10 superb free tools for all of your basic business needs

If your small business has a comparably small software budget, these 10 free software tools can get your company up and running

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Accounting: GnuCash

GnuCash is an open-source accounting program that uses a checkbook-style interface to track basic incomes and expenditures. And, because this apps uses the double-billing accounting method, it assists you in balancing your books by ensuring that your cross-account transactions match up. In other words, money going in and out has to match your business assets and liabilities.

GnuCash allows users to set up transactions and reminders on a highly customizable schedule. The software was built with small business accounting in mind, complete with myriad report options (including profit and loss statements), customer and vendor tracking, invoice management, check printing, payroll management, and tons more. It does not, however, include dedicated inventory or POS tools.

Email marketing: MailChimp

MailChimps free as in freemium, but its gratisoffering is actually pretty gracious. The free tier of this popular email marketing management service lets you send up to 12,000 emails per month to a list thats no larger than 2,000 email addresses. In other words, you cant blast the world, but the typical small business can certainly email a significant portion of its customer base.

The free version of MailChimp is relatively unrestricted when it comes to creating and using templates, mailing to your subscribers according to location, and using dynamic content to email quasi-customized to different slices of your customer base. And no matter whether youre using MailChimps free or pro versions, you get access to the apps comprehensive reporting and A/B split testing.

Want more?

If youre looking for additional no-cost options, our guide to The Best Freeware for Small Business examines the best free options available in the productivity, photo editing, website design, and project management categories, while our roundup of the 15 Best Free Business Tools, Apps, and Services of 2012 covers even more useful (yet free) software, including no-cost backup and audio recording tools.

This story, "10 superb free tools for all of your basic business needs" was originally published by PCWorld.

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