GnuCash vs Quicken are two software products that are popularly used for personal finance and budgeting. GnuCash is really cool and interesting because it is a free app and it is compatible with most operating systems. Meanwhile, Quicken is loved because of the ease of use, but there is a subscription fee to pay from time to time.
In this article, we will see more about:
– The features and capabilities of GnuCash and Quicken,
– The pros and cons of GnuCash vs Quicken,
– Which app that is easier and more convenient to use, and
– Which app that is more useful and effective for budgeting.
GnuCash is actually an accounting app which implements a double-entry bookkeeping system. It uses this bookkeeping system because of the flexibility and the ability to track both business and personal transactions. It was initially designed pretty much just like Quicken, but it now also has features for small business accounting. See our previous post about Personal Capital vs Quicken here!
GnuCash is a part of the GNU Project, which is why it is available as a free app. It can run on Linux, macOS, FreeBSD, Solaris, OpenBSD, GNU, and other Unix-like operating systems. A port for Microsoft Windows has been added, too. In addition, it also has mobile apps for iOS and Android, but the capabilities of these mobile apps are rather limited. You will still use the desktop version more frequently to perform most of the activities.
Despite being decades old, GnuCash is still updated with new features. The interface may look very plain and simple, but it is really straightforward to use. The latest updates have added the ability to export any report into the PDF format, file attachments on transactions, and color-coded accounts.
Obviously, the very first advantage of GnuCash is the zero cost. It is a free app, so you can use it whenever you want without spending any dollar. This is a big advantage for people who prefer to keep their expenses down. You can try it out without having to commit any amount of money.
The second advantage of GnuCash vs Quicken is the compatibility with various operating systems. It is compatible with the most popular operating systems nowadays. Practically, most people can use it regardless of their operating systems.
Third, GnuCashis very simple and straightforward to use. The interface is not necessarily the most beautiful – it even looks very plain and somewhat outdated. But you can use all the features intuitively without much confusion. Besides, all of its features are already given right from the start, such as the automatic backup on each save, custom budgets, budgeting on previous data, and Excel export.
GnuCash is especially useful for small business users. It comes with loan tracking, stock tracking, multiple currencies, and various reports. It has invoices, payrolls, and P&L reports.
The first disadvantage of GnuCash is the low security. It stores local files without any built-in security. It does not have encryption or password protection. Of course, security is a very important aspect for such financial data. As a workaround, GnuCash recommends you to use an additional app to encrypt and secure the files and folders.
The second potential weakness of GnuCash vs Quicken is the simplicity. It is too simple, so you will eventually outgrow it. If you are using the app for business, you will need to upgrade to a more powerful app in the future. GnuCash doesn’t have the built-in bill payment feature.
Quicken is an app for personal finance management. There are several different versions of Quicken, such as Starter, Deluxe, Premier, Home & Business, and Rental Property Manager. Note that these versions are incompatible with each other, so you have to choose the right version from the beginning.
Unlike GnuCash, Quicken runs on a subscription basis. Different versions have different prices and of course different features. For example, Quicken Starter costs $34.99 per year – see the other versions and their prices on Quicken here. Even so, Quicken remains popular because it is effective and easy to use. The advanced features are very convenient, such as the portfolio management and bill payment.
Quicken is compatible with Windows, macOS, and MS-DOS. Keep in mind that it is not compatible with Linux. There are mobile apps for iOS and Android. The mobile apps have been nicely improved than before, but keep in mind that the mobile apps need to sync with the desktop software. In other words, you will still use the desktop software frequently.
Perhaps the very first feature of Quicken that makes a big advantage is the bill payment. Quicken is not only a budgeting app; it can also connect to banks that support bill payments. This way, you can pay your bills right through Quicken. You won’t forget or miss your bills anymore.
Second, Quicken is among the most comprehensive and robust personal finance app. It has excellent features for budgeting and strong portfolio management. You can track multiple financial portfolios complete with stock quote updates. It is also nice for planning a retirement account.
Third, Quicken already has built-in 256-bit encryption and password protection. It does not need any additional app for security.
Quicken has a subscription fee, so this is not a viable choice if you are looking for a free app. Quicken does not have any free version.
Once again, make sure that you choose the right version if you are interested in Quicken. Different versions may have very different features. Unfortunately, custom budgets and making budgets based on previous data are features that are exclusive to the Deluxe and Premium versions.
Quicken is not suitable for business users. It is focused on personal finance. It lacks essential features for business purposes, such as invoices, payrolls, and P&L reports.
GnuCash vs Quicken
|- Very plain and simple interface||- Relatively better-looking interface|
|- Compatible with Windows, Linux, macOS, and other Unix-like||- Compatible with Windows and macOS|
|- No built-in security, requires another app for encryption on sensitive data||- Built-in 256-bit encryption and password protection|
|- Suitable for personal finance and business needs||- Great for personal finance, but not suitable for business|
|- Free app||- Subscription-based|
For a small business, GnuCash should be your choice. It has decent capabilities for the purpose, including invoices, payrolls, and P&L reports. You should also choose GnuCash if you prefer a free app. On the other hand, Quicken is only recommended if you can really benefit from the advanced features, such as bill payment and portfolio management.