Nowadays, keeping the books straight in both the personal and professional spheres requires some capable and powerful softwares. Though there are a number of proprietary software suites available for accounting purposes, it’s not always necessary to shell out a lot of money for a superb bookkeeping program. One open source alternative to the more expensive paid accounting utilities is GnuCash, a free and easy accounting powerhouse worth considering. Whether you need to keep track of invoices, tabulate expenses or create financial statements, GnuCash has got you covered.
The GnuCash platform is a versatile bookkeeping and accounting suite that can be used for small business expense tracking and portfolio management. Unlike Quicken, it’s a true cross-platform program that runs on nearly every operating system including Windows, MacOSX and Linux. Though it’s not the flashiest accounting program on the market, it’s easily one of the most feature-rich.
Features and Functionality
When you consider the vast array of capabilities brought to the table by GnuCash, it’s safe to say that it’s the Swiss Army knife of accounting platforms. Its double-entry bookkeeping functionality can tackle any project including investment accounts for mutual funds, stocks and bonds. GnuCash can quickly whip up graphs, charts and reports as needed from your raw data and spreadsheets. It’s especially adept at bank account and credit card reconciliation thanks to its Mortgage and Loan Repayment Assistant, Accounts Payable and Receivable support, integrated tax tables and Payroll Module. As far as technical assistance is concerned, GnuCash’s superb documentation should be able to answer any question that the average user might have. Let’s go through features quickly,
- Double Entry
- Stock/Bond/Mutual Fund Accounts
- Small Business Accounting
- Checkbook-Style Register
- Scheduled Transactions
- Reports like Balance Sheet, Profit & Loss, Portfolio Valuation and many others.
- Supports Multiple Currencies
- Online Stock & Mutual Fund Quotes
- Database support
- QIF and OFX Import
- HBCI Support
- Mortgage & Loan Repayment Assistant
Getting Started With GnuCash
To begin using GnuCash for your accounting needs, head on over to the GnuCash homepage to download the right installer. Linux users can grab a stable version through their distribution’s package manager. When you first fire up GnuCash, the setup wizard will guide you through the process of importing OFX and QIF files, configuring accounts and more. The main UI features a familiar tree-style index on the left-hand side that acts as your “Table of Contents” for simple and intuitive navigation. Once you’re all set up, you can go about scheduling automated payment entries, bill tracking and other regular transactions in a heartbeat.
It’s hard to believe that a program that’s free could be so feature-rich and flexible, but that seems to be the case with GnuCash. In addition to its advanced technical features, GnuCash has a fairly shallow learning curve for users of all abilities and experience levels. In everyday operation, it’s more akin to QuickBooks than any other proprietary program on the market. For both freelance entrepreneurs and SMB employees, GnuCash is the perfect solution for nearly every accounting problem you can imagine. Even if it weren’t free, this open source bookkeeping tool would still be an incredible value.