From the October 2005 Review of Not-for-Profit
Accounting SoftwareIn 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. CARING for Children, Inc. (www.caring4children.org)
is a private nonprofit organization that serves children who are abused, neglected,
dependent, homeless, and/or who have behavior/emotional problems. The organization
has 45 employees and a budget of $2 million. Patti Sharp is the organization’s
administrator and says the price and capabilities of the program were the main
driving force behind their decision to go with FastFund. “You can set
your chart of accounts up so you can get reports for funders in about any format
The organization does all accounting functions (payables, receivables and general
ledger) as well as payroll and fundraising. Sharp recommends that new and potential
users get the entire package all at once: “I wish we had done that. We
started with accounting and fundraising, but didn’t purchase the receivables
and the payroll parts.” She also advises, “Get the person who has
to prepare financial reports for funders to tell you the format in which he/she
has to present those reports so you can get your accounting tiers set up correctly
for your chart of accounts.”
EASE OF USE/FLEXIBILITY — 5 Stars
After installing FastFund, which consists of three separate installations —
Accounting, Fundraising and Payroll — you will be automatically directed
to the FastFund Accounting Setup Wizard. The wizard will assist you in everything
from entering foundation/nonprofit information, to setting up cost centers,
sub-account numbers and account number parameters. Because the Chart of Accounts
is user defined, you can set up your accounts as simple or as detailed as needed.
FastFund’s main screen contains a drop-down menu bar at the top, which
is used consistently throughout the program. Function icons will take you to
frequently used program functions such as chart of accounts, cash receipts,
general journals and deposits. User screens remain consistent throughout as
well. Data-entry screens are user friendly, using a split-screen function that
displays user entry information at the top and GL distribution information below.
MODULES/SCALABILITY — 4.5 Stars
FastFund comes with a basic accounting module, which contains the GL function.
Included with the GL are cash receipts, cash disbursements, budgets, check writing,
bank reconciliations and a security feature. Since FastFund is a modular system,
each module is purchased separately. Additional modules available include AP,
AR, Cost Allocations, Payroll and Fund Raising. Data can be easily exported
to third-party accounting software in addition to financial or word processing
software. FastFund will run in either a single-user or multi-user environment.
Networks supported include Novell 3.12 or higher and Windows NT, 95, 98, 2000
or XP peer-to-peer networks.
FEATURES/FUNCTIONALITY — 4.5 Stars
FastFund’s chart of accounts wizard guides you through the sometimes-tedious
chore of setting up your account numbers. FastFund’s 36-digit account
number capability lets you set up accounts to reflect your needs. All digits
need to be numerical; FastFund does not utilize alpha characters. The minimum
account number format that can be used is nine digits. Each fund has its own
financial information available, including its own fiscal year-end closing.
All functions in FastFund comply with FASB-116 and FASB-117 regulations. The
AP module allows you to enter an unlimited number of payable vendors, each with
its own sub-ledger. You can make full or partial payments, distribute expenses
to multiple cost centers and run 1099s at year end. The Cost Allocations module
lets you employ two methods to allocate transactions: Point of Entry and After
Payroll allows you to allocate employee wages to several cost centers, as
well. FastFund also supports employee direct deposit and has a multi-level security
system. The Fund Raising module is terrific, providing you with easy access
to donor and member information, along with easy donor and funding tracking.
REPORTING — 4.5 Stars
As mentioned earlier, all financial statements are FASB-116 and FASB-117 compliant.
Reporting options are basic, with selections ranging from the regular financial
statements such as balance sheets, revenue and expense reports, and trial balances.
When printing financial statements, you can use a “Set,” which means
that all regularly printed reports can be saved as a “Set” and printed
on a regular basis. You can choose which reports to include, and you can add
to or delete your selections at any time. Other reports available include cash
receipts and disbursement journals, general journal entries, and budget data
and comparison reports. The custom report generator lets you combine cost centers
and sub-accounts to create customized reports. If more complex reports are needed,
you can export data from FastFund to any third-party report writing software.
SUPPORT/HELP — 4.5 Stars
All new users will receive one year of free telephone support. Support fees
are based on the number of modules you currently have. Support for one module
will run $200; two modules will run $300; three modules will be $400; and four
or more modules will cost $500. Telephone support includes technical problem
solving, fixing data problems and answering general questions. FastFund also
contains a good Help function, which will answer many questions. Training is
available at an additional cost.
Sharp says her experience with support has been good. “Joe Scarano [the
company’s president] is always available.” She admits that she was
initially worried that he would be tough to reach, “but he always gets
back to me quickly — usually within one hour —
and he’s always pleasant, even when I’ve been frustrated and ‘not
RELATIVE VALUE — 5 Stars
With the FastFund basic accounting module running $395, and additional modules
in price from $200 to $595, FastFund is an affordable option for those looking
to stay within a budget but not wishing to sacrifice capability for affordability.
With FastFund, you can have both.
2005 Overall Rating — 4.5 Stars