GNUCash, anyone used it?

Story: GnuCash 2.6.10 Free Accounting Software Squashes Over 15 Bugs, Adds ImprovementsTotal Replies: 23
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cybertao

Dec 22, 2015
5:58 AM EDT
I messed around with it once, but don't know enough about bookwork to properly use and access it. I've noticed people who use accounting packages become very attached to what they use and it's near impossible to get them using something else. When they do, they are irritated by differences from their usual application (which can extend to newer versions of the same application).
penguinist

Dec 22, 2015
9:17 AM EDT
When I started a small business my accountant suggested I set up with the proprietary QuickBooks package. I quickly learned that QuickBooks was happy to take my precious financial data and then refused to give it back. Its database is closed and it offered no export functionality that would extract it all into a transportable (csv) format. Quickbooks sold add-on packages that offered to give you back small pieces of your data. I didn't like being put into that rat race with my own data.

After one year of the QuickBooks fiasco, we switched over to GNUCash and have not looked back. GNUCash is a very capable double entry ledger system with the big advantage that it is open. It is open both in code and also in data. It supports multiplatform so my accountant installs it on his Windows computer while I run it on Linux. This has worked well for us for the last six or seven years.

It installs as a simple single user configuration, but also can be set up using mysql in a multi-user multi-site configuration to handle the needs of larger businesses.
skelband

Dec 22, 2015
1:47 PM EDT
It's pretty good for home accounting that I use it for. Like a lot of these things, the devil is in the setting up. It took me a few attempts to get the accounts properly organised but then I guess that it is probably that way with all accounts packages.

I know that it continues to improve over the years so it is not a static project. The UI can be a bit fiddly but you get used to it.
jdixon

Dec 22, 2015
2:07 PM EDT
If you need a full accounting package, GNUCash is excellent. If you just want to balance your checkbook it's way too complicated. The other two personal finance options I see mentioned frequently are Kmymoney and Moneydance.
dotmatrix

Jan 01, 2016
12:12 AM EDT
I use GNUCash.

There are a few issues however...

Data at Rest remains unencrypted.

The DB features are quite difficult to work through and need to be enabled at compile time - It's SQL lite -- I haven't figured out how to use my goto DB, psql...

The default config is flat unencrypted text files which is a truly horrific way to store very sensitive financial data.

I personally find the program somewhat opaque as far as what happens when... xyz needs to occur.

And then there is some weirdness to scheduled transactions. Many times I end up with double scheduled transactions for no apparent reason, and the documentation is kinda sh*tty.

But... It's FOSS and your data remain your data. And that's what's important to me.
Ridcully

Jan 01, 2016
1:07 AM EDT
Does GNUCash have the ability to keep track of GST sums and produce Business Activity Statements in the same way that Quicken Cash does ? I use an antique version of Quicken from about 1998 that was designed to run on Win98SE, but since it does EXACTLY what I want, I've never upgraded or altered it, and the Crossover Bottles allow me to save an installed software package of Quicken "ad infinitum". It's simple, easy and I've always found it to be excellent.

Just as a quick throwaway.......have you ever noticed how some of the earlier versions of software are so much simpler, easier to use........and faster ? It's not a hard and fast rule, but in my experience it often does happen that way.
jdixon

Jan 01, 2016
8:47 AM EDT
While I'm not up on Aussie tax forms and requirements, this thread:

http://comments.gmane.org/gmane.comp.gnome.apps.gnucash.user...

seems to discuss the matter.

penguinist

Jan 01, 2016
9:57 AM EDT
dotmatrix wrote:The default config is flat unencrypted text files which is a truly horrific way to store very sensitive financial data.


In regard to encrypting financial data, here is what I do: First, the gnucash files are not the only pieces of financial data that are sensitive, I also have scanned receipts, tax filings, balance sheet reports, emails with accountant, etc, etc. So I've created an encrypted directory using encfs in which all this is stored including all the gnucash files. That system has worked well for me for years and gives gnucash the encryption it needs as well as providing a safe storage for all the thousands of ancillary documents.

In a way this falls in line with the "unix philosophy" of making each program small and making each program do its job well. encfs is a fine encryption tool and gnucash is a fine double entry ledger system.

Maybe this tip will help someone.

hmmm, maybe I should contribute an LXer article describing how to set up "secure gnucash" if anyone is interested in the details.

Ridcully

Jan 01, 2016
9:59 AM EDT
Thanks jdixon, but although there is a discussion, the real "killer" is Quicken's ability to produce a quarterly report each three months with calculated totals coded in such a way that they can be matched to the Australian Taxation Offices's BAS quarterly report form.

All one has to do is take the figures at the coded points in the Quicken output and place them straight into the same coded points on the ATO report form. There's no calculations involved as far as I am concerned - it's all been done for me and I could not do my quarterly reporting without this piece of software. Unless GNUCash can do this as well, on a quarterly summary basis, then Quicken (even this old clunker of a program from the late 1990's) wins on this particular matter.
dotmatrix

Jan 01, 2016
11:45 AM EDT
@penguinist:

>So I've created an encrypted directory using encfs in which all this is stored including all the gnucash files.

Yeah -- that sorta works. However, there are very useful database encryption functions which would be really nice to be able to just use out of the box.

For example:

1. Store an X509 cert or PGP on a smart card.

2. Encrypt column data with smart card public key.

3. Remove smart card... and not even 'root' can unencrypt.

In your encfs scenario, if your machine is compromised all your data are gone too.
penguinist

Jan 01, 2016
11:52 AM EDT
Quoting:In your encfs scenario, if your machine is compromised all your data are gone too.


Actually, the way I have encfs set up root has no access to it, only the designated user. The data is protected by an encfs password and physical access to the machine does not give access to the data. No password = no access.

Just make sure you use a nice strong password and you should be good.
thomas_casey

Apr 01, 2017
1:05 PM EDT
We are running a photography business. We have recruited an AIPB qualified bookkeeper for our accounting services. At first we thought about quickbooks. We need to have Manage and pay bills, Track inventory, full service payroll, Instant sales and profit reports in our bookkeeping output. For these services quickbooks charges more than $100 a month. As we are new in business and we've already spent a lot we want to spend less for software purpose. We are lucky our bookkeeper suggested us to try Zipbooks.

It has a double entry ledger system and a very good interface. The double entry system of bookkeeping is based on the fact that every transaction has two parts, which therefore affects two ledger accounts.
mbaehrlxer

Apr 01, 2017
1:41 PM EDT
edit: these prices are for the bookkeeping service, not for zipbooks itself

not exactly cheap either, starting at $100/month, going to $245, and at that level it still only supports one bank account? even as a freelancer i'd have at least 2-3 accounts. with gnucash i can have track many bank accounts as i want. and of course gnucash supports double entry too.

(this site is a strange place to complain about the cost of quickcash and then suggest a $100 service as cheaper alternative. the more i think about it the more i feel like that comment is just an ad.)

greetings, eMBee.
penguinist

Apr 01, 2017
3:50 PM EDT
GnuCash is also a full double entry accounting system. We switched our businesses over to GnuCash a decade ago and have never looked back. It has handled all our needs but the big plus is that the data belongs to you and not the vendor (are you listening QuickBooks).

mbaehrlxer

Apr 01, 2017
9:33 PM EDT
while we are on the subject, the only downside with gnucash last i checked was lack of multi user support. it seemed difficult to have two people in remote locations work with the same account, and we had to track expenses separately and then merge them somehow by sending gnucash datafiles to each other.

has that improved yet?

greetings, eMBee.
penguinist

Apr 01, 2017
11:24 PM EDT
mbaerlxer: Yes GnuCash does support multiuser. By default it comes up in a single user configuration for simplicity, however you can configure GnuCash to ride on top of a mysql database. That configuration supports record locking and multiuser concurrent access.

The other side benefit of setting up a mysql backend is that you then have all your data in a format that can be queried with custom realtime sql queries. The possibilities of this level of open access and control are endless.
mbaehrlxer

Apr 02, 2017
1:16 AM EDT
hmm, nice, but opening up direct network access to a database is not very healthy, but at least it's a start. maybe someone is working on a webinterface for it too...

greetings, eMBee.
penguinist

Apr 02, 2017
8:25 AM EDT
eMBee: iptables is your friend.

# GnuCash access from office  lan
iptables -A INPUT  -p tcp -s 192.168.55.0/24 --dport 3306   -j ACCEPT 

# GnuCash access from remote office iptables -A INPUT -p tcp -s 1.2.3.4 --dport 3306 -j ACCEPT
mbaehrlxer

Apr 02, 2017
9:33 AM EDT
that assumes a static ip.

a better solution is to use sshuttle with a network address that matches the server network, so that requests for the server network are tunneled through ssh.

greetings, eMBee.
gus3

Apr 02, 2017
6:36 PM EDT
Sounds to me like thomas_casey was hoping to use this thread to drive some Google App ads.
thomas_casey

Apr 12, 2017
1:24 PM EDT
@gus3 - Guilty as charged! My only defense is that it is free and there are very few accounting software options that work well on Linux. Plus we are building it on Elixir so our nerd cred checks out.

April 18th is coming quick and your CPA will be so impressed if you have a nice tidy income statement for your business. :) Here's an income statement template for any tax and accounting DIYers out there. Basically you sign up and put all your transactions in or connect your bank account and then you go to reports and it will run the numbers on any transactions that have been confirmed.
mbaehrlxer

Apr 12, 2017
1:49 PM EDT
ooops, i apologize for complaining about the price, turns out i was looking at the wrong page: https://zipbooks.com/bookkeeping-services/

greetings, eMBee.
jdixon

Apr 12, 2017
2:28 PM EDT
> Guilty as charged!

Does LXer still use text based ads? I haven't seen one in quite a while, but then I run with an adblocker.
thomas_casey

Apr 12, 2017
3:01 PM EDT
@mbaehrlxer You can have more than one bank account connected but our bookkeeper is only going to manually reconcile what's listed in the pricing. There's nothing to stop you from going into ZipBooks and doing the other accounts yourself. Most people have one main business checking account, for example.

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