Yes, it’s true that for-profit and nonprofit businesses can use the same accounting software, particularly in the nonprofit’s infancy stages. But as an organization grows, it may find itself searching for features and functions simply not found in standard accounting software applications. While all businesses, whether for-profit or nonprofit, need to manage deposits, track expenses, and pay bills, nonprofits are also tasked with managing grants and keeping a handle on volunteer staff.
Membership organizations need to be able to track memberships accurately, while nonprofits running several programs simultaneously need to create and manage a separate fund for each active program in order to determine financial success. Nonprofits also need to be able to manage grants and sponsorships, and most importantly, nonprofits need a way to handle recordkeeping and accounting for their donors, from initial contact to managing and retaining donors. In fact, the lack of donor management is the number one reason that nonprofits turn away from traditional accounting software.
It can be a challenge to find the software best suited for the nonprofit in question. That’s where features and functionality really come into play. For instance, a nonprofit that is supported mainly through grants will need a very different software application than the nonprofit supported solely by donations. You and your client will also want to take a look at deployment options, and consider which works best for the particular situation.
If you’re ready to get started on finding nonprofit software for your client, be sure to check out the applications reviewed in this issue. They include:
- Abila MIP Advance
- Aplos Fund Accounting
- Araize Fast Fund
- Blackbaud Financial Edge NXT
- Cougar Mountain Denali FUND
- Fund E-Z
- GMS Accounting
- Serenic Navigator for NPO
The products included in this review of nonprofit accounting applications vary widely in features, functionality, and pricing, with some of the products better geared towards smaller nonprofits, while others offer nearly every feature a nonprofit may need, both now and in the future. We also took a look at two popular small business accounting software applications, QuickBooks Online and Xero, in terms of their nonprofit accounting features. A noteworthy app worth exploring is Tangicloud Fundamentals.
Included with the reviews is a handy chart that identifies the features found in each application, making it easy to pinpoint which of these applications may be best suited for your client. Features and functions that we looked at include the following:
- Chart of accounts structure
- Online or on-premise deployment
- Grant management capability
- Donor management capability
- Availability of a mobile app
- Fundraising capability
- Membership management
We also let you know if a demo is available to try out prior to purchasing. Finally, we address the biggest issue of all, pricing. After all, it doesn’t matter what features an application offers if it isn’t in your client’s budget. While not all vendors share pricing with us, when they do, that pricing will always be included in the review.
There’s no better time than today to start looking for the nonprofit accounting software that best suits your client, and there’s no better place to start than with the reviews included in this issue.
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