A Day in the Life of Dave the Dollar

GnuCash is often referred to as the Linux answer to Quickbooks or Quicken. The Linux Dev Center gives you a pleasant little introduction to this software and how it can help you to sort through your finances. While the article starts out with an introduction to the software-like quality, it quickly moves into tutorial mode which is what most of you would prefer, anyway. ;o)

Few things about GnuCash are as hard to understand–or as important to master – as the double-entry accounting method. If you took accounting in college, GnuCash’s way of managing your money probably induces heart-palpitating flashbacks of debits, credits, and mean old accounting profs. If you didn’t take an accounting class, you may be completely lost, because the way GnuCash does things is the same way professional accountants do it. Used correctly, the double-entry method reveals where every cent of your money comes from and where every cent of it goes. Fortunately, it takes very little to master the basics of the GnuCash way. Once you do master them, the increased flexibility and power with which you can manage your cash flow will pay enormous dividends.

In this article, I assume that you know the mechanics of GnuCash. In other words, you’ve figured out how to create accounts and you may have entered a transaction or two. If you don’t know how to do that, I recommend the built-in GnuCash tutorial. This article does address, however, the typical response after you’ve figured out all the mechanics: “Now what?”