8 Free Bookkeeping programs for creative business owners

8 Free Bookkeeping Programs for Creative Businesses

A list of 8 Free Bookkeeping & Accounting software programs that may be suitable for handmade or creative businesses.

Choosing a bookkeeping program and developing a system for your handmade or creative business can be a daunting task.  I talked a little about this a couple of weeks ago, in The Bookkeeping system for your handmade business – What do you want it to tell you.

I see many handmade and creative business owners, in the various Facebook groups I’m a member of, using spreadsheets to handle their bookkeeping systems.

Honestly, I don’t have anything against spreadsheets.  I use them a lot of the time for different things.

But spreadsheets just don’t cut it when it comes to having a bookkeeping system that gives you the information you need to run your business – without any extra math or needing to go into another program or app for additional details.

I provided you with a big example of why spreadsheets don’t cut it, in How to fill out a Sales & Use Tax Return, when I showed why a popular free bookkeeping spreadsheet didn’t provide the info need to complete a sales tax return.

Sometimes money is an issue and let’s face it, spreadsheets are free.

So, I did some research and came up with a list of……..

8 Free Bookkeeping Programs for Handmade and Creative Businesses:

Here they are, in no particular order.  And I’ve tried to make sure that the basic bookkeeping/accounting features are really free and don’t just offer a free trial.  Please be very careful of that.  

Please note these are NOT affiliate links nor have I personally used any of these programs.
  1. Wave8 FREE bookkeeping programs for handmade & creative business owners – better for sole proprietors and small businesses.  Looks like it can handle inventory.  Cloud (web) based.  Manage Accounts Receivable (money you are owed), create Profit & Loss and Balance Sheet reports, and connect to credit card and bank accounts.
  2. Zipbooks Starter – for small businesses looking to ditch spreadsheets.  Cloud (web) based.  No inventory.  Basic bookkeeping functions and reporting.  One user and one connected bank account.
  3. Akaunting – suitable for sole proprietors and small businesses.  While the basic program is free, if you need inventory you’ll need an add-on with free and paid options.
  4. SlickPie – for business owners with little to no bookkeeping experience.  Cloud (web) based. Looks like it can handle basic inventory.  Connect to your PayPal or Square account for free – just pay normal charges.
  5. *GnuCash* – suitable for sole proprietors and small businesses.  Installed locally on your computer – Linux, Windows, and Mac.  Does not appear to be able to handle inventory.
  6. NCH Express Accounts – for sole proprietors and small businesses with LESS than 5 employees.  When installed locally on your computer, the software is FREE.  The cloud (web) based version is a paid version.  Inventory is handled via an add-on (also free if you download/install on your local computer).
  7. TurboCash – suitable for small and medium sized businesses.  When installed locally on your computer, the Basic version is free.  For additional functionality there is a $60.00 per year charge.
  8. Manager – for sole proprietors and small businesses.  When installed locally on your computer it’s free.  If you want web based, then it’s paid.  Handles inventory.

I did look at several other free bookkeeping programs that I did not include in this list.  I felt that they had not been updated in several years or just plain scared me!

*NOTE* 

GnuCash is an open source software program.  To try to provide a simple explanation of WHAT open source software is  – I’ll keep it to this.  Open source software is not owned and developed by any one person or company.  Instead the source code is shared and anyone can add features.

Want me to make a recommendation?

It’s impossible to recommend a product that I haven’t used and honestly –  I just won’t do that.

However, out of the 8 free bookkeeping programs mentioned above, I can suggest that you check out Wave and/or Manager.

What bookkeeping program do you use in your business?

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7 Comments

  1. This is a great list. I’ll be sharing it on Twitter. Very helpful!

  2. What great sites, thanks for sharing them.

  3. I think I would probably want to take a look at SlickPie since that is the one for people who have never done bookkeeping before. Neat that you compiled a list of free resources! Because that’s my budget right about now.

  4. Wave can’t handle inventory.
    Interesting list.

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