Gnucash Review

Updated July 31, 2012
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GnuCash
Bottom Line

GnuCash is free open-source software that can handle complex accounting tasks, including those required to run a small business, reviewers say. Users can set up a variety of account types, including cash, banks and other financial institutions, credit cards, mutual funds, stocks and accounts payable and receivable.

However, some experts say you need to know a fair amount about accounting to get the most out of this software, and that some features could be improved. For example, setting up customized reports can be complicated. The latest stable version as of this writing is 2.4.11; the company periodically releases unfinished versions for user testing.

ProsFree, Runs on Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems, Supports multiple currencies and languages, Useful for small business as well as personal accountsConsNot as user-friendly as some, May be too complex for novices

We didn't find any comparative reviews of GnuCash, but we did find several good single-product reviews from CNET, Linux Magazine, Which? magazine and About.com. PC World gives it a short write-up in an article about open-source applications.

Our Sources

1. CNET

GnuCash 2.3.3, Editors of Download.com, June 1, 2009

Download.com editors give GnuCash release 2.3.3 a score of 4 out of 5, saying, "If you're overwhelmed by the number of personal accounts you're trying to manage, or you're trying to keep your small business on track financially, GnuCash is freeware you should try." As of July 14, 2012, GnuCash has released version 2.4.11.

2. About.com

GnuCash Free Personal Finance and Small Business Accounting Software: GnuCash Version 2.2.9, Shelley Elmblad, Updated Nov. 17, 2009

Shelley Elmblad describes GnuCash's features in detail, saying it's "definitely worth a try." In addition, she concludes, "Many small businesses will find GnuCash is perfect for their needs." She warns users to be careful what version they download from the website, since some that are available there are not stable and are meant to be downloaded for testing only. The latest stable version is 2.2.9 as of this writing. (Note: ConsumerSearch is owned by About.com, but the two don't share an editorial affiliation.)

3. Linux Magazine

If You Knew Cash Like GnuCash Knows Cash, Editors of Linux Magazine, Sept. 3, 2008

This review outlines GnuCash's features and walks the reader through some of the application's basic setup tasks. The editors rate GnuCash's help features as among the best around, and that GnuCash is "a rich application" that can handle personal and small business financial tasks with ease. User comments follow the main article.

4. PC World

Open Your Business to Open-Source Apps, Neil McAllister, Jan. 30, 2008

This review provides short descriptions of several open-source applications, including GnuCash. McAllister writes that although GnuCash is not as user-friendly as more commercial financial software, it is "serious financial software" suitable for those with complex accounting needs.

5. Which? magazine

GnuCash Review, Editors of Which?

The editors of Which? say that GnuCash is not very user-friendly, and recommend that beginners do not acquire it, even though it's free. The editors, instead, recommend AceMoney Lite as a free personal financial software product.