How Do I Choose the Best Open Source Invoice Software?

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

Open source invoice software is a viable option for many small businesses and independent contractors, especially when they are first launching and money for software is somewhat limited. These open source solutions will often provide all the tools necessary to create basic invoices that can be printed and sent to customers by post or attached to emails as documents. When considering the different options for open source invoice software, it is important to consider factors such as functionality, ease of use, and the ability to import and export data to other systems with relative ease.

An invoice.
An invoice.

One of the main factors to keep in mind with any open source application is the range of functions available with the software. Ideally, you want to select open source invoice software that will allow you to customize the template, adding information such as the company name, a "remit to" address, and contact information. You also want to go with an application that makes calculating the amount due somewhat simple. For example, an open source tool that allows you to enter the quantity and price per unit on a line item and then have the software calculate the total amount for that item is very helpful. Focus on applications that allow easy entry of line item details, such as product descriptions, and allow you to create tables so that data can be retrieved for use at a later date.

A few other functions included in the open source invoice software will add to the value of the program to your business. The ability to save the invoice in a format that customers can open with ease, while also preventing changes to the invoice by unauthorized personnel, is very important. In addition, the application should allow you to create customer profiles that capture basic information, such as pricing for different services, client names and addresses, and even email addresses. When this detail is associated with specific codes created in the system, this can help reduce data entry time as the information is retrieved and fulfilled as you begin to create a new invoice for that customer.

Along with functionality, you also want open source invoice software that allows for easy entering of data, without the need to go through a lot of steps in order to complete an invoice. The movement from one template field to the next should be simple and fluid, allowing the data to be entered at an efficient pace. Ideally, it should not take very long to create an invoice template, customize the fields, and be able to use that template to create invoices.

The ability to retrieve information from other databases and load it into the open source invoice software program is also a plus. For example, the ability to interact with customer data found on a spreadsheet or in a sales database means minimizing the need to create customer profiles and enter pricing from scratch. This aspect can save a lot of time, especially if your business is beginning to grow and acquire a steady flow of new customers. With a number of different open source invoice software options readily available, smaller business enterprises can easily make a list of what features and functions are necessary, then identify at least a couple of open source applications that will meet those needs.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

After many years in the teleconferencing industry, Michael decided to embrace his passion for trivia, research, and writing by becoming a full-time freelance writer. Since then, he has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including wiseGEEK, and his work has also appeared in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and several newspapers. Malcolm’s other interests include collecting vinyl records, minor league baseball, and cycling.

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