If your nonprofit organization has more than 300 transactions a year (just a thumb rule), it’s better to graduate from manual accounting system to more specialized Nonprofit Accounting and Book Keeping Software programs.
Although these programs will require you to invest some money and time in getting used to their interface, they are worth giving a try.
The market is inundated with options, when it comes to choosing accounting software. However, we have picked on some of the most popular software programs out there.
Features of QuickBooks
We like QuickBooks for these reasons:
1) QuickBooks is widely used by smaller nonprofit organizations across U.S.A. This means a lot of thinking goes into keeping it update as per most recent accounting standards as applicable to nonprofit organizations.
2) QuickBooks offers a standalone version particularly for nonprofit accounting(premier version). This means that you do not have to worry about generating quarterly (payroll and sales taxes reports) and annual reports (like form 990). QuickBooks takes care of it all.
3) QuickBooks can help your nonprofit organization with quite a few tasks. Amongst others, it can calculate payroll and sales taxes, track your bank balances, prepare financial reports, Write and print checks, Track credit cards and generate a host of custom reports for grant writing.
4) Given the features it offers, QuickBooks is a relatively cheaper software (USD 500-1000), Check the website for the latest price.
Limitations of QuickBooks
QuickBooks though one of the better options, is not without limitations. Most importantly, QuickBooks isn’t meant for nonprofit organizations with more than five simultaneously online users. So if your organization has managers, accountants, book keepers, board members and office staff with access to the software, no more than five people can use the software simultaneously.
Peachtree Accounting software is our recommended software for larger nonprofit organizations with large operating budgets and evolved accounting needs. Over the last 40 years, since its development, Peachtree Accounting has developed into a robust accounting system for nonprofit organizations.
Features of Peachtree Accounting
- Peachtree is specifically designed for nonprofit organizations. That means all custom reports are just a few clicks away.
- Peachtree Accounting is not just accounting software. In fact it is rightly called an advanced internal accounting review system which automatically also tracks for erroneous and unusual transactions and marks them for review.
- Peachtree allows for drafting of complicated query based reports allowing for comparisons based on any number of parameters between two accounting periods.
- Peachtree takes care of every accounting need starting from online bank reconciliation system up to preparation of quarterly and annual reports.
- Peachtree is capable of exporting data to Excel Sheet keeping all the underlying formulas intact. If a nonprofit organization started small with QuickBooks and has grown in size, Peachtree Accounts allows easy importing and conversion of previous year data from QuickBooks accounts.
Limitation of Peachtree Accounting
Given the extensive scope of Peachtree Accounting, it may take a while for new users to get accustomed to its user interface. The advanced reports and analysis tools that Peachtree offers may sometimes be unnecessary for smaller organizations.
For a free trial of the accounting software visit Web site: http://www.peachtree.com
Microsoft Office Accounting
Microsoft Office Accounting comes as the third best option after QuickBooks (for smaller organizations) and PeachTree Accounting (for larger organizations).
Update: Microsoft has discontinued Distribution of Microsoft Office Accounting effective November 16, 2009.However a free ware copy can still be downloaded athttp://www.freewarefiles.com/Microsoft-Office-Accounting-Express-2009_program_24104.html
Features of Microsoft Office Accounting
Microsoft Office Accounting offers the following features:
- Allows for easy journal entries, posting into ledgers and generation of common financial reports
- Provides warning message if you enter an unbalanced transaction
- A separate payroll center that processes payroll, reports payroll liabilities, prints checks, prints reports and file employee payroll taxes
- Process system accounts like accounts receivable, accounts payable, bank charges, and so on
- Generates reports for budgets and produces financial statements
- Has the ability to integrate with Microsoft Excel
Limitations of Microsoft Office Accounting
Microsoft Office Accounting is principally meant for small businesses and is not specifically designed for nonprofit organizations. That means a lot of reports and financial statements have to be manually reworked to suit the specific requirements of nonprofit accounting.
Office Accounting Express is offered as a free download at http://office.microsoft.com.