Sage Software -- Sage MIP Fund Accounting

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

For more than 25 years, Sage MIP Fund Accounting has been serving the needs of nonprofits with excellence; this year is no exception. With many enhancements, particularly the Visual Analyzer tool, Sage MIP is worthy of consideration by any nonprofit organization.

The user interface consists of drop-down menus and a vertical Navigator on the left of the screen, both allowing access to modules. Once modules are selected, workflow diagrams appear to point users to the individual activities. The screens are crisp, colorful and easy to understand. To the right of the activity screen, the user will find access to the Process Manager and Help. The Process Manager allows users to add links to any process for customized workflow. Tabs at the bottom of the screen allow toggling between activities in progress.

Sage MIP can serve the needs of virtually any type of nonprofit, including Animal Welfare; Arts, Culture and Humanities; Environmental and Conservation; Faith-Based; Foundations; Health and Hospitals; Higher Education; Human and Social Services; Independent, Charter and Private Schools (K-12); National Organizations; and State, Local and Tribal Governments.

Modules available to add as needed are GL, AR, AP, Grant Administration, Visual Analyzer, Allocations Management, Multicurrency, Budget, Payroll, Electronic Requisitions, Direct Deposit, Purchase Orders, Fixed Assets, Encumbrances, Advanced Security, Inventory Control, Forms Designer, Sales Order Entry, Data Import/Export, Scheduler, Electronic Funds Transfer, Data Consolidation, GASB 34 and Bank Reconciliation.

Sage MIP also offers an Executive View so decision makers can have access to reports and budget without the full package. Although Sage Fundraising products are stand-alone, each one is excellent and available with varying degrees of functionality to fit the needs of small to large organizations. With strategic business partnerships, solutions are also available for utilities, tax authorities, schools, donor management and economic development agencies. Sage MIP Fund Accounting includes SQL 2005 Express to support the database, but it can also be utilized on SQL Server (purchased separately) for larger organizations.

Sage MIP offers automatic fund balancing and multi-year grant management capabilities. The Grant Administration module expands these capabilities to manage the details, including customizable fields for attributes unique to each organization. The Encumbrance module monitors and allows controlled spending at any level, including individual funding sources, grants, programs, or other GL account segments. The Allocations Management module allows for the same flexibility in assigning costs based on variable criteria with fixed or dynamic percentage options.

The Visual Analyzer module provides an interactive dashboard view of key financial data. All analyses offer drill-down capabilities to further review details in real time. On the way to an organization’s paperless office, Sage MIP allows attachment of source documents at the transaction level. Import/Export capabilities make integration options more abundant. A few of the new enhancements this year include the Recurring Manager (allows processing of percentage- and amount-based recurring documents percentage-based recurring documents), sizable navigator and process manager panels to customize individual workspace preferences, and streamlined backup and login procedures.

Sage MIP Fund Accounting’s Report Manager offers more than 140 standard reports, including FASB 117 and GASB-compliant reports. Line assignments for form 990 are required when setting up the chart of accounts, and reporting is standard to meet this compliance need. All reports can be run over multiple fiscal years. Regeneration of standard reports is simple using the Report Binder, eliminating querying each time. Reports can be previewed, printed, e-mailed, exported to Excel or saved in PDF format. Chart generation is also available for main financial statements.

In-product Help is very complete with dynamic suggestions and web integration. Client Care Maintenance and support plans include unlimited telephone and e-mail support incidents, payroll tax updates and access to an online knowledgebase, user forums and product upgrades released during contract. Training is available through Sage University and through a network of local business partners that offer onsite support, training and expertise.

Pricing for a single-user Sage MIP system begins at under $3,000 with additional modules starting at $495. Although originally designed for the mid-market, the structure and pricing make it a great value to any nonprofit organization. Sage MIP Fund Accounting again proves itself as a dynamic, versatile powerhouse in the not-for-profit accounting sector. Any size organization can benefit from its attention to the details of fund accounting, allowing the organization to concentrate on the details of its mission.

2009 OVERALL RATING: overall rating