GnuCash Review 2023: Features, Pros & Cons of This Free Tool

Last Updated:Tuesday, November 14, 2023

GnuCash small business is free and open-source accounting software. In our GnuCash review, we dive deep and explore all the features, advantages, and disadvantages of this software product for business owners.

Gnu was initially released in March 1998 as a cross-platform application that runs on Windows, mac OS, and Linux. GnuCash is available in two versions: a standard version and a portable version. The portable version can be run from a USB drive without installing it on the host computer.


GnuCash review 2023: Is GnuCash any good?

For all those who don’t have the time to read our GnuCash review until the end - let’s answer the most important question right away. GnuCash is very effective accounting software that tackles all of the financing and bookkeeping needs for a small business free of charge. 

Gnu is an excellent choice for start-ups, small businesses, and freelancers who don’t mind manual data entry since the software uses a double-entry accounting method. The software can be used completely free of charge thanks to open-source development (the code of the software is available for anyone to develop or edit). 

GnuCash was created in 1997 as an alternative to Quicken, although more recent versions of the program now come with useful business features. Now, GnuCash is accounting software that allows you to set up and manage transactions such as invoicing, payments, customer and vendor management, and even budgeting. And you get to do all of that free of charge!

With its 21-language support and strong multi-currency capabilities, GnuCash is also a fantastic choice for startups and small businesses that do business internationally. Also, Gnu has an extensive selection of reporting tools, which every small business owner will find extremely helpful.

However, one thing that you may be wondering by this point is whether this accounting system can be used for growing businesses. The answer is both yes and no. 

GnuCash is an excellent accounting software in terms of its functionality and ease of use. But, it has one flaw - it is a single-user system. This means that you won’t be able to add any additional users to the system, which may be troublesome for larger businesses.

With all this said, GnuCash belongs to our list of best accounting software you can get free of charge.


GnuCash overview: what is GnuCash & what is GnuCash used for?

GnuCash is free accounting software that uses a double-entry bookkeeping system. This means that every transaction is recorded in at least two places - one account must be debited and another credited. The advantage of this system is that it helps to prevent errors and makes it easier to spot potential problems.

GnuCash is suitable for both personal and small business accounting. It can be used to track your income and expenses and keep track of your bank accounts, credit cards, stocks, and investments. 

As quick and intuitive to use as a checkbook register, it is based on professional accounting principles to ensure balanced books and accurate reports. GnuCash also supports online banking and can connect to a number of financial institutions.

The program lets users import their bank account information, so they don't have to enter their information manually. The software can also be used to track bank accounts, stocks, income, and expenses.

Getting started with GnuCash is very easy. All you have to do is visit the official website ( and download the application. As already mentioned, you can install GnuCash on practically every operating system, including Microsoft Windows, macOS, Linux, Fee BSD, and Solaris. 

GnuCash mobile app is also available for Android and iOS users. The app allows users to record transactions anywhere and later manually import them into the desktop version.

Once you download the software, you need to proceed with the installation, which is painless and takes only a few minutes. Then, you need to create a new set of accounts or import QIF files if you used Quicken previously. Whatever the case is, the setup assistant will guide you through every step of the process.

The Gnu app also features a tutorial for new users. Even though it is easy to use GnuCash, the software is not as intuitive as QuickBooks or Xero. 

Now that we covered the basics let’s proceed to the next section of our GnuCash review that focuses on the main features of this software.


GnuCash Features List

GnuCash is accounting software that offers a wide range of features for both personal and small business accounting.

The main features of GnuCash are:

  • Double-Entry Accounting

  • Checkbook-Style Register

  • Scheduled Transactions

  • Reports and Graphs

  • Statement Reconciliation

  • Small Business Accounting Features

  • Excellent Performance

  • Ease of Use

1. Double-Entry Accounting

Every transaction must debit one account in the same amount that it credits the others. The difference between revenue and expenses exactly equals the total of assets and liabilities, ensuring that the accounts balance.

2. Checkbook-Style Register

GnuCash's checkbook-style register allows you to track your financial transactions just like a paper checkbook. You can use it to keep track of your bank accounts, credit cards, stocks, mutual funds, and other assets.

The register accepts standard credit card and checking transactions in addition to income, stock, and currency exchanges. 

Additional features are also included:

  • Entering split transactions is possible,

  • A transaction can be marked as cleared or reconciled,

  • Autofill of entered transactions,

  • Multiple accounts can be seen in a single register window,

  • A summary bar that displays balance information for the relevant account,

  • Numerous options to customize the appearance and the display style

3. Scheduled Transactions

GnuCash users enter all of their transactions in a register that resembles a checkbook. GnuCash requires users to manually balance transactions by entering dollar amounts in the debit and credit columns of the register, as opposed to typical accounting software that enters debits and credits for you in the background.

Additionally, the software offers a tool for comparing entered transactions against bank statements. However, the user interface of this feature isn't as slick as that of cloud-based accounting software such as QuickBooks Online or Xero. These alternatives instead contain online bank feeds that automatically input transactions from user accounts.

Users can also set up recurring transactions with a high degree of the amount and timeframe customization. When a transaction is about to expire, you may also set up an automatic reminder. Users can also postpone planned transactions without canceling or entering them before the due date, thanks to an integrated assistant that starts up with GnuCash.

4. Reports and Graphs

For an easier preview of your data, you can use GnuCash to display your financial data in the form of bar charts, pie charts, and scatter plots.

In addition, you can create a variety of customizable reports such as balance sheets, profit and loss, and portfolio valuations. Users can customize both the appearance and contents of each report type. However, you can only change the reports by choosing specific filters, which is a shame because the product has a great range of reports.

GnuCash has a wide range of management reports and financial statements that can be used for reporting. When choosing a report category, the different report options for that category will be shown. GnuCash has more than just financial statements. It also has reports for customers, vendors, and employees. You can also print or export reports in GnuCash to HTML.

Last but not least, GnuCash lets you manage depreciation and comes with some payroll capability, but if you have a lot of employees to pay, you might be better off using a third-party payroll program like Gusto or Paychex that files payroll forms and pays the right taxes. GnuCash does not have an option to track time right now.

5. Statement Reconciliation

GnuCash offers a feature called Statement Reconciliation, which lets you reconcile your GnuCash account against your bank statements. 

In other words, account reconciliation lets the user look at a bank statement and compare it to the transactions in an account. This is a great way to find unrecorded transactions or mistakes in data entry and make sure your books match the bank.

The reconciliation process is simple: you just need to enter the ending balance and date from your bank statement and then mark each transaction that appears on the statement as cleared. Once all of the transactions are marked as cleared, your GnuCash account will be in sync with your bank statement.

If any discrepancies are found, you can either adjust the balance in GnuCash or leave it as-is and make a note of the discrepancy. The GnuCash reconcile tool makes it easy to match up balances on bank statements with reconciled and cleared balances that are shown in real-time.

Overall, Statement Reconciliation is a great feature that can save you a lot of time and effort when it comes to keeping your GnuCash accounts accurate.

6. Small Business Accounting Features

In addition to the features mentioned above, GnuCash also offers a number of small business accounting features.

With the help of this free accounting software, you can simplify managing your business thanks to features such as Customer and Vendor tracking, Jobs, Invoicing and Bill Payment, and Tax and Billing Terms.

As already mentioned, GnuCash provides limited payroll support. Using A/Receivable and A/Payable accounts, you can even manage payrolls for your employees.

Last but not least, you can also use a dedicated Gnu tool to manage your business' budget and easily plan your financial strategy.

Overall, GnuCash is a great tool for small businesses and individuals who want to keep track of their finances. The software is easy to use and has a wide range of features. However, if you're looking for something more powerful, you might want to consider another free alternative, such as Wave Accounting.

7. Excellent Performance

This software can only be downloaded, so it doesn't work in the cloud. However, that is not a drawback at all since Gnu works great once it's installed.

Because GnuCash is open source software, each new version has even more features than the last. However, the layout is very simple, so you never feel like it's getting clogged up and slowing down.

In fact, even if you put a lot of financial information into the system, it works very well. You don't have to worry about losing a year's worth of accounts or anything else that would cause damage to your business.

All of these features make GnuCash one of the best open source accounting software currently available.

8. Ease of Use

GnuCash is not exactly what you'd expect from software that's free to use, but in a good way! That means that it has a lot of features and functions, and they’re quite simple to use. To get started, you must first download the software, which is easy, and then install it on the platform of your choice.

Setting up GnuCash might seem like it is going to be slightly problematic. However, the assistant that helps you get started and Quicken users can also import QIF files, which is a handy feature.

For a super fast and easy start, you can choose the default business hierarchy. It will set up a framework for you and your business that can be changed later on to fit your needs.


GnuCash pros and cons

Here are the advantages and disadvantages of GnuCash:

GnuCash advantages

  • Free to use

  • Comprehensive accounting and bookkeeping features

  • Available for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS

  • Easy to use

  • Offers helpful data visualization of your budget with graphs and reports

  • Available in multiple languages and tracks multiple currencies

The greatest advantage of the GnuCash accounting system is that it is entirely free for use.  That is not common for software systems that offer such comprehensive features.

Another great thing about this system is its availability. You can use it on Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS devices. So, it doesn’t matter what type of device you have; there is a GnuCash version for you.

When it comes to features, this system offers a lot. It can be used for bookkeeping, managing invoices, tracking expenses, and even preparing tax returns. In other words, it covers all the necessary accounting bases.

Despite its outdated interface, GnuCash is actually quite easy to use.  The interface is intuitive and straightforward, so you shouldn’t have any trouble understanding how it works.  Plus, there is a helpful assistant that guides you through the setup process. 

One of the best things about GnuCash is that it offers helpful data visualization. It can generate graphs and reports that give you a clear overview of your budget and spending patterns. This makes it easier to track your progress and spot any potential problems.

Another great thing about GnuCash is that it is available in multiple languages. So, no matter where you are in the world, you can use this software in your native language. Plus, it can track multiple currencies, which is handy if you do business internationally.

GnuCash disadvantages

  • Looks a bit outdated

  • Limited support

  • Not cloud-based

  • There is no automation

Although GnuCash has a lot of great features, it does have some drawbacks. One of the biggest drawbacks is that it looks a bit outdated. The interface is not as sleek and modern as some of the other accounting software options on the market.

Another downside of using GnuCash is that it has limited support. If you run into any issues while using the software, you may have trouble finding answers. The best way to get support is through the website, where you can find extensive documentation, tutorials, guides, and a comprehensive Wiki page.

Another drawback of GnuCash is that it is not cloud-based. This means that you can only access your account information and data on the device where you installed the software. If you want to be able to access your account from anywhere, you will need to use a different accounting software option.

Finally, GnuCash does not offer any automation.  This means that you will need to enter all of your transactions and data manually.  If you are looking for an accounting software option that offers more automation, you may want to consider a different option.


GnuCash complaints & praise (from real GnuCash user reviews)

Everything we’ve said so far about this accounting software may seem too good to be true. After all, we’re all used to paying for software that comes with features as good as these. So, here are some real user reviews of GnuCash that will confirm this software product is as good as we described it.

Most Gnu user reviews found on the web and social media are positive. Users love the fact that this accounting software is free. Many described it as the best open-source accounting software for managing transactions and monitoring fiscal health in the short and long term.

What most users find convenient is how easy it is to get started with the software. The installation is straightforward, and using Gnu is quite simple. Even if you get stuck at some point, you will find all the necessary tutorials on the official website. The tool proved to be very useful for managing personal finances and also the cash flow of small businesses.

When it comes to negative GnuCash reviews, there were not too many. Negative user reviews revolved mostly around the cons that we also pointed out. Some users stated that the platform could benefit from a more appealing interface.

Others pointed out that sharing data on multiple devices is cumbersome since the software product is not cloud-based. Last but not least, one user pointed out that they tried to integrate the Gnu app with other systems, and it turned out to be very complex.

If you're looking for a good GnuGash alternative, check our QuickBooks vs GnuCash comparison, as QuickBooks is one of the biggest competitors of this software.

Review of support

There are many ways to get help and support with GnuCash. However, there is no formal support option such as phone calls or live chat.

When starting out, users can consult a full online help manual that shows them all of the software’s different sides. This is especially helpful when you're setting up the program for the first time. 

In addition to the manual, there is also the Tutorials and Concepts Guide. This is a condensed version of the more detailed Help manual. It has an overview of the product as well as sections on how to manage both personal and business finances.

Last but not least, users can also find plenty of information on the GnuCash Wiki and the FAQs page. 


Is GnuCash worth it? Our key takeaways

So, is GnuCash worth it? Well, since there is no monetary investment required to use this software, you may only be left wondering if Gnu is worth your time. And, our answer is definitely yes!

There is no doubt that GnuCash is a powerful accounting tool. It has all the features that users need to manage their personal and business finances.

The software is free to use, which makes it a great option for those on a tight budget.

Even though Gnu does have some drawbacks, such as the lack of support and automation, the software is still a great option for those looking for good accounting software to manage their small business. But, if these drawbacks are something that you can’t overlook, make sure to check out GnuCash alternatives.

Our final GnuCash rating



GnuCash FAQs

Is GnuCash really free?

Yes, GnuCash is a free and open-source accounting software that can be downloaded and used without any cost. There are no hidden costs or premium features you have to pay for. It is licensed under the GNU General Public License, which allows users to access and modify the source code.

Is GnuCash good for personal finance?

GnuCash is a great option for personal finance management, as it provides comprehensive tools for tracking income, expenses, and investments. Its intuitive interface and customizable reports make it an ideal choice for individuals, while small business owners can also use it for invoicing, accounting, and bookkeeping.

Is GnuCash easy to use?

GnuCash features a user-friendly interface that makes it easy for users to manage their finances. The GnuCash website offers extensive documentation and tutorials to help users troubleshoot any issues and learn how to utilize its features. If you’re looking for user-friendly accounting software, this is the right choice for you.

Who owns GnuCash?

Robin Clark developed the first version of GnuCash. Today it is actively developed by the GNU Free Software Project. GnuCash is an open-source project, and it is not owned by any individual or company. It is managed by the GnuCash development team who contribute to the project's development and maintenance.

Is GnuCash safe to use?

Yes, GnuCash is a safe accounting software to use. It is an open-source platform that has been extensively tested by users worldwide, and it doesn't contain any spyware, malware or viruses. In addition, there isn’t a possibility for someone to access your data without your permission.