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GnuCash

GnuCash

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GnuCash is a free and open source
Free and open source software
Free and open-source software or free/libre/open-source software is software that is liberally licensed to grant users the right to use, study, change, and improve its design through the availability of its source code...

 accounting software
Accounting software
Accounting software is application software that records and processes accounting transactions within functional modules such as accounts payable, accounts receivable, payroll, and trial balance. It functions as an accounting information system...

 program that implements a double-entry bookkeeping system
Double-entry bookkeeping system
A double-entry bookkeeping system is a set of rules for recording financial information in a financial accounting system in which every transaction or event changes at least two different nominal ledger accounts....

. It was initially aimed at developing capabilities similar to Intuit, Inc.'s Quicken
Quicken
Quicken is a personal finance management tool developed by Intuit, Inc.Quicken runs on Windows and Macintosh systems. Previous versions ran on DOS. An online version is also available. The last version of Quicken for Macintosh computers was Quicken Essentials for Mac released in February 2010...

 application, but also has features for small business
Small business
A small business is a business that is privately owned and operated, with a small number of employees and relatively low volume of sales. Small businesses are normally privately owned corporations, partnerships, or sole proprietorships...

 accounting. Recent development has been focused on adapting to modern desktop support-library requirements.

GnuCash is part of the GNU Project
GNU Project
The GNU Project is a free software, mass collaboration project, announced on September 27, 1983, by Richard Stallman at MIT. It initiated GNU operating system development in January, 1984...

, and runs on Linux
Linux
Linux is a Unix-like computer operating system assembled under the model of free and open source software development and distribution. The defining component of any Linux system is the Linux kernel, an operating system kernel first released October 5, 1991 by Linus Torvalds...

, OpenBSD
OpenBSD
OpenBSD is a Unix-like computer operating system descended from Berkeley Software Distribution , a Unix derivative developed at the University of California, Berkeley. It was forked from NetBSD by project leader Theo de Raadt in late 1995...

, FreeBSD
FreeBSD
FreeBSD is a free Unix-like operating system descended from AT&T UNIX via BSD UNIX. Although for legal reasons FreeBSD cannot be called “UNIX”, as the direct descendant of BSD UNIX , FreeBSD’s internals and system APIs are UNIX-compliant...

, Solaris, Mac OS X
Mac OS X
Mac OS X is a series of Unix-based operating systems and graphical user interfaces developed, marketed, and sold by Apple Inc. Since 2002, has been included with all new Macintosh computer systems...

, and other Unix-like
Unix-like
A Unix-like operating system is one that behaves in a manner similar to a Unix system, while not necessarily conforming to or being certified to any version of the Single UNIX Specification....

 platforms. A Microsoft Windows
Microsoft Windows
Microsoft Windows is a series of operating systems produced by Microsoft.Microsoft introduced an operating environment named Windows on November 20, 1985 as an add-on to MS-DOS in response to the growing interest in graphical user interfaces . Microsoft Windows came to dominate the world's personal...

 (2000
Windows 2000
Windows 2000 is a line of operating systems produced by Microsoft for use on personal computers, business desktops, laptops, and servers. Windows 2000 was released to manufacturing on 15 December 1999 and launched to retail on 17 February 2000. It is the successor to Windows NT 4.0, and is the...

 or newer) port was made available starting with the 2.2.0 series.

History


Programming on GnuCash began in 1997, and its first stable release was in 1998. Small Business Accounting was added in 2001. A Mac installer became available in 2004. A Windows port was released in 2007.

Features

  • Double-entry bookkeeping
    Double-entry bookkeeping system
    A double-entry bookkeeping system is a set of rules for recording financial information in a financial accounting system in which every transaction or event changes at least two different nominal ledger accounts....

  • Scheduled Transactions
  • Mortgage and Loan Repayment Assistant
  • Small Business Accounting Features
  • OFX
    Open Financial Exchange
    Open Financial Exchange is a data-stream format for exchanging financial information that evolved from Microsoft's Open Financial Connectivity and Intuit's Open Exchange file formats.-History:...

    , QIF
    Quicken Interchange Format
    Quicken Interchange Format is an open specification for reading and writing financial data to media .-Background:Although still widely used, QIF is an older format than Open Financial Exchange . The inability to reconcile imported transactions against the current account information is one of the...

     Import
  • HBCI
    FinTS
    FinTS , formerly known as HBCI , is a bank-independent protocol for online banking, developed and used by German banks....

     Support
  • Transaction-Import Matching Support
  • SQL
    SQL
    SQL is a programming language designed for managing data in relational database management systems ....

     Support
  • Multi-Currency Transaction Handling
  • Stock/Mutual Fund Portfolios
  • Online Stock and Mutual Fund Quotes
  • Built-in and custom reports and charts
  • Budget
  • Bank and Credit Card reconciliation
  • Check printing

Small business accounting features

  • Invoicing
  • Accounts Receivable (A/R)
  • Accounts Payable (A/P) including bills due reminders
  • Employee expense voucher
  • Depreciation
  • Mapping to income tax schedules and TXF export for import into tax prep software (US)
  • Setting up tax tables and applying sales tax on invoices

Missing features

  • Inventory Management
  • Payroll Module
  • Point of Sale (POS) Module
  • Cannot delete a report via the program's User Interface (UI)
  • Cannot create an estimate

Technical design


GnuCash is written primarily in C
C (programming language)
C is a general-purpose computer programming language developed between 1969 and 1973 by Dennis Ritchie at the Bell Telephone Laboratories for use with the Unix operating system....

, with a small fraction in Scheme. One notable feature is the pure fixed-point arithmetic
Fixed-point arithmetic
In computing, a fixed-point number representation is a real data type for a number that has a fixed number of digits after the radix point...

 to avoid rounding errors which would arise with floating-point arithmetic. This feature was introduced with version 1.6.

For non-profit organizations


Users on the GnuCash mailing list have reported using it for Section 501 (c) 3 non-profit organizations successfully. However, the reports need to be exported and edited.

For professionals


Slaw, the Canadian legal co-operative, offered this advise to lawyers just starting out in practice, especially those who are trying to pay off student loans, "The GnuCash software...should present a great alternative for lawyers looking for a solid accounting system at low cost. Do not believe that open source software is somehow second-class."

For lawyers - to maintain client trust accounts


The Minnesota State Bar Association has now made available to anyone their GnuCash trust accounting guide in PDF format.

In education


Most commercial accounting packages hide the internals believing that they are making the software easier for end users. On the other hand, GnuCash does accounting and transactions in a more transparent manner. This makes it easier for students to learn the basics of double entry bookkeeping. This is why some reviewers say that GnuCash is "good as educational software".

From Australia


User on this Australia micro business community, "...found gnucash to be one of the easier but more advanced to use. It's user interface is not as 'user-friendly' as others I've seen, but it certainly has all the tools you need to run a small business...Therefore I suggest people starting a small business on a tight budget check this program out before moving on to anything else that may be a bit costly. This program might fulfill your business accounting needs!".

Download stats


Sourceforge shows a count of 1.71 million downloads of the stable releases starting from GnuCash 2.2 in July 2007. Also, Sourceforge shows that current downloads are running at 13,775 per week. However, this doesn’t include other software download sites as well as Linux distributions that provide download from their own repositories.

Project status


Ohloh did an analysis of the source code repository and compared the commit activity for the past two years and concluded that the project has a mature, well established code base, with increasing year-over-year development activity and a large active development team.

External links