How can SME's use GNUKhata? An open-source accounting software for their business

Krishnakant Mane

Built by the technology team at Digital Freedom Foundation, GNUKhata is an open source accounting and inventory management software. The product recently launched its new version making it more GST-friendly with user experience enhancements especially for non-accountants i.e shopkeepers, dispensaries, small and wholesale traders etc to use GNUKhata with ease.

What is GNUKhata

GNUKhata is a free and flexible software for accounting and inventory management that supports a wide range of applications in every field of economic activity, including factory or farm-based production, a point of sales accounting & inventory and work in the service sector. While it serves such traditional accounting requirements, it is best-suited for the emerging sectors of the economy who are being required to keep audited accounts, such as self-help groups, craft producers, and micro-finance groups. GNUKhata is highly customizable, given its open source nature. It can be easily transformed into Indian languages, largely unreached by existing software solutions. The project is currently funded by International Center for FOSS a Kerala government undertaking and is now adopted by AccionLabs.

New Version Makes GST-Compliance Easy

Small to medium enterprises from computer, stationery shops or cloth stores, small retailers, schools, small rural or semi-urban shops, service sector industry of micro to medium scale such as IT startups and NGO's are all potential customers of GNUKhata. The version 5 of this free, fast and feature-rich accounting software is more enterprise-ready with a lot of new additions to the already existing modules. These new additions include sales and purchase order, Credit and Debit note, Rejection note and a revamped invoice module, all GST ready. In fact, the Delivery note is also GST ready. “We also have the sales and purchase register revamped for new updates to GST. After a long discussion with our existing customer base, we decided to export all reports to xlsx instead of the previous ODS format this makes it easy to send data to other popular accounting software. Note that data provided in spreadsheets from other programs can also be imported in GNUKhata. We have also revamped the Profit and Loss statement and made it more auditor friendly. Lastly, we have made the import from software like Tally even easier,” informed KK.

Free as in Freedom of Choice

The software is not a product but a mission to give freedom of choice to small businesses and organizations looking for a simple, easy and customizable accounting tool. Krishnakant Mane or fondly called as KK is the founder of GNUKhata. KK is blind, but that didn’t stop him from programming. He created and maintains the GNUKhata project, a free and open source accounting software. He and his team are passionate about open source wanted to give the small & medium businesses an alternative to the proprietary software to make accounting simple and easy at lowest or no cost at all. “Our modules are designed thinking of the user and their daily accounting needs. For example in our module of ‘Close Books,’ you can actually close all your books and accounts at the end of the year. Then we have a ‘Roll Over’ module where you start a new financial year and all the closing balances of the previous year are passed on as opening balances into the next year. Our ‘Find and Edit Vouchers’ makes it easy for accountants to search and edit vouchers [Popularly known as DayBook in other popular software]so that if there is a mistake it can be corrected. We also have a unique module of a dual ledger that can have two ledgers side by side on the screen and compare it. This report can be of the same account for different periods, for different accounts for different periods or different accounts for the same period; you can do as per your convenience. This feature is highly appreciated and loved. With GST compliance now mandatory, we have made all the required changes in the software that makes it easy for accounts to incorporate GST in their account management,” he said. Apart from these our traditional modules of inventory has the features of invoices, cash memos, delivery challans, rejection notes, debit and credit notes, purchase order etc.

Top problems GNUKhata solves for the customers

  • No big holes in the pocket for these already small budget organizations as the software is affordable and comes with technical support service
  • It can work on a single machine or network with just a browser required on client terminals
  • No need to search through multiple excel sheets and documents shared on your desktop, the software gives accountants data access with minimal clicks
  • Accountants don't prefer to use the mouse because they have to post entries very rapidly and they preferably use right hand.
  • So the software uses ‘Enter’ key to navigate through fields i.e. from one field to another also up arrow key for backward navigation
  • It offers customization based on the nature of business for a small scale to medium scale as well as an NGO who have different accounting needs
  • Bill tracking is made extremely easy in our module for accountants
  • Extremely fast, a unique and easy way of closing books and roll over at year end to make it easy for the small business for year-ending activities
  • Comparing two ledgers with the unique dual ledger facility gives the accountants a quick view and data access for decision-making
  • Cloning vouchers make it easy work for accountants during bulk transactions with a list of debtors or creditors.

Competitive advantage from other products in the market

Open source = free out of the box and only pay for your own customizations. Features like dual ledgers highly appreciated by auditors and other users. Generates accounting entries automatically when user create invoice, credit/debit notes. Easy to manage accounts/finance for people with no or little accounting knowledge. Can be deployed even on a small network with only browsers required to use on client machines. This means 0 installations for end users. For bigger companies it can be deployed on cloud. “If you compare it with Tally or Quickbooks, except a few complex reports that these products offer, there is no major difference between GNUKhata and them,” informs KK. It is more about getting accustomed to the features and use of the software on a day-to-day basis solving practical working requirements of small and medium businesses that have made it popular.

What is the technology behind GNUKhata?

The system is designed in such a way that entire business logic is written as a core set of REST API based on an international standard called JSON. This implies that a third party application such as an Android app can be easily programmed to get specific information such as reports with no change to the logic. The software is developed using the Pyramid web application framework, used by companies like Mozilla and bit torrent. Postgresql is the relational database with more than 25 years of development and credibility. All this is open source stack with great performance, 0 cost, and high reliability and transparency..

Growing user base of GNUKhata

GNUKhata is being used by many organizations now. Kerala state government-run schools mandatory users of GNUKhata due to govt rules for using the only free software. Perfect accounting solution for Schools and NGOs is using the product. International centre for FOSS (ICFOSS KERALA Government) is actively deploying the software in startups, small businesses also included in commerce education in the said state. “The product received a good response from the members of Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industry and talks are on with other similar trade associations as well,” informed KK.

For more details on GNUKhata you can contact

Krishnakant Mane
AccionLabs PVT LTD , Plot G9, Cross road A, Andheri MIDC, Andheri (East), Mumbai 93

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