Open Source solutions can be an extremely cost-effective way to run your business. When you’re starting out, the last thing you need are complex, expensive software packages. FreshBooks is the leading accounting software for small business owners (and we’re proud of it). There’s nothing missing. No features taken away because they don’t fit into some “Pro” plan that you’ll never use. Every feature has a specific purpose in helping you grow your business.
The thought of switching to an open source accounting software can make small business owners nervous. While most major accounting software providers have other smaller players as competitors, they are all proprietary. If you are looking for more independence with your small business finances and less reliance on a provider’s monthly bill, take a look at Xero, a SaaS alternative to Quickbooks and other proprietary programs.
ZipBooks: Best for Small Businesses Looking to Upgrade From Spreadsheets
Best for Small Businesses Looking to Upgrade From Spreadsheets
ZipBooks is a web-based financial software with a solid suite of accounting features. The company offers a free plan called ZipBooks Starter — an option that includes basic bookkeeping functionality, along with profit, loss, and balance sheet reporting.
It also covers certain invoicing and quote-related bases — plus the ability to accept payment via credit card or PayPal. It’s a powerful, easy-to-use solution, but its free plan is extremely free plan-ish.
The program’s features you can access with a free plan are restricted to the point that it might be easy to outgrow. You can only link one bank account and view basic reports with its starter option. Should your needs extend beyond that, you’ll need to upgrade to one of its premium plans.
And while those upper-tier plans are reasonably priced, they’re obviously not what someone who wants a free plan is looking for. Again, the solution itself is sound, but if you want a free program that will remain free as you scale, you should look elsewhere.
ZipBooks’ Key Benefits
- Unlimited Invoices
- Ability to manage unlimited vendors and customers
- Accepts digital payments via Square and Paypal
ZipBooks’ Key Drawbacks
- Only allows you to connect one bank account
- Only lets you view basic reports
- Online accounting software
- Completely free and open source
- Client portal
- Expense tracking
Akaunting is an interesting online accounting software that’s available for free. Yes, surprisingly, there’s no hidden subscription charges or additional upgrade options. It is totally free. If you are looking for a FreshBooks alternative, you should give it a try.
Ranging from invoicing to managing deposits and transfers. A whole lot of features. You can either utilize their hosting (again, it is free!) or host it yourself. It’s fit for both personal and enterprise needs. Try it out!
CloudBooks: Best for Freelancers and Small Businesses
Best for Freelancers and Small Businesses
CloudBooks is a free accounting and invoicing solution tailored to accommodate small businesses and freelancers. The program boasts a user base of over 2 million subscribers and has a suite of capabilities that cover invoicing, time-tracking, reporting, and payment needs — among others.
The platform is an invoice management solution, above all else — and that can be a benefit or drawback in its own right, depending on what you need.
While CloudBooks has features extending beyond that functionality, invoicing appears to be its main selling point — meaning it’s not quite as fully fleshed out with accounting functionality as other programs listed here.
So if you’re looking for exceptional invoice creation and management software, you should check out Cloudbooks. If you need a more robust accounting-specific solution, you might want to look elsewhere.
CloudBooks’ Key Benefits
- Allows for unlimited users
- Features email support
- Offers free cloud data storage
- Upgraded plans are reasonably priced
CloudBooks’ Key Drawbacks
- Only lets you bill one client
- Caps your number of invoices at five
- Lacks phone or chat support
- ERP & CRM
- Powerful Java Web Framework
- Cross-platform (Linux and macOS)
We’ve already mentioned this in our list of best open source CRM software. Apache OFBiz is an impressive open source solution that incorporates an ERP system and a CRM suite for various types of requirements.
It’s completely free – however, you will have to host it yourself (or just hire someone to do it). In addition to all the basic features needed for accounting software, it lets a developer extend/enhance features easily while being a Java-based web framework.
Sunrise: Best for Small Businesses Looking for a Bookkeeping Solution
Best for Small Businesses Looking for a Bookkeeping Solution
Sunrise is one of the more prominent bookkeeping applications available for small businesses. Users can leverage the program to easily search and categorize business expenses, send customized invoices, and receive recurring payments.
It offers a free, self-service plan that provides businesses with a decent suite of features and a fair amount of flexibility when it comes to bookkeeping — allowing for unlimited invoices and transactions.
Sunrise sets itself apart from other bookkeeping solutions with its dedicated bookkeeper services, but those services come at a hefty premium. As I mentioned, its free plan is self-service — which works for small businesses but might not be sustainable as your business expands.
Ultimately, Sunrise is a straightforward, effective bookkeeping software with a free plan that can suit the needs of several small businesses. If you need a relatively short-term bookkeeping solution with a reasonable upgrade fee, Sunrise’s free plan is worth checking out.
Sunrise’s Key Benefits
- Lets you manage income and expenses
- Lets you send unlimited invoices
- Lets you generate profits and losses
Sunrise’s Key Drawbacks
- Suite of features is pretty restricted, relative to that of its paid plan
- Lacks payment integrations
- No cash flow insights or alerts
- Simple and useful
- Cross-platform (Linux and Windows)
Originally based on ADEmpiere ERP. It is a community focused accounting software maintained by an active group of people. iDempiere aims to utilize technologies like Apache Maven to provide a business suite ERP/CRM/SCM.
There’s a ready-to-use Virtual machine available to download. In addition, you can utilize it on Windows or Linux.
Free software can be better than paid software. This is the first open source accounting software for small businesses to come out in recent years, and it is full of excellent features!