Based on an open source code base first released in 1999, the LedgerSMB project was formed in 2006 and saw it's 1.0 release in the same year. It has now seen continuous development for over eight years and that shows no signs of slowing down.
"LedgerSMB 1.4 brings major improvements that many businesses need," said Chris Travers, who helped found the project. "Businesses which do manufacturing or retail, or need features like funds accounting will certainly get much more out of this new release."
LedgerSMB 1.4 features a redesigned contact management framework that allows businesses to better keep track of customers, vendors, employers, sales leads, and more. Contacts can be stored and categorized, and leads can be converted into sales accounts.
Additionally, a new import module has been included that allows businesses to upload csv text files to import financial transactions and much more. No longer is data entry something that needs to be done entirely by hand or involves customizing the software.
Many smaller enhancements are here as well, For example, shipping labels can now be printed for invoices and orders, user management workflows have been improved,
The reporting interfaces have been rewritten in LedgerSMB 1.4.0 in order to provide greater flexibility in both reporting and in sharing reports. Almost all reports now include a variety of formatting options including PDF and CSV formats. Reports can also be easily shared within an organization using stable hyperlinks to reports. Additionally the inclusion of a reporting engine means that it is now relatively simple to write third-party reports which offer all these features. Such reports can easily integrate with LedgerSMB or be accessed via a third party web page.
Additionally, the new reporting units system provides a great deal more flexibility in tracking money and resources as they travel through the system. Not only can one track by project or department, but funds accounting and other specialized reporting needs are possible to meet.
Integration of third-party line of business applications is also something which continues to improve. While all integration is possible, owing to the open nature of the code and db structure, it has become easier as more logic is moved to where it can be easily discovered by applications.
There are two major improvement areas in 1.4. First additional critical information, particularly regarding manufacturing and cost of goods sold tracking, has been moved into the database where it can be easily shared by other applications. This also allows for better testability and support. Secondly LedgerSMB now offers a framework for web services, which are currently available for contact management purposes, allowing integrators to more easily connect programs together.
LedgerSMB isn't just an open source project. A number of commercial companies offer support, hosting, and customization services for this ERP. A list of some of the most prominent commercial companies involved can be found at http://ledgersmb.org/topic/commercial-support