Review of Not for Profit Accounting Systems -- 2006

From the October 2006 Issue

Nonprofit organizations continue to grow at an enormous pace. The time frame of 1996 to 2004 saw a 53.5 percent increase in public charities and a 75 percent increase in private foundations. According to the IRS, at the end of 2004, there were close to 1.4 million nonprofit organizations in the United States.

While the technology needs for these organizations may vary, each one needs to establish a way of maintaining grants, keeping tracking of donors and pledges, paying employees, and producing required reports. If you’re a nonprofit organization looking for a software product to help you better accomplish these tasks, or if you’re an accountant looking to recommend such a solution, how do you go about choosing a product? To answer that question, you’ll first need to evaluate your budget. Many organizations have limited budgets, especially at the onset. Look at what you can afford today as well as what that program may offer you in the future. Do you want an entry-level product that will suffice while your organization has few needs or do you want a product that can grow along with your organization?

The products reviewed here vary widely. Entry-level products are designed for small organizations and offer quick installations, easy navigation and decent reporting options. They are also affordably priced, even for those on a limited budget. While these products provide out-of-the-box capability, they leave little room for customization or future growth.

Other nonprofits may be looking to upgrade to a more scalable product that offers increased user capabilities and additional modules for purchase. These products often fall between the entry-level products and the enterprise-level products, and they can prove to be quite

sufficient for mid-level organizations. They are usually more expensive, (but not always) and provide more scalability.

Enterprise-level products are top of the line and are ideal for nonprofits with complex needs. These products offer all of the functions as the other products but usually contain more management level capabilities and often include a fundraising module that can track detailed information about donors, including historical data.

Does this mean that you should skip over the entry-level products? No.

Do those products automatically receive lower ratings? No.

Entry-level products can be an excellent choice for those whose needs and budget are minimal. They can’t really be compared to enterprise-level products, and they don’t claim to compare. What they do claim is to help the small nonprofit with their needs, and they do it well. If they do what they claim to do, then they deserve a good rating. We can all agree that a software product designed for up to five users will not have the same capabilities as the software product designed for unlimited users. It doesn’t mean they do not do their job well.

I hope you find the reviews helpful. And don’t forget to visit the software vendor’s websites for additional information. 

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AccuFund, Inc. — AccuFUND
overall rating
The AccuFund Accounting Suite offers a series of modules designed specifically for nonprofit and government agencies. Additional modules can be added to customize the software for a specific type of agency.
Blackbaud, Inc. — The Financial Edge
overall rating
Blackbaud Inc. has recently released a new version of its nonprofit financial management program, The Financial Edge. Designed to provide accounting and financial functionality to nonprofits, The Financial Edge also...
Cougar Mountain Software — Cougar Mountain FUND Suite
overall rating
Cougar Mountain recently released Version 10.3 of its FUND Suite. Aimed specifically at small to midsize nonprofits, Version 10 comes equipped with new features such as the ability to create a mirror image...
CYMA Systems, Inc. — CYMA Not-For-Profit Edition
overall rating
CYMA Systems, Inc. has offered the nonprofit edition of its popular accounting software to midsize nonprofit organizations since 1980. With the addition of a Grant Tracking module, CYMA continues to provide value to both new and existing customers.
Donald R. Frey and Company, Inc. — BUCS Fund Accounting
overall rating
Donald R. Frey and Company, Inc. has released version 10 of its fund accounting software designed for midsize nonprofit organizations. BUCS – Version 10 contains numerous new features and enhancements.
FUND E-Z Development Corp. — FUND E-Z Fund Accounting Software
overall rating
FUND E-Z Development Corporation has been providing affordable nonprofit software for over 15 years. Version 9 of FUND E–Z Fund Accounting Software is the latest version of this affordably priced, features-driven program.
Intuit, Inc. — QuickBooks: Premier Nonprofit Edition 2006
overall rating
Since branching off into specialty editions, QuickBooks has increased its customer base quite effectively. One of those specialty editions is QuickBooks: Premier Nonprofit Edition 2006. Designed for the smaller nonprofit organization, QuickBooks: Premier Nonprofit is a good choice for startup nonprofits.
Kintera, Inc. — Kintera FundWare
overall rating
Since 1976, FundWare has provided nonprofit organizations with a quality financial product. Now part of Kintera Inc., Kintera FundWare software continues to be a major player in the nonprofit software sector. Chip Conway is the finance manager at Ace Construction Authority, a governmental construction agency in the Los Angeles area.
Sage Software — Sage MIP Fund Accounting
overall rating
Since 1982, Sage Software has been providing fund accounting software for small to midsize nonprofit organizations, including state and local government agencies, through Sage MIP Fund Accounting. Formerly known as MIP Fund Accounting, version 8 of this comprehensive software product will soon be introduced to the public.
Sage Software — Peachtree by Sage Premium Accounting For Nonprofits 2007
overall rating
Newly released from Sage Software, Peachtree Premium Accounting for Nonprofits 2007 is the latest nonprofit industry-specific version of this popular entry level accounting program. Peachtree for Nonprofits is designed for smaller organizations.
Serenic Corporation — Serenic Navigator
overall rating
Serenic Navigator is a high-end integrated financial and fund management product from Serenic Corporation. Designed for larger nonprofit organizations and government organizations, Serenic Navigator offers a complete financial and fundraising management solution.
2006 Review of Non-Profit Accounting Systems Executive Summary
It is our hope that the nonprofit software reviews you’ve read have assisted you with your short list to finding a software product that suits both your needs and your budget. The reviews covered six distinct areas.

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