FrontAccounting appears to be a relative ‘sleeper’ in the realm of open-source cloud-based accounting with tremendous up-side potential. Minus the modern marketing and flashy UI of more widely known commercial accounting products such as FreshBooks or Xero, FrontAccounting offers the same basic functionality (and more) for businesses to effectively manage their operations…at no cost.
CAPABILITY: By ‘more’, we’re referring to inclusion of extended functionality such as: inventory management by multiple stock location, assembly, work-order management, purchase order generation, and tax configuration to the item level; all features typically absent or costing extra in other commercial cloud-based offerings. Having the foresight to craft this functionality on the front-end, the developers of FrontAccounting have effectively established a ‘lite’ ERP system of extraordinary value…because it’s FREE.
VALUE: It is unbelievably ‘FREE’, open-source, readily available since 2007, and has been downloaded well-over 100,000 times since. But the caveat of ‘FREE’ is that you might need some assistance in performing the installation if you are not technically oriented. But don’t fret too much if you are not a ‘techie.’ If you already rent hosting space for your website or eCommerce platform, you can use another FREE service called SimpleScripts to perform a 1-Click installation of FrontAccounting into your own hosting environment. You can link to the SimpleScripts implementation here:
CREDIBILITY: Need more convincing? Consider that FrontAccounting is the top-rated accounting system on SourceForge amongst its users. This includes a rating higher than other enterprise-class systems such as Openbravo ERP, Adempiere ERP Business Suite, and xTuple. These systems and ratings can be found here:
SIMPLICITY: Though comprehensive and feature-packed, the common-thread in the praise bestowed upon FrontAccounting by its users is, by far, ‘simplicity and ease-of-use.’ The following comment from SourceForge illustrates that common sentiment:
“What an excellent, excellent project! We were looking for a simple accounting solution that was Linux-friendly, open-source and web-based but, most importantly, accepted and understood (interface-wise) by the staff. We spent a few months evaluating and testing “big” ERP solutions (Openbravo, Adempiere and OpenERP) and deemed all unsuitable for various reasons: too complex for our straight-forward needs and therefore costly to implement, too broken code-wise in one instance, weird licenses for Openbravo and openerp-web, interfaces slow and not liked.
Then we stumbled on FrontAccounting – simple with clean and fast interface, GPL-licensed. A bit inflexible but still we didn’t have to do too much coding to make it fit perfectly. In fact, I think we did less coding implementing FrontAccounting then we did just evaluating some other ERP solutions.
And another thing – the response from the user forums and bug tracker is absolutely great! Big thank you to the developers!”
Comments such as these are prompted by an interface with a clean, well-organized, tabbed structure and supporting functionality. For the accountants, FrontAccounting offers a series of standard G/L reports that support drill-down capabilities; making forensic investigations quick & easy . For customer service, FrontAccounting offers convenient little features like pressing the ‘F2’ key to launch a sub-window allowing addition of a new customer without leaving the order entry screen.
SPEED: FrontAccounting is fast! While extending CartSpan to support FrontAccounting, we observed extraordinary performance from the supporting mySQL database. Performance in the user interface was fast and direct queries over the Web (from tables containing well-over 10,000 records) completed in 1-2 seconds. This makes FrontAccounting attractive relative to other well-known commercial accounting packages that utilize less capable storage mechanisms; a characteristic not supportive of business growth when order volumes and customer master records begin to reach the 10’s of thousands, causing search results and report generation to slow to a crawl. The high-powered mySQL database and efficient PHP scripting of FrontAccounting serve to avoid this problem.
SUPPORT: Consistent with the comments found in the SourceForge Project-of-the-Month article, “FrontAccounting is all over the Map”, we found FrontAccounting to have an active Forum and very responsive to users getting started with the system. Don’t let the name of the article fool you, it’s actually intended as a pun to reflect the adoption of FrontAccounting by users all over the world.
INTEGRATION (eCommerce): If you have landed on this page seeking integration of FrontAccounting with your eCommerce platform, “Congratulations!”, you have arrived at the most capable connector available. If you are seeking to integrate FrontAccounting with any of the open-source shopping carts supported by CartSpan, you’ve hit the jackpot. Marrying open-source FrontAccounting with any open-source cart such as Magento would make CartSpan (low-cost) the most expensive component in your high-powered business system; thus making you a cost management super-star.