Up until the beginning of 2008, the trends for nonprofit accounting software were simple and predictable — accountability, efficiency and better utilization of resources.But the meltdown of the subprime mortgage market and the ensuing slip toward recession will change that landscape for the worse, in three ways:

* Not-for-profit organizations lost money in the meltdown. Some of the biggest players in the subprime market were institutional investors, including some major national and global nonprofits. These organizations will need to scramble to recover, while simultaneously explaining the horrendous losses to their boards, staffs and donors. Nonprofits were told that bonds based on mortgages were a stable, safe and insured investment, but that did not turn out to be the case.

* Donations will get tighter. With gas prices rising and families in crisis over finances, expect the level of donations to begin to slide even more than they have. Nor will corporate donors be able to make up the difference, since companies are likewise facing lower consumer confidence, falling orders and higher inventories.

* Cost controls will be imperative. Higher fuel prices will drive virtually every other cost higher, from travel and food to staffing levels. Belt-tightening is already beginning at many nonprofits, and the situation may get worse before it gets better.

But if there is a positive side to the picture, it is that the accounting and financial management software that serves the nonprofit sector continues to improve each year. At the top of the list are the nine solutions that are featured in our 2008 round-up.

ACCUFUND ACCOUNTING SUITE V. 3.06

AccuFund is a scalable, mid-range fund accounting system that encompasses a core accounting system that can be substantially augmented and customized through a series of a dozen modular applications targeted to the needs of nonprofit organizations.

Core products included in the suite are the general ledger, accounts payable, cash receipts, bank reconciliation, financial reporting, budget reporting, user security, and a report and forms designer. Modules expand this core system with capabilities for accounts receivable, purchasing and inventory, electronic requisitions, payroll, human resources, employee time entry, allocation management, client accounting, budget development, grants management, fixed assets, loan management, and online requisitions. Additionally, AccuFund offers separate programs for FASB/GASB reporting and endowment reporting.

AccuFund has systematically added to the capabilities of its fund accounting system over the past two years with the addition of a budget development module for budget entry and approval processes; a client tracking module to support tracking of clients receiving services for which the agency is billed by or bills third parties; the grants management module with advanced tracking for dates, contacts and other information; the electronic requisitions module for rule-based reviews; and dollar-based purchase orders for contract and blanket orders.

More significantly, AccuFund has made the move toward greater flexibility and security through a hosted, Web-based service. The hosted option provides all backup and upgrade support, credit card processing, online Web payments, and budget development, as well as the standard accounting, management and human resources functionality.

AccuFund is a flexible and scalable accounting solution for nonprofits that has won strong praise for its simplified reporting capabilities and its ease of navigation. That flexibility is further enhanced with an economical hosted version and the availability of expansion modules that work together or as stand-alone systems in their own right.

CMS FUND SUITE V. 12.1

The Cougar Mountain Fund Suite is a modular financial management system notable for its ability to balance multiple-fund ledgers or track grants with comprehensive budget comparisons. Each fund can have its own fiscal calendar, separate from the organization’s fiscal calendar. It also handles inter-fund transfers and fund balancing, fully conforms to generally accepted accounting principles, has multi-tiered security settings and a protected audit trail, and can produce reports according to FASB Standards 116 and 117.

The suite includes modules for general ledger, accounts payable, purchase orders, bank reconciliation and payroll, plus a “Universal Bridge” to transfer data into the accounting program. Additional enhancements include a Revenue Center to manage order entry; point-of-sale software to manage retail sales and membership revenues; the PCChargePro Credit Card Authorization system for online processing of credit cards, checks and debit cards; an e-commerce platform; fixed assets; and a flexible general ledger report generator.

Version 12 provides new and expanded capabilities for snapshot reports; systemwide file maintenance; an expanded date block range for posting;

an enhanced custom reports menu; an account impact summary report; reference/batch numbers in the Check Register; additional queries on reports; R&R Report Writer Infinity; the ability to e-file W-2s; and support for quarterly state and federal taxes.

The CMS Fund Accounting Suite provides an effective balance of economy and functionality, particularly for smaller enterprises that need to be able to scale up as they grow. Where Cougar Mountain Software’s product excels, though, is in its exceptional reporting systems and its ability to easily handle nonprofit organizations that manage multiple funds — each with their own calendars, accounting, reporting structures and financial management requirements. In this arena, CMS leads the field.

CYMA NOT-FOR-PROFIT EDITION V. 10

CYMA Not-For-Profit Edition is a specialized version of CYMA’s business accounting software developed specifically for nonprofit organizations that has additional strengths through grant-tracking functionality, fund-balancing features, out-of-the-box FASB 117-compliant financial statements, and customizable accounts.

The accounting system is modular and integrated, offering general ledger, accounts payable, accounts receivable, bank reconciliation, job costing, inventory control, payroll, and purchase orders. The not-for-profit edition expands on this with applications for the special requirements of fundraising and allocations — including pledges receivables; interfund receivables; interfund payables; unrestricted, temporarily restricted, and permanently restricted funds; cash and non-cash contributions; grants and contracts; special event revenue; program expenses; fundraising expenses; and donated services and materials.

Version 10.0 of the NFP Edition is designed to handle multiple defined organizations, with not-for-profit or fund management systems charts of accounts that allow for account IDs with up to 24 alphanumeric characters. The FASB 117 reporting includes a statement of financial position, a statement of functional expense, a statement of activities, a statement of cash flow work sheet, and a statement of year-to-date activities. And the system automatically records due-to/due-from transfers for spreads among different funds through the accounts receivable modules.

CYMA Not-For-Profit Edition is an economical and solid accounting system for nonprofit organizations, particularly those in the mid-range or those experiencing rapid growth. Its strong basic accounting foundation is enhanced with one of the industry’s strongest grant tracking options, which combines effective grant management with support for state and federal requirements.

THE FINANCIAL EDGE V. 7.7

Of all of the accounting and management software development firms serving the not-for-profit markets, Blackbaud does the best job of tracking the needs, trends and reporting requirements of its customers. That’s why The Financial Edge Version 7.7 offers a superior focus on reporting, grant, special project and audit capabilities for donors, donations and public accountability.

The Financial Edge offers a core accounting system encompassing general ledger, accounts payable, accounts receivable, payroll, budget management, cash management, fixed asset management, point-of-sale support, forms generation and reporting functions of the accounting system. This core integrates seamlessly with other applications that include The Raiser’s Edge for constituent management and fundraising; Blackbaud Enterprise CRM and Blackbaud Direct Marketing for enterprise-level constituent management and direct marketing; The Education Edge system for independent and charter schools; and Blackbaud NetCommunity, a complete Web site management solution with Raiser’s Edge integration.

Strong fund accounting is used to ensure that donated funds and resources are properly accounted for. This comprehensive reporting is available both for the overall organization and for a myriad of projects, programs and initiatives.

A core component of Blackbaud’s general ledger is project and grant tracking with endowment management. This allows separate reports on reimbursable grants and contracts, endowments, projects, special events, exhibitions, scholarships, investments and other entities without cluttering the chart of accounts.

Version 7.7 enhances the system’s grant record and activity tracking with query, export and report filters. It also expands student billing and accounts receivable with integrated transaction query and export; the integration of the grants module with the general ledger and accounts receivable; security enhancements, including encryption of personal data; and enhancements to project financial statements.

The Financial Edge is a powerful, well-integrated set of accounting and financial management tools that easily scales to meet the needs of high-growth, mid-level and enterprise-level not-for-profit organizations. The depth and breadth of its coverage, combined with an exceptional understanding of the nonprofit marketplace, make The Financial Edge one of the most attractive solutions for nonprofit accountability.

KINTERA FUNDWARE V. 7.40

Kintera FundWare is a fund accounting system for nonprofits and government organizations that unites accounting, budgeting and reporting tools with an audit trail to help organizations realize improved operational efficiencies and reporting flexibility.

FundWare offers easily produced GASB and FASB financial reports, real-time information, and sophisticated fund allocation management, as well as real-time budget monitoring; budget modification histories, including comparisons between actual and revised budgets; cross-fiscal-year budget preparation; built-in audit trails and easy-to-prepare audit schedules; and a configurable set of modules.

The core systems for each package include the general ledger, accounts payable and accounts receivable, and the F9 report writer. Reporting and budgeting are included with the general ledger module. Other types of nonprofits are accommodated by the use of modules for purchase orders, accounts receivable, advanced financial reporting, advanced printer control, advanced security, allocation management, bank reconciliation, cash receipts, electronic time sheets, payroll, project/grant management, report management, and Web reporting for enhanced collaboration and report sharing.

Other modules provide support for data interpretation; import and export, including an iData utility for quick access to financial data; ADP to FundWare import; and the FundWare Corridor, a suite of applications, system software, utilities and files designed to provide an ODBC interface to data files.

Recent enhancements to the software for 2007 have focused on better and more timely reporting, better budgeting and control tools, and more effective management of cash flow. These include additional standard reports, including the Ledger Report detailing actual, budget and encumbrance transactions.

Kintera FundWare keeps pace with changes in the non-profit environment better than any other package that we evaluated — moving nimbly to add budgeting support and stronger reporting as those become a priority for nonprofit organizations. It does all of this without sacrificing its core accounting functionality, and at a price point that demonstrates a clear value for the full range of nonprofit types and sizes.

QUICKBOOKS: PREMIER NONPROFIT EDITION 2008

QuickBooks: Premier Nonprofit Edition 2008 is a version of QuickBooks that has been pre-configured for the nonprofit environment with its own chart of accounts, templates and reports, and donor and vendor centers. QuickBooks is not only the low-cost leader in the nonprofit arena — its use is mandated by many national nonprofits for their state and local franchises.

The core of the software is QuickBooks Premier, aimed at businesses that need advanced tracking, forecasting and planning support. It also offers more sophisticated inventory tools and remote access to data, though the Nonprofit Edition is also aimed at helping organizations to demonstrate financial accountability, manage fundraising efforts and ensure the organization’s financial stability.

The QuickBooks software integrates seamlessly with Microsoft Word and Excel to facilitate information sharing and data manipulation. Integration with Microsoft Outlook makes for easy contact management, while the Intuit Developer Network offers more than 450 other industry-specific add-ons and modules for the software.

QuickBooks: Premier Nonprofit Edition 2008 is an easy choice for small nonprofit organizations due to its low learning curve, the familiar QuickBooks interface and substantial customization capabilities. But it is an edition that is growing stronger each year through both internal development and third parties — and is available as an industry-specific edition of QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions for mid-market organizations as well.

SAGE MIP FUND ACCOUNTING V. 9.0

Sage MIP Fund Accounting reached its 25th anniversary of serving nonprofits last year, celebrating both strong growth in its customer base and growing respect for its ability to track and report on multiple funds across multiple budget periods to demonstrate easily audited accountability for nonprofit organizations.

Sage MIP Fund Accounting is a highly scalable, modular accounting system designed to help not-for-profits track and report on multiple funds across cost centers, and throughout varying budget periods, and more easily plan and manage budgets, maximize grants, and produce accurate customized reports. Its 26 modules address the full range of accounting, budgeting and reporting activities, including FASB and GASB 34 compliance tools.

Sage MIP Fund Accounting Version 9.0 features new tax forms and electronic filing by Aatrix; new recurring and reversing entry management functionality; an enhanced fixed assets module; streamlined navigation; and an enhanced user interface; as well as additional payroll, accounts payable, accounts receivable and reporting functionality.

Also of interest is Sage MIP Fund Accounting Version 10.0, which will debut in May of 2008 and feature a Visual Analyzer module that provides a graphical, interactive approach to financial data analysis, allowing users to quickly uncover trends, monitor budgets and spending, and share key information throughout their organization. This business intelligence tool should allow nonprofit accountants to identify risk, develop effective strategies, and make timely, informed decisions. Financial dashboards give access to the data to help organizations make tactical and strategic decisions in a timely manner.

Sage MIP Fund Accounting boasts both a strong core accounting capability and an even stronger customer loyalty rating. It easily leverages its position as a part of the Sage family of software products to provide a rounded and capable blend of accounting, financial management, payroll and nonprofit features that scales from the small-but-growing to enterprise-level nonprofits.

SERENIC NAVIGATOR V. 5.0

Serenic Navigator was created from Microsoft Dynamics NAV as a custom application designed to deliver enhanced accounting and financial management capabilities to nonprofits, nongovernmental organizations and government entities.

Included in the system are 16 financial applications that cover everything from the general ledger to fixed assets, investment management and grant management. A procurement suite handles purchase orders and requisitions, including Web-based procurement. Additional modules address donor management, reimbursement billing, inventory management, workflow and project management, payroll, time and expense sheets, and human resources management.

Navigator is supported by five operational applications — Serenic DonorVision for fundraising, Serenic CommunityCare for case management, revenue management for utility billing, Serenic AwardVision for grant management, and Serenic MinistryView for faith-based nonprofits. Additional extensions to the suite are a human resources/payroll module, an investments module, and Serenic Portals for remote access and communication.

Navigator Version 5.0 saw the addition of Serenic AwardVision, a re-innovation of the grant management module, and Serenic CommunityCare, a case management solution for human services organizations.

Tightly integrated and very capable, with SFAS 117- and GASB 34-compliant financial reports, Serenic Navigator also offers substantial strengths in management support for people, assets, funds, grants and investments. Its scalability and Microsoft integration make it highly attractive to nonprofit organizations from the low mid-range to the enterprise level.

TRAVERSE NOT-FOR-PROFIT V. 10.5

Traverse NFP is an unusual system for nonprofits that has gained a substantial following for its Microsoft foundation, its open-source flexibility, its built-in financial analytics and its seamless integration with Microsoft Office applications.

The System Manager offers simplified set-up and access to the integrated applications of general ledger, accounts payable, accounts receivable, multicurrency, payroll, enhanced payroll tax reporting, bank reconciliation, direct deposit and fixed assets. It offers advanced reporting capabilities and specialized solutions for nonprofits, including the ability to track restricted, temporarily restricted and unrestricted funds. Traverse NFP includes FASB 117 reporting, cross-fiscal year reporting, and tracking of grants and programs/special projects across multiple fiscal years.

Version 10.5 brought more than 100 enhancements and updates, including unlimited budgets and forecasts in the general ledger; a bill of lading based on standard documents; and landed cost features. This version also features importing capabilities from ADP Payroll, The Raiser’s Edge, Donor Perfect, Paradigm Fundraising and other software packages.

Traverse NFP is less an off-the-shelf solution than a set of well-designed, mix-and-match building blocks that can provide nonprofits the flexibility of a customized accounting and management system. The expansion of its budgeting tools and its no-nonsense pricing make it a toolkit worthy of attention, particularly in the mid-range markets and above.

Dave McClure is the president of Kent Associates, in Alexandria, Va., an independent testing laboratory and evaluation service.

Vendor Information

AccuFund Accounting Suite V. 3.06

AccuFund Inc.

400 Hillside Ave.

Needham, Mass. 02494

(781) 433-0233

www.accufund.com

Pricing: Single user — $2,995; three users — $6,495. Additional modules — from $1,000 to $2,500. Hosted — starts at $389 per month.

CMS Fund Suite V. 12.1

Cougar Mountain Software

7180 Potomac Dr.

Boise, Idaho 83704

(800) 388-3038

www.cougarmtn.com

Pricing: Single user — starts at $1,198. Multi-user — CMS Professional Fund, $3,598; CMS Professional Fund Suite, $6,358; CMS Professional FundRevenue Center, $1,738 (plus $1,049 the first year of assurance plan).

CYMA Not-For-Profit Edition V. 10

CYMA Systems Inc.

2330 West University Dr., Ste. 4

Tempe, Ariz. 85281

(800) 292-2962

www.cyma.com

Pricing: Modules — $645 per (minimum two). Annual update — 18 percent of price.

The Financial Edge V. 7.7

Blackbaud Inc.

2000 Daniel Island Dr.

Charleston, S.C. 29492

(800) 443-9441

www.blackbaud.com

Pricing: Modules — start at $2,000 each.

Kintera Fundware V. 7.40

Kintera Inc.

9605 Scranton Rd., Ste. 200

San Diego, Calif. 92121

(866) 546-8372

www.kintera.com/fundware

Pricing: Modules — from $1,295 to $3,995.

QuickBooks: Premier

Nonprofit Edition 2008

Intuit Inc.

2632 Marine Way

Mountain View, Calif. 94043

(877) 683-3280

www.quickbooks.com

Pricing: Single user — $449.95; three users — $1,199.95.

Sage MIP Fund Accounting

V. 9.0

Sage Software Nonprofit

Solutions

12301 Research Blvd.,

Bldg. IV, Ste. 350

Austin, Texas 78759

(800) 811-0961

www.sagenonprofit.com

Pricing: Varies based on user; starts at $2,995.

Serenic Navigator V. 5.0

Serenic Corp.

7175 W. Jefferson Ave., Ste. 2500

Lakewood, Colo. 80235

(877) 737-3642

www.serenic.com

Pricing: Modules — start at $3,000.

Traverse Not-For-Profit V. 10.5

Open Systems Inc.

4301 Dean Lakes Blvd.

Shakopee, Minn. 55379

(800) 328-2276

www.osas.com

Pricing: Modules — start at $1,500.

Register or login for access to this item and much more

All Accounting Today content is archived after seven days.

Community members receive:
  • All recent and archived articles
  • Conference offers and updates
  • A full menu of enewsletter options
  • Web seminars, white papers, ebooks

Don't have an account? Register for Free Unlimited Access