GnuCash Vs. QuickBooks

Compare GnuCash vs. QuickBooks. See pros and cons of GnuCash vs. QuickBooks and easily decide which accounting software is right for you.

Welcome to another one of our ‘accounting program vs. accounting program’ articles. This time we are going to compare the reigning champ, QuickBooks, with a rival that’s been often referred to as the “QuickBooks” killer. Yup, we are talking about GnuCash.

So, is GnuCash really a QuickBooks killer? Well, that’s what we are going to find out in GnuCash vs. QuickBooks. But, we’re going to follow a very different format this time. We’re going to talk about what really sets apart (or could set apart) GnuCash before diving into the verdict part.

So, let’s begin GnuCash vs. QuickBooks.

GnuCash Vs. QuickBooks Accounting Software Comparison


Ask any QuickBooks user and they’ll tell you that it’s a great program, but they’ll also tell you that there are days when the program makes them want to break stuff. Yes, the reigning champ does have a few flaws, which shouldn’t be surprising because no software is perfect.

QuickBooks can be very sensitive when it comes to the slightest network trouble. It is also known for being stubborn when it comes to switching from single to multi-user mode after a backup. Plus, there is always the “it’s too expensive” issue.

So, it’s natural for some QuickBooks users to seek out alternatives and more often than not, the list contains a few known names. GnuCash is one of those names. Ask any person looking to move on from QuickBooks to show their list of alternative options and you’ll find GnuCash mentioned there for sure.

Now, GnuCash isn’t perfect either. It does have several drawbacks. For starters, you have no multi-user mode, no server capabilities, and no user-friendly GUI. All these drawbacks would surely make it one of the least-favored programs in the market.

However, it is good at what it is supposed to do, which is accounting. It serves the needs of both, the individual and the business. However, there is one key area that could just allow GnuCash to rise to the position of a true QuickBooks killer. GnuCash is an open source program and that means any developer out there could fine tune it to become a QuickBooks Killer.

Here are some of the things a developer would need to incorporate in order to improve GnuCash:

I) Add multi-user capability. Now, GnuCash does offer support for multiple users. However, each user needs to have a separate data file. Also, multiple users are limited to opening only one data file at the same time. They cannot open it concurrently. So, technically speaking, it’s not completely supportive of multiple users.

In other words, you can only execute one single task at a time with GnuCash. However, with the right team of developers, this challenge can be overcome. There are plenty of talented developers out there that just have to take an interest in the program.

II) Include backend server capabilities. Currently, the closest to this capability is the user’s ability to integrate with Samba and share a data file. But, even that’s not perfect. Samba is known for its file-locking problems, which, of course, leads to inconsistencies.

This is a risk you cannot afford to take when it comes to financial information. Also, backend server capabilities depend on including multi-user capabilities. However, since we don’t even have that in the first place, such capabilities are impossible.

III) Improved interface. QuickBooks remains untouchable in the interface and usability side of things. It’s the king of accounting programs for a reason. The interface is so seamless that you just have to click a single button to open the feature you want. No complicated menus to deal with. You just get to the point without wasting time. Now, GnuCash isn’t terrible in the interface area, but it has a long way to go if it wants to catch up with QuickBooks.

IV) Integration with tax software: GnuCash offers zilch in the area of tax software integration. You can’t even enter numbers from GnuCash to a tax program and carry out simple calculations. Now, allowing integrations with tax software can be complicated considering that regulations change every year. Plus, transparency on the government’s part is a roadblock. So, until all of this changes, even developers can’t do much. Otherwise, you could very well have a robust accounting program that allows you to import an open format file and work on it.

These are the only features that GnuCash would need to take down QuickBooks and replace it as the reigning champ. Developers just need to put in some thought into it and manage the project more effectively. But, that dream remains a dream for now.


So, until then, QuickBooks wins the GnuCash vs. QuickBooks battle.

But in case you’re wondering why, let us remind you.

-QuickBooks can be deployed on mobile and also through the cloud. In other words, it can be accessed from anywhere and any location, as long you have an Internet connection. GnuCash, on the other hand, can only be deployed on-premise and on mobile. Needless to say, you don’t have the kind of accessibility that’s standard on QuickBooks.

-QuickBooks can provide user licenses for as many as 499 users, while GnuCash is limited to just 99 users.

-Other than all of the above-mentioned features, QuickBooks offers best-in-class report generation, privacy settings, integrated payroll generation, cloud data storage, local data storage, customizable dashboards, inventory tracking, weekly time sheets, and billable entries.

So, as you can see, QuickBooks cannot be replaced by GnuCash. In fact, we would say there’s no comparison. QuickBooks is just way too advanced. The only advantage that GnuCash has over QuickBooks is that it’s an open source, free program. So, if you’re a small business that’s looking for free alternatives to QuickBooks, GnuCash would be a great option.

However, if you are looking for something that’s effective and aren’t concerned about expense, QuickBooks is the solution to go for.

Of course, we aren’t completely putting down GnuCash. In fact, it’s not even fair to compare a free, open-source program with something that’s purpose oriented and well-funded. End of the day, a GnuCash vs. QuickBooks battle is simply not fair.

However, GnuCash does have a few tricks up its sleeve, such as customizable recurring transactions save time, multiple currencies, and double-entry system for debit/credit reconciliation. So, in conclusion, it’s definitely a workable option.

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