GMS, Inc. - Grants Management System

From the Nov. 2009 Review of Not-for-Profit Accounting Programs.

GMS was designed specifically to provide accounting and financial management functionality for nonprofits that receive and maintain numerous grants throughout the year. System requirements to run GMS are minimal, but installation of Microsoft Access or SQL Server is necessary prior to installing GMS.

GMS is easy to install and navigate, with a drop-down menu and navigation keys available to access system modules. Data-entry screens are relatively free of clutter, and most contain various tabs and other navigational aids with lookup options found throughout the data-entry fields. GL Transactions can be entered as a batch entry or a GL entry depending on organizational needs.

GMS uses five-digit codes to describe GL asset, liability, equity, and revenue and expenditure accounts. Grant activities and components found within projects or grants are classified as Program Elements and are given a six digit code. Because Program Elements are pre-linked to the specific grants or projects with which they are associated, entering and posting information is much easier, with less time required and fewer data-entry mistakes. GL accounts should be classified as active or inactive, but cannot be deleted once transactions have been posted.

GMS is a pre-packaged financial solution and includes GL, AP, Budget Preparations, Cash Receipts, Cost Allocation, Payroll and Security modules. Add-on modules include AR, Purchase Order, Fixed Assets, Report Writer and Direct Deposit. Also available is the Cut-Down GL, an interesting and useful product that is ideal for nonprofits that do not require AP, Payroll or Cost Allocation functionality. The Cut-Down GL contains a chart of accounts, cash receipts, general journal, month-end reporting, budgeting and prior year maintenance capability.

GMS also offers a Revolving Loan Servicing Software (RLSS) module that will integrate with the GMS Accounting and Financial Management system. This is an excellent option for nonprofits that carry state or federally funded loans. RLSS allows users to enter financing data, collateral type, use of funds, repayment terms, and escrow information for easy data tracking.

GMS also offers more than 60 Software Supplements, a variety of products designed to work with GMS and RLSS.

GMS allows for easy tracking of multiple grants, easily handling all budgeting, accounting transactions and reporting requirements. Five different types of budgets are available. Program Budgets are designed to track grant or project expenses as a whole. Indirect Cost Budgets tracks all indirect cost pools, including year-to-date totals. The Fringe Benefit Budget monitors all charges to fringe benefits. The YTD Timesheet Budget tracks budgeted amounts in hours. The Agency Budget tracks data for agency fiscal year.

GMS also complies with FASB 116 and 117 reporting requirements. The Cost Allocation module allows for the allocation of leave expenses, fringe benefits and indirect costs. Cost allocation supplements are also available and allow monthly allocations using an external base such as square footage. Payroll functionality is timesheet generated, with regular payroll, labor distribution, leave cost accounting and leave balance maintenance all calculated. The GMS Cash Receipts feature allows for coding of receipts directly to the specified grant or project.

A variety of budgets can be created, including those for Programs and Indirect Costs, as well as an Agency-Wide budget.

Reports include Monthly and YTD Labor Distribution, General Ledger and subsidiaries, Leave, Fringe and Indirect Cost Rate Computation and Analyses, Year-to-Date Cost Allocation Summary, Balance Sheet, Revenues and Expenditures by Program Element, Agency-wide Revenue and Expenditure Report, and Revenues and Expenditures by Project. For additional reporting capability, the optional Report Writer allows users to design custom reports based on the report format and data needed. All standard system reports can be exported to Excel, Lotus or Crystal Reports for additional customization.

GMS requires new customers to purchase a support plan for the first 12 months. Support costs $210 for Accounting and $65 for RLSS per month per agency, and can be reverted to the Pay As You Go plan after the first year. Training for Accounting is also required by GMS, with an estimate of two weeks of onsite training required for a one- to two-user system. Support and training costs will likely run as high as the system cost, and may place the product out of the reach of the smaller nonprofit.

The GMS Access Basic Package currently costs $7,200 for a one- to two-user system. The SQL Server Package is $9,200 for a one- to two-user system. Add-on modules range in cost from $800 to $2,000, and supplemental software add-ons vary, as well. Though not suitable for all nonprofits, GMS is designed for the grant/project heavy nonprofit organization and may prove to be an excellent choice well worth the cost.