The 8 Best Free and Open Source Accounting Software
Accounting is an integral task in an organization which includes recording monetary transactions, sorting and analyzing those transactions to come up with reports providing information about the financial condition of an organization.
Whether a business is enjoying profits or bearing losses can be known from Accounting and thus is a significant part of any business. The reports generated from accounting is the concise summary of the financial transactions occurred over a period of time and thus help organizations in taking future decisions relating to operations, marketing, and finance.
Traditionally, accounts were maintained manually by trained accountants using registers, books, vouchers, etc. But, with the evolving technology, companies started using accounting software because of its high-end speed, accuracy, and convenience.
What is Accounting Software?
Accounting software is a computerized system which allows organizations to record the financial transactions, audit them and generate reports providing information about the financial position of the company. The main aim of accounting software is to keep a record of income and expenditure, measure assets and liabilities, monitor cash flows, and prevent financial disasters in the business.
The accounting software includes tools which help in creating invoices, process payments, maintain payroll, record taxes, streamline communication, and generate reports in a systematic and accurate manner. Similar to other automated systems, accounting software has also evolved with time and so now includes advanced features for growing and diversified sectors.
Why Is Using Accounting Software Better Than Manual Accounting?
As the business grows, the number of financial transactions increases and the complexities within the operations also accelerate. Managing accounts manually becomes time-consuming and increases the possibility of increased human errors. Manual accounting has some limitations which you can eliminate by using highly-functional accounting software.
Accounting is considered as the fundamental task of any business, requiring high-end accuracy, and reliability. The success of the business depends on the financial decisions taken based on the reports generated from an accounting system. If those reports are not accurate or having errors, the decisions can go wrong which can be a big disaster for the business in terms of profitability and growth. Accounting software plays a major role when it comes to speed and accuracy in recording financial transactions, auditing and generating reports.
By adopting good accounting software, you can decrease financial errors.To explain this better, we have come up with a comparison between the manual accounting system and accounting software.
Features of an Accounting Software
There are several reasons for businesses switching to other accounting software. One of them is that they don't get the features they required.
So, which are those features which are highly desired by the businesses in accounting software?
The features required in an accounting software highly depend on the business type and logic. Here, we have listed out some features of accounting software which you can look for while choosing one for your business -
Accounting - This is the basic feature which includes accounts receivable and payable, general ledger, fixed assets, bank reconciliation, etc.
Invoicing - Preparing invoices and mailing them to clients, can be automated with the help of this feature of accounting software.
Fixed Assets Management - This module of an accounting software simplifies the task of calculating depreciation, audit history, resource allocation, etc.
Inventory Management - You can manage your stock accurately if you have included an inventory management module in your accounting software.
Budgeting - The estimated expenses of the future based on the current expenses are budgeting, which is important when crucial decision making in business is concerned.
Payroll Management - Process & pay the salary of your employees on time, file their tax returns and respond to all their financial queries on time with the help of payroll management module.
Qualities of an Ideal Accounting Software
The accounting software has multiple features, but if it is not easy to use can be disastrous for your business. Adopting a particular accounting software requires investment, which should be done wisely by considering the below significant qualities -
Customization - The accounting software you choose should be flexible enough to allow certain customizations are suiting to your business logic.
User-Friendly - The accounting software should enable you to access the information easily on a single dashboard, and help you in getting tasks done quickly.
Secure - Accounting software deals with the most crucial data of a business, and this is supposed to be extremely secure.
Integration - For example, if your accounting software doesn't include payroll management module, it should have the capability of integrating with a payroll system you already have, which would save you from additional costs.
Pricing - Depending on your budget, you can choose your accounting software. The features of the software should match its price and should be worth investing.
Timely Support - At any point of time, if your accounting software fails to provide the results you are expecting, you should be sure that there is a support team at your rescue on an immediate basis.
Mobile-Friendly - Most of the accounting software now come with mobile apps which work on different platforms like Android, iOS, Windows, etc.which can facilitate you to manage your accounts on the go.
Types of Accounting Software
We can diversify the types of accounting software based on three aspects - Features, Deployment, and Cost.
Entry-level Accounting Software is ideal for small enterprises not having more than five employees — this type of accounting software having limited features like accounts payable & receivable with basic financial reporting facility.
Small to Medium Accounting Software includes additional modules for seamless business operations like purchasing, inventory, point-of-sale, human resources, etc.
Enterprise Level Accounting Software includes advanced features and powerful reporting system, requires investment, and thus is built for large organizations.
All the above accounting software can be deployed either on-premises or cloud-based.
Web-based accounting software or open source accounting software is installed in your computer and has the ability to customize as per your business requirements.
Cloud-based accounting software also known as SaaS (Software as a Service) is hosted on remote servers. The data is stored on the cloud, is processed there and sent back to the user.
Not all accounting software require high investment. There are also free and freemium types of accounting software for businesses having low investment budget.
First, let us have a look at How Much Would a Paid Accounting Software Cost you?
The cost of accounting software depends on its features. Before selecting accounting software specifically for your business, you need to ensure that the price justifies with the features it provides. For instance, the price of Enterprise Level Accounting Software is obviously high due to its features and facilities. You can buy that software only if you really need that level of features; otherwise, you end up in investing in an accounting software having features, you would never use.
Freemium Accounting Software
This type of accounting software provides a free trial period which you can use for a limited time without any investment, and analyze whether it is compatible with your business or not. After the trial period expires, you need to pay the price depending on the features you require.
Free Accounting Software
Using this type of accounting software costs you nothing. Yes, it is totally free. The perfect accounting software should be great in functionality, but at the same time should not eat away at your profits. After in-depth analysis, we have come up with these 8 best free and open source accounting software with features comparison helping you to select the software suiting to your business type and requirements.
Before you go through the list of free and open source accounting software here, we would recommend you go through one of the most popular accounting solutions: NetSuite Accounting.
NetSuite Accounting is cloud-based accounting software that allows financial managers and leaders to streamline their processes and operations, making them highly efficient and accurate. It provides real-time financial data and thus enables drilling down to business financial details quickly. NetSuite cloud financials and accounting software helps in eliminating errors in financial accounting and therefore results in reduced back-office costs. Due to its functionality of automation in complex accounting calculations, the delay in generating statements is avoided. Moreover, NetSuite accounting software ensures that the financial statements and disclosures generated are in compliance with multiple regulatory standards including ASC 606, GAAP, SOX, and others.
- Provides clear visibility over business financials
- Facilitates efficient management of accounts receivables, payables, tax, ledger, cash and so on.
- Allows accepting and processing electronic payments from customers in a secure and reliable way
- Tracks, manages and reports the depreciation and book value of the company’s fixed assets
- Allows configuring customized business processes and workflows and monitoring them regularly
- Generates financial reports providing complete information about the financial performance of the business on a real-time basis
- Allows managing risks effectively using customized and out-of-the-box controls and processes
Now, let us have a look at some of the popular free and open source accounting software solutions that are in huge demand in the market today.
8 Best Free and Open Source Accounting Software
Akaunting is an open source accounting software built using technologies like Laravel, Bootstrap, API, Swift Mailer, JQuery, etc. It is a platform and device friendly software which can help you manage all your company financials whether it is sending invoices to the clients or receiving payments online.
It is absolutely free software, no setup fees, and no hidden charges. Being an open source software, Akaunting installed on your host can facilitate full control over it. Moreover, you can manage your accounts on your fingertips from your Mac, PC, Mobile Phone, etc.
Having an easy to use interface, Akaunting is just perfect for small businesses. It has multilingual client & admin panel making it simple to use. Your financial data is extremely secure if you are using this software.
- Monitor the cash flow in your business and take smart decisions preventing loss and enabling the growth of the business.
- Send invoices to your clients in a professional manner and get your payments released quicker.
- Track company expenses to avoid unnecessary costs and improve the profitability of the business.
- Generate reports to check the financial health of the company and make decisions for the future strategically.
- Share invoices with your clients and accept payments online.
- Create categories for expenses and income for systematic reporting and streamlined processes.
- Add expenses and send invoices in any currency, the system would automatically convert them into your main currency.
- You can track inventory by recording the stock coming in and going out.
- Manage the finances of multiple companies from a single system by assigning different users to these companies.
- Add discounts for your loyal clients and accept payments accordingly.
- Create different types of taxes and link them to specific transactions, products, and services to ease out the entire taxation process and save time.
- Manage permissions of different users to keep the data secure and process simple.
The Key Takeaway
Akaunting is totally free and open source accounting software which is also rich in features helping you to manage your finances and keep track of your cash flow, invoices, and payments using a single admin panel.
If you have already used Akaunting, please feel free to share your reviews here.
Gnucash is powerful accounting software which is highly flexible, easy to use, and specially designed for small businesses. It can track your bank accounts, income & expenses and provide accurate financial reports. Based on basic accounting principles, this software ensures error-free calculations and reporting.
It is free licensed software under the GNU GPL and available for GNU/Linux, BSD, Solaris, Mac OS X, and Microsoft Windows. It can work on multiple operating systems like Windows, Linux, and MacOSX.
All the features of this software are highly customizable to suit your business. Moreover, it is a very well documented software, with systematic manual and tutorials, with many steps described step by step.
- Its cheque book style register offers a convenient and known interface for transaction entry.
- Schedule your transactions and get a reminder on time about your due transactions.
- Get access to customized reports in the form of pie charts, bar charts, etc., for your balance sheet, profit & loss, etc.
- Account reconciliation feature which helps in eliminating all the errors; and gets a clear picture of the financial position of the company.
- It can convert multiple currency transactions to the main currency.
- It is a multilingual software supporting 50 different international languages.
- It can manage multiple stock & mutual fund portfolio of accounts.
- It can print cheques in a standard format.
The Key Takeaway
Gnucash is a well-documented accounting software with the capability of getting customized as per your business logic. Derived from the concept of double entry accounting; this software is favorable for companies expecting an extremely streamlined accounting and business process.
If you have already used Gnucash, please feel free to share your reviews here.
3. Apache OFBiz
Apache OFBiz is a set of versatile modules which can be used for different sectors, and companies regardless of their size and business type. Being extremely flexible, it allows developers to add the features required by a specific business. Highly customizable, with robust features, this software is just perfect when it comes to handling accounting, manufacturing, inventory, and CRM.
This enterprise level software has the ability to scale with your business, and also is stable enough to provide a spectrum of features required for the growth of your business.
Besides accounting, this software also includes modules for managing Point of Sales, eCommerce store, manufacturing, customers/suppliers, warehouse and inventory.
- Manage entire accounting tasks including transaction entries, balance sheet maintenance, fixed asset management, stock, account payable, account receivable, invoice preparation, billing accounts, etc.
- Streamline catalog including product & price management.
- Manage manufacturing, sales & purchases, customers, order fulfillment accurately.
- Manage content for product pages, websites, blogs, forums, etc.
- Manage business operations including events, projects, tasks, requests, etc.
The Key Takeaway
Apache OFBiz is totally free and open source software used for accounting and other business operations helping the company to streamline the processes within different departments. You can use this software for the business of any size in any country, as it is highly flexible.
If you have already used Apache OFBiz, please feel free to share your reviews here.
Wave is specifically a small business accounting software meant for organizations having not more than 10 employees. It is an open source and 100% free software with no hidden costs. This software is just perfect for people who manage their accounts on their own.
Wave allows you to track your income and expenses, prepare invoices, and scan receipts. You can connect your bank accounts with the software within seconds. Know the financial health of your company with few clicks and make informed decisions.
Being a highly secure accounting software, Wave eliminates all your stress associated with accounting and taxation. You can create professionally designed invoices for your customers and accept payments online easily by using Wave as your accounting software. It eliminates human errors and get things done quicker and streamlines your accounting system required to run your business successfully.
You can even manage to send invoices to your customers on the go as Wave has its own iOS and Android mobile app specially developed for sending invoices.
- Allows connectivity with unlimited bank accounts and credit cards.
- Tracks income and expenses
- Integration with PayPal, Shoeboxed, and Etsy is possible.
- Updates instantly with data relating to payments, payroll, and invoicing.
- Can scan receipts instantly.
- It reminds you of scheduled bills and invoices.
- Can accept payments in multiple currencies.
- It allows payment reconciliation automatically.
- It can calculate sales tax automatically.
- Allows creating professional invoices with your customized logo and brand identity.
- Provides easy to understand cash flow reports.
- Can set up automatic payment for recurring invoices.
- Manages to store the backup in the cloud which means no risk of losing important data.
- Allows you to set up payment reminders for your customers.
The Key Takeaway
Wave is perfect accounting software for small businesses wanting to streamline their accounting and business processes by eliminating human errors and getting insights about the financial health of the company helping to make informed decisions and succeed.
If you have already used Wave, please feel free to share your reviews here.
SQL-Ledger is easy to install open source free accounting software which can run on Nix, Mac, and Windows platforms. It has an intuitive interface and thus is an easy to learn software. This accounting software is easily customizable as per your business requirements as it is built using simple Perl code.
Whether it is double entry accounting or maintaining a balance sheet, SQL-Ledger can justify all the tasks relating to accounting efficiently. Invoices can be generated in multiple languages making the software easy to use for international clients.
Access your income statement, balance sheet, sales, and profit reports to know the financial health of your company. Important documents like purchase orders, cheques, receipts, can be sent to the printer, fax or email to speed up the jobs for your employees and improve productivity.
- It can manage transactions including accounts receivable and payable.
- Manage inventory including expenses, income, and taxes.
- Print and email invoices, cheques, purchase orders, etc.
- Can carry out automatic reconciliation of transaction entries with bank accounts.
- It can provide access to financial statements providing a clear picture of the financial position of the company.
- Easy to use admin module enabling customization in report generation.
- Manage customers in a professional manner.
- Back-up data to email or file storage and avoid loss of important and confidential
The Key Takeaway
SQL-Ledger is a free and open source double-entry accounting & ERP system with a simple documentation system which makes it easy for developers to install and customize it as per business requirements. It can be accessed remotely, and thus it becomes quite simple for people located globally.
If you have already used SQL-Ledger, please feel free to share your reviews here.
Money Manager Ex is personal accounting software which is extremely user-friendly. This cross-platform software is totally free and open source, helping organizations to manage their finances easily.
This software keeps track of where the money is coming from and where is it going. It provides systematic financial reports, for better decision making. Extremely user-friendly software with attractive interface, helping users to get things done quickly and seamlessly.
Money Manager Ex is compatible with Windows, Linux and Mac operating systems. It is useful in terms of tracking income and expenses along with assets and liabilities. It includes a wide spectrum of features required to manage finance in an organization.
- It is a simple and intuitive software which helps businesses in managing finances effortlessly.
- Keep track of savings, stock investments, assets, and credit cards.
- Can send reminders for scheduled bills, payments, and deposits.
- Forecasting budgets and cash flow is possible.
- It provides access to financial reports in the form of pie charts and graphs.
- It can import data in CSV format.
- Installation is not required. It can even run from a USB drive.
- Empowered with non-proprietary SQLite Database with AES Encryption.
- Can support 24 different international languages.
The Key Takeaway
Maintain error-free financial records with the help of Money Manager Ex. You can download it for free without any ads. Moreover, it also offers an Android app, so that you can manage your finances at your own convenience.
If you have already used Money Manager Ex, please feel free to share your reviews here.
Openmiracle is a free open source accounting software considered as a 360-degree solution for your complete business solutions. It is an extremely user-friendly software based on professional accounting principles. So, even if you don't have accounting knowledge, you can still make the most out of it to maintain your company finances.
It is a powerful and flexible software helping businesses to maintain accounts in a systematic manner and access accurate reports. A proper blend of traditional accounting features and modern accounting principles, this accounting software is just perfect for businesses of all sizes.
Openmiracle is accounting software which is equivalent to the expensive and high-level accounting software, as it includes many plug-ins available and study features. Without compromising on quality, it is a pocket-friendly accounting solution.
- Easy-to-use software including customized menu launch making it comfortable for businesses having unique requirements.
- Design your bills and print them using this software as it can connect with the dot matrix printer.
- Has comprehensive features relating to payroll which include preparing salary sheets, employee attendance notifications, advance payment, salary vouchers, etc.
- Includes standard budgeting setup system and analyzing variance in the budget.
- POS for generating invoices easily.
- Easy to set up the standard and discounted rates for the products.
- Can manage PDC payable, receivable, and clearance.
- It can generate important financial reports relating to the balance sheet, profit & loss, cash flow, etc.
- It can generate powerful reports relating to inventory management, stock, sales, and purchases, etc.
- Can manage stock and streamline warehouse processes.
- It has the ability to set up a barcode system and print barcodes.
- Can handle multiple currencies and convert them at the latest exchange rates easily.
The Key Takeaway
Openmiracle has versatile features which can help you in improving the financial performance of your business. It simplifies and automates financial management processes and increases accuracy in your critical business processes.
If you have already used Openmiracle, please feel free to share your reviews here.
LedgerSMB is an open source free accounting software which facilitates businesses to track invoices, payments, inventory, and entire operations in an extremely systematic manner. Having a simple but powerful interface, it helps the users to learn the system quickly. Customizable at a high level as per your business requirements.
This software can integrate easily with other business applications due to its open architecture. When it comes to business accounting, security is very important, and LedgerSMB can fulfill that requirement at a high level. It includes control measures for maintaining code quality and unit testing infrastructure to fix issues permanently.
You can generate various customized reports using LedgerSMB, which makes it preferable for businesses located worldwide. Also, being multilingual, this software can print invoices, orders, quotations, etc.in 45 different languages. It is having enhanced functionality, and the ability to get deployed in various sectors like IT, retail, trade, communications, etc.
- Based on double-entry accounting principles, this software enables you to manage your accounts and transfer money within those accounts.
- You can track budgets relating to different projects running within your company or departments — also, access reports based on budget planning.
- Manage customers, sales orders, quotations, and invoices.
- Manage suppliers, purchase orders, and invoices.
- Manage cash flow, prepare cheques, receipts and account reconciliation.
- Manage fixed assets, depreciation, and disposal.
- Manage inventory, order fulfillment, and suppliers.
- It can access important reports displaying the financial condition of the business.
The Key Takeaway
LedgerSMB is a single application which helps in managing different processes within a business as it has a versatile integration capability. It provides a robust accounting platform enabling your business to manage and streamline processes accurately and efficiently resulting in high productivity and growth.
If you have already used LedgerSMB, please feel free to share your reviews here.
Besides these free and open source accounting software, we would also like you to recommend one of the most popular accounting software - Invoice Meister. Here, it is explained in brief to help you in selecting the software that best suits your business requirements.
Invoice Meister is an all-in-one invoicing and quoting tool with powerful features which can help your business to grow exponentially. It can save your manual efforts and time by sending notifications and reminders automatically. Moreover, it is now easy to send recurring invoices through this software. It is a cloud-based software and so can be accessed from anywhere. Below are some of its key features.
- Allows creating and sending invoices from any platform or device
- Can schedule recurring invoices to be sent on specific dates
- Includes professional invoice templates
- Allows you to create and send quotes
- Helps in categorizing and tracking expenses
- Supports multiple currencies
- Allows tracking payments
- Can send notifications for overdue and recurring invoices
If you have already used Invoice Meister, please feel free to share your reviews here.
Accounting software has become a significant requirement for businesses these days as it can save time and help your employees to focus on productive tasks enhancing the profitability of your business.
To help you further with the selection, you can also go through the best accounting software listed by GoodFirms. If the cost of the software is not a problem for you, we can recommend trying Odoo and Dolibarr providing 15 days trial period so that you can check its compatibility with your business before investing.
Based on the business processes and accounting principles your organization follows, we recommend you to select the software which is free & customizable, with high-end features, or providing a free trial, so that you can use and determine its compatibility with your business before investing.