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Linux - Accounting Software

Accounting is one place where Linux has a pretty wide selection of software for businesses sized from kitchen table to multinational enterprise. Porting from Unix to Linux is very easy, so many substantial and well tested packages have made that migration. Unix still dominates accounting in midsize companies and many firms seek to modernize those systems by moving to Linux with its optional GUI interface and wide support for new hardware.

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Important Things to Keep In Mind

  • Linux / Unix based accounting systems can be accessed from Windows, Linux and OS/2 workstations, and many are compatible with "green screen" terminals as well. Both network and serial connections are supported.
  • Your Linux / Unix accounting server can also serve as a general file and print server for DOS, Windows and OS/2 applications. By using Samba, your Windows workstations think it's a regular Windows NT/2000 Server. It can even be a Windows NT or Active Directory domain controller.
  • Some Linux packages offer both text and GUI (Graphic User Interface) interfaces. GUI software looks pretty to managers and more friendly to the untrained, but DOS and Linux/Unix text based applications are very much faster and less expensive in actual use by trained staff. Accounting is an irrevocably text based activity, so "pretty" soon gets tiresome.
  • DOS accounting, distribution and POS (Point of Sale) packages are still widely used and still sold by some developers. These fast, economical text based applications can run from Linux, OS/2 and Windows servers, and be accessed from Linux, OS/2, DOS and Windows workstations.
  • By using Samba and/or some terminal emulation software like FacetWin, Linux applications can print to printers attached to Windows workstations.

Prices shown here are example only for an entry level configuration. They can vary greatly depending on additional features and options desired and number of users / servers, and are subject to change without notice by publisher. Always discuss pricing with he vendor or their VAR (Value Added Reseller) before making a decision.

Definitions - SOHO - Small Office Home Office - one or two users. Small Business is up to 100 employees (we use "substantial" to indicate a small business with over 10 employees) and Medium business is above 100 employees but under $1 Billion in sales.
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Publishers We Have Recent Experience With

  1. Vigilant: SOHO to Multisite - Distribution, Retail POS, Job Costing and eCommerce - Linux, Unix, Windows - Single & Multisite - POS integrates with credit card clearing and eCommerce.

    Vigilant is a long established company with mature products. Linux Real-Time Multisite is particularly powerful for multisite or remotely managed businesses. eCommerce integrates with sales in real time. $895 to $3050 for full accounting plus Sales Order or POS. Specialized modules additional.

    Vigilant's Web Site was designed by someone who needs to find a different line of work. Full screen Flash on every page, but the info is there if you allow the Flash plug-in.

    Disclaimer: Automation Access is a certified VAR for Vigilant for Linux.

  2. Appgen: is A long established company that recently took on too many projects too fast and is going through a change of ownership right now. We expect their unique products and extensive VAR channel to be back in action in a few weeks.
  3. MyBooks: - SOHO to Small - Linux, Windows, Macintosh (OS X). Customizable. Full, easy to understand accounting on a scale similar to QuickBooks - $99

    MyBooks Professional for small to medium business on a growth path. Full, easy to understand accounting that scales far beyond QuickBooks and is economically customizable by Appgen VARs. Both GUI and text interfaces available for up to 100 users. $249 (2-user) $799 (10-user).

    Appgen Custom Suite: Linux & most Unix - Full accounting and management for substantial small and medium businesses that need extensive customization and integration with EDI and other software at the lowest practical cost. Big business power and flexibility at a small business price.

    Disclaimer: Automation Access has been trained by authorized by Appgen but currently supports Appgen products in partnership with an Appgen VAR/programmer specialist.

  4. Data Pro: Infinity Power - Full business accounting and management for Distribution and eCommerce - Unix, Linux, Windows. Sold by the module. Customization is available by Data Pro.

    Data Pro is a long established company. We have one client who has run the Infinity Power package (with minor customization) for many years in a substantial equipment refurbishing and distribution business. He migrated to the Linux version from the DOS/LAN version in 2000.

    Disclaimer: Automation Access has been, but is not currently active as a Data Pro dealer.

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Other Accounting Packages to Consider

We have had no recent dealings with these publishers, so we know little more about most of them than what is on their Web sites and on-line reviews, but they support Linux and may have a good fit to your business.

If you find errors or omissions, I'll be glad to hear about them. I'm not including packages that support Linux on the server but only Windows on the desktop so don't bother me with any of those. I will not list open source projects that are not yet usable by real businesses or "legacy" Unix products that are essentially unsupported by their publishers.

  1. AccountiX - SOHO to substantial - Linux, SCO Unix - complete accounting, job costing, manufacturing, time billing. Source code available for customizing. Single user $195/module, Multiuser $395/module, Source Code $595/module). Demos available.
  2. ACCPAC - small to medium business - Linux (GUI), Windows (GUI). This well known accounting system was originally sold as Easy Business back in the '80. ACCPAC Advantage Series now supports Linux both on the server and on the desktop. This is full accounting with many specialty modules.
  3. American Business Systems - small to substantial business - Linux, Unix (text), Windows (GUI) - Accounting, Distribution, Retail. The Linux/Unix packages are ABS traditional products they've sold and supported for decades. The Windows GUI accounting was recently developed based on the text product. Demo packages of both versions are available for download.
  4. Assist 2K - substantial to medium business in Distribution and Manufacturing - Linux, Unix, Windows - Full accounting with many specialty modules, written in BASIS.
  5. BANAL - open source - small business - Linux - Bookkeeping / practice management system. BANAL is still in development but said to be usable now for some purposes. Multiuser but limited. Free
  6. BestAcct - Nonprofit and Funds Accounting version of Proven Choice Accounting (see link below).
  7. C/Books - small to substantial business - Linux, Unix, DOS, Windows Complete modular accounting including Job Costing and Fixed Assets. Tools are available for customization by user.
  8. Check Book Balancer - open source - personal finance - Linux, Unix, others. A simple program for anyone who wants to keep track of their checking, savings, credit card and other accounts. Still in development but usable. Free.
  9. DDI - small to medium Law, Accounting and Professional Services businesses - Linux, Unix, Windows - Time and Billing with specialty modules for staff scheduling, court docket, and other.
  10. eData Technologies - Viper Distribution, eCommerce ($6995 5-user), smartACCT Retail Point of Sale ($65/month plus $25 to $125/month per workstation) , Job Shop + Job Costing, Motor Shop electric motor sales/repair - Linux, SCO Unix. Another "difficult" Web site, but the information is there and they have trial versions for download.
  11. Fenix - Customs, Importing, Freight, Cargo and Integrated Accounting - Unix, Linux.
  12. FitriX Exact Fit - small to medium business - Linux (Text & GUI) Linux, Windows and "green screen" clients. Complete accounting with Inventory and Distribution modules, including Multi-Currency - basic and customizable. FitriX QuckStart 5-user $2495; FitriX Complete 5-user with complete RAD (Rapid Application Development) for customization $9995. Additional users $495 each.
  13. GnuCash - open source Personal Finance (Quicken level) - Linux, Macintosh OSX, most Unix. Developed by a community of volunteers (as Linux is), GnuCash is freely downloadable from the Internet, including source code. There's an on-line Feature Tour to introduce you to the product.
  14. InfoFlex - AccountFlex - substantial small to medium business - Linux/Unix, DOS, VMS - Full accounting and management for Distribution, Point of Sale, and Job Shop businesses. GUI and Text interfaces. Sold by the module ($995 database runtime plus $750 per module). Customization available by InfoFlex. Downloadable documentation and evaluation copies available.
  15. Jalia Limited - small to substantial businesses in the UK - Linux/Java, support for Windows clients is planned. Complete UK accounting including VAT considerations and other UK applicable features. Similar to Sage accounting. Evaluation version available for download.
  16. Journyx - small to medium businesses - Linux, Unix, Windows - Web based Time Tracking, Project Billing and Payroll systems.
  17. Kalculate - small and medium business in India and Asia-Pacific - Linux - Accounting and complete desktop environment. INR 2,000 to 10,000.
  18. Kapital - personal finance - Linux. Kapital has capabilities similar to Quicken but is much leaner. $25 to $50.
  19. Linux Business Accounting System - Linux General Ledger - SOHO to IBM zSeries mainframe - General Ledger for Business and Client Write-up. Designed to be linked to in-house developed business management modules. Single user PC $40, Multiuser source code $295, zSeries mainframe $1400. Developer redistribution licenses available.
  20. Main Street - substantial to medium business - Linux, Unix, Windows - High performance Payment Processing and Credit Card processing software. Integrates with most payment and credit card processing services.
  21. Money Dance - personal finance - Linux, OS/2, anything that runs Java 1.3 or later. The most "Quicken like" software for Linux. $29.99.
  22. mP-MIS Accounting - small to substantial business - Linux, Unix, Windows - Full accounting with many subsidiary modules including Manufacturing.
  23. Noguska - Nola and Nola-Pro - small to medium business - Linux server, Web Based client (GUI) - Full accounting and eCommerce, source code and customization available. Nola is free and Nola-Pro is very inexpensive (charged by the month it's typically $25 to $50 per month). Because Nola is Web based your accounting system can be accessible from any network or Internet attached device that supports a Web browser, from anywhere in the world (of course you can restrict that to whatever degree you wish). Noguska also offers hosting, consulting and customization services and complete Nola-Pro server systems.
  24. OpenMFG - small and medium Manufacturers - Linux and other - Manufacturing Control and Accounting. It runs against the open source PostgresSQL database.
  25. Open Systems Inc - OSAS - substantial to medium business - Linux, Unix, Windows. Full accounting including many specialty modules and eCommerce from a very long established company (1976). Self running demos are available for download.
  26. Parity Software - substantial to medium business in Germany - Linux, Windows - Full customizable accounting.
  27. Proven Choice - small to substantial business, U.S. & Canada - Linux (GUI), Windows (GUI) - Full accounting plus specialty modules (Professional Time Billing, Point of Sale, eCommerce). Basic Accounting $2599, Inventory & Point of Sale $599, Professional Time Billing $999, eCommerce $799).
  28. QHacc / KHacc - open source - home accounting - Linux (GUI). Extensive accounting for home users. KHacc is a KDE desktop aware version of QHacc. Free. Review
  29. Quasar Accounting - Linux Canada - SOHO to small - Linux - Complete accounting for small business including Point of Sale and interface to handheld computers. Basic accounting $29 per user, Inventory $49 Point of Sale $199, Multistore $39. Evaluation copy available for download. Basic accounting and Inventory modules also available for Windows.
  30. Samco Back-to-Basics Accounting - small business - Linux, Unix, DOS, Windows - Full feature integrated accounting, Sales Order and Point of Sale. Single user $675, 3-user $1075.
  31. Samco Power Accounting - small to medium business - Linux, Macintosh OSX, DOS, Unix, Windows - Full accounting and many subsidiary modules including TimeClock, Time and Attendance, Point of Sale, Service Manager, EDI, custom integration, Professional Billing, Lease Financing, and much more. Modules run from about $500 to $1800 or so.
  32. Silk Systems - substantial to medium business - Linux, Unix Windows - Equipment Management, Point of Sale and complete Accounting with many specialty modules.
  33. SOLD II X - Auction Businesses - Linux (GUI), Linux (text), Windows (GUI) - Auction management system, integrates with Proven Choice accounting (see link above). No Frills GUI & text $499, text only $299; Professional GUI and text $1,199, text only $999, Legacy GUI and text $2199, text only $1999.
  34. Southware - substantial to medium business - Linux, Unix, Windows - Full accounting including many specialty modules written in AcuCOBOL.
  35. SQL Ledger - open source - small to medium business - Linux, Unix, Windows, others - multinational and available in many languages - This is a Web based accounting system which can make your accounting data accessible from any network or Internet connected device that supports a Web browser anywhere in the world (if that's the way you configure it). It will run on any reasonable server supporting the Apache, thttpd or boa Web server, and will run against a number of SQL databases (PostgreSQL, which is free, and Oracle and IBM's DB2 which are most surely not free). Free, but needs some skill to set up. Paid support options are available.
  36. Triumph Accounting - small to substantial business in Australia - Linux, Unix, OS/2, Windows, etc. - Full accounting and many additional modules including eCommerce, Point of Sale, Fixed Assets, Currency Exchange, and others. Au $1925 for single user.
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Even More

  • Find Accounting Software - here's a site listing over 260 accounting packages that support Unix and/or Linux. Note that many support only Unix and not Linux, but some of these are in the process of porting, or perhaps the publisher needs a little nudge to start porting, because Linux will be steadily replacing Unix at most user sites.
  • Many packages written for SCO Unix will run fine on Linux with the included compatibility layer, but doing so may not yet be supported by their publishers. For information on the future of SCO Unix, see my article SCO - Death Without Dignity.
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