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.
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.
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.
Review: GnuCash 2.3.3, Editors of Download.com, June 1, 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.)
Review: GnuCash Free Personal Finance and Small Business Accounting Software: GnuCash Version 2.2.9, Shelley Elmblad, Updated Nov. 17, 2009
3. Linux Magazine
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.
Review: If You Knew Cash Like GnuCash Knows Cash, Editors of Linux Magazine, Sept. 3, 2008
4. PC World
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.
Review: Open Your Business to Open-Source Apps, Neil McAllister, Jan. 30, 2008
5. Which? magazine
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.
Review: GnuCash Review, Editors of Which?