GnuCash Review 2024: Everything You Need to Know

Our Verdict

100% forever free, open-source accounting

GnuCash is a great option if you’re on a tight budget but need accounting software that will help you create and send invoices, track your expenses, and plan your budget. The best thing about GnuCash is that it lets you create multiple accounts, which can even be denominated in different currencies, so you can use it to separate personal and business finances.

GnuCash also has excellent reporting capabilities, so you’ll be able to easily track your cash flow and keep a finger on the pulse of your business. You can even leverage the platform’s Accounts Receivable and Accounts Payable functionalities to run payroll for your team.

As a completely free tool, GnuCash is the perfect option for individuals and small businesses, provided you’re willing to invest some time to properly set it up and learn and read the extensive documentation to learn how to fully utilize it.

Pros

  • Open-source and free forever
  • Intuitive and easy to use
  • Covers all the essential accounting functionalities
  • Lets you create custom financial reports
  • Can be used to run payroll for your team

Cons

  • Outdated interface
  • Convoluted setup process
  • Difficult to integrate with third-party apps

GnuCash Plans & Pricing

GnuCash is an open-source application, meaning it’s completely free to use. It’s designed, translated, and maintained by volunteer developers who want to help individuals and small businesses with tight budgets handle their finances more efficiently.

There are no paid add-ons, subscription costs, or any hidden fees associated with the software. All you need to do is download it and create your free account. The app is available on Windows 8, 10, and 11, macOS 10.13 or higher, and Linux. There’s also a mobile app for both iOS and Android, though you will have to download it from GitHub and manually install it.

GnuCash Overview

Starting price Free forever
Best for SMBs looking for a free accounting software solution
Customer support Mailing lists
App integrations N/A
Security & Compliance Locally installed, so the security is dependent on the security of your system
Payroll
Reporting & analytics Customizable reports
Mobile app
Double entry
E-signatures
Auto-alerts and reminders

Features

GnuCash is surprisingly feature-rich for a completely free app. It covers all the accounting essentials and even offers several advanced features that can help with invoicing, vendor management, and even payroll.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the platform’s key features and functionalities:

General Accounting

A screenshot of GnuCash's accounting features

GnuCash lets you create and send invoices to your clients, handle your bill payments, manage your vendors and customers, and even manage your business budget and plan your financial strategy.

You can also utilize the Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable functionalities of the platform to handle payroll for your employees.

Additionally, you can create multiple accounts and have them denominated in different currencies, which can be extremely useful if you’re working with overseas clients, business partners, or suppliers.

Checkbook-Style Register

A screenshot of GnuCash's checking features

The register provides you with a customizable interface for entering financial statements, providing you with an overview of your business finances. The UI is similar to Microsoft Excel, so it’s super intuitive.

You can color-code different rows and columns, enter split transactions, mark individual transactions as cleared or reconciled and even display multiple accounts in a single register window.

The register also provides you with a summary bar that displays all relevant account balance information, making it easier to monitor your cash flow.

Scheduled Transactions

A screenshot of GnuCash's scheduled transactions feature

GnuCash even lets you schedule transactions with the ability to fully customize the amounts and timelines of each. The app also features automated reminders based on due dates and can display the details of each upcoming transaction.

You’ll also have the ability to postpone scheduled transactions without having to modify the due dates or cancel them.

Statement Reconciliation

A screenshot of GnuCash's reconciliation statement

The account reconciliation functionality allows you to quickly compare the transactions entered in GnuCash against your bank statements. This helps you identify and correct any data entry errors, lets you spot any untracked transactions, and ensures complete data accuracy.

You’ll also be able to see every invoice, receipt, and expense, so you’ll be able to track every single dollar coming in and out of your business.

Another thing worth noting is that GnuCash can help you separately track personal and business finances, which is a huge plus for solo entrepreneurs and microbusinesses who don’t have separate business bank accounts yet.

Reporting

A screenshot of GnuCash's reporting feature

When it comes to reporting, GnuCash features an integrated module that displays graphs, pie charts, bar charts, and scatter plots of all your financial data. The graphs are color-coded, feature all the crucial information, and can contain data from multiple accounts.

The app itself also comes with a suite of customizable reports, including balance sheets, profit & loss reports, portfolio valuations, and a variety of other reports.

Integrations

GnuCash doesn’t support any native integrations with third-party apps and programs. That said, the community has created a rest API, which allows other apps to extract financial data from GnuCash.

This does require a certain level of technical knowledge to execute, but it’s good that the option is there. Once you set up the integration, you won’t have to worry about duplicate data entry, data discrepancies, or human error.

GnuCash Customer Reviews

The user reviews of GnuCash on popular review sites are overall positive.

Unsurprisingly, the most highlighted benefit of GnuCash is that it’s open-source and free to use. Users also love the platform’s ease of use, the fact that there’s a large community of helpful users and that the platform offers both personal and small business functionalities.

A customer's review of GnuCash

The biggest drawbacks of GnuCash include the complex initial setup, lack of official custom support, and the very outdated UI (User Interface).

GnuCash vs Top Competitors

Accounting Software GnuCash QuickBooks Bonsai FreeAgent
Best for SMBs looking for a free accounting software solution SMBs that want to automate invoicing, payroll, tax filing, and time tracking Financial, project, and client management SMBs that want to track all billable hours and monitor project profitability
Starting Price Free forever From $18/month From $21/month $12/month for the first 6 months
Free Trial Free forever 30-day free trial 7-day free trial 30-day free trial
Payroll UK-based businesses only
Reporting Customizable financial reports Customizable professional reports Basic financial reporting Standard financial reports
Mobile App

GnuCash vs QuickBooks

As a free tool, GnuCash provides all the essential functionalities you need to handle personal finances or the finances of your small business. Its UI is a bit outdated, and you have to read the documentation and play around with the tool a bit before you learn how to fully utilize everything it has to offer.

QuickBooks is a lot more visually appealing and considerably more intuitive. It also offers a ton of advanced features mid-sized businesses and larger companies can benefit from, such as employee time tracking, inventory management, and tax filing.

Put simply, if you have the budget for it, QuickBooks is a better option, but GnuCash can also get the job done if you’re explicitly looking for a free accounting solution.

Learn more in our in-depth QuickBooks review.

GnuCash vs Bonsai

GnuCash and Bonsai are worlds apart. While GnuCash is a simple, free-to-use platform that can help you with basic accounting, invoicing, and expense tracking, Bonsai is a feature-rich tool that adds advanced project and client management into the mix.

As such, Bonsai is better suited for larger businesses that want to automate their workflows, organize their project, track billable hours, and facilitate team and client communication. It’s also a hefty investment, though the value you get for your money with Bonsai is excellent.

Find out more in our Bonsai review.

GnuCash vs FreeAgent

FreeAgent is a great option for SMBs that need a bit more functionality than what a free app like GnuCash can offer.

Aside from invoicing, expense tracking, and financial reporting, FreeAgent also offers project management, time tracking, and sales tax reports. The main issue with this platform is that it has a single pricing plan, so it’s only cost-effective if you plan on using all of its features and functionalities.

Verdict — Is GnuCash Worth It?

GnuCash is absolutely worth it for solo entrepreneurs, freelancers, and smaller businesses with tight budgets. While you will need to invest some time to read through the documentation and learn how to properly set up and customize GnuCash to fit your needs, the fact that it’s free forever makes it a no-brainer.

For a free tool, GnuCash offers quite a lot. You get double-entry accounting, a checkbook-style register, multiple accounts in different currencies, statement reconciliation, customizable financial reports, and even budget planning and payroll functionalities.

The one major drawback of GnuCash is the fact that it’s extremely difficult to integrate with other apps and tools, but the option is there if you’re willing to go through the trouble of setting up a rest API.

Overall, we strongly recommend GnuCash to anyone who’s looking for a free forever accounting solution.

How We Test Accounting Software

Here are the main factors we focus on when testing and comparing the best accounting software solutions on the market:

  • Features — The core accounting and invoicing features, as well as advanced functionalities like time tracking, project management, and tax filing.
  • Pricing — All the available pricing plans, discounts, free trials, and free plans.
  • Ease of use — The platform’s UI and navigation, as well as the level of technical knowledge and experience necessary to fully utilize it.
  • Integrations — All the available integrations with third-party tools and apps, plus the availability of the API (Application Programming Interface).
  • Automation — The available automations, real-time notifications, and alerts.
  • Third-Party Reviews — The overall user feedback provided on reputable third-party review sites.

How To Choose the Best Accounting Software

There are dozens of excellent accounting tools on the market, so you need to know exactly what you’re looking for in order to make the right choice. Here are the aspects you should focus on when deciding whether a tool like GnuCash is the perfect fit for your business:

  • Features — Consider what features and functionalities you need and what different tools are offering for the price. GnuCash is the most robust out of all free accounting solutions on the market, but if it lacks some of the key features you need, it might be worth looking into paid options.
  • Scalability — As you grow and expand your business, you’ll likely need to add more users to your account or upgrade to a more feature-rich accounting tool. While this doesn’t apply to GnuCash since it’s a free tool, other tools with free plans might be a better option since you can upgrade to their premium versions down the road and get access to more advanced features and functionalities.
  • Ease of use — With free tools and free plans/free trials of premium tools, you’ll have the opportunity to test them out in practice and see how easy or difficult they are to use. We recommend opting for an easy-to-use tool since the idea is to streamline your accounting, not spend weeks or months attending workshops and watching tutorials until you learn the ins and outs of the platform.
  • Integrations — It’s always a good idea to integrate your accounting software with the other tools you’re using. Ideally, you should opt for one that natively integrates with your software stack, but you can always also create custom integration using the platform’s API.
  • Customer support — You’ll likely encounter an occasional bug/issue with the software or will have questions regarding some of its functionalities. That’s why it’s important to have several ways of contacting customer support. Additionally, pay attention to the quality of the customer support, as reported by the tool’s users.

FAQs

How much does GnuCash cost?

Why use GnuCash?

What is GnuCash modern alternative?

Is GnuCash secure?

Is GnuCash good for personal finance?

Aleksandar Stevanovic

Aleksandar Stevanovic spent 10 years honing his craft as a freelance content writer. He has a degree in Economics, and extensive experience in software, crypto, and cybersecurity industries. He covers a multitude of topics, writing factual and informative articles, helping individuals better understand the intricacies of the online world. Over the last two years, his research focus shifted more towards tech and software content, as evidenced by his publications on CEX.IO, Business2Community, and Techopedia. He believes in simplifying complex topics and bringing them closer to like-minded individuals. His work is as detail-oriented as it is creative, and is designed to…