This article was originally published by Jack Walen at Tech Republic.
Editors note: This article is for any of our readers who are keen to seek a viable alternative to Intuit’s QuickBooks accounting program which, unfortunately, only runs on Windows. The beauty of GnuCash is that it runs on Mac OS/X, Windows, Linux and BSD Unix (ie. FreeBSD, TruOS).
Please leave a comment and let us know if you use GnuCash.
Update: January 2018 – GnuCash has vastly improved since Jack published his article. Do check it out!
Jack Wallen has to regularly deal with the shortcomings of Quickbooks. In this open source blog entry he proposes the features that GnuCash needs to become that infamous Quickbooks killer. Is it possible?
I am a certified QuickBooks technician. And, to be perfectly honest, QuickBooks stinks. When it works it’s great…but when it doesn’t work, it’s a NIGHTMARE! It’s terribly sensitive to network hiccups, it isn’t smart enough to switch itself out of single user mode after a scheduled backup, it’s slow, it constantly can not find data files, it’s expensive…the list goes on and on. And I hear these complaints nearly every day. Along with those complaints comes the question: “Do you know of an alternative?” The answer to that question is always, unfortunately, “No.”
I want to be able to tell clients “Why yes, I do know of an alternative that is easy to use, reliable, and open source!” Unfortunately I can not. I want that alternative to be GnuCash, but it isn’t. As good as GnuCash is (and I’ve been using it daily for a long, long time) it can not stand up to what QuickBooks users need. GnuCash has no multi-user mode. GnuCash has no server capabilities. GnuCash does not have a user-friendly GUI that contains one-click buttons to access nearly ever feature it offers.
Nope. As good as GnuCash is, it’s not what the business public wants. It should be, but it’s not. And that’s a shame because GnuCash is one of the few fully cross-platform accounting packages that can handle nearly every accounting need of either an individual user or a business. But it lacks too many key elements to be adopted across the board.
So…I thought I would fill in the blanks so that anyone who has the developer chops could pick up the open source GnuCash and roll up what could easily be a QuickBooks killer. Here’s what GnuCash needs: