Open source accounting software like quickbooks

Accounting software such as QuickBooks has revolutionized the game when it comes to accounting automation. The perks of using this type of tool are endless — it’s intuitive and easy to use, has an unbeatable AppStore full of great add-ons to optimize automation even further, and can be effectively used by small business owners.

Here you’ll find the best QuickBooks alternative, learn about the top features and even more!

Great functionality comes with a cost – it’s not free. This isn’t a bad thing, as many of us are happy to pay for a service that will eventually pay for itself by saving the company from spending money paying somebody else to do the job. But the thing is that many small businesses that are just starting out might not need the full QuickBooks functionality. At least not in the beginning.

Here we offer you a list of 8 best free QuickBooks alternatives for small businesses:

1. Wave

2. ZipBooks

3. GnuCash

4. Synder

5. Zoho Invoice

6. Sunrise

7. Akaunting

8. Manager


What is it?

Wave is an exceptionally good software that will perfectly suit freelancers and young small businesses with little to no inventory. It’s one of the best free QuickBooks alternatives for small businesses, but you have to know all the pros and cons.

What are some of its best features?

  • Recurring invoices
  • Credit card processing which is done automatically with a very low 1% fee
  • Auto-categorization with AI in place to remember your categorization edits. If you change a category for a transaction that was automatically placed somewhere else, next time Wave will put it into the right category
  • Wave App for receipt scanning


  • Easy dashboard and overall great user experience
  • Minimum company information required to start
  • Compatible with both Mac and PC


  • No real-time inventory tracking
  • No purchase orders and printable vendor checks
  • Expenses cannot be automatically converted into invoices


What is it?

Synder is a worthy QuickBooks alternative that mirrors the actual money flow happening in your payment platform or e-commerce. Free 7-day trial is available and it includes all the essential features for a smooth accounting workflow. 

What are some of its best features?

  • Instant analytics and reporting (P&L, Balance sheet)
  • Swift invoicing
  • Simplified and meticulous inventory tracking
  • No-code Smart Rules feature for categorization and classification


  • Easy to adjust and use
  • Multi-currency management
  • Access to consolidated cash flow
  • 24/7 support via live chat, phone, email, Zoom


  • Online only
  • A great number of features may be overwhelming at first 
  • Some platforms have limitations on how far back the user can import historical data 


What is it?

ZipBooks is a great alternative to QuickBooks that has a free plan. The software will suit small businesses that don’t have many employees and don’t require reconciliation of several bank accounts. These features are only available in the paid version. 

What are some of its best features?

  • Smart expense management
  • Unlimited invoicing with an interactive overview of how much of the invoice has been paid by your clients
  • U.S. and Canadian bank account synchronization available
  • Business health tracking


  • Rich features
  • Great reporting
  • Can switch between cash and accrual accounting


  • Limited free plan
  • No inventory tracking
  • Only 1 bank account available to connect for free


What is it?

GnuCash is a downloadable QuickBooks alternative for small businesses, available for Windows, Mac, and other operating systems. It provides a double-entry accounting platform. 

What are some of its best features?

  • Professional layout
  • Detailed financial reports
  • Helpful multi-ledger structure
  • Pie charts, bar charts, scatter plots


  • Great graphs and charts
  • Double-entry bookkeeping
  • Open-source software


  • Single-user system 
  • Stocks and budgeting features aren’t very intuitive
  • The interface isn’t as intuitive as those of its competitors

Zoho Invoice

What is it?

Zoho Invoice is a cloud-based invoicing software that suits microbusinesses and can be a great free QuickBooks alternative. This tool allows you to craft professional invoices, track time and expenses, and create up to 5 automated workflows.

What are some of its best features?

  • Time tracking and timesheets in the free version
  • Customizable invoice templates
  • Expense tracking tools
  • Automated workflows feature


  • Clear and comprehensive reporting
  • Automated payment reminders
  • SSL encryption


  • After crossing a threshold of 5 customers you will be asked to purchase a plan
  • Additional users need to be purchased
  • Auto-scans need to be purchased


What is it?

Sunrise is a great QuickBooks alternative with a free Self-Service plan perfect for solopreneurs and small businesses in service-based industries. With a free plan, you can send invoices with no limit, customize them, and create cash flow reports. 

Note: low payment processing fees: 

  • 3.55% + $0.30 (per CC transaction)
  • 1.5% + $0.30 (per ACH transaction)

What are some of its best features?

  • Process discounts and refunds
  • Unlimited number of users
  • Great cash flow reports
  • Customized invoices


  • Unlike some of its competitors, it will allow you to connect an unlimited number of bank accounts for auto-synchronization
  • Free plan allows you to add other users to your account
  • Quotes and estimates are available


  • Bill payment and tracking isn’t available and must be entered into a spreadsheet
  • Auto-categorization isn’t available on free plan
  • Payment integration with Stripe, PayPal and Square only on the purchased plan 


What is it?

Akaunting is a securely-built, open-source free QuickBooks alternative for small businesses. It allows creating invoices and tracking expenses, as well as managing your finances online, from any device. 

What are some of its best features?

  • This is one of the few truly free options on the market. This means that all features are available
  • Open-source software accessible from any device
  • Clear dashboard with powerful reporting features


  • Billable expenses, rare for this category of software
  • Unlimited bank and cash accounts
  • Sharing transactions and invoices with clients


  • Little information available about the company
  • Minimal to no support
  • Might not suit businesses with professional, advanced accounting requirements


What is it?

Manager is a desktop-based QuickBooks alternative for those preferring to work offline. You will be asked to pay only in case you want to create a cloud backup (which is easily avoidable by saving your files on something like Google Drive). 

What are some of its best features?

  • It’s one of the most respectable completely free options for desktop users
  • Very easy to use, simple, albeit somewhat spartan interface
  • Modules that you can enable and disable to create your own interface
  • Preconfigured reporting


  • Easy-to-process and intuitive to use
  • Good support community
  • Flexibility in setting up the chart of accounts


  • Bank importing can be time-consuming and isn’t as automated as many cloud-based options
  • Reporting is limited
  • No system checks

Final thoughts

Hopefully some of these pros and cons will be helpful to you when choosing your first accounting software. Most of these options are great free QuickBooks alternatives when you’re just starting out. In time you may find that some of them lack an important feature that you need (inventory tracking, more automation, less manual data entry, a greater variety of reports available – just to cite a few), but it’s good to keep these accounting software solutions in mind as a way to learn more about business bookkeeping and save money on more complex options.

Intuit Inc. is an American corporation that specializes in financial software. Specifically, the company develops personal finance, accounting, and tax return software.

The company is headquartered in Mountain View, California. It has more than 10,000 employees.

While Intuit has a GitHub presence with over 100 repositories for numerous open source projects, none of these repositories offer any substantial desktop software. Instead, the repositories focus on tools and libraries for the developer community. None of these projects have attracted significant interest from the open source community.

The company focuses its development efforts on a range of proprietary programs. Intuit refuses to support any platform other than Windows and macOS.

This series looks at free and open source alternatives to Intuit’s products.

Intuit QuickBooksIntuit QuickBooksQuickbooks is an accounting software package targeted mainly at small and medium-sized businesses.

Quickbooks is proprietary software and not available for Linux. What are the best free and open source alternatives?

1. GnuCash

GnuCash is a personal and small-business financial accounting program.

Designed to be easy to use, yet powerful and flexible, GnuCash allows you to track bank accounts, stocks, income and expenses. As quick and intuitive to use as a checkbook register, it is based on professional accounting principles to ensure balanced books and accurate reports.


2. Ledger

Ledger is a command-line based double-entry bookkeeping application.

Ledger uses text files for input. It reads the files and generates reports; there is no other database or stored state. To use Ledger, you create a file of your account names and transactions, run from the command line with some options to specify input and requested reports, and get output. The output is generally plain text, though you could generate a graph or html instead. Ledger is simple in concept, surprisingly rich in ability, and easy to use.

3. hledger

hledger is an elegant, versatile accounting program, for tracking money, time, or other commodities using plain text records.

There’s a variety of interfaces available. You may prefer the zero-setup web interface (WUI), allowing terminal-free, point-and-click usage.


All articles in this series:

Alternatives to Intuit’s Products MailchimpMailchimpMailchimp manages mailing lists and creates email marketing campaigns and automations to send to customers. MintMintMint is a personal financial management website. The service offers personalized insights, custom budgets, spend tracking, and monitoring. TurboTaxTurboTaxTurboTax is a software package for preparation of American income tax returns step-by-step. QuickbooksQuickbooksQuickbooks is an accounting software package targeted mainly at small and medium-sized businesses.

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Written by Jane