Review of Not-for-Profit Accounting Software -- 2005

From the October 2005 Issue

Nonprofit organizations present a unique challenge. Not only do they require a comprehensive financial software system, but they also have unique tracking and reporting requirements that are not met in a general accounting program. That’s why it’s important for even the smallest nonprofit organization to look at nonprofit software. Several of the products reviewed here provide excellent entry-level solutions with an affordable price tag. While these programs may not contains the levels of detail found in some of the other programs, they offer an affordable entry into the world of nonprofit software, and are excellent products in their own right.

Many of the other products reviewed are suitable for medium to large-sized nonprofits. These programs offer features such as grant tracking, fundraising and fund balancing. They may be higher in cost, but they provide much more functionality and features to nonprofits, government entities and foundations.

Stepping up from there, you’ll find that some of the products reviewed here actually fall into the enterprise level with an extensive array of modules and add-ons. Products at this level are suitable for larger nonprofit organizations, hospitals, schools and larger government entities. These products can handle anything from fund tracking, grant tracking, fund allocation, school enrollment (including financial aid assistance), donor tracking and monitoring, and fundraising. These products also provide retail modules, such as point of sale, credit card processing, inventory control and excellent invoicing options. They handle multiple transactions smoothly and enable management to better supervise the nonprofit. They provide extensive financial reports, track spending, process grant usage and keep track of donors — not just who gave what, but who is likely to give again. This level of products is obviously the highest priced, but their capabilities justify the cost.

All of these things, along with a good GL, AP, AR and Payroll module round out what nonprofit organizations should be looking for, depending on their own situation and current and future needs. Keep in mind as you read these reviews and the product ratings that entry-level products can be rated excellent right along side those products with the multiple modules. They are designed to accomplish different things for different organizations and, as such, cannot truly be rated against one another. Rather, they can only be rated on what they set out to accomplish, and if they have attained that goal.

Accufund — Accufund Accounting Suite
overall rating
The AccuFund Accounting Suite from AccuFund provides a full suite of modules designed specifically for nonprofits and government organizations. Billing themselves as an “innovative new company,” AccuFund markets its products to nonprofit organizations with annual revenues up to $100 million.
Araize, Inc. — FastFund Nonprofit Accounting
overall rating
In the software business since 1985, Araize offers the nonprofit sector an affordable accounting solution. FastFund contains a series of fully integrated modules, easy system navigation, excellent product support, and even a 90-day money-back guarantee.
B2P Commerce Corp. — NonprofitBooks Office 2005
overall rating
Marketed by B2P Commerce Corp. as “the only nonprofit software on the market to achieve next-generation integration with QuickBooks 2004/2005, NonprofitBooks (NPB) was designed specifically for the 200,000 plus users of QuickBooks in the nonprofit sector.
Blackbaud — The Financial Edge
overall rating
The Financial Edge, Version 7.5 is the latest product release from Blackbaud, makers of an extensive array of software designed specifically for the nonprofit sector. Along with its financial product, Blackbaud also offers fundraising, marketing, educational, ticketing, Internet and analytical software.
Cougar Mountain Software — Cougar Mountain FUND Suite
overall rating
Cougar Mountain FUND Suite Version 9 is the latest version of Cougar Mountain’s accounting software for nonprofit organizations. In this latest release, Cougar Mountain combines its excellent accounting system with features designed specifically for mid to large nonprofit organizations.
CYMA Systems, Inc. — CYMA Not-For-Profit
overall rating
Since 1980, CYMA has been offering its not-for-profit software to small and midsize organizations. CYMA Not-For-Profit was developed directly from the company’s successful financial management suite of products, and provides nonprofits a reasonably priced software product with a proven track record.
Donald R. Frey & Company — Budgetary Control System (BUCS)
overall rating
Donald R. Frey & Company has been in the software market since 1974. Specializing in nonprofit software, the company has continued to add new and innovative features to its software product over the last 30 years...
Fund E-Z Development Corp— FUND E-Z Fund Accounting Software
overall rating
On May 31, 2005, FUND E-Z Development Corporation released version 9 of its Fund Accounting Software. This new version, which contains several enhancements, also comes with new, lower pricing, making it an even more attractive option for budget-conscious small to midsize nonprofit organizations.
Intuit, Inc. — QuickBooks: Premier Nonprofit Edition 2005
overall rating
QuickBooks continues to dominate the small business accounting software market with its affordable, easy-to-use software. QuickBooks: Premier Nonprofit Edition 2005 is an industry-specific version of QuickBooks Premier that targets small to midsize nonprofit organizations.
Kintera Fundware — Fundware
overall rating
FundWare is a fund accounting software product designed specifically for nonprofit organizations and government agencies. In existence since 1976, FundWare continues to shine under its new owner, Kintera, Inc., who acquired American FundWare, Inc. (the providers of FundWare Accounting software) from Intuit.
Open Systems, Inc. — TRAVERSE Not-For-Profit
overall rating
Since 1976, Open Systems, Inc. has been providing financial software to small and midsize businesses. Those years of experience are reflected in TRAVERSE Not-For-Profit (NFP) Software.
Sage Software — Sage MIP Fund Accounting
overall rating
Sage MIP Fund Accounting from Sage Software has been offering nonprofit software to organizations and nonprofits for over 20 years. Due to be released to the general public on September 1, version 7 features several product enhancements, which will be addressed later in this review.
Sage Software — Peachtree Premium Accounting for Nonprofits 2006
overall rating
Peachtree Software continues to be a staple in the small business accounting software arena and has just recently released its new Accounting for Nonprofits. Now owned by Sage Software, Peachtree Accounting for Nonprofits is designed specifically for the small to midsize nonprofit organization.
Serenic Corporation — Serenic Navigator
overall rating
Serenic Navigator from Serenic Corporation is a high-end, financial management solution powered by Microsoft Business Solutions Navision, and designed specifically for larger nonprofit corporations and government agencies.
Not-for-Profit Accounting Software -- Executive Summary
Time and time again we hear that what’s important is not the cost of the software; rather, it is the cost of implementing and building a (supporting) database with the program, with migrating a practitioner’s accounting practice to regular and sustained use of the write-up program.

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