Community Forums or let us know if you think we left anything out.

About

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

6 comments
HomeShop
HomeShop

Once option is missing in most financial applications is fund accounting. Many not-for-profit organizations use this to track funds that are ear-mark to specific activities. Like for churches they would have not only the general fund but also a building fund or a charitable help group like medical help.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

I have used financial accounting software ranging from SAP, to Peachtree, to Quicken, to Microsoft Money, but I have not tried GnuCash. What do you think of GnuCash? Does it work for you?

bleninger
bleninger

I was recently the treasurer for our school PTO. I wanted to automate our books but didn't want to lock us into having each future treasurer having to purchase a software license for their PC to continue maintaining the books. Gnucash, being free, was my solution. I also like the fact that you can run it off a USB thumb drive (portableapps.com). I use Quicken for my personal finances, and I find Quicken to be much easier to use and more flexible to configure reports etc. But at the end of the day, I was able to get what I needed from gnucash for the PTO. I'm in the process of turning over the "books" to our next treasurer, so we'll see how it goes for her.

SKDTech
SKDTech

Have not been satisfied with it. I am not an accountant and prefer a program that is easier to understand and manage. GnuCash is a good idea but I feel they have a ways to go before they reach an interface that is usable enough for people to want to dump MS Money or Quicken

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I was testing it as a replacement for MS Money as a personal tool on my new home PC, and not for business purposes. I disliked having to reset the transaction filter every time I reopened it; researching that one revealed there was no setting or option to save it. It was slow to open. It had problems consistently interfacing on line with my Bank of America accounts. I purchased Quicken 09 as my replacement.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I think it's more product than necessary to replace Money or Quicken. It more in the QuickBooks and Peachtree league.

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