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Top Open Source Finance Applications to Look Out for

written by: Om Thoke•edited by: Eric Stallsworth•updated: 11/4/2009

The finance applications, especially the custom ERPs, can be extremely costly and burn big holes in the pockets of business owners, and as such the demand for open source apps in the field of finance has been increasing dramatically. So, let us take a look at the top open source finance applications

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    Goodness of Open Source Finance Packages

    Not only do the open source finance packages come totally free of cost, but they are also not dependant on a particular platform. However, the proprietary programs work well on only specific platforms, as they're designed only for specific needs.

    As such, even after paying a lot of money on licenses, the proprietary financial packages don’t allow you to work with all platforms and require additional licenses based upon the number of machines on which, the software is used.

    On the contrary, the open source packages can be used on as many systems as needed, and they work well on all open source platforms like FreeBSD, UNIX, Linux, Solaris etc.

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    Open Source ERP Packages

    To cater to the needs of small business owners, countless open source finance packages were developed, such as Adempiere (an ERP Business Suite), GnuCash (a double-entry book-keeping system), ERP5 (a Zope/Python based ERP solution), and the likes of them.

    Turning the focus towards other popular open source ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) packages, Compiere, an ERP solution that automates processes like accounting, managing sales orders, inventory, and supply chain is also quite popular, while packages like Grisbi, a single-entry and KMyMoney -- a double-entry book-keeping program, have also gained significant levels of popularity.

    FriFinans is yet another impressive open source finance application that offers facilities like taking orders, generating invoices, ordering products and doing a lot more. It is still under final stages of development, and isn’t tested completely yet, but even at this stage it looks quite promising.

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    Java-Based Open Source Finance Apps

    jFin, JGnash (double-entry book-keeping), JQuantLib (Quantitative Finance API framework), and JStock (stock market software) are some of the popular Java-based open source finance packages that have become extremely popular these days.

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    Latest Developments

    Looking at the latest developments, n21 eBusiness Suite, a web-based ERP/CRM package is quite a powerful open source finance package that has emerged in the market, while Mifos — Microfinance Institution management software, Openbravo, and OpenERP have also been recently developed and gained high popularity soon enough.

    TurboCASH is a popular double-entry book-keeping for Windows environment, while GnuCash is a treat for Linux/Unix/FreeBSD lovers. HomeBank is an open source application for personal use, and Marketcetera is an open source trading platform for those who're interested in stock trading, but don't want to spend any money on using paid tools. Here are some more Linux financial tools!

    Note: All Linux financial tools are not necessarily free -- there are some proprietary packages that require licenses, and don't come under the GNU/GPL free distribution license, but majority of Linux/UNIX based finance packages are totally free for personal and commercial usage.

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    GnuCash: The Ultimate Free Open Source Accounting Software

    Primarily coded in C, GnuCash is a free open source accounting software, and happens to be a part of the GNU Project. It runs on platforms such as OpenBSD, Solaris, UNIX, Linux, Mac OS X, FreeBSD, and the likes of them.

    Looking at the features of GnuCash, you’ll discover that the package allows you to perform double-entry bookkeeping, maintenance of Stock/Mutual Fund Portfolios, Scheduled Transactions, and Mortgage and Loan Repayment Druid. It also offers support to HBCI and Multi-Currency Transaction Handling.

    GnuCash also comes with Transaction-Import Matching Support, OFX, QIF Import facilities, Small Business Accounting Features and even Multi-User SQL Support, making it an extensive open source finance application.

    What’s more, GnuCash can also export data to TXF format and can be used in tandem with the tax preparation programs with great ease. You can virtually perform all kinds of finance related tasks with the help of GnuCash.

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    Which One Should You Pick?

    Having seen a plethora of options, you might be confused as to which package you should really pick. Well, it is totally a personal choice, based on individual's or business needs. Remember, every package is unique and so are the business requirements, and none of packages serve as a replacement to other, except in rare cases, when functionalities are almost identical.

    But, the bottom-line is that you must check all the free open source finance packages available in the market, before spending even a penny on buying licenses of the paid proprietary packages.

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