Open-Source Software Alternatives Can Help Small Businesses Save Money

The economy may still be recovering, but many small businesses are likely still facing tight budgets thanks to slower steps forward in their locations or industries. Fortunately, many owners may be able to enjoy some savings by looking into open-source software options that will compare with many that they may use every day.

While businesses may have to shell out large amounts of money for computers and other pieces of technology that they probably need to make their operations run smoothly and efficiently, this simply doesn't have to be the case with a lot of software programs that are popular with companies large and small, according to a report from PC World. Some companies may pay as much as $2,000 per year, per employee, for access and subscriptions to various professional software, but many of them come with open-source alternatives which are available for free online.

For instance, many companies rely on the Microsoft Office suite of products to conduct day-to-day business, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint and the like, the report said. The suit itself costs $220 per user, and a subscription to Office 365 carries an annual price tag of $150. However, LibreOffice, a free, open-source alternative is designed to do everything its better-known competitor does, and is compatible with existing Office documents and files.

Likewise, nearly all companies probably rely on a program like Quickbooks to keep track of all their accounting needs, but these programs have costs which start – but certainly do not end – at $150, the report said. The open-source TurboCASH, like LibreOffice, does more or less the same thing as its comparable program, but costs nothing. However, some open-source  is also true of the invoicing program Freshbooks, which costs about $240 per year, while Simple Invoices won't cost a company anything at all.

The good thing about these programs being free is that small businesses can try them out and determine whether these options fit their specific needs, the report said. If not, the companies can go back to their old ways with little more invested than a brief period of time.

Finally, companies looking for a little more financial wiggle room may also want to consider whether more affordable small business insurance could be a viable option for them. Reducing costs for workers' compensation insurance and liability insurance policies may give owners more financial flexibility to devote funds to exactly where they want them to go.