TurboCASH and GnuCash are free open-source accounting software products for businesses that want to build a software to meet specific needs. GnuCash is the better choice for most businesses, but TurboCASH is best if you need more than one user license. Small businesses looking for free accounting software should go with a much simpler product.
When to Use GnuCash
GnuCash is best for a business that wants to develop their accounting software to meet their individual needs. Don’t select GnuCash just because it’s free. While you may not have to pay to use the software, you will pay with the investment of your time and the cost of hiring a developer to customize the software for your needs.
When to Use TurboCASH
If you need an open-source accounting software that can handle multiple users, TurboCASH is going to be your best bet. TurboCASH has all of the features that GnuCash offers but goes a step further to allow up to seven user licenses compared to one license with GnuCash. This is important if you will have several people that need to access your data.
GnuCash vs. TurboCASH at a Glance
|Number of Users Included|
|Manage Accounts Payable|
|Manage Accounts Receivable|
|Report Drill Downs|
|Double Entry Accounting|
|Ease of Use|
How We Evaluated GnuCash & TurboCASH
A number of small businesses consider TurboCASH and GnuCash for two main reasons — they need an accounting software that can be tailored to their individual business needs or they are looking for a free accounting software. We compared GnuCash and TurboCASH primarily on their features and how easy they are to develop and use.
Our full list of things we compared between TurboCASH vs. GnuCash includes:
- Price: Is the software affordable is always a key factor. GnuCash is free to use and TurboCASH has both free and paid plans.
- Overall features for price: Having the ability to perform basic bookkeeping tasks is key. Both of these products exceed this requirement by including custom report building and budgeting tools.
- Ease of setup and use: Both of these products are not easy to set up, which I why we recommend you hire an information technology expert. However, they do appear to be easy to use once the setup is complete.
- Number of users: Having the ability to share data with a bookkeeper or accountant is pretty common. Unfortunately, GnuCash fell short here with only one user license. TurboCASH can have up to seven users access the program. However, additional licenses must be purchased for multiple user access.
- Integrations with other apps or programs: Neither TurboCASH or GnuCash integrate with other apps. However, you can import and export data to Excel.
Both GnuCash and TurboCASH go well beyond the basic features you would expect an accounting software program to have. GnuCash beats TurboCASH when it comes to price because it is free. However, you cannot give other users access to your data with GnuCash because it is built for a single user.
On the other hand, TurboCASH does allow you to give multiple users access to your data. However, you will have to invest a lot of time to get up to speed with using the software because it is not very intuitive software. There is no trial version available, so you have to sign up for a one-year subscription to try it out. Personally, if you can get away with just a single license, we recommend you go with GnuCash over TurboCASH. It is a much easier software to use and its help resources are terrific.
TurboCASH vs. GnuCash: Pricing & Features
GnuCash beats TurboCASH when it comes to price because its accounting software is free, which means you never have to pay for it. TurboCASH, meanwhile, does offer a free plan called TurboCASH 4, but it is a much older and slower version than its TurboCASH 5 product. As far as features go, these products are tied. Both products go beyond basic bookkeeping features by offering multicurrency, budgeting and multilanguage features.
GnuCash Pricing & Features
Unlike TurboCASH, GnuCash has one pricing plan — free. While it does accept donations, which are used to help cover the cost of servers, you can download and use the software for free with no credit card required. Most people are pleasantly surprised at all of the features included in GnuCash at no cost.
Below is a brief explanation of just some of the features included in GnuCash:
Accounts Payable Management
Similar to TurboCASH, you can manage your entire accounts payable process in GnuCash. This includes entering bills and tracking due dates, paying bills with a check or online and staying on top of outstanding bills by running an accounts payable aging report.
Accounts Receivable Management
Like TurboCASH, you can manage unpaid customer invoices in GnuCash. This includes creating invoices, tracking due dates, applying customer payments and staying on top of outstanding invoices by running an accounts receivable aging report.
Like TurboCASH, GnuCash allows you to create recurring transactions for payments that you make on a periodic basis like monthly rent or telephone expenses. In GnuCash, these entries are scheduled and the program will remind you when it is time to make a payment. All of the fields will be prepopulated for you so you just have to make any necessary changes and save the new transaction. This will save you a lot of time since you won’t have to create the transaction from scratch.
Similar to TurboCASH, you can create budgets in GnuCash. Creating a budget allows you to estimate what your income, expenses, assets, liabilities and equity will be for a period of time — monthly, quarterly or yearly — so that you can compare it to what your actuals are for the same time period. GnuCash includes several budgeting reports that include budget balance sheet, budget bar chart, budget flow, budget income statement, budget profit and loss and budget report.
Both GnuCash and TurboCASH allow you to select the language you would like to see used within the program. GnuCash, for example, has close to 50 languages.
One of the features included with GnuCash that is also available in TurboCASH is the ability to track multiple currencies. If you have bank accounts in multiple countries, you can track transactions in each account with a different currency. This feature works well if you have customers located in a different country because you can create invoices and receive payment in their home currency.
Integrations With Other Systems
GnuCash is a desktop program that can be installed on the Windows, Mac OS X and Linux platforms. GnuCash also integrates with Android devices. By downloading the GnuCash Android app, you can stay on top of your finances on the go and import your data into the desktop version when you get back to the office.
TurboCASH Pricing & Features
Unlike GnuCash that has one pricing plan (free), TurboCASH has four pricing plans between $0 and $400 per year. If you’re strapped for cash, you can download TurboCASH 4 and use it free of charge. There really isn’t much of a difference between the various tiered pricing levels of TurboCASH. The only difference is the number of user numbers allowed, which is between one and seven.
Regardless of what tiered pricing you choose, you will receive these features:
- Accounts payable management
- Accounts receivable management
- Inventory management
- Report drill downs
- Recurring entries
- Multiple languages
- Multiple currencies
TurboCASH 4 is a free open-source software that has all of the features included in each version of the TurboCASH 5 business class plans. Since it is an older version, it is much slower than TurboCASH 5 but can still perform all of the basic bookkeeping tasks that the TurboCASH 5 product can.
If you are strapped for cash and need a free accounting software that you can customize to meet your unique business requirements, TurboCASH 4 might be the solution. However, keep in mind that unless you were a developer in a previous life, there is a steep learning curve to get up to speed with this product. There are some great tools on the website that we will cover in the TurboCASH Customer Service section of this article.
TurboCASH 5 Business Class, Single User
TurboCASH 5 Business Class, Single User is only $60 per year and includes all of the functionality of basic bookkeeping including, but not limited to, schedule and paying bills, creating customer invoices, tracking inventory cost and quantities and customized reports.
Unlike other accounting software programs, the most affordable version of TurboCASH 5 includes all of the features that are included in the multi-user plans. The only difference between the three plans is the number of users included. The TurboCASH 5 Business Class, Single User plan is ideal for solopreneurs and freelancers who don’t need to give other users access to their data.
TurboCASH 5 Business Class, 3 Users
TurboCASH 5 Business Class, 3 Users will run you $200 per year. It includes all of the features that the TurboCASH 5 Business Class, Single User has, such as the ability to manage A/P and A/R, track inventory and create custom reports. The only feature that separates Single User from 3 Users is the number of people that can access the file at the same time.
TurboCASH Business Class, 3 Users is ideal for a small business that needs to give a bookkeeper, accountant or employee access to its data. Since the software must be installed on a hard drive, the company file must be installed on a shared network for other users to be able to access it.
TurboCASH 5 Business Class, 7 Users
TurboCASH 5 Business Class, 7 Users is $400 per year. Similar to the Single User and 3 Users, it includes all of the features required to manage full-cycle bookkeeping. The only difference between this version and the other two is you can give access to up to seven users.
TurboCASH Business Class, 7 Users is ideal for a growing small business that has more than three users that need to access the company file at the same time. As we mentioned, the file must be installed on a shared network for other users to be able to access it.
TurboCASH vs. GnuCash: Ease of Use
GnuCash appeared to be much easier to use than TurboCASH. In addition, GnuCash does a terrific job of using simple language to explain not only how to use the program but also key accounting concepts that a non-accountant would find helpful.
On the flip side, TurboCASH does have a tutorial that you can use to get hands-on practice by using a fictitious business. This tutorial is available in an e-book called Accounting Made Easy and it is included in all TurboCASH Business Class plans.
GnuCash Ease of Use
Below is a snapshot of the main window in GnuCash along with a brief description of the info you will find here.
At the very top of the window, you will find the following:
- Title bar: Displays the name of the currently open file and the name of the active tab.
a. Menu bar – When you click on one of the menu items, such as File, a pull-down menu will be shown with a list of available options.
b. Toolbar – Shows the available toolbar options.
c. Tab bar – Lists the open reports, registers and accounts.
- Main pane: This is where the info on the current tab selected will display. In the above example, we are on the Accounts tab, so the chart of accounts list is what shows up in the main pane.
- Summary bar: Displays a summary of the financial information shown.
- Status bar: Shows a description of the active menu item and shows a progress bar.
TurboCASH Ease of Use
Below is a snapshot of the menu navigation in TurboCASH along with a brief description.
- The Quick menu allows you to easily access various tasks based on one of four key options: Start, Action, Reports and Setup. In the above snapshot, we are looking at a list of tasks you have to choose from when you click on the Action menu.
TurboCASH vs. GnuCash: Customer Service
Neither TurboCASH nor GnuCash offers live telephone support. However, both products have a number of other great resources that you can use to get help when you need it, including help manuals, community forums and FAQs.
GnuCash Customer Service
Similar to most free accounting software, GnuCash does not offer live telephone support. However, it does have several other resources that you can use to get help. Listed below are four primary help resources available on the GnuCash website.
GnuCash Help Manual
This is an extensive user manual that you can read online or download in multiple formats. It includes step-by-step instructions on how to set up your business and perform any task. Since I chose not to download the software on my computer, I learned everything about GnuCash from this guide. What I also found interesting is that it is written so that anyone, including those without an accounting background, can understand it.
You will find answers to the most frequently asked questions on how to install, use and troubleshoot any issues you encounter with GnuCash.
GnuCash Mailing Lists
GnuCash mailing lists are a great way to communicate with other users as well as developers. You can get help, assist other users who need help and make suggestions on how to improve GnuCash.
GnuCash Internet Relay Chat
Instant relay chat (IRC) is a form of instant communication. GnuCash uses this tool to facilitate group discussions as well as one-on-one communication.
TurboCASH Customer Service
Like GnuCash, TurboCASH does not offer live telephone support. However, it does have several resources available on its website that you may find useful. Listed below are the primary help resources available.
TurboCASH Help Manual
Unlike GnuCash, the TurboCASH help manual was not nearly as easy to digest. One of the issues is that it doesn’t always use simple language to explain concepts. At times, I felt like I needed a developer background to decipher the information. However, I do recommend that you take the Accounting Made Easy tutorial. It is included in your Business Class plan, or you can purchase it for $25 if you go with the TurboCASH 4 software.
TurboCASH has a community of users and developers that actively participate in asking and answering questions. You can even join the community before you buy the software to ask questions.
TurboCASH YouTube Videos
If you learn best by watching a demo then you should check out the TurboCASH YouTube videos. They are both focused on teaching accounting basics and how to get up and running on TurboCASH.
TurboCASH vs. GnuCash: Customer Reviews
During our research, we found that GnuCash has mixed reviews. As with most products, there are features that customers like about GnuCash, and there are things that they don’t like. Unlike GnuCash, we could not find any reviews on TurboCASH.
On the positive side, customers like the fact that GnuCash allows them to manage all aspects of their books for free. However, customers complained that the user interface is not that intuitive, which means there is a steep learning curve to get up to speed on how the program works.
Unfortunately, there aren’t many TurboCASH reviews available online.
Still Have Questions?
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The Bottom Line
As we have discussed throughout this article, neither TurboCASH or GnuCash are ideal accounting software products for small businesses. However, if you’ve found that your business model is so unique that there are currently no solutions on the market to meet your needs, we recommend GnuCash vs. TurboCASH. It will be easier to set up your business and get up to speed with GnuCash than with TurboCASH.
If you’re looking for a free accounting software, we recommend Wave. One of the features that we have not mentioned is the ability to invoice customers and accept payments from your mobile device. You can also scan receipts and categorize them right from the Wave mobile app. Take a few minutes to sign up for your free Wave account so you can see how easy it will be to keep track of your income and expenses.