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Donald R. Frey & Company — Budgetary Control System (BUCS)

800-659-FREY (3739)

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

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, which brings us to its current
product, BUCS (Budgetary Control System) Fund Accounting Software, Version 9.3.

Ruth Slone operates Hazard, Kentucky-based Mitchell Associates Accounting
Inc., servicing 500 tax clients and approximately 50 corporations with monthly
work. Hazard Perry County Community Ministries Inc. is her primary not-for-profit
client, although she prepares financial statements for several other charitable
organizations as a community service (no charge).

“We selected BUCS because we needed to be live within two months, not
one year,” Slone said. “We had reviewed other software and, after
talking with other vendors, chose Frey & Co. because they were the only
one who had been able to get comparable companies up and going in this time
frame.” Slone says the most beneficial aspect of BUCS is the ease of financial
statement preparation, and she notes that very few journal entries are required
once you go live. She also recommends that potential users also purchase CHIPS
Payroll because it “makes financial statement preparation so much easier,
especially if time allocation is a big factor with your company.”

BUCS uses a standard Microsoft interface throughout its modules, making this
an easy system to navigate, particularly for those familiar with Windows products.
The main screen features a drop-down menu, where you can click on a menu item
to view a list of functions found in that module. Beneath is a series of function
icons that provide a shortcut to frequently used functions, including GL reporting,
vendor maintenance, purchase orders and print checks, along with an option to
e-mail technical support. Data-entry screens throughout BUCS are user friendly,
with lookup or search options available for quick entry.

Over 14 modules and features are included with BUCS, including GL, AR, AP, Bank
Reconciliation, Encumbrances, Cash Receipts, Fixed Assets, ACH Payments, Payroll,
Requisition Control, Budget Planning, Fee Receipts, and Combining Reports for
GASB/FASB Reporting. Single-user systems are ODBC-compliant, and the multi-user
system offers the Microsoft SQL database as an option. It is also compliant
with Microsoft Terminal Server and Citrix, as well. The Data Dictionary module
provides access to BUCS from any ODBC-compliant application, which gives you
access to BUCS files through Excel, Access, Word and Crystal Reports. Easily
navigated import and export functions make moving files between applications

BUCS sports a true Microsoft GUI, which makes navigation consistent throughout
the program. The program’s flexible account numbering scheme will let
you assign account numbers up to 29 characters long, either numbers or alpha
characters. Slone says that Hazard Perry County Community Ministries Inc. has
39 funds and eight departments. She stresses that you need to “discuss
in advance of training your account set up needs. This client’s account
number is 12 digits long, and these numbers must be ready before training.”

Drill-down capabilities are found throughout BUCS, so historical data is always
accessible. Slone especially likes the vendor history when working with invoices
and statements in AP, saying “You have the capability to see exactly what
invoice has been previously paid.” The Budgeting feature is flexible,
enabling you to set up your budget to reflect either annual or period totals,
based on actual totals, or zero based if no historical information is available.
BUCS also has an excellent fixed assets feature that will calculate depreciation
and prepare the appropriate journal entry. You can also calculate replacement
costs of items. BUCS can handle amounts up to one billion dollars, will post
recurring entries to the GL, and can process an unlimited number of funds. Encumbrance
processing is available, as is grant tracking.

System security provides several levels of access, including view, update
or no access. You can also restrict access by account ranges and spending limits.
Features new in version 9.3 include “follow-up alerts” that will
check the program for any follow-up notes and display details on screen. The
new Requisition Control feature gives users the capability to approve multiple
encumbrances simultaneously. The Bank Report combines both the check and deposit
report for more streamlined reporting. Improvements have also been made to various
modules, including the addition of a new 1099 name field, the choice to preview
the year-end adjustments report, and a completely redesigned check reconciliation

REPORTING — 4.5 Stars
The Combining Reports module lets you create an alternate chart of accounts,
allowing you to link and reformat numbers for reporting purposes. You can produce
GASB Statement 34, FASB 117 and other reports using this module. A wide variety
of reports is available in each of the modules. For your convenience, financial
reports from previous periods can also be reprinted. The report scheduler lets
you choose the reports you want to print as well as the frequency. All financial
reports can be easily exported to Excel or published using Adobe *.PDF files.
Many of the financial reports can now be printed using presentation-quality
fonts, and, for your convenience, client logos can now be printed on reports.
Slone notes that if there are special reports that you need, “take them
to Frey and see if they can help set them up.” She actually downloads
the financial reports to Excel and prepares additional statements needed by
the finance committee for financial planning. “BUCS will not produce all
of the reports you need, but the information is there so that you can prepare
them easily,” she added.

An extensive manual is included with BUCS, and I love the “e-mail technical
support” icon found on the task bar. You’ll also find a link to
the company’s home page and an area where you can download product updates.
Telephone support is available, as is on-site training by request. Internet
training is also available, if desired. All clients on support receive a major
software upgrade annually. Slone noted that the client for which she uses BUCS
chose not to continue with the annual service program, although she disagrees
with their decision because she finds value in the updates. “I do not
consider the cost to be outrageous; the benefits received are greater than the
money spent.” She advises potential users to keep the service contract
and to make sure and be aware of the continued cost.

BUCS has been providing software to nonprofits and government entities for many
years. Affordably priced, with modules starting at $995 for a single-user edition,
BUCS is a reliable, easily navigated system that can provide nonprofits with
the features they need. For further information, take a look at the company’s
excellent web site, which contains PowerPoint presentations, sample data and
extensive information on all of their products.

2005 Overall Rating — 4.5 Stars