KMyMoney vs. GnuCash: The Battle Of Linux Desktop Money Management Apps

Danny Stieben 20-07-2013

It’s really important to keep track of your financial position. Online banking can keep you up to date about your account activity and balance, but not every bank offers more tools than that in order to better track your finances.


Although there are online tools such as How To Use Mint To Manage Your Budget & Spendings Online Read More , the service isn’t available worldwide and it requires that you trust a third-party with your sensitive financial data while you use their online service. If you don’t have any other options or don’t trust online third-party financial services after the NSA/PRISM scare, then it’s best to track all of your finances through a desktop application that can store that data on your computer. On Linux systems, the top two choices are KMyMoney and GnuCash.


KMyMoney is an accounting application designed to be used with the KDE desktop environment, and similar to KDE’s style of features and customizability, it comes packed with plenty of functionality. When you first launch the application, you’ll be presented with a wizard that can help set up your KMyMoney file. This includes information about yourself, your bank, and your personal details that include your different income streams and expense categories. If you don’t want to enter all of this information, you can skip virtually all of them and just focus on creating the income and expense categories as well as the different types accounts (simply labeled as Cash, Checking, Savings, etc.).


While KMyMoney is packed with features, you can access all of the main sections via the left-hand panel which shows you various views that you may be interested in. The list includes a Home page, a list of added Institutions, Accounts, scheduled transactions, income/expense categories, Payees, Ledgers, Investments, Reports, Budgets, Forecasts, and an Outbox — I’m not sure what that last one is meant for.

Using the application is pretty straightforward — you can manually enter in transactions into your various accounts while appropriately applying the correct income and expense categories.



Updating the ledgers of your accounts will reflect the current balance of your account, but by including which categories of income/expense are involved, the program’s reports become a lot more useful.

Direct Connect and Data Importing


Additionally, KMyMoney makes it easier to use the application by not having to (re)enter everything manually. You can choose to import from a large selection of files, including QIF, OFX, CSV, and even GnuCash. Therefore, you can import all of your transactions via QIF/OFX/CSV files, and then simply ensure that the correct categories are automatically applied (which KMyMoney remembers based on the payee). Alternatively, if your bank allows it, you can have KMyMoney connect to your bank directly (via a plugin) to retrieve your account activity. However, I wasn’t able to test this out because my bank charges for this service, although QIF files are free. It’s important to note that if you regularly import account activity this way, you’ll have to avoid using features that would add transactions in addition to what you regularly import, such as scheduled transactions, to prevent any confusion.




Of course, no accounting application is complete without a good budgeting feature, and KMyMoney delivers in this regard by allowing you to set your expected income and expenses on a monthly, yearly, or individual basis. Under the individual basis, you can enter in different amounts for each month, rather than having the same amount apply every month. Going through the budgeting process allows you to find values where you can have a net income that is at least $0 so you won’t go into debt. Once the budget has been made, KMyMoney can let you know how you’re doing compared to the values set in your budget.

For those who are interested, KMyMoney also comes with a few investing features, and allows you to easily update the price of stocks and currency.


GnuCash, contrary to KMyMoney, isn’t specialized for KDE but rather Gnome and other desktop environments which use the GTK toolkit. While GnuCash’s initial setup process is similar (if not easier because it doesn’t ask for a lot of personal information), and it has a very similar feature set, it ends up being a bit harder to use. This primarily comes from the fact that GnuCash treats everything as accounts, including what KMyMoney (and most people without accounting degrees) see as income and expense categories. The interface for various tasks such as creating reports or budgets is also a little lackluster — it’ll work, but it could be better.



Like I mentioned, it includes most features that KMyMoney includes as well, including direct connections with banks, the ability to import various files, create budgets, generate reports based on income and expense trends, and so on. The features in GnuCash are all mainly located in its menus, so a lot of it requires some digging before you know where to find something.

For more information, check out our full article about GnuCash Efficiently Manage Your Finances With GnuCash [Windows, Mac, Linux] Admittedly, there are plenty of different software tools that help you manage your finances. However, a huge portion of those that are worthwhile cost money (sometimes a lot). The solution, obviously, would be to use... Read More !


Both applications can be easily installed via your respective package manager by searching for “gnucash” and “kmymoney” packages and applying the changes. I would suggest installing KMyMoney if you’re a KDE user and GnuCash if you’re a Gnome/Xfce/LXDE user because doing so will spare you from installing a lot of extra dependencies of the other desktop environment. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t go ahead if you really want to choose one over the other, but be prepared to face a rather large download unless you’ve already installed those dependencies during the installation of another application that comes from a competing desktop environment.



In the end, you can’t go wrong with using either — it’d be best to choose the application which best works with your desktop environment, so I’d recommend GnuCash for Gnome GNOME 3 Beta - Welcome To Your New Linux Desktop Read More /Xfce XFCE: Your Lightweight, Speedy, Fully-Fledged Linux Desktop As far as Linux goes, customization is king. Not only that, but the customization options are so great it might make your head spin. I have previously mentioned the differences between the major desktop environments... Read More /LXDE Using An Old Computer? Give It New Life With LXDE As Linux is arguably the most customizeable operating system between it, Windows, and Mac OS X; there's plenty of room to change just about whatever you please. Proper customizing can potentially lead to massive performance... Read More users while KMyMoney is better suited to KDE Enjoy A Clean, Improved Desktop With KDE 4.7 [Linux] One of Linux's most popular desktop environments, KDE, released their latest series (version 4.7) at the end of July. This version improves on work done in previous releases by adding new features while improving performance... Read More users. However, between the two, I declare KMyMoney to be the winner, simply because it has the most features and the best interface to do the job. Both applications are excellent, so that margin of victory is rather slim.

How do you manage your money? Do you trust online services to provide calculated data about your finances? Let us know in the comments!

Image Credit: ~jjjohn~

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  1. jesse
    March 18, 2019 at 1:56 am

    KMyMoney is 100% double-entry.
    Because it considers expenses and income categories does not take away from the double-entry accounting. Under the covers they are handled the same way.
    The only thing I wish KMyMoney changed; get rid of the other types of transactions. Just make them all transfers.

    Gnucash has an advantage in business features such as accounts receivable/payable, which can be mimicked but you cannot 'close the books' like in Gnucash. You also can track customers and their associated invoices/jobs. Although you can create a payee..and use that as a customer record. No way to invoice though. I know one of the goals is to hide the double entry accounting, but honestly, make them all transfers and it makes it easier. Also, KMM should provide a real cash flow report, like Gnucash's. Money in vs money out. I want to see if I am getting better or not. Current reports only do income vs expenses (what about transfers?)

    KMM is great! Gnucash is great. I am split and like them both. Gnucash's reports need to change to use something more than eguile/scheme to build them.

  2. Andy
    June 2, 2017 at 10:42 am

    You neglected to point out that GnuCash is equiped with features required for small business use, including managing customers and suppliers/vendors, customer invoices and supplier bills. This is why GnuCash uses the internationaly recognised double entry accounts system. KMyMoney on the other hand is incapable of doing any of these things because it is only designed for personal home finance.
    If you want to manage any form of small business accounts don't bother with KMyMoney as it is incapable of doing the job. If you only need to manage your personal finances then both are great but KMyMoney is a little easier to use for those who are not experienced with double entry book keeping.

  3. zparman
    November 20, 2013 at 8:03 pm

    KM is easy to use and intuitive. But I use GC. That's because GC follows the generally accepted accounting protocol of double entry accounting. KM use categories while GC use accounts. Eventually you will progress from personal accounting to business accounting (if you are not there yet) so why not use or start one that will meet your future needs.

    Also, if you like to code, you can enable python so you can write your own reports beyond what the screens can offer.

  4. Rick Upshaw
    September 5, 2013 at 8:11 am

    Um... I really did write that comment in several paragraphs. I'm not sure why it posted as one giant paragraph.

    • Tina S
      September 5, 2013 at 3:28 pm

      And it did post in paragraphs. What you saw was just a preview.

  5. Rick Upshaw
    September 5, 2013 at 8:10 am

    I was actually a bigtime Quicken fan, but not of the most recent versions.

    Contrary to Intuit's desire for me to fork over more money every year for their "upgrades", I have been using Quicken 2006 Home & Business for years, and have been quite happy with it. However, recently, my wife and I noticed that for some reason, it was "forgetting" transactions that we entered when we closed the program down and came back to it days later. We tried everything to get to the bottom of this... backup, restore, validate... researched the problem online to no avail, etc. Finally, after the fourth time we lost more than a couple of month's worth of transactions, I just gave up and started looking for another solution.

    I am new to both KMyMoney and GnuCash. I use them both in a Windows environment (looking forward to getting away from Windows one of these days!) I've played with both, and I find that GnuCash - while being a bit more complicated to use - is better for my business needs (not the least of which is that my accountant is a lot happier with the reporting of "Accounts" instead of "Categories"). I thought of using it for my personal needs as well, but my wife is much less of a "Geek" than I am, so she liked the similarities between KMyMoney and Quicken. So I use KMyMoney for my personal finances, and GnuCash for my business needs.

    I have to say that I do miss some of the functionality that comes with Quicken. For example, when looking at the Categories list, when you click on a particular category, a small overview comes up on the right showing you how many times that category has been used, and to whom payment was made in that category. In both KMyMoney and GnuCash, you apparently have to run a report to make that happen. Workable, but it seems to me that this kind of additional functionality could be added to both KMyMoney and GnuCash with little effort.

    I also looked at Sage's options (really more for my business), which are REALLY nice. I may still end up using this solution at some point for my business, but for the $500+ price tag for what I'd need, I think GnuCash will do just fine for the foreseeable future.

    One other thing I think people checking out these two options should consider is that if you spend, make and invest money in multiple currencies, your options are narrowed significantly, but both GnuCash and KMyMoney handle this quite well.

    Hope this helps!

    • Ladis
      September 26, 2013 at 1:14 am

      Great summary Rick, many thanks. I am just about to change over from MSMoney (alas) so I think I will give KMyMoney a go. Money still runs beautifully but I need stock updates which have been curtailed since July 1 in Money. I am in Australia though so I will have to see whether KMM will handle ASX stocks.

  6. hape
    August 12, 2013 at 9:55 pm

    I've experience for several years with Quicken(started accounting with MS Money) on Windows environment.

    After starting with linux desktop, I tried GNUCash and KmyMoney for accounting SW. Decided to use KmyMoney.
    Very similar to Quicken and a better/ flexible reporting functionality.
    I find easier to use and quick to get familar with.

  7. Mike
    July 23, 2013 at 9:22 pm

    No mention of Skrooge (

  8. Rsm
    July 23, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    Moneydance is a commercial application that runs on Linux as well as Mac and Windows.

  9. moneyuser
    July 22, 2013 at 7:15 pm

    MoneyManagerEX. Simple and Fast.

  10. JohnBUK
    July 21, 2013 at 9:49 pm

    I use Gnome but found Gnucash less than intuitive. I came from a Windows environment using MS Money for years.
    I eventually installed KmyMoney (and its KDE dependencies) some 4 years ago and found it very easy to use including downloading OFX data from my bank for importing into the program.
    It can be a tad slow at times but I'm more than happy with it.

  11. dragonmouth
    July 21, 2013 at 12:12 am

    Thanks, Danny
    I've been meaning to get back to using my PC to manage money. Now I know to go with KMyMoney, both because you recommend it and because I use KDE. Back in my Windows days I used Kiplinger's Simply Money.

    You wouldn't happen to know of a native Linux tax program, something like TurboTax?