The rise of the internet has seen mass collaboration and proliferation of open source software. Accounting software has joined in the move to open source and has some high quality alternatives that are as good if not better than their overpriced commercial alternatives.
More and more individuals and business are making the switch. While primarily the switch is due to cost reduction to avoid licensing fees or up grade costs, as the community grows the so does the quality of the product. The better the product gets the more people you get using and the cycle repeats. Eventually your open source accounting software will be superior as traditional accounting software providers can not keep up with innovation from the community.
While I have been jumping on the open source band wagon it does have its draw backs. Before you decide on a open source product you evaluate what support is available for the product. Most traditional software providers will have a support line that you can call. Open source products do not provide this service. However the products do have community support through forums and online tutorials. The forums are usually very good however can be more time consuming than just giving somebody a call.
Before you rush out their and pick an open source accounting software you need to take a step an evaluate your need. Some of the key question you need to be asking yourself are:
- What type of business do you have? Services, manufacturing, property, non-profit, retail.
- Do you need support for payroll? Does this need to be integrated into the software or will it be outsourced?
- Do you manage inventory? Different accounting packages will have differing degrees of inventory management. They can range from none all the way to fully customizable.
- Do you do quotes? Do you need to do job costing and workflow management?
- Will you be doing the bookkeeping? Is the software easy to use?
- Is the software compatible with your operating system? What operating system will you be running?
- Will the software be able to grow and adept with your business?
After you have assessed your needs your can start delving into the different options. There are two different categories of applications. Firstly there is accounting software that just manages the businesses financial information. The second type is of accounting software that is part of a companies enterprise resource planing (ERP) system. This looks after the internal and external resources of the business. Both types of applications have excellent open source options.
The best free or open source independent accounting software applications include:
- GnuCash is a free and open double-entry accounting software program for personal users and small business owners. It is a stand-alone desktop program running on GNU/Linux, BSD, Solaris, Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows. GnuCash provides multi-language versions for international users, including German, Japanese, Chinese, Dutch, etc.
- Grisbi is a personal finance system that can manage multiple accounts, users and currencies. It is a stand-alone desktop program running on GNU/Linux and Windows.
- HomeBank is a free financial accounting software program for personal users. It is a stand-alone desktop program running on GNU/Linux, BSD, Solaris, Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows.
- Other free or open applications include JGnash, KMyMoney, LedgerSMB, PhreeBooks, Skrooge, and TurboCASH. Best Free Open Source ERP Accounting Software Download and Review
The top free and open source accounting software programs that are part of the ERP systems include:
- Adempiere is a free and open source ERP software application. It provides accounting functions such as general ledger, accounts receivable, accounts payable, financial reporting, cash Management Budgeting, and VAT/TAX/IVA.
- Other free or open source ERP accounting software applications include BlueErp, Compiere, Dolibarr,JFire, Apache OFBiz, Openbravo, OpenERP, PhreeBooks, Postbooks, Tryton, GNU Enterprise, and webERP. Details about Free Accounting Software Applications for Different Sectors