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Review: Small Business Accounting Software For Linux

Replacing Quicken/QuickBooks

  • January 3, 2005
  • By Carla Schroder

Choosing small business or personal accounting software seems relatively simple: evaluate features, ease of use, price, support--the usual things. The one factor that can really drive you nuts is migrating away from an existing installation.

Intuit dominates the small business/personal finance market with Quicken and QuickBooks, and for good reasons. They have short learning curves, nice clean interfaces, and they allow people who are not accountants to manage their own finances. And, unlike so much accounting software, they are reasonably priced. It is not uncommon to find hard-core Linux users keeping a Windows box just to run Quicken or QuickBooks.

So why should anyone even consider migrating away from Quicken/QuickBooks (or other Windows accounting program) to a Linux accounting program?

  • Using Linux equals greater stability and security. Given Windows' worsening security record, this is a primary consideration.
  • Standardize on a single platform for lower licensing costs and simpler administration.
  • Data are not held hostage to a closed, proprietary format. Quicken uses the QIF (Quicken Interchange Format) format, which is widely supported, so migrating Quicken data is usually simple. QuickBooks is another story- it supports only its own QBB and IIF formats. Users who want to export their QuickBooks data must use a third-party conversion utility.
  • Preference for Free/Open Source code. (Note that not all Linux accounting software is F/OSS.)
What about using Crossover Office to run Quicken/QuickBooks on Linux? The concern here is that these applications are not well-supported in Crossover Office. Check the compatibility database to see which versions have been tested and approved.

The Linux world is chock-full of accounting software of all kinds, in varying stages of maturity and polish. Today we'll take a look at Quasar, Moneydance, and GnuCash.

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