Best Free Business Management Software

 
Introduction

Individuals won't have a need for a business application such as, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Supply Chain Management (SCM) or Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software; however, small businesses will find that a wide variety of business management software suites are helpful for carrying out business tasks and managing financial records more timely and efficiently.

 
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Discussion

Microsoft Office Accounting Express 2009If you're looking for a comprehensive small business management software suite developed by a major software vendor, try Microsoft Office Accounting Express (Version 2009), which is an essential tool for managing your everyday business activities and finances. With this program, you can create quotes and invoices, track expenses, organize the lists of customers, vendors and employees, and maintain financial information in one place. Core accounting modules such as general ledger, account payable and receivable, invoicing and bill payment are available together with various customizable reports.On the flip side, the distribution of this application was discontinued by Microsoft in November 2009, but it is still available for download at third party websites.

 

Another package to have a look at is GnuCash. Whilst the interface is a little bleak, it has a huge range of features, and is very complete in what it can do (considering it is open source). It has the ability to track stocks and mutual fund portfolios, as well as small business management tools such as customer and vendor management, invoicing and budgeting too. One thing to note it has a little bit of a steep learning curve to begin with; however, if you persist you will find it is well worth the effort.

 

Examples of business management suites

Besides the above applications, the following are several other competent small business management suites worth evaluating if your business is looking for commercial quality open-source offerings. Of course, small businesses should augment these software packages with the services of a Certified Public Accountant.

  • Compiere Community Edition, a cross-platform basic Java/Swing UI version of Compiere's open source ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software that is available for download as a ready-to-install binary distribution. This free edition does not include automated upgrade tools or support from the developer (other than the Forums and Wiki). Additional Software Required: Oracle XE (free) or EnterpriseDB Advanced Server(fee) database.
  • NolaPro requires MySQL database. A few add-ons are free but most carry a fee. Converter utility to import QuickBooks data, on-site and hosted web-based ERP deployments, and support provided via online Support Desk and Video Training Library.
  • Openbravo Community Edition ERP, ERP functions include Master Data Management, Procurement Management, Warehouse Management, Product Management, Materials Requirement Planning (MRP), Sales Management, Project and Service Management, and Financial Management. Openbravo Point-of-Sale (POS) application is also available. Requires Java Platform, Apache-Tomcat and a database engine, supported systems Windows and Linux.
  • Opentaps. a fully integrated application suite that brings together top-tier open source projects to help you manage your business more effectively. Requires Java and a relational database, running in Windows or Linux.
  • Sugar Community Edition CRM, many support options and extensions are available via SugarWiki, Sugar University, Sugar Forums, SurgarExchange, and SugarForge. Requires PHP, MySQL or MSSQL, and Apache or IIS. Supported systems Windows, Linux and Mac.
  • vtiger CRM, bundled with the LAMP/WAMP stack and other third-party open source packages. Plug-ins for Outlook, Office, and Thunderbird are part of the vtiger CRM project at SourceForge.net, and many support options and extensions are available. Supported systems Windows, Linux and Mac.
  • XTuple PostBooks Edition, a graphical client runs on Windows, OS X, POSIX (Linux/BSD/UNIX-like) and requires PostgreSQL database. Support, training and source code are available for all editions.
  • TurboCASH, an open source accounting package for small business, with support for VAT accounting. Chart of accounts available here.
 
Related Products and Links

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Quick Selection Guide

Microsoft Office Accounting Express
4
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Comprehensive small business management software suite, core accounting modules include general ledger, account payable and receivable, invoicing and bill payment, create quotes, track expenses, organize lists of customers, vendors and employees, various customizable reports, etc.
No more distributed by Microsoft but available from other websites.
2009
182 MB
32 bit but 64 bit compatible
Feature limited freeware
Windows XP to 8

Additional Software Required: Includes Microsoft SQL Server Express.

GnuCash
4
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Full featured package, considering the price (free!). Very customizable.
Steep learning curve, interface a little bit bleak.
http://www.gnucash.org/
2.6.3
71 MB
32 bit but 64 bit compatible
Open source freeware
A portable version of this product is available but not from the developer.
Windows (XP, Vista, 7) MAC OS X, Linux (Fedora, Mandriva, Redhat, Ubuntu)

Portable version: http://portableapps.com/apps/office/gnucash_portable
You're encouraged to use an external encryption software, such as AxCrypt, to store your critical data files.

 
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Tags

Business management software, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software, Enterprise Management system, business accounting application

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