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Nonprofit organizations have a unique set of accounting software needs. The software needs to be able to accurately handle contributions from a variety of sources and produce reports that make it easier to submit IRS Form 990 and other tax documents.
Thankfully, some low-cost and free options are available for nonprofits that don't have a lot of money to spend on specialized accounting software. Here are five of the best options with information and prices as of September 2019.
Best for Small Nonprofits : Accounts
Accounts is Windows-based software with a small set of features designed specifically for small nonprofit organizations. The software offers basic bookkeeping and easy, automated fund accounting that does not require journal entries to keep an accurate balance.
New nonprofits can create their own chart of accounts or choose from one of many samples. The single-user version of Accounts can be used on multiple computers, but the database will have to be copied between computers. The network version supports up to five users with simultaneous access to the database. Accounts recently released a cloud-based program that runs on some Mac systems.
The software includes:
- Income and expense tracking
- Fund balance tracking
- It allows you to export reports in various file formats, such as PDF, Excel, and CSV files
- Annual budgeting
- Accounts payable
- Check printing
- Support for multiple organizations on one computer
- Deposit importing from Donation software
- Simple data backup with reminders
Cost: For one user it's $130 for the first year, then $65 per year for support and upgrades after that. For up to five users, it's $220 for the first year and $110 for a year's worth of support and upgrades after that. The on-demand version is available for $220 in the first year and $110 per year afterward.
Free trial: 60 days
Platform: Windows compatible, some Macs compatible
Support: Ongoing with annual renewals
Best Customizable Option : Aplos
Aplos is customizable online accounting software specifically designed for nonprofit organizations. The subscription includes all of the basic features you need for nonprofit accounting, and you can upgrade to gain access to additional features. Different feature configurations are available by organization type. For example, churches, nonprofits, payroll, and accountants each have separate configurations.
A basic subscription includes the following features:
- Fund accounting
- Fundraising platform
- Donor database
- Online donations and donor portal
- Donation growth tools
- Pledge tracking tools
- Donation receipts and donor statements
- Mail-merge letter and email builder
- Event registration and ticket sales
Upgrades include advanced accounting, integrated payroll, and bookkeeping services.
Cost: The basic Aplos Suite is $59 a month, but there are often promotions available. Organizations with less than $50,000 in revenue and who have been formed in the last year might be eligible for additional discounts. Customers can receive a 10% discount by paying annually rather than on a month-to-month basis. There are also advanced accounting plans that start at $159 per month.
Free trial: 15 days
Best for Online Training : Araize FastFund Accounting
Araize FastFund Accounting software was specifically designed for nonprofits by CPAs that specialize in auditing nonprofits. The company offers free and paid online training modules and free weekly training webinars for registered users, as well as additional private training for $100 an hour.
The standard version of the online software includes:
- Cash receipts
- Cash disbursements
- Check printing
- Bank reconciliations
- Project accounting
- Financial statements
- Customizable compliant reports
- Custom filters
- Audit trails
The premium version offers accounts receivable, accounts payable, and cost allocations. The company also offers fundraising and payroll software for an additional cost.
Cost: One user costs $42 per month for the standard edition and $94 per month for the premium version. Add up to four more users for an additional $33 a month.
Free trial: 30 days
Best for Integration With Other Programs : Intuit Quickbooks Online
Although Intuit Quickbooks Online wasn't made specifically for them, nonprofits still find the program useful. The online software integrates with nonprofit applications such as NeonCRM, DonorPath, and Kindful.
Intuit Quickbooks Online is available for organizations in four tiers: Simple Start, Essentials, Plus, and Advanced. The version your organization should buy depends on how you intend on using the software and which features will best help you reach those goals. For example, nonprofits can't manage bill payments, track employee hours, or organize donors with the Simple Start tier.
The Simple Start version does allow you to:
- Track income and expenses
- Capture and organize receipts
- Maximize tax deductions
- Track and accept payments and donations
- Run reports
Cost: Simple Start, for one user, is $12.50 per month; Essentials, for up to three users, is $20 per month; Plus, for up to five users, is $35 per month; and Advanced for up to 25 users, is $75 per month.
Free trial: 30 days
What Is Accounting Software for Nonprofits?
Accounting software for nonprofits is a specialty type of accounting software. It performs some of the same functions as regular accounting software, such as income and expense tracking, payroll, and accounts receivable. In addition, it has specific functions designed to help nonprofits with their accounting needs. For example, accounting software for nonprofits will be able to accept and track donations through a portal and keep track of donor receipts.
How Does Accounting Software for Nonprofits Work?
Accounting software for nonprofits is usually accessed on a desktop computer or any internet-capable device. It helps nonprofits keep track of their income, expenses, and bookkeeping, and it automates functions to make tasks easier and more efficient. Typically, the accounting software can be accessed by multiple users. You can input the data and the software will do the calculations, auto-fill reports, and organize receipts and documents.
What Should Accounting Software for Nonprofits Include?
Good accounting software for nonprofits should include the following:
- Transaction importing
- Expense tracking
- Donation portal
- Payment receipts
- Tax deduction information
- Bank reconciliation
- Pledge tracking tools
- Check printing
How Much Does Accounting Software for Nonprofits Cost?
The price of accounting software for nonprofits varies. Some software products have a free option and others offer a free trial, typically from 15-60 days, and then a paid version. Prices are as low as $12.50 per user per month. If you need multiple users, the price typically goes up. Some companies accept monthly payments and others require a yearly commitment.
You can typically expect to spend anywhere from $130 to $500 per year. However, this is cheaper than many other types of accounting software, and free versions with limited features are available. Some companies offer a discount for nonprofits and others provide specific software for nonprofits.
How We Chose the Best Free or Low-Cost Nonprofit Accounting Software
After researching and reviewing choices for free and low-cost nonprofit accounting software, we decided on the five best products. We chose these top contenders based on their features, ease of use, and how they perform specific nonprofit accounting functions such as online donations. We also looked at customization, device compatibility, pricing, and customer support.