Of course, managers with more far-reaching responsibilities can be allowed to have access to more, or all, of the system if warranted. It's a nice approach, and should be very popular with Serenic users.
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Traverse Not-for-Profit 10.5 is based on the Traverse accounting application that Open Systems offers in several industry-specific editions. As with Intuit's QuickBooks, the underlying application is the generic accounting system, with features designed to make it easier to use in a nonprofit entity selected during the initial installation. Traverse is solidly a mid-level accounting system, designed to be used by fairly large entities and enterprises, so it might not be the best solution for some of your smaller NFP clients. On the other hand, Open Systems makes the source code available without extra charge, so your client can hire a programmer to make custom changes.
Traverse uses Microsoft SQL Server as its underlying database on the server side and MS Access on the client side. This makes installation a rather complex and time-consuming task compared to some of the other applications we looked at. As the installation will most likely be handled by a reseller, this will probably not be a major consideration, though we found the installation directions very well-written and, if somewhat time-consuming, well within the capabilities of many clients that may want to undertake this task themselves. Not-for-profit functionality is turned on by a single software switch in the "business rules" settings.
Once installed, the system has a chart of accounts mask that lets you easily set up funds, programs and grants, and break out funds into unrestricted, temporarily restricted and restricted categories, and can automatically create the due-to/due-from entries to transfer funds from one category to another.
Traverse NFP also provides a small, but useful, selection of NFP reports, can handle complex allocations, and can produce FASB 117-compliant and cross-fiscal-year reports.
Open Systems does not provide donor management software, but Traverse NFP has very good import capabilities and can import from Raiser's Edge, Donor Perfect, Paradigm Fundraising and a number of POS applications, and can directly interface with the Microsoft Office Suite applications.
A new version, Traverse 11, is in the works and should be available shortly after this review is published. It has pretty much the same feature set, but a slightly different look. The biggest feature of the upcoming version is that it runs on .Net and SQL framework, which should improve performance, especially with high transaction loads. That's an important plus when Traverse NFP is installed in a larger nonprofit.
Ted Needleman is senior director of the Technical Services Division of Industry Analysts Inc., an independent market research firm and testing laboratory. He was previously the editor-in-chief of Accounting Technology, and writes frequently on software, hardware, and technology-related subjects.
400 Hillside Ave.
Needham, Mass. 02494
Pricing: Single user - starts at $3,000. Hosted - starts at $389 per month.
CMS Professional Fund
Cougar Mountain Software
7180 Potomac Dr.
Boise, Idaho 83704
Pricing: Starts at $5,000.
The Financial Edge
2000 Daniel Island Dr.
Charleston, S.C. 29492
Pricing: Modules - start at $2,000.
2632 Marine Way
Mountain View, Calif. 94043
Pricing: Single user - $399.95; three users - $1,099.95.
Sage MIP Fund Accounting
12301 Research Blvd., Bldg. IV, Ste. 350
Austin, Texas 78759
Pricing: Varies based on number of users; starts at $3,000.
7175 W. Jefferson Ave., Ste. 2500
Lakewood, Colo. 80235
Pricing: Modules - start at $3,000.
Open Systems Inc.
4301 Dean Lakes Blvd.
Shakopee, Minn. 55379
Pricing: Single-user modules - start at $1,650.
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