Donald R. Frey — BUCS Fund Accounting

From the Oct. 2007 Review of NFP Accounting Systems

Donald R. Frey and Company, Inc. has been designing nonprofit software for small to midsize nonprofit organizations and government entities for more than 30 years. With the release of version 10.1, BUCS continues its tradition of timely enhancements to its fund accounting software.

BUCS’s main screen contains a drop-down menu bar at the top of the screen. The toolbar below provides access to frequently used software functions such as GL, Chart of Accounts, Vendor Maintenance, Invoice Maintenance, Budget Planning and Posting Analysis.

The rest of the screen is divided into three parts: The Favorites Pane, a customized list of frequently used functions; The Navigation Pane, which controls what is displayed in the Task Pane; and the Task Pane, the main area of the screen that displays various shortcuts to the functions found within each particular module. The Systems Controls feature allows you to set system preferences for GL, AP, AR, Bank Account, Fee Receipts, and Fixed Asset modules. Data-entry screens could be a little more user friendly, but they are generally easy to navigate once a user is accustomed to the layout. For increased data flexibility, the Data Dictionary provides a gateway for ODBC applications to access BUCS data.

BUCS’s modular structure allows for the purchase of the modules needed immediately, with the ability to add additional modules at a later date. Available modules include the GL (required), AP, AR, Cash Receipts, Advanced Allocations, ACH Payments for AP, Positive Pay, Fixed Assets, Bank Reconciliation, Fee Receipting, Encumbrances, Data Dictionary, Requisition Control, CC-Tracker, Budget Planning, Combining Reports, and a Multiple User option. Available separately is the CHIPS Payroll System, which integrates easily with BUCS Fund Accounting.

As previously noted, the modular structure makes the product extremely scalable, with the ability to add additional modules onto the core product when needed. For larger organizations, or unexpected growth, the MS SQL Server Database can be purchased, which will easily handle the needs of an enterprise-level organization.

BUCS’s latest release contains numerous system enhancements designed to improve system speed and efficiency. This includes multiple changes to the journal entry screen, the addition of follow-up alerts, a new checking account summary report, a more advanced search capability, improved invoice processing, an improved requisition control module, and a more complete fixed assets module.

The program’s account structure uses up to 29 alphanumeric characters in any fashion. BUCS can handle unlimited funds and can easily track grants and other projects. The Advanced Allocations module allows for the distribution of funds to multiple organizations, and the Encumbrance Processing module tracks reserved funds for future expenses. The Chart Editor allows new accounts to be set up quickly. An excellent budget planning function tracks revenue and expense accounts and allows users to revise budgets and edit budget amounts by account range. The Fund Control feature keeps track of all funds recorded in the system, and the Fund Wizard assists with generating a new fund using pre-formatted templates.

REPORTING – 4.5 Stars
Several new reporting options are available in Release 10.1, including the new Journal Entry Transaction Report, the CC Transaction Report and the Checking Account Summary Report. Reports can also be designed using Crystal Reports, Excel, Word or Access, and can be easily exported to those same third-party applications if desired. All reports can be published on the Internet or e-mailed to recipients. Historical reports can be reprinted if necessary, and the Report Scheduler lets users choose the reports to be printed as well as the frequency (daily, weekly, monthly) at which to process them. Using the Combining Reports modules, BUCS will also produce government-required reports such as GASB Statement 34 and FASB 117.

BUCS offers users a variety of system support options, including toll-free telephone and fax support and 24-hour e-mail support. BUCS also provides all users with a newsletter. Annual software upgrades are available, and the vendor offers an annual user’s conference. All software improvements and upgrades are provided free of charge for those with support contracts. Software training options include training at the vendor’s headquarters, onsite training by appointment and Internet-based training. Data conversion assistance is also available if needed. A solid Help function is found throughout, and an updated user manual is provided to all users with each new product release.

Experience counts, and Donald R. Frey has plenty. BUCS is a consistently solid program that gets better every year. Modules start at $1,000 each for a single-user. BUCS continues to be an excellent software choice for small to midsize nonprofit organizations that are looking for reliable software that continues to improve with time.

2007 Overall Rating: 5 Stars