Open Source Accounting

By Blane Warrene
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I have been going through a shift in my own business and looking to grow beyond Quicken as my accounting tool. As most know – Quicken is an invaluable package for home and home office accounting – however if a small business grows Intuit would prefer the natural evolution to migrate toward Quick Books.

Initially starting out using a manual system for invoices and growing into Quicken, I needed to go to the next level. However I did not want to use a web-based app as I would likely sync details to my iBook and take details on the road and work on planes and in airports (yes I know about WiFi!). In addition, as many already know from reading Open Sourcery, I would be loading the system on my Macs running OS X.

As a bit of due diligence I begain exploring what else was available for a growing small business that has custom needs but remains largely virtual. I was pleased to ultimately select GnuCash. As of release 1.8, and perhaps earlier as it has been a long time since I revisited the program, now supports OS X (by way of Fink) as well as a PostgreSQL back end.

GnuCash supports the invoicing and account management functions I seek to implement as well as obviously enabling me to continue supporting open source through other avenues.

Perhaps this is also a project I can contribute to (practicing what I preach), writing documentation or some other function (as I do not write in C!).

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  • aneitlich


    I’ve stuck with Quickbooks primarily because all I need to do is send my .qbf file to my accountant and he can create the required tax form. Do you happen to know if GnuCash is something most accountants can integrate easily into their existing tax software (e.g. Peachtree and others)?

  • Seems its not available for windows and there doesnt seem to be any mention of it ever being made for windows or am i missing something?

  • potsed

    there is also turbocash available under GNU license… (only for win i think..)

  • warcom

    I’m in the same situation as you actually Blane.

    We’ve Outgrown MYOB and it’s time to upgrade into a multi-user system. Whilst I did have a look at GnuCash I think I’ll end up going with Capital Office (it works great for the industry I’m in and doesn’t seem overly pricey.

    It would be great to one day see open source applications take on the likes of myob and quicken but they’ll obviously need some decent financial backing!

    Paul Warren

  • aneitlich :

    GnuCash has excellent QIF import – however – they are still perfecting the export process other than XML. Fortunately some programs can handle this from a CPA perspective and other cannot. This is probably the one weakness.

    I am concerned with this as well as I obviously have someone other than me doing my taxes (or else I am sure I would be in tax jail!).

    I am keeping my eye on this. Interoperability is something open source has improved upon but still needs prodding and in some cases simply more funding to pursue development.

  • JZA

    Please check Facturalux

  • JZA

    Please check Facturalux

  • JZA

    Please check Facturalux

  • JZA

    Sorry this wasn’t meant to be a spam/ham, just a slow connection make me click 3 times. :(

    Away from Facturalux, you could see others accounting software like KMyMoney for KDE and MoneyDance for Linux Windows and OSX

  • There’s an interesting review of linux based small business accounting packages from Linux Planet comparing Quasar, GnuCash and MoneyDance.
    Worth a read.

  • would I be able to use turbocash in Canada?

  • Not sure about Canada, but TurboCash also has a site for USA:

  • Hmmmph…

    I gave TurboCash a quick try and I don’t like it. Validation messages with (the important) half of the text covered up by the OK button, seemed like it runs a lot slower than it needs to, not a particularly well organized interface, and it’s kind of ugly too.
    I could live with some of these problems, (it wouldn’t be the only ugly app I use) but all of them together make it seem like it would end up being a pain to use.

  • yeksoon

    take a look at Luca. ( )

    I don’t think it is open sourced. However it is designed for the Mac in mind.

    It is released under Donation-ware.

  • Moni

    potsed Says:
    July 12th, 2005 at 5:15 pm
    “there is also turbocash available under GNU license… (only for win i think..)”

    This TurboCash program just killed my nerves… It’s such a stupid program and now it even won’t uninstall:
    “The uninstall log file “C:Program FilesTurboCash3unins000.dat” is in a format not recognized by this version of the uninstaller. Cannot uninstall.”

    Real annoyance!

  • turbocash sucks

    turbocash is really stupid..not user friendly at all..cant uninstall it either..

  • zAShadow

    Yip, another TurboCash sucker here.

    Tried it on Vista, it looks very crappy, and cannot uninstall.

    Had to delete the files manually and delete the registry files manually.


  • zAShadow

    I installed GnuCash on my Windows Vista OS and it works beautifully.