Sage — Peachtree Premium Accounting for Nonprofits 2009

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

Peachtree has offered small operations excellent operational tools for years, and the latest version of its offering for small to mid-size nonprofits is no exception. Peachtree Premium Accounting for Nonprofits 2009 builds on the vendor’s strong reputation with advanced accounting and analysis tools aimed at easing and simplifying the financial management of nonprofits.

Peachtree is simple to use and offers menu commands as well as Navigation Centers to the left of the data screens. This area also allows for customized shortcuts to features and reports for each user. Once accessed, the Navigation Centers provide dashboard views of each section and workflow diagrams outlining tasks.

Pre-defined charts of accounts are available for United Way Agencies, Day Care Centers, Educational Institutions, Nursing Homes, Religious Organizations, Theater and Non-Profits using Unified Chart of Accounts or a general simplified structure. Peachtree allows for a 15 alphanumeric account number structure, facilitating fund management and reporting through the account number system. Import/Export functionality is easy to use and encouraging to explore, working with third-party add-on applications as needed.

Peachtree’s boxed product includes module-like functionality through the Navigation Centers for simplified access. Company Center (GL), Customers & Sales (AR), Vendors & Payables (AP), Business Status dashboard, Employee & Payroll Center, Inventory & Services, and Banking Centers are all included with the Peachtree Premium for Nonprofits product. FAS for Peachtree (Fixed Asset), with up to 200 assets, is also included, with upgrades for greater needs available.

As organizations grow, the next step in the Sage family, Peachtree Quantum offers the same familiar interface for 10 to 30 users and more industry specialization. With mid-market products a specialty of the Sage family, easy upgrades offer opportunities for the Peachtree user to grow even further.

As previously noted, Peachtree has provided excellent operational tools for small operations for years. Translating these capabilities to nonprofits is valuable, but more specific direction could be available to help the end user make the leap. At first glance, a new user might think there are no features for nonprofits, and the Help system does not offer much other than charts of accounts to dispel this misconception.

Without specific features to balance inter-fund transfers and management of restrictions, more accounting guidance may be needed for the small nonprofit agency. A step in this direction is the Internal Accounting Review that provides analysis of posting activity including unreconciled accounts, AR & AP balances not matching the GL, and other common errors. The Broadcast feature is unique and helpful to organizations that create duplicated invoices for multiple constituents, such as memberships or dues, homeowner fees, subscriptions, and monthly pledge invoices. Peachtree’s tight integration with Microsoft Office products will allow for mailings and other member/donor management features with ACT! Link.

Peachtree offers a new Cash Flow Manager feature in 2009 that allows analysis, what-if scenarios and Excel export capabilities. Time and expense recording as well as payroll functions and timesheets were also updated in 2009.

With 145 standard reports included with Peachtree for Nonprofits, the reporting capabilities are excellent. Peachtree also offers excellent in-product report customization options as well as abilities to export to Excel and save in PDF formats.

In 2009, Peachtree has finally removed the two-year reporting barrier that made it difficult to obtain planning data from past years and to manage multiple year grants and programs. Now, once prior year data is archived, it is still available for financial statement reporting in addition to the current two open years. Integration with improved Crystal Reports 2008 (included with purchase) allows great customization opportunities and advanced information visualization with Flash, Flex and Xcelsius.

SUPPORT/HELP - 4.5 Stars
In-product Help is written for businesses and still needs to address the needs and functions in terms nonprofits will understand. This deficiency causes Help navigation to take some trial and error, but it is worth the effort for good feature guidance.

Thirty days of free support is available to all new Peachtree users upon registration. Further support plan options include ongoing annual support plans. Self-study and classroom training are available, as well. All users receive access to an online product knowledgebase and live chat assistance. Local affiliates and technicians pro-vide on-site support and training.

Peachtree is an excellent value as an accounting and reporting tool. A single-user license is available for $599, with a five-user multi-user package for $1,299. Additional subscription charges apply for payroll tax tables and support and training. Easy to set up and use out of the box, Peachtree is a great start for small and growing nonprofits.

2009 OVERALL RATING: overall rating