5 Free or Low-Cost Accounting Software Options for Nonprofits
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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.
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.
The software includes:
- Income and expense tracking
- Fund balance tracking
- More than a dozen reports that can be exported 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.
Free trial: 60 days
Platform: Windows compatible
Support: Ongoing with annual renewals
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, headquarters, 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: Businesses that were founded in the last six months or have less than $50,000 in annual revenue pay $24 per month for up to two users. Otherwise, subscriptions to basic features start at $49 per month for up to two users, $79 per month for up to five users, and $199 per month for up to 10 users. All prices are paid annually, but there are month-to-month options for higher rates. There are also advanced accounting plans that start at $179 per month.
Free trial: 15 days
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 $38 per month for the standard edition and $85 per month for the premium version. Add up to four more users for an additional $30 a month.
Free trial: 30 days
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 three tiers: Simple Start, Essentials, and Plus. 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 $25 per month; Essentials, for up to three users, is $40 per month; and Plus, for up to five users, is $70 per month.
Free trial: 30 days
Nonprofit Treasurer was designed specifically for nonprofits and charities. The simple, free online accounting software is meant to be an upgrade from using spreadsheets, and the setup was designed to take less than 10 minutes.
Nonprofit Treasurer supports multiple users. When someone leaves the organization, Nonprofit Treasurer makes it easy to revoke that person's credentials. The software includes:
- One-click reporting
- Transaction importing
- Financial reporting and budgeting based on your organization's fiscal year
- Expense tracking
- Income attribution
- Option to accept payments online