30 October 2009

Trying GnuCash

When I realized Gnome Bugzilla passed the 600 000th bug mark, I went to see which project got the “honours”.  Turns out GnuCash is the big winner!   I had never started GnuCash before and I though it was a good moment to try it!

First of all, the learning curve is high.  That’s to be expected, after all GnuCash is a complete accounting application. While the UI is quite simple and lean, there’s terminology and procedures to learn. That where the documentation comes handy.

The documentation covers many topics: terminology, accounting principles and howtos for many specific uses.  In about 2 hours, I was setup: I had setup my accounts (based on their very well localized presets: it even included Québec’s taxes and perceptions accounts), I had imported transactions from my bank account and credit cards.  Now if only Desjardins also provided retirement savings (RRSP) details in a computer readable format beside their brochure PDFs… I’ll have to wait ’till I get my detailed printed report (once every 3 months) before I can manually enter the data in GnuCash.

All in all, I’d like to kudo the GnuCash contributors.  Somehow I didn’t expect so much polish on a 12 years old application (and don’t get me wrong, but sometimes apps get stuck in time).  The ledger view comes with handy keyboard shortcuts designed to speed up data entry and I like it. Custom reports? that even more awesome.

I’ll submit some localization bugs (or request a fr_CA version) because somehow it looks like French and Québécois accountants didn’t agree on all the words (ie. conciliation).

Comments (2)

  1. 29 November 2009
    Radu Neacsu said...

    I’m in the process of switching from spreadsheet accounting to a software and gnucash has peeked my interest… so far! What scares me most is that I will not find an accountant that uses it also. I’ve tried to fin one here in Montreal and so far I’ve had no joy.

    As for the learning curve, it’s very steep even for someone who is used to doing some accounting!! Did you ever find a way to download account transactions from the banks directly?? I’ve been importing mine one month at a time… I get bored easily!!

  2. 29 November 2009
    Pierre-Luc Beaudoin said...

    Well with Desjardins I was able to download the tractions easily in QFX format and when import them in GNUCash.

    As for an accountant, I am sure I’ll have a hard time finding one that uses it too…