A common question that I get asked in emails is whether I know of any free accounting software that is any good. Some people don’t want to purchase applications like Quicken because it is way more advanced than what they are looking to do. All they want is a simple way to manage their finances, but at the same time something that offers more features than a basic spreadsheet.
GnuCash is a great solution, and it’s not only free but also open source. To make trying out the program even easier it’s available in a portable form, and switching from a different financial application is a breeze since GnuCash can import QIF and OFX files. Plus it’s available in 21 different languages, and supports using multiple currencies throughout your accounts. Now how cool is that!
Here’s a more complete list of features:
- Checkbook-Style Register – The checkbook-style register provides a custom, convenient and familiar interface to entering financial transactions. The register supports common checking and credit-card transactions, as well as income, stock and currency transactions.
- Double Entry – Every transaction must debit one account and credit others by an equal amount. This ensures that the “books balance”: that the difference between income and outflow exactly equals the sum of all assets and equity.
- Reports, Graphs – GnuCash has an integrated reporting and graphing module, and comes complete with a full suite of standard and customizeable reports, such as Balance Sheet, Profit & Loss, Portfolio Valuation, and many others.
- Income/Expense Account Types – Income/Expense Account Types (Categories) allow you to categorize your cash flow. When used properly with the double-entry feature and equity accounts, these enable you to generate reports, such as Profit & Loss, that plain-vanilla systems cannot handle.
- Multiple Currencies – Different accounts can be denominated in different currencies. Currency movements between accounts are fully balanced when double-entry is enabled.
- Stock/Mutual Fund Portfolios – Track stocks individually (one per account) or in portfolio of accounts (a group of accounts that can be displayed together).
- Small Business Accounting Features – Simplify managing a small business with Customer and Vendor tracking, Invoicing and Bill Payment, and Tax and Billing Terms.
- QIF & OFX Import – Intuit Quicken QIF files can be imported, and are automatically merged to eliminate duplicate transactions. GnuCash is the first free software application to support the Open Financial Exchange protocol that many banks and financial services are starting to use.
- Transaction Finder – A powerful transaction query dialogue can help you quickly locate a needle in a haystack.
- General Ledger – Multiple accounts can be displayed in one register window at the same time. This can ease the trouble of tracking down typing/entry errors. It also provides a convenient way of viewing a portfolio of many stocks, by showing all transactions in that portfolio.
- Online Stock & Mutual Fund Quotes – Get Stock & Mutual Fund quotes from various web sites, update portfolio automatically. Additional pricing sources are added regularly.
- Check Printing – Checks may be printed in standard formats on common check stocks. A customization GUI allows custom check layouts to be developed.
- Scheduled Transactions – You can now create recurring transactions, including automatic reminders when a transaction is due, the ability to postpone a scheduled transaction without canceling it, and the ability to specify only a limited number of transactions.