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The Best Accounting Software for Nonprofits

John Ferguson
March 6, 2020
Finance & Accounting

The Best Accounting Software for Nonprofits

For a growing nonprofit, free accounting software’s limited capabilities will likely become a constraint on your financial progress. Maybe your nonprofit needs more dynamic accounting software, offering stronger features and capabilities. Or, maybe you need a stronger management system for things such as grants and donors. 

Nonprofits should consider accounting software that has a project-focused accounting structure, is easy to use and has a low price point. You don’t need to be a CPA to master your organization’s financial matters. Unless you’re a national/international nonprofit, you probably also don’t have a large budget to spare. Fortunately, there are accounting software tailored to meet your specific needs.

8 Popular Accounting Software Tools for Nonprofits

The products below are listed according to the volume of ratings and reviews from nonprofit users each product has.

1. MIP Fund Accounting

MIP Fund Accounting is a configurable accounting software solution that offers easy information tracking, fund accounting, human capital management and payroll decisions that grow and develop alongside your nonprofit. 

A majority (61%) of nonprofit MIP Fund Accounting users on TrustRadius are mid-size (51-1,000 employees). This solution is best for mid to large size, grant-based nonprofits with minimal membership requirements.   

MIP Fund Accounting does not disclose its software pricing and key feature differentiators, as is common among many software companies. However, they do offer a free product demo on their website. The paid version includes phone, live chat, email, forum/community, FAQ/knowledge base, social media, video tutorials, and webinars. 

Features

  • General Ledger and Configurable Accounting Features:
    • Accounts payable and accounts receivable 
    • Bank reconciliation
    • Expense, fixed asset, and cash management
    • Time tracking
    • Multi-currency and multi-division support
    • Regulations compliance
    • Electronic tax filing
    • Self-service portal
    • Standardized processes
  • Order Management Features:
    • Pricing 
    • Order management
  • Payroll Management Features:
    • Pay calculation
    • Benefit plan administration
    • Direct deposit files
    • Salary revision, increment and reimbursement management
  • Reporting & Analytics Features:
    • Dashboards
    • Standard and custom reports
  • Customization Features:
    • API for custom integration
    • Plug-ins
  • Security Features:
    • Role-based user permissions
    • Single sign-on capability
    • User-level audit trail

Pros

  • Easy to use interface
  • Cost and transactions allocation
  • Configuration capabilities 

Cons

  • Outdated reporting system
  • Various Input modules can be confusing to navigate and costly
  • Outdated bank reconciliation 

“Abila [MIP Funding Accounting] is extremely easy to use and migrate through the system. We are able to create many financial statement report formats that allow us to match a grant for reporting. Our managers have up to date access to financial information which is a great benefit.”

David G. | Vice President/Finance | Non-Profit Organization Management | 201-500 employees

2. Sage Intacct

Sage Intacct is a cloud ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system targeted at small and medium-sized businesses with high growth. It offers applications for core financial and accounting matters, purchasing, order management, and financial reporting. 

A majority (63%) of nonprofit Sage Intacct users on TrustRadius are from mid-size businesses. Sage Intacct is best for mid-size nonprofits looking to perform high-level expense/transaction/asset tracking, processing, and reporting in a centralized, cross-departmental function. It does not offer a free version of the software, but it does offer a free trial. 

Features

  • General Ledger and Configurable Accounting Features:
    • Accounts payable and receivable
    • Cash, expense, and fixed-asset management
    • Bank reconciliation
    • Time tracking
    • Multi-currency, multi-division and global financial support
    • Regulations compliance
    • Electronic tax filing
    • Self-service portal
    • Intercompany Accounting
    • Journals and Reconciliations
    • Enterprise Accounting
    • Configurable Accounting
    • Centralized Rules Framework
    • Standardized Processes
  • Inventory Management Features
    • Inventory tracking
    • Location management
  • Order Management Features
    • Pricing
    • Order entry
    • Credit card processing
    • End-to-end order visibility
  • Payroll Management Features
    • Reimbursement management
  • Reporting & Analytics Features
    • Dashboards
    • Standard reports
    • Custom reports
  • Customization Features
    • API for custom integration
    • Plug-ins
  • Security Features
    • Role-based user permissions
    • Single sign-on capability
    • Multi-factor authentication
    • User-level audit trail
  • Additional Features
    • Subscription billing
    • Revenue recognition
    • Collaboration/Social
    • Multiple charts of accounts
    • Multiple reporting books
    • Multi-dimensional reporting
    • Graphs/Charts/Performance cards
    • Report visualizations (conditional highlighting, color grading, trendlines, etc.)

Pros

  • Dashboards
  • Cloud-based
  • Customer support

Cons

  • Additional features require expensive add-ons/ integrations
  • Custom reporting can be difficult
  • Cannot import credit card data – must input manually

“[Sage Inacct] has allowed us to have a centralized platform where we can transact and report on a timely basis. It has done a great job of increasing our transparency and accountability through the use of dashboards and reports available to non-accounting users… We have not really found areas in which Sage Intacct does not meet our needs.” 

Chris B. | Assistant Controller | Archdiocese of Indianapolis | Non-profit Organization Management | 201-500 employees

3. Quickbook Desktop Pro

Quickbooks Desktop Pro by Intuit is accounting software that allows users to create invoices and track sales, enter and pay bills from vendors, reporting, and directly download bank and credit card transactions directly. 

A majority (75%) of nonprofit Quickbook Desktop Pro users on TrustRadius are from small businesses (1-50 employees). It is best for small businesses or nonprofit seeking basic accounting needs and that does not require a complex, customized payroll and dimensions. 

QuickBooks Desktop has a one-time cost of $299 for Pro, $499 for Premier, or $1,155 annually for Enterprise. They do not offer a free version of Quickbooks Desktop. 

Features

  • Income tracking and expenses
  • Invoicing
  • Reporting
  • Send Estimates
  • Track sales tax
  • Manage bills and accounts payable
  • Time tracking
  • Inventory tracking
  • Payment reminders
  • Invoice search via PO number
  • Invoice consolidation in one email
  • Lists
  • Customer support: Messaging and call-back options
  • Pay 1099 contractors
  • Forecasting
  • Client Billing
  • Profitability tracking
  • Mobile inventory barcode scanning
  • 3+ users (dependent on selected plan)

Pros

  • Intuitive user interface
  • Payroll
  • Reporting

Cons

  • Difficult invoice feature
  • Customer service is lacking
  • Slow bank feed 

“I always recommend and instruct my bookkeeping clients to start with Quickbooks Desktop Pro. This program does EVERYTHING. It simplifies the sales tax collection process, it records inventory, vendors, customers, etc. This is a VERY user-friendly program as well and makes it very easy to get the user involved in their books.” 

Nakia E. | Owner/Operator | Kias Bookkeeping Services | Accounting Company | 1-10 employees

4. Xero

Xero is an online accounting software solution for small businesses. Its features include invoicing with quotes, bank reconciliation, purchase order, and expense management and tax management. It is mobile-accessible and compatible with third-party apps. 

75% of nonprofit Xero users on Trust Radius are from small businesses. It is best for small businesses, start-ups or nonprofits looking for simple and professional accounting and billing solutions. 

Xero does not offer a free version; however, they do offer a free trial for any of their paid plans. Plans range from $9/month- $60/month. 

Features

  • 24/7 online support
  • Accept payments
  • Asset management
  • Advisor tools
  • Bank connections
  • Bank reconciliation
  • Business performance dashboard
  • Contacts and smartlists
  • Convert from QuickBooks
  • Dashboard
  • Data capture
  • Expenses
  • Files
  • Inventory
  • Invoicing
  • Multi-currency accounting
  • Pay bills
  • Payroll with Gusto
  • Project management
  • Purchase orders
  • Projects
  • Quotes
  • Reporting
  • Sales tax
  • Search
  • Mobile App
  • Fixed assets 

Pros

  • Easy-to-use/simple user interface
  • Financial reporting capabilities 
  • Invoicing capabilities 

Cons

  • The bank feed
  • Lacks advanced reporting features
  • Difficulty handling IOLTA accounts

“Xero allows us to keep track of all of our accounts, transactions, and invoices in one place… The user interface is very easy on the eyes and intuitive, even for people with little accounting background/experience. Having Xero connect seamlessly with our payroll service provider makes accounting so much easier for us.” 

5. Financial Edge NXT

Financial Edge NXT by Blackbaud is a cloud-based, fund accounting software solution that offers income statement monitoring, program-to-expense ratios, cash balances, real-time reporting, account monitoring, reporting, and grant and project accounting that allows for streamlined management of the budget. 

The majority (63%) of nonprofit Financial Edge NXT users on TrustRadius are from mid-size businesses. It is best for medium to large scale companies who are willing to invest in a dynamic accounting software solution. 

Financial Edge NXT does not offer a free version, or free trials, of the software. You can connect with a Blackbaud representative to discuss pricing. 

Features

  • General Ledger and Configurable Accounting Features
    • Accounts payable
    • Accounts receivable
    • Cash management
    • Bank reconciliation
    • Expense management
    • Fixed asset management
    • Multi-division support
    • Regulations compliance
    • Electronic tax filing
    • Self-service portal
  • Order Management Features
    • Pricing
    • Credit card processing
    • Cost of goods sold
  • Payroll Management Features
    • Pay calculation
    • Direct deposit files
    • Salary revision and increment management
    • Reimbursement management
  • Reporting & Analytics Features
    • Dashboards
    • Standard reports
    • Custom reports
  • Customization Features
    • API for custom integration
    • Plug-ins
  • Security Features
    • Role-based user permissions
    • Single sign-on capability
    • Multi-factor authentication
    • User-level audit trail
  • Additional Features
    • Cloud-Based
    • Manage advanced allocations within the product
    • Flexible chart-of-accounts structure
    • Project, Grant and Endowment reporting comes standard

Pros

  • Reporting capabilities 
  • Search capabilities 

Cons

  • Lack of advanced journal entry and transaction history capabilities 
  • Database and web view are slow
  • Lack of budgeting functions

6. Zoho Books

Zoho Books is an online, all-inclusive accounting solution designed to assist small businesses in financial management needs. This solution helps manage finances, automate business workflows, and assist in collective, cross-departmental work. 

A majority (55%) of Zoho Books users on TrustRadius are from small-scale businesses. Zoho Books is suitable for nonprofits in that it is simple to use, collaborative and affordable. It also offers free support, a comprehensive dashboard view, easy fund management, payment receipts, progress monitoring, and reporting, and more. 

Zoho Books does not offer a free version of the software. It does offer a 14 free trial for all three of their payment plans. Prices range from $9 to $29 per month. 

Features

  • General Ledger and Configurable Accounting Features
    • Accounts payable
    • Accounts receivable
    • Cash management
    • Bank reconciliation
    • Expense management
    • Time tracking
    • Multi-currency support
    • Regulations compliance
    • Self-service portal
  • Inventory Management Features
    • Inventory tracking
    • Automatic reordering
  • Order Management Features
    • Pricing
    • Order entry
    • Credit card processing
    • Cost of goods sold
  • Reporting & Analytics Features
    • Dashboards
    • Standard reports
  • Customization Features
    • API for custom integration
  • Security Features
    • Role-based user permissions
    • Single sign-on capability
    • Multi-factor authentication
  • Additional Features
    • Mobile Apps – iOS, Android, Windows and also iPad and Windows Surface app
    • Recurring transactions like invoices, estimates, and bills
    • Automated workflows – Setup triggers for instant mail notification and field updates in the invoice, estimates, sales order and credit note modules
    • Zoho CRM Integration – A powerful combination of accounting and CRM information is available to users to manage end-to-end customer relationship

Pros

  • Easy to set up and use
  • Zoho CRM, Zoho Creator, and Zoho Flow integration
  • Invoice capabilities 

Cons

  • Lack of ability to customize reports, forms, fonts, and logos
  • Mobile app needs updates
  • Difficult to edit transactions

7 . Aplos

Aplos is an accounting software solution designed specifically for nonprofit and church/religious organizations. Users can monitor donations and deploy easy-to-use fund accounting through advanced features, such as customizable reports and donation receipts and tracking.  

Users can choose between two paid plans, starting at $59 per month. Users can easily upgrade to the Advanced Accounting plan for more granular reporting capabilities. Aplos offers a free trial and demo for both paid plans. 

Features: 

  • True fund accounting
  • Custom chart of accounts
  • Income and donation tracking
  • Financial statements
  • Donation reporting and tracking
  • Budgeting Reports
  • Custom reporting
  • Giving statements
  • Budget By Fund Or Tag
  • Project, Campaign, Or
  • Department Reporting
  • Custom Role Permissions
  • Automatic Recurring Transactions
  • Fixed Asset Tracking
  • Income And Expense Allocations
  • Manage Multiple Entities

Pros

  • Consolidation of nonprofit software into one package, including CRM, marketing, payroll, etc.

Cons

  • Some core features, like 1099 tax preparations, are paywalled as add-ons or upgrades

8. NonProfitPlus Accounting Suite

NonProfitPlus Accounting Suite is a cloud-based accounting solution designed specifically for nonprofits. The software works to provide a single financial system with better controls, reporting, budgeting, and automation.  

Features

  • Fund accounting
  • Restricted Fund Management
  • Grant Management
  • Encumbrance Accounting
  • Budget Management
  • Volunteer Management
  • Enhanced Audit Trail
  • Cash Management
  • Fixed Assets
  • Reporting and Dashboards

Pros

  • More granular income source management, including grant management, donor management, and volunteer management

Cons

  • Segmentation of core nonprofit accounting features across two different suites, including General Ledger, fund accounting, and auditing 

Finding the right accounting software for your nonprofits

Selecting the best accounting software for your nonprofit can feel like an overwhelming task. Knowing where to begin in the trial and selection process is crucial to understanding what accounting software will best benefit your nonprofit.  

Comparing software features is a first step in understanding key differences and benefits between various accounting solutions. Feature lists can be relatively simple to compare side-by-side. It is important to note that more qualitative facets of the software, like customer support, ease of use, simple reporting, and accessibility for accounting novices are harder to quantify on the front end. 

To get better insights into these aspects of the products, check out reviews from nonprofit users and their experiences with the products on TrustRadius. Filtering by nonprofit reviewers can help you determine how beneficial a vendor or product is in the support of the needs and growth of your nonprofit. Gaining this insight can help ensure you are making an informed decision on what accounting solution can help ensure your nonprofit’s success. 

About the Author

John Ferguson
John is a Research Associate at TrustRadius, focusing on content development and buyer-guided research. His goal is to support and enable better software buying decisions, with an eye towards helping people from all backgrounds navigate the world of business software. He has a BA in Politics from Centre College.

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