I have used a number of personal accounting software some of them non-free ones. But none compares with GNUCash when you compare them for ease of use, unbeatable price and extensive features all combined. GNUCash beats all its competition hands down. I have always wondered why most Linux distributions targeted at the desktop do not bundle GNUCash by default. Of course it is simple enough to install it separately using Synaptic or equivalent package management tool. But then if any package is to be included in a Linux distribution targeted at the lay person, I would say it should be a personal accounting software as most people will find it a useful tool to manage their finances. And at present GNUCash has left its nearest competitor far behind.
The good news is that now the Windows users can also feel happy because the stable version of GNUCash ver 2.2.0 has been released for Windows too apart for other OSes such as Linux, BSDs, Solaris and MacOSX.
A couple of months back, I had used GNUCash ver 2.2.0 in Windows when it was still in the testing stage. And even at that time, this marvelous piece of software hadn't crashed even a single time. And I suppose in the stable version it has become even more robust.
Some of the features of GNUCash 2.2.0 are as follows :
- Supports Double Entry Accounting - this means it can be used to manage the accounts of even small to medium businesses.
- Excellent support for generation of various reports of your financial status.
- You can view your expenses and incomes as pie charts.
- Supports currencies of most countries
- Support for Online banking
- Cheque printing
- Automatically save the data file
- Statement reconciliation
- Choose from 21 different languages to display menus and dialog boxes and much more.
Here is a tip to efficiently use GNUCash. You can save the data file (which contains the financial data) in a removable media such as a USB Pen drive. And then install GNUCash in all the OSes that you have installed on your machine. So when ever you want to enter a record of the day's expenses, just plug in the USB pen drive and open GNUCash in which ever OS you seems to be using at that time. GNUCash will open the last used data file automatically.
If you are a Windows user (I wonder why ;-)), you can download the GNUCash 2.2.0 binary and give it a try. I assure you, it won't be a disappointing experience. And if you wonder why you are better off using a personal accounting software, then let me tell you, it is the best thing you would be doing to yourself because it gives you a snapshot of your net worth after the checks and balances. It shows you your spending patterns over a period of days, weeks, months and years. And using a personal accounting software you will be able to analyze your income and expenses and help you plug unnecessary expenses. On a personal note, after starting to use GNUCash, I came to realize that I was spending a good amount eating out and I made a conscious effort to curtail my gourmet craves.