Android App Pick: Mobile Financial/Budgeting With GnuCash for Android
GnuCash is my go-to defacto budgeting/financial program on Linux. I love its double-entry classic system with standard XML protocol support. The only thing missing from GnuCash is an online sync option, in my my opinion. And as you will find out, that same flaw exists in its mobile cousin.
Almost there, but not quite…
I wish I could say GnuCash is a complete mobile system, something that could rival YNAB (which due to platform incompatibility since moving away from Adobe AIR, is not natively compatible with Linux anymore.), but I would lying. GnuCash mobile is great, and works very fluidly but there are some things that I did, but also did not like. Those in search of an open source and cross-platform YNAB, may want to look elsewhere. But, for those who can live with the shortcomings at the moment, read on.
Gnucash for Android does a lot right. You get a basic “Accounts” setup, where you can add all your accounts, with solid basic options available when creating each. Long presses show options, as well as use of the menu press on Android phones. Adding new expense or asset items is quite painless, with a + button to the right of each account. The settings menu is sparse, but solid on what is there, allowing you to export all transactions to OFX (read more) format, which retains interoperability with GnuCash for the Linux desktop. GnuCash for Android supports multiple currencies, which is nice for you “globe trotters.” The license is from the Apache Foundation, which is a plus as well.
Export options are available in OFX mode only, which is not a bad thing, but it would have been nice, like the desktop, to have export options in case you wish to export to a program later on that does not accept OFX. Also lacking is the complete absence of an account driven “sync” option like YNAB implements. Sure, it’s nice being able to import and export at will, but having the files stored in the cloud via GnuCash would be nice. The workaround for this is to open your GnuCash file from an Android file sharing program such as Google Drive or DropBox.
Using GnuCash with SpiderOAK
Now, if you are like me and like the security of SpiderOak, this is not a viable option as SpiderOak lacks full integration into the “import from” API of Android at the moment, nor a “hive” location in the filesystem ( at least I did not notice it in “scard0/sdcard1”). This lack of workaround in Spideroak, leaves you to annoyingly left to manually downloading the GnuCash file from your Linux system each time (manually via spideroak if applicable). I may be left to use DropBox because of this, but I am not sure what I will decide on. The other option exists to use YNAB via the Wine Windows emulation stack. That option is not something I like either.
So what do you suggest then?
To be honest, if you want to pursue a mobile/desktop budget system, GnuCash could theoretically work, but only with Dropbox/Gdrive or a support Android app that allows you to access via the “import from” Android API or via the Android file system. YNAB could work, but if you can cope with stetting it up on Linux via Wine, and using it full time in that regard, then that may work for you. For now, I will keep mulling around the options I have.