GnuCash is personal and small-business financial-accounting software, freely licensed under the GNU GPL and available for GNU/Linux, BSD, Solaris, Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows. You can download GnuCash at: https://gnucash.org
Designed to be easy to use, yet powerful and flexible, GnuCash allows you to track bank accounts, stocks, income and expenses. As quick and intuitive to use as a checkbook register, it is based on professional accounting principles to ensure balanced books and accurate reports.
GnuCash if a very complex system, probably not as sophisticated as QuickBook, but as simple to use as Quicken. There is ton's of information on their site on how to get started - I'm just going to provide a quick overview on how to set it up for managing VFW accounts.
After downloading and opening the application, you'll be guided through setting up a set of "Book" or a New Account Hierarchy. You could manage several different accounts, but we'll just set up a set of book for a VFW with a Canteen. We won't use any of the Canteen stuff, it's just there to show you what you have to do to manage your operations, regardless of what it is.
When you get to "Accounts to Create", Choose Business accounts. There are other preferences you can set, but the default values will work for most cases. Once you create your accounts, GnuCash is ready to use but your will want to got through the accounts and rename, delete or edit some accounts. The major thing I did was to create sub-accounts under Checking Account that are named to the funds you manage. A PDF of my current account hierarchy is at this link but the below screen show displays the Assets Accounts. I'll probably have a way send anyone a blank starter "Book" that you can just open at some point.
Once you have accounts set up the way you want (it's easy to change if you don't get it right the first time!) it's time to set up "Equity:Opening Balances". The below screen image show how I set it up for this demo to match the paper ledger version in the last section.
There are numerous way to enter transaction and there is probably not a correct or wrong way. If you go to the Accounts tab and select "Checking Account" under current assets, then "Open SubAccounts" under the Edit menu. It will open all funds on one screen. I use this mainly for displaying all transaction. I tend to enter most transaction using the General Fund and split transactions if multiple funds are needed. Below are images of what my demo transactions look like in different funds.
All transactions will have a minimum of two splits, this is what is called double entry accounting. If you write a check out of the General Fund for an Electric bill, it will be displayed in the General Account page as Expense:Utilities:Electric. If there is no -Split Transaction-, the other split is the account you have have open (Checking Account:General). Anywhere you see a -Split Transaction- you can select that transaction and click on the "Split" button and it will open up that transaction in a general ledger view. An example of an open split in the dues account is below.
Entering splits in GnuCash is no different then entering transaction in a paper ledger. What you get from GnuCash is putting your calculator away since everything is calculated!