Using Free ERP Software to Better Manage Your Business

Effective business leaders are always trying to innovate new ways to make their business grow more efficiently, both in terms of energy expended and resources. Finding a way to integrate all of your business transactions and data into one cohesive system is a logical way to do just that.

Best Open Source ERP Software

Award Emblem: Top 6 Best Open-Source ERP Software

There are plenty of ERP program offerings on the market today offering to take all of your disconnected spreadsheets and databases and make sense of the numbers. An ERP program can certainly make your business run a little smoother, but finding the right one will help you to move forward more cost-effectively as well.

On the internet today, there are plenty of open-source ERP software options for businesses to make use of. Without having to fork over a dime to try out this free ERP software, you can ensure that your business will find an open-source ERP system that performs all of your necessary tasks at no cost to you or the business.

AdvisoryHQ wants to help your business integrate its data into a more comprehensive format, which is why we formed this ranking of the best open-source ERP. If your company is on the lookout for a new way to manage daily operations at a lower cost, consider what some of these top ERP systems could offer your business.

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AdvisoryHQ’s List of the Top 6 Best Open-Source ERP

List is sorted alphabetically (click any of the companies below to go directly to the detailed review section for that open-source ERP):

Top 6 Best Open-Source ERP | Brief Comparison & Ranking

Open-Source ERP Software

Paid Version Available


DolibarrNoAdd-on modules available to extend basic functions
ERP5NoAccounting, payroll, lots of other business templates available for install
ERPNextYesFree for one user up to 150MB of space
iDempiereNoOSGi and Buckminster technology capabilities
OdooYesGreat website features including e-commerce and website builders
OpenbravoYesBest for retail applications

Table: Top 6 Best Open Source ERP Software | Above list is sorted alphabetically

What Is Open-Source ERP Software?

When the IT department tells you that your company may need to investigate the long-term benefits of finding an open-source ERP software, what are they really asking for? Finding the best open source ERP can be difficult if you aren’t even sure what the program is supposed to do on a regular basis.

We will start off by covering the very basics: what does ERP stand for?

ERP companies provide programs known as enterprise resource planning. The name of this type of software pretty much tells all that you will need to know: it helps you to plan and manage all of the details that your business handles on a daily or regular basis. Some of the functions handled by the best open-source ERP might include:

  • Accounting
  • Procurement
  • Project management

In essence, ERP providers create the software businesses need in order to manage the flow of data day after day. This is typically done through having one data structure or database where all activities can refer back for distribution of that sensitive information. Instead of managing each individual item separately, ERP companies create a way for businesses to keep all of their pertinent data in one comprehensive location.

Best Open-Source ERP Software

Image Source: Pexels

The second part of the “open-source ERP software” that we need to address is what exactly is meant by the term “open-source.”

Open-source refers to a program that has been created and whose software is made freely available to the public. To make that even simpler, a better way of saying “open-source ERP software” may very well be to call it free ERP software.

There are certainly ERP providers available on the market that allow you to use their free ERP software to help your business grow. Decide which features your business uses on a regular basis and will use moving forward into the future. Knowing what capabilities you need on your free ERP can help you to determine which ERP companies are the right fit for you.

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Detailed Review: Top Ranking Best Open-Source ERP

Below, please find the detailed review of each company on our list of free ERP software. We have highlighted some of the factors that allowed these ERP companies to score so high in our selection ranking.

Dolibarr Review

Dolibarr gives companies one of the best open-source ERP programs available, with a few options when it comes to upgrades. For businesses that only need an ERP open-source program to get them started, this is a great entry-level program that has room for additional growth and add-on items that allow your business to function like never before.

One of the top ERP systems, Dolibarr offers a rather extensive list of services and capabilities for their free ERP. Reviews note that it is best used for small to mid-sized businesses. Some of the top functions available from this best open source ERP include:

  • Customer relations management (including proposals, orders, and prospects)
  • Managing stock and purchase orders or shipments
  • Leave requests and other human resources functions
  • Productivity
  • Marketing such as scheduling events and sending emails
  • Billing, payments, and bank reconciliation

New versions of this open-source ERP system are constantly being developed. Users are able to upgrade to the newest version easily without losing any of the data previously entered.

This open-source ERP software is available for download as a standalone application on your desktop, but you can also manage it on an online server (dedicated or shared). The flexibility in terms of the applications available is a part of what makes this one of the top ERP systems on the market. Companies can access the information on their ERP free no matter where they happen to be located.

Other modules and plugins can be downloaded from the Dolistore to help expand the capabilities in the way you need most.

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ERP5 Review

ERP5 promises to be one of the most powerful ERP open-source resources available for businesses that need applications designed for mission critical functions. Touted as a popular free ERP used by banks and governments, this open-source ERP system has plenty of unique and useful functions for all types of businesses.

One of the major appeals of the ERP5 open-source ERP software is that it utilizes their unified business model. While many of the ERP companies may provide an application designed for one or two specific industries, this best ERP is more generic. This basic application allows it to lend itself across any number of industries and types of businesses, making it a great choice for flexible and free ERP software.

There is a variety of templates available to help your business install the specific components necessary to daily functioning. Some of the more popular templates on these top ERP systems include:

  • Accounting
  • Customer relationship management
  • E-commerce and point of sale, including barcodes
  • Consulting
  • Invoicing
  • Payroll and other human resources tasks
  • Manufacturing

It should be noted that this best ERP cannot be used as a reporting tool, even though it does have many other top-notch functions.

ERP5 notes that some companies do have a better chance of success than others when it comes to implementation. Businesses who can define their priorities for organization, know what GNU/Linux is, and have a basic understanding of the Python programming language are better suited for ERP5.

You should also be prepared to allow Nexedi to help handle the implementation of this free ERP software in your business. 

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ERPNext Review

Simple enough for less tech-savvy users to implement, ERPNext provides a sleek alternative to some of the other free ERP software available to businesses. Without a basic model to build off of, these top ERP systems are designed specifically for a handful of industries, including services, manufacturing, retail, distribution, and schools.

What does this best open-source ERP have to offer that stands out from the rest?

The more modernized appearance of the program itself is something that may appeal to many users investigating open-source ERP software. Many of their applications are tied together to make accessing pertinent data convenient. Projects will always be linked to your tasks, timesheets, expenses, and budgets so businesses can more accurately track their daily activities and progress.

In addition, this best open-source ERP software also allows users the ability to do all of the following:

  • Billing and receivables tracking to see profitability
  • Human resources including payroll, leave, and claim expenses
  • Sales management to track customers, orders, leads, and send quotes
  • Email integration and shared calendar
  • Report builder

It should be noted that the largest disadvantage of the ERPNext software is that it will not always be free ERP software. In fact, it is only free for solo entrepreneurs who only need access for one user. They will make the ERP free for up to 150MB of space.

If your business grows or needs to expand for more than one user, there are additional plans available for more users and storage space. Subscriptions are priced annually and start at $300 for five users and 5GB of space.

iDempiere Review

With some reviews hailing it as possibly one of the most “robust open source options,” the iDempiere free ERP software is another selection for businesses who need more. Users will love how simple it is to use and the comprehensive overview that it lends to businesses who want to track various aspects of their company at a quick glance.

First, one of the most useful features of the iDempiere open-source ERP software is the easy-to-read performance gauges on the desktop view. In the screenshot available from these ERP providers, you can quickly see performance based on invoice revenue, open invoices, service requests (per quarter), and the total open service requests.

This best open-source ERP offers a rather extensive list of features that appeal to businesses of all sizes, including:

  • Product information and business partner information
  • Orders and invoices
  • Shipment information
  • Payment information
  • Asset information

While the specific list of all capabilities available is difficult to find, one review also notes that it includes payroll features as well.

This ERP open-source program is a combination of two previous versions, Compiere and Adempiere. With all of the features of these two prior versions alongside new technologies such as OSGi and Buckminster, this best open-source ERP software continues to adapt to emerging technology as it grows.

Users who will need support for even the best open-source ERP will want to note that it is only available through the community resource for iDempiere. Alternatively, those businesses who may need assistance implementing or managing these top ERP systems may find professionals who are well-versed in this free ERP in their area or remotely.

Free ERP Software - iDempirere

Image Source: iDempiere

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Odoo Review

With a consistently growing platform, Odoo’s best open-source ERP boasts an incredible number of developers and apps launched. They claim to release more than 300 new apps each month, the handiwork of their more than 5,000 developers who help to develop this ERP free. Businesses who need an open-source ERP software that can accommodate a wide range of needs will want to see what Odoo has to offer.

Their various apps available on these top ERP systems fall into one of their four main categories:

  • Websites (including a website builder and e-commerce)
  • Sales
  • Operations for human resources capabilities and accounting
  • Productivity tools to manage time and communications

The model of Odoo’s top ERP systems is designed to accommodate businesses of every size and scope. From single-person operations to large enterprises, these best open-source ERP programs give users the flexibility to manage each application in the way that suits them best. It prides itself on its fluidity and full integration.

Over the past few years, Odoo has earned a number of awards including the Bossie Award for the best open source solution (2013 and 2015) and Linux New Media Award for best open source system compatible with European accounting (2013).

Users should keep in mind that this best open-source ERP system is free for one app included on their cloud hosting option. It will include access for fewer than fifty users with self-service only.

After this, these top ERP systems will begin to charge on a per user basis as you grow, charged monthly or annually. For the more advanced plans you can get service from Odoo or a partner instead of self-service.

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Openbravo Review

Openbravo is a user-friendly option for the best open source ERP for businesses who focus primarily on retail sales. This award-winning platform received recognition from top awards companies including a Bossie Award six consecutive years in a row (2007–2014). There’s a reason that so many retail businesses opt to use these free ERP software programs to manage their companies.

Designed with mid-size to large specialty retailers in mind, their open source ERP platform adapts well to almost any type of retail sales, including:

  • Apparel and footwear
  • Beer, wine, and liquor
  • Building materials and garden equipment
  • Furniture or home furnishings
  • Health, beauty, and personal care
  • Sporting goods

Their retail free ERP is available with cloud and mobility platforms, allowing you to access all of your company data even while you’re on the go. You can manage all of the important aspects of your business, ranging from sales to corporate processes to your supply chain. No aspect of a retail operation goes untouched with this best open-source ERP.

Much like many of the other options for the best open-source ERP, Openbravo has multiple editions with only one being free ERP. Their community edition allows businesses to get a feel for the software without the up-front cost, though they do note that premium functions are only available through an enterprise or professional subscription.

The community edition lacks production management and MRP, as well as projects and service management. You also cannot install commercial modules on the free version of this best ERP, and it lacks the mobile infrastructure and support system.

Top ERP Systems

Image Source: Openbravo

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Conclusion—Top 6 Best Open Source ERP

Businesses looking for an advantage they can easily take hold of to keep better track of their company may want to investigate the free ERP software readily available. They will need to be able to first determine exactly what services will be the most beneficial to their particular business. Options for the best open-source ERP software range from the ability to process payroll to manage production costs to keeping track of customer relationships.

What could your business most benefit from having in one of these top ERP systems?

A multitude of ERP companies exist to provide solutions to your everyday needs, increasing your profitability and efficiency. Uncovering the specific details that your business could use on a daily basis will help you to select the right ERP program for your company. Do you need an open-source ERP that has more advanced features, that’s made for a specific industry, or has the ability to grow with your new company?

There is no shortage of options when it comes to finding the best open-source ERP on today’s growing market.

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