GnuCash, for Personal and Business Finance, Out in New Version

by Ostatic Staff - Dec. 18, 2008

These days, we're all watching our funds closely, and if you want a little help from the world of open source, GnuCash is out in a brand new version 2.2.8. This is one of the long-standing FOSS finance management applications, as useful for individuals as it is for small businesses who want to use it for accounting tasks and the like. Like QuickBooks and other proprietary products, it includes a checkbook-style register, follows generally accepted accounting principles, and produces particularly detailed reports. Here's what you'll find under the hood.

You can do double-entry accounting in GNUcash, with all the bells-and-whistles needed for a small business, and very professional reports. Among report types for businesses, you can produce statements of cash flows, income statements, balance sheets and more. You'll also find a lot of pre-built financial documents that are useful, such as good-looking invoices. GnuCash will track tax liabilities, and can even help track the age of receivables for depreciation purposes. You can also track accounts based on different currencies.

For individuals, the checkbook-style register in the program is a main area of interest, but GnuCash also tracks mutual fund, stock and other types of investment portfolios. You can do online banking, automate your scheduled transactions, and use pre-built reporting options to see graphically how your money is flowing each month.

The new version of the application adds templates for the many languages that GnuCash comes in, fixes some small bugs in transaction management, and adds some billing functionality.

GnuCash is very handy to have around for tracking personal finances, which is what I've used it for, but don't underestimate it for small business use as well.  In QuickBooks and Quicken, you get slightly more granular integration with banking services and the like, but for many individuals and businesses this free application will do the job. (GnuCash imports QIF--Quicken Interchange Format--files, as we discussed here.) You can download it for Linux, FreeBSD, Solaris, Mac OS X and Windows.  Note that GnuCash also comes in a portable version, so you can track your spending while on the go, and transfer your data to your main GnuCash installation.