There is a Q&A section at the bottom for frequently asked questions, particularly for those who are unfamiliar with GnuCash.
This guide will help you decide which is the best personal financial software for your needs. If you are not familiar with GnuCash – it is an open source account software that works on multiple platforms. It’s packed full of features and rivals some of the best paid for software out there. We’ve been using it for our business for about 2 years now and are not going back to paid versions.
First, let’s take a look at the features compared to Quicken.
Feature Comparison Table
|Operating System||Mac OSX, Windows, Linux||Mac OSX, Windows|
|Local File Security||Not built in. GnuCash recommends using encrypted files and folders.||256 bit password protected|
|Create budgets on previous data||Yes||No - Must buy Deluxe or Premier version|
|File||Auto backup version with each save||Backups created through menu command|
|Suitable for business||Yes||No|
|App||Android app but it only exports data to desktop||Yes|
|Graphs and charts||Yes||Yes|
|Export to Excel||Yes - through HTML||Yes - Direct|
|Online Bill Pay||No||No|
As you can see from the table, GnuCash can do almost everything even the most popular money management software can do. All of this and it’s totally free. What’s also cool about this is that it handles business accounting needs that Quicken is unable to do.
Here are some frequently asked questions about GnuCash.
A double entry accounting system is similar to the category reporting of other financial programs. The difference is that a double entry system provides the same level of reporting but it is more flexible and can track both personal and business transactions.
GnuCash can download individual bank and credit card accounts directly into the registers. However, it cannot do so directly with investment accounts.
Investment account data is imported from OFX files.
Get support through the GnuCash wiki or online support forums. One on One support is not available.
It is not difficult to install GnuCash. There are package installers on the download page that will setup the software for you. You don’t have to have advanced technical knowledge to install the software.
Quicken will sync data between desktop and mobile application. GnuCash does have an Android version, but it will not automatically sync the data.
The mobile app has the ability to export data to the desktop. The mobile app is a helper for the desktop version.
One of the biggest changes between the two is that GnuCash displays the information differently than Quicken. GnuCash’s double entry accounting method shows familiar Quicken categories as their own account.
This could be confusing in the beginning so there is some adjustment required.
Money flows between accounts in GnuCash so you have to picture that as transfers.
GnuCash is capable of importing Quicken data, but you need to format your accounts correctly so that it will work. It’s best to test first before switching.
You should encrypt all financial data with a password.
On a Mac, this is easy. You can either encrypt the entire drive automatically, or you can create encrypted and password protected disk images to store the GnuCash data.
Both programs can be configured to protect your data. GnuCash requires an extra step.
In order to export to Excel, first export the report in HTML.
Next, use Excel’s HTML import feature from File-Import, then select the HTML option.
Give GnuCash A Try
Still not convinced? Go ahead and give it a try yourself. Since it’s free you can’t lose anything except your time. I’d call that a deal any day. If you’d rather stick with Quicken, here is where you can download it.
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