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How do I Choose the Best Open Source Financial Software?

Article Details
  • Written By: S. Gonzales
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 14 October 2017
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2017
    Conjecture Corporation
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Open source financial software is an alternative to proprietary financial software. The two differ in that open source financial software is free to use and modify. Proprietary software requires that users purchase software packages or licenses and usually do not allow programmers to alter the program's code.

The benefits of using open source financial software are many. Many users prefer to use open source financial software over proprietary software because using open source software helps save the average user money while he is attempting to manage his finances. However, there are also users who appreciate open source financial software because of its functionality and adaptability.

As with any type of software, features vary from package to package. Users new to open source financial software may be pleasantly surprised to find that free alternatives are often comparable to proprietary software in terms of features. In fact, it's been said that many open source software developers are more in-tune with the needs of the average user than big companies. This leads to the development of practical open source tools which, in turn, add to their appeal.

For example, open source financial software often gives users the ability to track bank account balances and statements, create budgets for specific time frames or events, develop a digital checkbook register and monitor household spending. These types of functions can be attractive to the average user who simply wants to monitor personal and household spending. Open source software that monitors household spending habits may also function as a personal income manager by keeping track of the owner's incoming checks.

Other open software options can help a user delve into more detailed and complex financial planning. Financial reports, forecasting and net worth determination are functions that the intermediate user may appreciate. Stock and mutual fund portfolios and quotes, as well as tools to help keep on top of the markets can appeal to the advanced user. Open source software may also be a sound solution for small business who wish to manage transactions and payroll.

Those who are interested in trying open source financial software but who are wary about compatibility and interface issues should take a moment to research different programs and find an open source solution capable of meeting their needs. Many open source programs aresimilar to proprietary software and even have interfaces that closely resemble their proprietary equivalents. In addition, exporting is often an option on open source solutions just as it is in proprietary solutions.

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