[TriLUG] GnuCash

Alan Porter porter at trilug.org
Fri Jun 21 15:34:06 EDT 2013

I use GnuCash for personal use and for a small consulting business, and
I used it for my TriLUG treasurer duties last year.

Somehow, I feel like this question about how GnuCash handles donations
is kind of like asking which word processor is best for a résumé. 
GnuCash is just a general ledger.  It keeps track of accounts, and it's
up to you to structure your accounts the way you want them.  Maybe some
tools will have specific walk-through wizards to help you enter certain
kinds of transactions.  But in the end, they are just transactions
between accounts.

I asked my dad (an accountant) about setting up accounts for things that
were not obvious to me.  For example, I did not know how TriLUG should
track donations and expenses for BarCamp 2013.  In that case, it was as
simple as creating a "BarCamp donations" account in the INCOME account
hierarchy, a "BarCamp expenses" account in the EXPENSES account
hierarchy, and a "PayPal" account in the ASSETS account hierarchy.  Then
you move amounts from one account to another as stuff happens.

Again, GnuCash is a basic double-accounting ledger.  There is very
little to guide you through specific transactions.  The only specific
"guides" that I use in GnuCash are (1) the screen for reconciling an
account against your bank statement (2) the screen for closing the books
at the end of the year.

One big plus for GnuCash is that it is cross platform.  I use it on Mac
and Linux.  And I can pass a GnuCash file to my dad to look at on Windows.

I can't compare GnuCash to QuickBooks, because I've never used
QuickBooks.  It is good for day-to-day personal finances, but its charts
and reports are somewhat weak compared to Quicken.  I do wish they had
more personal budget style reports and charts.


On 06/21/2013 02:35 PM, Grawburg wrote:
> Anyone using GnuCash?  I am specifically interested in how it might be an alternative to Quickbooks for Nonprofits.
> It would be installed on a Linux and Windows XP machine.
> I am specifically interested in how it handles the receipt of non-sales money (i.e. donations). Regular Quickbooks
> treats everything as a sales receipt --- don't know how the version for Nonprofits does it.
> Thanks,
> Brian Grawburg

# Alan Porter

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