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2007 Review of Not for Profit Accounting Systems

New Requirements Cement Need For Quality Not-For-Profit Products

From the October 2007 Issue

It’s no secret that the needs of nonprofit organizations differ tremendously
from those of for-profit entities. Just how different are they? Take a look
at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and read Circular No. A-122, where
you can browse through the established Cost Principles for Nonprofit Organizations
— all 48 pages.

Some of the issues the OMB circular addresses include Direct and Indirect
Costs, Allocable Costs, and Indirect Allocable Costs criteria. Another issue
nonprofits will soon have to address is the complete overhaul of IRS Form 990.
Due to be implemented in 2008, the newly revised form will now require 15 schedules
including detail on receivables from and payables to organizational officers,
directors and trustees. Additionally, all non-cash contributions will need to
be reported and itemized, and there will be a cap (5 percent) added to miscellaneous
organizational expenses.

of these new requirements, it will be more important than ever to have a software
system in place that performs the necessary functions that nonprofit organizations
require. Such functions include a solid allocations module that allows you to
allocate both direct and indirect costs, perform advanced calculations, and
ensure compliance with the previously mentioned OMB cost principles.

A grant administration function can also prove important, allowing users to
keep a solid history of all grants, manage funds, and control budgets and future
expenses. An encumbrances module will allow users to adequately plan for all
future expenditures, with the added ability to track and budget expenses properly.
As well, a program’s AR capability must be able to sufficiently track
all customers and donors, along with maintaining a solid transaction history.
Fundraising capability is also key, particularly for larger nonprofits. For
those that offer products for sale, solid inventory and sales order modules
are imperative. And with the additional reporting requirements that are due
to be implemented in 2008 with the revised IRS Form 990, it’s more important
than ever that an organization’s software track, manage, and produce the
reports and other data that will be required by the federal government.

Do all of the products reviewed here offer all of these functions? The easy
answer would be no. But the more detailed answer is that many nonprofits, particularly
those with specialized scope, require only a small portion of the functions
that many of these products offer.

Here are the review categories for the 2007 review of not-for-profit products:

Ease of Use/Flexibility
It’s important to note that, generally, the more complex a program is,
the more detailed and complex the system setup will be. Though not always the
case, I tried to examine general determining factors such as company setup,
data- entry screens and lookup options.

Though the majority of the programs reviewed this year are modular in scope,
I looked at system function in general, along with available modules, add-ons
and any other third-party applications that may work in conjunction with the
product. I also considered versions available. Does it offer a single-user system?
Is it better for smaller companies? Will it be able to support a growing organization?

Features & Functionality
What does the program actually do? All of these products offer strong accounting
functionality, but what makes this program stand out? What makes it irresistible
to the nonprofit organization?

Reporting functionality is important to all businesses, but it’s even
more important to nonprofit organizations. Some organizations have been known
to change software products simply based on reporting capability (or lack thereof).

This area is really hard to assess until you actually need to use customer support.
What I do consider here are the services available. Training is another aspect
that is difficult to assess without going through a training course, etc. However,
I explain the training services that are available.

Relative Value
This area lists the approximate cost of the system. Obviously, a lot of variables
enter this equation, such as how many users you’ll have, the number of
modules purchased and the database utilized. I recommend a visit to the vendor
websites, where you’ll find extensive information, links to interactive
presentations and demo downloads. No one can assess the value of a product as
well as the person or organization that will be using it.

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AccuFund Inc. – AccuFund Accounting
AccuFund Inc. offers financial and accounting software
solutions for nonprofit organizations as well as government entities.
The latest release of the AccuFund Accounting Suite (Version 3.5) contains
many enhancements to the core product.
Blackbaud, Inc. – The Financial
Blackbaud, Inc. has released version 7.7 of The
Financial Edge, which is designed to provide midsize to larger nonprofit
organizations with excellent accounting functionality and analytic tools
to make strategic management decisions in the nonprofit arena.
Cougar Mountain Software – Cougar
Mountain FUND Suite
Cougar Mountain Software recently released Version
12 of its FUND Suite, providing small to midsize nonprofits and government
entities with a comprehensive financial program. This new release contains
numerous upgrades and enhancements throughout the system.
CYMA Systems, Inc. – CYMA Not-For-Profit
CYMA has recently released version 9.2 of its nonprofit
software. CYMA is no newcomer to the field, having offered its software
to small and midsize businesses since 1980. Version 9.2 continues this
tradition with a host of new features.
Donald R. Frey – BUCS Fund Accounting
Donald R. Frey and Company, Inc. has been designing
nonprofit software for small to midsize nonprofit organizations and government
entities for more than 30 years. With the release of version 10.1, BUCS
continues its tradition of timely enhancements to its fund accounting

FUND E-Z Development Corp. –
FUND E-Z Fund Accounting Software
FUND E-Z Development Corporation has provided small
to midsize nonprofit organizations with an affordable software product
for over 16 years. The latest version (Version 9) of FUND E-Z continues
this tradition…
Intuit – QuickBooks: Premier
Nonprofit Edition 2007
QuickBooks: Premier Nonprofit Edition 2007, one
of Intuit’s vertical editions of QuickBooks, combines the convenience
of QuickBooks with basic nonprofit functionality to provide smaller nonprofit
organizations with an easy way to track expenses…
Kintera, Inc. – Kintera FundWare
For over 30 years, FundWare has provided nonprofit
organizations, schools and government entities with a quality accounting
and financial solution. Kintera Inc. has increased FundWare’s visibility…
Sage Software – Sage MIP Fund
Built to meet the needs of both the nonprofit and
the governmental sector, Sage MIP Fund Accounting continues to enhance
its popular fund accounting software. Version 8 contains several new system
Sage Software Inc. – Peachtree
by Sage Premium Accounting for Nonprofits 2008
Sage Software has recently released Peachtree by
Sage Premium Accounting for Nonprofits 2008. This latest version contains
several additions to the core product along with enhancements to the industry-specific
nonprofit edition.
Serenic Corporation – Serenic
Serenic Navigator from Serenic Corporation is a
fully integrated financial and business operations software product primarily
designed for larger nonprofit organizations, international NGOs and the
public sector.