Accounting Software
QuickBooks

QuickBooks vs GnuCash: Which is Best for Your Business? (2024)

by Envoice
10 min read
QuickBooks vs GnuCash

If you’re a small business owner, having accounting software—like QuickBooks—alongside your accountant is necessary for managing business finances. Similarly, GnuCash is a popular personal finance application that enables you to manage your income and daily expenses efficiently. However, the challenge lies in finding the right accounting software that helps you manage financial data for your growing business and personal finances in one platform.

This guide will compare GnuCash and QuickBooks in respect to their key features, integrations, pricing, ease of use, etc. We’ll also discuss their advanced tools and capabilities, helping you make an informed choice on which accounting software is a better overall fit for your business.

Read on to learn more.

GnuCash vs QuickBooks Online: An Overview

GnuCash

screenshot for gnucash website
gnucash.org

GnuCash is a free, open-source accounting software for financial management. It’s a popular tool for start-ups, small businesses, sole proprietors, and users who aim to manage personal finances. It offers tools for small business functionality, allowing you to manage payroll, do invoicing tasks, and track customer and vendor records (accounts receivable and accounts payable). GnuCash is a desktop software, so you can only use it locally on your computer.

QuickBooks Online

screenshot for quickbooks website
quickbooks.intuit.com

QuickBooks Online is a popular accounting software for small and medium-sized businesses. It offers diverse features for invoicing, reporting and analytics, tax management, and more. It also has advanced tools like inventory management, payroll tracking, and extensive third-party apps, making it an excellent fit for scaling businesses.

GnuCash vs QuickBooks Online: Side-by-Side Comparison

GnuCash QuickBooks
Pricing Free Starts at $18/month (30-day free trial available)
Features
  • Double-entry accounting system
  • Scheduled transactions
  • Account reconciliation
  • Multi-platform support
  • Financial reporting
  • Checkbook-style register

Unique Features:

  • Small business accounting
  • Multiple currency support
  • Mortgage and loan repayment assistant
  • Professional invoicing
  • Accounting reports
  • Bank reconciliation
  • Tax management
  • Inventory management
  • Double-entry accounting
  • Cloud accounting

 

Unique Features:

  • HR and payroll management
  • Receipt capture
  • Live bookkeeping
Integrations Quicken Over 750 apps
Security GDPR QuickBooks Data Security
Cloud storage No Yes
Interface Desktop SaaS/Cloud/Mobile
Customer Support No Email/Live chat/Phone support
Reviews 3.8/5[1] 4.3/5 [2]

Key Features

Financial Reporting

GnuCash
GnuCash offers essential reporting tools, such as financial statements, cash flow statements on various accounts, profit-and-loss statements, and more. However, the platform has limited report customization tools—a huge disadvantage compared to modern accounting software today. All reports can be printed or exported via HTML format.

QuickBooks Online
QuickBooks Online has an excellent reporting capability, outperforming most accounting software today. It has multiple built-in reports, such as balance sheets, general ledger reports, profit-and-loss reports, and trial balance statements. QuickBooks also supports 1099 transaction reports, which are helpful for the tax season.

Bank Reconciliation

GnuCash

GnuCash’s business-feature bank reconciliation
gnucash.org

One of GnuCash’s business-related features is bank reconciliation. You can easily upload various bank-generated account statements to the software and reconcile transactions based on your monthly report. However, the process is mostly done manually since GnuCash doesn’t have automation features to streamline account reconciliations.

QuickBooks Online
QuickBooks Online offers robust tools for bank reconciliation, such as automatic bank feeds that quickly import account statements. It has built-in smart reconciliation tools that automatically identify bank transactions to those you have entered into the platform. You can also set rules to further streamline categorization and reconciliation tasks.

GnuCash – Additional Features

Small Business Accounting
GnuCash offers tools that help you manage your small business finances. The software has customer and vendor tracking tools, letting you add vital information when completing balance sheets (e.g., accounts receivable and accounts payable) and specify sales tax for each vendor. The platform also has budgeting tools for creating an annual account budget.

Multiple Currency Support
GnuCash supports multiple currencies when setting up your accounts. This allows you to assign currencies for various vendors, wherever they are globally. Currency movements between accounts are fully balanced once double entry is enabled.

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Mortgage and Loan Repayment Assistant
GnuCash can help you manage personal finances by setting up payment plans for loans and mortgages. You can use it to plan repayments for business loans, student loans, auto loans, and more. This lets you know your outstanding balance and schedule transactions so you can pay them on time.

QuickBooks Online – Additional Features

HR and Payroll Management

screenshot for quickbooks.intuit payroll feature
quickbooks.intuit.com

QuickBooks offers an add-on called QuickBooks payroll, which assists your business in human resource tasks (e.g., job hiring, onboarding, employee handbooks, etc.) and setting up and managing employee payrolls. You’ll also have access to an HR advisor through Mineral, a third-party HR service.

Receipt Capture
QuickBooks Online offers receipt capture as part of its expense and tax management tools. Instead of manually submitting physical receipts, employees can easily upload images of them to the platform or take a photo through the QuickBooks mobile app. This feature automatically extracts transaction and tax information from the receipts for you to review.

Note: Receipt capture is available exclusively in the Advanced plan, which costs $100 monthly. If you want a cheaper and more accurate expense tracking solution, try an add-on like Envoice. It uses ExactExtract and Human-in-the-loop verification for automated data extraction, ensuring 99.9% accuracy of your receipt data. Sign up now for a free trial.

Live Bookkeeping
Live bookkeeping on QuickBooks Online allows you to automate your bookkeeping tasks, streamlining the whole process and keeping you on track for tax time. You can also avail of their certified bookkeepers, who will manage your monthly books so you can focus more on your business.

Ease of Use

GnuCash
Since GnuCash is an on-premise application, you’ll need to install it on your computer. The initial setup is quick, but the platform doesn’t have an intuitive user interface and requires a steeper learning curve than QuickBooks Online. Also, compared to QuickBooks and other modern accounting software, GnuCash has limited support options (e.g., new user tutorials and technical docs).

QuickBooks Online

screenshot for quickbooks.intuit expense tracking feature page
quickbooks.intuit.com

QuickBooks has a user-friendly interface loaded with accounting and data visualization tools, making it suitable for experts and users without accounting expertise. It’s cloud-based and has an intuitive navigation bar that allows you to access all of the platform’s features. If you encounter in-app issues, QuickBooks offers various support options (e.g., live chat, email, and phone support).

Invoicing

GnuCash
GnuCash allows you to create, print, and send invoices to your clients. However, unlike QuickBooks, the software has limited invoice templates and customization tools, often requiring you to use a third-party reporting tool to personalize your invoices fully. While you can schedule due date reminders in the platform, GnuCash doesn’t support recurring invoices.

QuickBooks Online
When comparing GnuCash vs QuickBooks in terms of invoicing, QuickBooks proves to be the better tool. The software allows you to create professional invoices and set up an online payment system so clients can easily pay their balances. You can also create recurring invoices and automatic payment reminders, letting you invoice billable hours and include unbilled charges on your recurring invoices.

Integrations

GnuCash
Besides its Quicken integration, GnuCash offers limited functionality regarding third-party app support. This limits the app, especially when you want to import data from other software or use add-ons to access features that are unavailable in GnuCash.

QuickBooks Online
QuickBooks Online offers a comprehensive suite of third-party app support compared to its rival accounting tools. The platform integrates with popular e-commerce stores, project and expense management tools, inventory management, CRM software, etc. It also supports data import/export apps for seamless data syncing.

Pricing

GnuCash

screenshot for gnucash website downlaod page
gnucash.org

GnuCash is free accounting software you can download from its official site. It’s available on multiple platforms (e.g., Windows, macOS, Linux, etc.) and is open-source. However, you cannot add users to the platform since it follows a single-user system.

QuickBooks Online
QuickBooks Online offers the following pricing plans: Simple Start ($30/month), Essentials ($60/month), Plus ($90/month), and Advanced ($200/month). They offer a 30-day free trial for new users and discounts for your first three months. The platform provides fees for additional users and add-ons, like Live Bookkeeping and QuickBooks Payroll.

Note: You can only add up to 25 users on the Advanced plan, which costs $100 monthly. If you need software to streamline your pre-accounting tasks for your growing business, consider an add–on like Envoice. You add unlimited users on the platform at no additional cost; you can also set admin controls for each user, keeping confidential data secure. Register now for a free trial.

Who is it For?

GnuCash
GnuCash is the right tool for sole proprietors and small businesses searching for effective accounting software on a tight budget. It helps users complete simple budgeting tasks, track vendor and customer financial data, and manage income and expense data through financial reports. It’s also suited for users who want a checkbook-style register when entering their financial transactions.

QuickBooks Online
QuickBooks Online is the right software for growing businesses due to its robust tools for managing your business’s financial operations. Its intuitive interface lets you access several accounting reports, data visualization tools, and diverse third-party integrations. QuickBooks also provides a better initial setup and can be adapted to various industries, making it an excellent tool for scaling businesses.

Claim to Fame

GnuCash

screenshot of all features for gnucash website
gnucash.org

While both GnuCash and QuickBooks Online have similar capabilities (e.g., double-entry accounting, account reconciliation, managing personal finances, etc.), GnuCash remains a popular tool for small businesses since it’s the free option between the two. Also, since you’ll use GnuCash locally on your computer, your data is more secure than cloud-based accounting tools.

QuickBooks Online
QuickBooks Online excels as a premier accounting solution for most small and medium-sized businesses due to its robust accounting features, such as financial reports, workflow automation, add-ons, and multiple app integrations. The platform’s intuitive user interface and support resources make it easier to learn than GnuCash.

Conclusion

Nowadays, GnuCash and QuickBooks are popular accounting tools for multiple businesses. GnuCash is a viable option if you own a start-up or small business that only needs basic accounting features and operates on a tight budget. However, if you have a scaling business and are looking for a robust accounting solution, consider QuickBooks Online.

Also, if you switch to QuickBooks, having the right pre-accounting software can make all the difference for an error-free bookkeeping process—Envoice can do just that. It automates expense management, data extraction, and bookkeeping tasks, eliminating inaccuracies due to manual data entry. Envoice also integrates with notable accounting software, like QuickBooks Online, Sage 50, and Xero.

Curious about how Envoice can help automate pre-accounting workflows for your scaling business? Book a product demo now and standardize your accounting tasks today

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