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2005 Review of Not-for-Profit Accounting Software — Executive Summary

From the October 2005 Review of Not-for-Profit
Accounting Software

As mentioned in the introduction to this review, nonprofits pose a unique challenge
in the software industry. When rating products, it’s best to look at certain
areas of a product and rate them based on those categories. The categories considered
here included the following:

This category will be particularly important to those looking to find a quick
solution with little time or money to spend on implementing a difficult system.
Ease of use can only be determined by spending some time using the product.
Fortunately, many vendors offer demo CDs or online demos that you can spend
some time navigating.

This is a straightforward area. We tell you what modules are provided with the
base system. Or if it’s modular, we provide a list of all available modules.
If you need an Inventory module, why look at a product that doesn’t offer

This is where going to the software’s web site really pays off. Reviews
tend to mention more prominent software features. What’s important to
you? If you absolutely have to have a certain feature, it’s best to look
at the web site. Don’t assume it isn’t there just because it isn’t
mentioned in this review.

This is another area where all reporting capability is not mentioned. Most vendor
web sites will provide sample reports.

Is it important that you have 24-hour product support? Are multiple support
plans available? What’s included with the support plan? What training
options does the vendor provide?

This is the tricky one. What is the value of the product? Is a low-priced product
a good value if it has the features you need? What about more expensive products?
It can be difficult to assign values to these products. If a product is affordable,
does what it purports to do, and has the features you need, then that makes
it a good value. On the other hand, if lower-priced products do not have the
features/modules you need, do the higher-priced systems then become a better
value? Value is what you need and what you are willing to pay for it. If the
least expensive program reviewed has all the features you need, then it’s
an excellent value. But the same goes for the most expensive program reviewed.
If it has the features you want, and does what it says it will do, then it’s
a good value.