Five accounting apps for Linux

By   |  October 24, 2008

One of the most often heard complaints from users looking to migrate to Linux is that there are no good accounting applications. To be fair, there is a degree of truth in that concern. At least there was, until now.

There are now a number of good accounting applications available for Linux, no matter whether you’re looking for a personal finance manager for your home budget or something to keep your small business finances in check. So, if you’re in the market for an accounting application that won’t break the bank, grab your bank statements and check out these five apps.

KMYMoney
If it’s a replacement for a personal finance manager such as Microsoft Money that you’re looking for then KMyMoney is worth a look. The KMyMoney interface is easy to use and intuitive, especially if you’re used to other similar applications. Designed for personal finance management, KMyMoney manages things such as your car and home loans, investments, credit cards and the like. It also makes it easy to manage payees and multiple financial institutions you have the fortune (or misfortune) to deal with. KMyMoney is not the right tool, however, if you’re in need of some small business fiscal control as it has a limited set of features intended for personal use.

GnuCash
The grandaddy of Linux and open source accounting applications, there was a point in time when it was impossible to talk about finance apps and Linux without mentioning GnuCash. With the result that most popular Linux distributions include GnuCash in their base install or as an easy post-install option. GnuCash falls into the business category of financial tools. GnuCash includes full double-entry and makes it relatively easy to manage a range of employees, clients and bank accounts. GnuCash is overkill if you’re planning a household budget, however. There are better tools for that. But if you’re running a small business, GnuCash might just be the ticket for you.

TurboCash
TurboCash is an accounting application from South Africa. Until recently, TurboCash was only available for Windows but it already has a well-established local and international user base. Fortunately, TurboCash now works well on Linux using Wine, which has the added advantage of making it easier for existing TurboCash users to switch across from Windows to Linux. TurboCash is open source software and is aimed at the single user up to the small- and medium-sized business. TurboCash is a full featured accounting application that is already available in more than 20 languages, can handle multiple accounts and books, and includes stock control for small businesses. There are good instructions on getting it running under Linux on the wiki and downloads from Sourceforge.

Homebank
As its name suggests, Homebank is a personal finance manager to keep track of your home finances. Homebank runs on most popular platforms, including Linux. Like KMyMoney, Homebank can manage multiple accounts, manage payees and provides simple, easy to read reports on the state of your finances. Homebank is one of the less intimidating finance applications to work with if you’re not an accountant at heart.

Cubit
Cubit is one application you can use for your business, particularly if you’re based in South Africa, where the software is developed. Being from South Africa it has an intimate understanding of the legal requirements for business accounting in the country, but can still be customised for other parts of the world as well. Cubit runs on most platforms because it web-based and can be accessed through a browser. Getting a copy of Cubit requires contacting the company for details on downloading it.

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Comments

17 Responses to “Five accounting apps for Linux”

  1. Steve
    October 25th, 2008 @ 8:44 am

    I use Gnucash for my personal finance – it really is pretty good. However, it seems the interface has become much more unstable in newer versions: I used to use an old version of Mandriva, and it never crashed. With Ubuntu Hardy, I typically have the software crash for no apparent reason about 3-4 times each time I use it (almost always when I click the mouse to change windows or views).

    In general, though, I’m very pleased with it’s feature set, although I’m not sure how to handle varying exchange rates well.

    Thanks for pointing out the other options – do you know if any of the other packages can import Gnucash finance files?

  2. Dietrich
    October 25th, 2008 @ 1:23 pm

    I wouldn’t count *any* Wine app as being a Linux app–Turbo Cash shouldn’t be in your review.

  3. Boycott Novell » Links 25/10/2008: Adoption Evidence and More Linux Numbers from the LF
    October 25th, 2008 @ 1:47 pm

    […] Five accounting apps for Linux One of the most often heard complaints from users looking to migrate to Linux is that there are no good accounting applications. To be fair, there is a degree of truth in that concern. At least there was, until now. […]

  4. Pelo
    October 25th, 2008 @ 3:56 pm

    You forgot GRSBI, http://www.grisbi.org.
    Gnome based, easy to use, quite versatile.
    The current stable dates from 2006 but still relevant, the new one is currently in alpha.

  5. Alastair
    October 25th, 2008 @ 5:20 pm

    @Pelo:
    Thanks. I haven’t come across Grisbi before. Looks good. I’ll check it out.
    \

  6. Alastair
    October 25th, 2008 @ 5:21 pm

    @Dietrich:
    Strictly, you’re right. But the TurboCash people have done a lot of work on getting it to work well under Wine. And TurboCash is open source software. But point taken.

  7. Alastair
    October 25th, 2008 @ 5:26 pm

    @Steve:
    GnuCash is good. But it might be worth taking a look at some of the others if it’s for personal finances.

    I’m not sure about importing GnuCash files. Perhaps someone else has experience of this?

  8. James
    October 26th, 2008 @ 5:01 pm

    I’ve been using Moneydance for years on Linux and love it. It also works on Windows and Mac.

    http://www.moneydance.com

  9. rob
    October 26th, 2008 @ 10:05 pm

    This article really doesn’t do any justice to the applications available –

    Turbocash is Windows based – Saying it is a linux ap because of Wine is stretching it a bit
    Cubit isn’t open source as far as I know (only the POS is I believe)
    The other 3 are personal finances managers as far as I am concerned

    There are a lot more packages around. Wikipedia’s comparison is fairly up to date
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_accounting_software

  10. Jaco Kroon
    October 27th, 2008 @ 9:35 am

    You can also look at Quasar (http://www.linuxcanada.com/), unfortunately it’s no longer free as in GPL, but it’s still a pretty good package and their support is very good. Since the topic says accounting packages for Linux and not open-source accounting packages I believe this is appropriate. There is still an older version (1.4.7) available under the GPL, and I’ve got some patches lying around for it to fix a few cosmetics that annoyed me.

  11. Danie
    October 28th, 2008 @ 3:01 pm

    There is a whole host of browser based accounting systems as well, some far
    more advanced, even more so that any mentioned above. Companies looking for
    accounting systems with stock, debtor, creditor, freight, etc. management
    should also consider webERP derivatives. Such as the AzecoERP product
    (http://www.azeco.co.za) specifically customized for the South African wholesale,
    importer and service retail market. These ERP systems, like ours, generally
    include both journal and cost accounting. AzecoERP system even include debtor
    and creditor management, markup calculation, import costing, multi-currency,
    stock management, order planning, POS, E-Commerce, etc. In conclusion I have
    to concur that there are good accounting systems for Linux. I apologize for
    punting my own company and systems, but Linux users and reporters should be
    aware of the incredible scope of systems available.

  12. Rajesh
    October 29th, 2008 @ 2:08 pm

    Nice list. However, I thought of adding a couple of more to your list like the PostBooks http://www.postbooks.com and P2PAccounts http://www.p2paccounts.com. P2PAccounts which I am associated with has an installer for Ubuntu and Fedora. Hope this helps in next review.

  13. Andrew
    October 29th, 2008 @ 4:35 pm

    I too can recommend Quasar accounting and know of a retail chain with about 20 stores that runs POS and back office functionality.
    … it works well over a VPN connection even as low as 5KB/s.

    Quasar accounting is fantastically featured, and if you’re looking for a Pastel / Syspro alternative, have a look at Quasar.

    … disclaimer: I do not work for Linux Canada, nor do I receive any remuneration for recommending Quasar accounting
    … also Pastel & Syspro are trademarks (blah, blah, blah)

  14. yochai
    October 29th, 2008 @ 8:33 pm

    I second Andrew’s quasar comment… Very good for large-scale inventory systems. I use QB Online through a virtual machine. recently though I’ve looked at NolaPro, an open source lamp-based accounting/invoicing web application.

    Also, there’s the java-based compiere….

  15. Stiri - Lumea Open Source în săptămâna 20 - 26 octombrie 2008
    October 30th, 2008 @ 2:38 pm

    […] Buddi este un soft care vă poate ajuta în această criză financiară despre care am pomenit mai sus. Este un soft de management al banilor dvs, deci vă poate fi de un real folos dacă îl folosiţi. Dacă vreţi ceva mai mult, chiar o contabilitate mai serioasă, aruncaţi o privire aici. […]

  16. jhenkins
    October 31st, 2008 @ 2:46 pm

    Alastair,

    Nice roundup, and a very worthy subject. Two packages that you should have a look at (it hasn’t been mentioned at all by you or by commenters) is:

    SQL-Ledger
    http://www.sql-ledger.com/

    LedgerSMB
    http://www.ledgersmb.org/

    Although I haven’t used LedgerSMB before, it is a fork of SQL-Ledger with a far more open community ethos than SQL-Ledger, which is what most probably make it a better project to support. Even so, I ran my business on SQL-Ledger while I was still in RSA, and it has everything one might need, and then some. The only weirdness about it is the fact that is is integrated with LeTeX for things like invoice templates, but after it has been set up it is a joy to use. Since it’s web-based, it can basically run where-ever you can run LaTeX, PostgreSQL, Perl and a web server that can use Perl CGI’s. It’s not fancy regarding things like AJAX, so basically any forms-capable browser will do just fine. These two packages are extremely powerful software, and can be set up easily enough to work anywhere in the world.

    No, I don’t work for them! 😉

  17. Jacobus Erasmus
    November 17th, 2008 @ 6:09 am

    I look through the list of app and the Financial Apps I’m still missing are.

    OpenERP and Adempiere/Compiere

    Again depending on you’re review but these are definitely meant for business.

    Cubit is brilliant but because of the owners don’t understand Opensource that we’ll I’m not using it. Turbocash as far as I’m concerned it simply to buggy. GnuCash is brilliant and I loved it but it does not work well if you have multiple users.

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