Looking for an alternative to mainstream small business accounting software? We list the five best open source software programs—and their features—for small business accounting.
Open Source Accounting Software for Small Business
You can choose from dozens of excellent open source accounting programs for everything from simple basic ledger bookkeeping to invoicing, inventory tracking, point of sale, payroll, taxes, and reporting and forecasting, and this roundup highlights five of the best.
The main thing to remember about small business accounting software is that it's not magic. It doesn't turn you into an accountant any more than owning a hardware store turns you into a carpenter, electrician, or plumber. You still need to know the fundamental principles of accounting and bookkeeping.
Small business accounting software has evolved into an amalgam of old-fashioned accounting plus enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relations management (CRM). ERP, in a nutshell, helps you understand the entire flow of your business: what works and what needs fixing or improvement.
CRM helps you identify your most valuable customers, and it provides insight into retaining old customers and attracting new customers. Many small business people keep a good sense of this in their heads, but that's not scalable or replicable, and viewing the actual data often reveals surprises.
Some of these offerings include cloud options and international support—an important feature as even tiny mom-and-pop shops can achieve global reach, thanks to the Internet. Without further ado, here are our five picks for best open source small business accounting software.