We ❤️ Open Source

A community education resource

3 min read

Getting started with GnuCash for financial management

Use this open source alternative to Quicken to manage your finances.

I’ve managed my finances with GnuCash for the past seven years and am satisfied with it. The open source (GPL v3) project has been growing and improving since its initial release in 1998 and the latest stable release of GnuCash is 5.6 (2024).

GnuCash is available for Windows, MacOS, and Linux and is available as a mobile app in both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. The application implements a double-entry bookkeeping system and can import various popular open and proprietary file formats, including QIF, QFX, OFX, CSV, and more. This makes it easy to convert from other personal finance applications, including Quicken, which it was created to replicate.

With GnuCash, you can track personal finances and small business accounting and invoicing. It doesn’t have an integrated payroll system; according to the documentation, you can track payroll expenses in GnuCash, but you have to calculate taxes and deductions outside the software.


To install GnuCash on Linux:

  • On Red Hat, CentOS, or Fedora: $ sudo dnf install gnucash
  • On Debian, Ubuntu, or Pop_OS: $ sudo apt install gnucash
  • On MacOS: $ brew install gnucash (using Homebrew)
  • On Windows: choco install gnucash (using Chocolatey) 

You can also install it from Flathub, which is what I used on my laptop running Elementary OS. (All the screenshots in this article are from that installation.)


After you install and launch the program, you will see a welcome screen that allows you to create a new set of accounts, import QIF files, or open a new user tutorial.

GnuCash screenshoot
Image credits: Don Watkins, CC-BY-SA

Personal accounts

If you choose the first option, GnuCash opens a screen to help you get up and running. It collects initial data and sets up your account preferences, such as your account types and names, business data (e.g., tax ID number), and preferred currency.

GnuCash screenshoot
Image credits: Don Watkins, CC-BY-SA

GnuCash supports personal bank accounts, business accounts, car loans, CD and money market accounts, childcare accounts, and more.

As an example, start by creating a simple checkbook. You can enter your account’s beginning balance or import existing account data in multiple formats.

GnuCash screenshoot
Image credits: Don Watkins, CC-BY-SA


GnuCash also supports small business functions, including customers, vendors, and invoicing. To create an invoice, enter the data in the Business ->Invoice section.

GnuCash screenshoot
Image credits: Don Watkins, CC-BY-SA

Then you can either print the invoice on paper or export it to a PDF and email it to your customer.

GnuCash screenshoot
Image credits: Don Watkins, CC-BY-SA

Getting help

If you have questions, there’s an excellent Help section that’s accessible from the far-right side of the menu bar.

GnuCash screenshoot
Image credits: Don Watkins, CC-BY-SA

The project’s website includes links to helpful information, such as a great overview of GnuCash features. GnuCash also has detailed documentation available to download and read offline and a wiki with helpful information for users and developers.You can find other files and documentation in the project’s GitHub repository. The GnuCash project is volunteer-driven. If you want to contribute, please check out getting involved on the project’s wiki.

About the Author

I am Don Watkins, a free and open source software (FOSS) advocate.

Read Don's Full Bio

The opinions expressed on this website are those of each author, not of the author's employer or All Things Open/We Love Open Source.

Save the Date for All Things Open 2024

Join thousands of open source friends October 27-29 in downtown Raleigh for ATO 2024!

Upcoming Events

We do more than just All Things Open and Open Source 101. See all upcoming events here.

Open Source Meetups

We host some of the most active open source meetups in the U.S. Get more info and RSVP to an upcoming event.