5.1. Types of GnuCash Accounts

GnuCash supports a number of different account types. It is recommended to choose an appropriate account type based on the list of account types described below.


The Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable types are used internally by GnuCash’s business features. Transactions involving these accounts should not be added, changed or deleted in any way other than by using

  • post/unpost bill/invoice/voucher or

  • process payment

Table 5.1. Types of GnuCash Accounts.

Account Type


Accounts Payable

Accounts Payable are used by businesses to record amounts that must be paid. Example: The business has bought something, but the business has not paid the bill until later.

Accounts Receivable

Accounts Receivable records amounts for which money has not yet been received. Example: A business has sold something and issued a bill, but the client has not payed until later.


Asset accounts are used for tracking things that are of value and can be used or sold to pay debts. (Normally a placeholder account)


The Bank account type denotes savings or checking accounts held at a bank or other financial institution. Some of these accounts may bear interest. This is also the appropriate account type for check (debit) cards, which directly withdraw payments from a checking account.


The Cash account type is used to denote the cash that you store in your wallet, shoe box, piggyback, or mattress.

Credit Card

The Credit Card account type is used to denote credit card accounts, both for cards that allow floating lines of credit (e.g. VISA, MasterCard, or Discover) and with cards that do not permit continuing balances (e.g. American Express)


Currency Accounts were used for trading currencies, but have been replaced by the Currency Transfer pane on the Transfer Funds Window (Section 6.1, “Transfer Funds Dialog Box”).


Equity accounts are used to store the opening balances when you first start using GnuCash or start a new accounting period.


Any expense such as food, clothing, taxes, etc. This type is called a category in Quicken.


Any income received from sources such as salary, interest, dividends, etc. This type is called a category in Quicken.


Liability accounts are used for tracking debts or financial obligations. (Normally a placeholder account)

Mutual Fund

A professionally managed portfolio of stocks and bonds or other investments divided up into shares.


A share of ownership in a corporation, which entitles its owner to all the risks and rewards that go with it.

The New Account Hierarchy Setup assistant described in the first section of this help is a convenient way of setting up a set of accounts to use as a framework of account types.

When new accounts are created the available choices of account types are grayed out according to what type the parent account is. The following list contains the possible choices.