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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Go to details...  Go straight to the Quick Selection Guide

 
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

You might want to check out these articles too:

 
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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Comments

by djlest (not verified) on 10. June 2011 - 5:19  (73583)

Does anybody know about an open source CRM that will integrate with quickbooks for free?

Or have inventory in its free version - apart from zoho which im not sure i want to use as they seem to be fond of charging for a lot of apps and additional things...

Tree.io looks good but way too early and still not quite out of the gates yet..

by Very Small Business Owner (not verified) on 17. February 2012 - 23:37  (88994)

I was on the phone with a Quickbooks rep this morning, and all I can say is that after a lot of probing questions from me, I kept basically hearing "no, you can't save your data anywhere else, you can only export it to an upgraded version of Quickbooks" and attempts to upsell us on a more expensive version of Quickbooks. I can think of LOTS of reasons to not want an online version of anything. Our data and customers are OURS... they belong to our company. I do not want to hear that we can't save our info in any truly usable form except a proprietary one. I have used a paper general ledger for this business, writing in it with a PEN, and I'll do it again if I get annoyed enough. (And we LIKED it that way! Old-school and unhackable!!!)

by ek on 11. June 2011 - 19:19  (73652)

I think you may be out of luck on the "free" part since Intuit actively seeks out 3rd-party software companies to partner with. So anybody who is developing something to work with QuickBooks will be very unlikely to offer a free integration with QB even if their main product is otherwise "free."

Good luck with your search - and if anybody out there does know of anything that will, please be sure to post about it here.

by Andy Collings (not verified) on 23. March 2011 - 15:50  (68424)

I used MS before and I hated it.
I would recommend going for a hosted solution, like Tree.io or Zoho.
It's got all the required features and it's free, so what else do you need? In fact, I don't see any reason for using a local software, online solutions look so much better.

by louizah ,kenya. (not verified) on 22. March 2011 - 8:48  (68310)

this is a very innovative and helpful site .im happy and grateful for helping me reach the studies even if i could not afford to go to school.

by Paul B. (not verified) on 23. January 2011 - 0:12  (65035)

The free MS Express is impressive, especially if you would like to customize your forms in Office. But it does not handle inventory or cost of goods sold, and that is a major shortcoming for most of us. It also requires rather detailed personal information for registration.

Still, I've tried many of the other free accounting progs, and this one has them beat.

Actually, MS Money isn't too bad for business either.

by ek on 22. February 2011 - 2:42  (66900)

MSOA Express is a very impressive entry-level business accounting package.

Unfortunately, it's also no longer being developed or supported. That means no more bug fixes, security updates, or compatibilty assurances for later versions of Windows.

So right now, you'd need to ask yourself if it makes good business sense to be adopting an orphaned accounting program this late in the game.

We'll be revamping this whole software category very shortly.

Hopefully, we'll be able to identify a 'live' app or two to fill the gap left by Microsoft when they abandoned this otherwise excellent product.

by Freddie (not verified) on 2. November 2010 - 5:24  (60630)

I went to averiwarefree filled out their form in order to activate the account and try their version of the free business software offered on their site, but they never sent me access username/password to their software, did they go out of business?
can anyone please advise me on where to go so I can use a free operating software to run my small business, i need the following:
1- contact manager for customers
2- contact manager for sales people and track their sales/commissions..etc
3-contact manager for installers and track their installations and fees paid.
4- contact manager for partners and sub catagory of customers through them.
5- Inventory
6- bookeeping.

thank you..

[Edit] References to commercial products removed

by Mr. Bla (not verified) on 9. August 2010 - 15:23  (55689)

Should have included this other write up I found helpfull:

isoftwarereviews.com/free-accounting-software-for-small-business/

Not sure if the pol is accurate? who knows.

by Mr. Bla (not verified) on 9. August 2010 - 15:16  (55688)

May I just say that I love this site! I look here first before searching for any software.

Question: Can anyone recommend free software that is lightweight and will allow me to fully manage my small businesses? Things I would like:

*Easy to use and esthetically appealing
*Manage more than one business and respective accounts
*Check printing
*Customer management (no need for full blown crm but addresses, payments and other stuff)
*Reports (printable)
*Auto updates with banking institution
*Payroll
*Account receivables
*Budgeting

I looked at BS1 which looked to be a good option, but apparently they dont allow printing of reports which I think is crazy. Please correct me if I am wrong in this.

I have downloaded MS Accounting Express, but I dont really like MS and it made me download their sql server which I think is dumb, and it is no longer supported. Too bad they dont release the source for a lot of you guys who do a wonderful job at coding.

Anyway, I appreciate the help.

by syntax_error on 8. August 2010 - 0:53  (55609)

QuickBooks Simple Start Free 2010 is also available.

However when I post a link to the page, as it's not always easy to find on the Intuit site, I trigger a spam filter and the post is not accepted.

by Anupam on 8. August 2010 - 5:41  (55616)

The 2010 version is available on the same link which has been posted in the article. So, no need to post the link. Thanks for trying to help :).

by Bruce Fraser (not verified) on 31. July 2010 - 0:49  (55215)

Just found this: Get Microsoft Money Home and Business for FREE!
Microsoft has released the last version of its personal finance program for free, with no need to activate it. It just works.

More info here: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=52D42D7F-E2E9-478B-A4DA-4B24E5875FC1&displaylang=en

Just be aware:
- It is no longer being developed; no upgrades after this.
- It doesn't do all the fancy online stuff -- automatic updates from your financial institution, etc.
- This is the US version. Current users with Canadian or UK versions will likely find the US version can't read their files. (That's how it was with Money 2008).

by Milocome (not verified) on 25. July 2010 - 16:17  (54912)

this pages needs a bit updating microsoft accounting has been dissolved

I found a free editon of a CRM with cheap upgrade for fuller versions
http://www.crm-express.com//compare.asp

but would be interested to know

I am waiting for my disk for outlook business contact manager from MS and hope that will do the job, as well as linking seamlessly into outlook 2010

by Anonymous on 12. February 2010 - 17:29  (43444)

StudioCloud offers free business management software. They have client tracking, scheduling, invoicing, marketing campaigns, project management as well as online capabilities such as a mobile interface and email appointment reminders.

http://www.studiocloud.com

by MidnightCowboy on 12. February 2010 - 20:21  (43452)

The crippled "free" features of StudioCloud hardly make this suitable for anyone genuinely trying to run a business.

by Anonymous on 26. February 2010 - 8:27  (44524)

What are you talking about? The only thing "crippled" is the online syncing capabilities which you can have if you pay them for it. Everything else is part of the free one.

by MidnightCowboy on 26. February 2010 - 10:39  (44530)

"Features that do require an internet connection are part of the CloudBoost add-on and require a small monthly fee".

Maybe your requirements are different but most of the folks I know couldn't run their own business without this, which isn't free. I'm certainly not saying that the package is no good, just that it's designed around being a commercial product because that's the only way in which the most needed business management functions can be unlocked.

by Anonymous on 1. May 2009 - 22:32  (20912)

If you want the best, use OpenERP !
http://www.openerp.com/

by Anonymous on 17. November 2008 - 23:48  (10637)

I just installed, tried, and uninstalled MS Office Accounting Express.

Here are my issues:
1. Advertisements on the dashboard after opening the application and a giant, screen-filling, click-to-remove upgrade advertisement each time you open the application. Feels like you've been infected with Adware.
2. Application has already completely crashed once.
3. Unnecessarily slow speed in transitioning between screens.

by mikedutch (not verified) on 27. October 2008 - 14:16  (9729)

See here for a limited time Peachtree offer at Fry's.

by Anonymous on 26. October 2008 - 6:12  (9652)

I recommend to try Busywin UL 3.5 which is one of the best free vat enabled accounting software (as per principle of Book Keeping) with invoice printing & inventory tracking from Busy Infotech.

You can download it from below page.

http://www.busy.in/index.php?p=fas

Shailesh

by Anonymous on 20. October 2008 - 0:51  (9350)

I prefer GNUCash over TurbaCash. You can download the windows version at http://www.gnucash.org. If you use Linux, it should be available in your distro's repository.

by Anonymous on 9. September 2008 - 16:39  (7555)

Wow, thanks for the tip on NolaPro. Now I can to my books when I'm on the road without having to pay for someone to host them. Just what I was looking for!

by Anonymous on 16. May 2008 - 14:07  (600)

Had major problems installing Office Accounting Express on my XP box. Quickbooks Simple Start behaved better.

by mikedutch (not verified) on 26. April 2008 - 12:46  (276)

When Intuit QuickBooks or Microsoft Money 2007 are used to edit or transfer files that are stored on a Windows Home Server-based computer that has more than one hard drive, the files may become corrupted.  See http://support.microsoft.com/kb/946676

This issue appears to be addressed by Windows Home Server Power Pack 1:
http://blogs.technet.com/homeserver/archive/2008/06/09/windows-home-serv...

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