Soft­ware sur­vey: Non­profit ac­count­ing

Ven­dors dis­cuss the lat­est de­vel­op­ments, and the fu­ture

Accounting Today - - Technology - By Ted Needleman See NON­PROFIT on 33

For many years, soft­ware for non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tions trailed in func­tion­al­ity be­hind other ver­ti­cals and es­pe­cially more generic ac­count­ing soft­ware. Over the past sev­eral years, though, this has changed sig­nif­i­cantly. To­day’s non­profit soft­ware is as up to date and func­tional as any soft­ware avail­able.

We sur­veyed many of the ma­jor ven­dors of non­profit soft­ware to find out what they have ad­dressed in the past year, what they are work­ing on (when they were will­ing to talk about it), and how they see evolv­ing tech­nol­ogy im­pact­ing the in­dus­try and their prod­ucts.

Keep­ing up with the Jone­ses

Just about ev­ery ven­dor we sur­veyed has made im­pact­ful changes and up­dates to their soft­ware. Some of these were in the user in­ter­face. For ex­am­ple, Joseph Scarano, CEO of Araize, told us that the com­pany has to­tally re­vised the user ex­pe­ri­ence for Fast­fund On­line with an up­dated user in­ter­face. The new ver­sion of Fast­fund On­line will be more re­spon­sive on mo­bile de­vices, and the in­ter­face change also in­cor­po­rates new dash­boards that pro­vide more com­plete in­sights into an or­ga­ni­za­tion’s fi­nan­cial data. Other new fea­tures in­clude af­terthe-fact al­lo­ca­tions for in­di­rect cost re­port­ing, in­te­gra­tion with web do­na­tion pages and email applications for the fundrais­ing sys­tem, as well as ACH pay­ment for ven­dors, and new fi­nan­cial re­ports to pro­vide more de­tailed and tar­geted in­for­ma­tion.

Ease of use is also an area that Ap­los has ad­dressed. “One of our pri­mary goals of this past year for our ac­count­ing prod­uct was a fo­cus on in­creas­ing the ease and speed of man­ag­ing their or­ga­ni­za­tion,” said CEO Tim Goetz. “Our new in­te­gra­tion with Gusto makes it faster to au­to­mat­i­cally track pay­roll and taxes in the book­keep­ing. Ap­los also built out sev­eral pay­ment pro­cess­ing op­tions that make it more stream­lined to ac­cept and track pay­ments for event reg­is­tra­tion, ticket sales and do­na­tions from a web­site.” Other im­prove­ments in­clude en­hanc­ing ac­counts payable and ac­counts re­ceiv­able to help or­ga­ni­za­tions quickly pay ven­dors, re­ceive pay­ments, and en­hanced pledge track­ing to make it eas­ier to match do­na­tions re­ceived to donor pledges and send pledge state­ments.

Ac­cu­fund has also im­proved its ease of use, ac­cord­ing to vice pres­i­dent and gen­eral man­ager Ian Scot­land, with a com­pletely new user in­ter­face in Ver­sion 6.01 of its Ac­cu­fund Ac­count­ing Suite.

Other ven­dors have also made sig­nif­i­cant up­grades and up­dates to their soft­ware. “We re­leased Serenic Nav­i­ga­tor 2017 Im­prove­ment 1, pow­ered by Mi­crosoft Dy­nam­ics NAV, which in­cluded many en­hance­ments for fi­nan­cials, pay­roll/hr, grant man­age­ment, re­mote field trans­ac­tions, and an­a­lyt­ics — our new data anal­y­sis, re­port­ing and dash­board-based de­ci­sion sup­port tool,” re­ported Serenic Soft­ware mar­ket­ing di­rec­tor Ruby Bleiker.

Or­a­cle Net­suite also had some sig­nif­i­cant news in this area. Ac­cord­ing to non­profit in­dus­try mar­ket­ing leader Mor­gan Carey, on Oct. 25 the ven­dor an­nounced an ex­pan­sion of its so­cial im­pact pro­gram that sup­ports non­prof­its through three core pil­lars: do­nat­ing Net­suite en­ter­prise soft­ware, pro­vid­ing pro bono ser­vices, and build­ing ca­pac­ity in or­ga­ni­za­tions. “As part of our Suite Do­na­tion pil­lar,” he said, “we of­fer a base do­na­tion of Non­profit Suite­suc­cess to all non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tions. Ad­di­tion­ally, we are an­nounc­ing an ex­pan­sion of the pro­gram to of­fer a no-cost ac­ti­va­tion as part of the do­na­tion.”

Another ma­jor en­hance­ment for Net­suite was the re­lease of the Net­suite Non­profit Suite­suc­cess. “This edi­tion pre-con­fig­ures lead­ing prac­tices for op­er­at­ing a non­profit on Net­suite soft­ware de­rived from the ex­pe­ri­ences of over 1,300 non­profit cus­tomers. Key fea­ture im­prove­ments … in­clude cus­tom roles, dash­boards and KPIS; grant ac­count­ing; fund ac­count­ing; au­to­mated FASB re­port­ing; sim­pli­fied fi­nan­cial seg­men­ta­tion; and pro­gram ef­fi­ciency track­ing,” Carey said.

Black­baud has also made sig­nif­i­cant changes to its ex­ten­sive lineup. Ac­cord­ing to Michael Blan­ton, di­rec­tor of prod­uct mar­ket­ing, fi­nan­cial and pay­ment so­lu­tions, “For years, our Budget Man­age­ment mod­ule has of­fered ad­vanced bud­get­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties through Gen­eral Ledger for those re­quir­ing more so­phis­ti­cated tech­niques for de­vel­op­ing a budget and mon­i­tor­ing it through­out the fis­cal year. This year, we have added en­hanced group­ing op­tions and cus­tom­iz­a­ble views to holis­ti­cally re­view ac­count, pro­gram, and grant dis­tri­bu­tions in a glimpse ... And, as part of an ini­tial re­lease of new func­tion­al­ity that will sup­port Al­lo­ca­tions and Black­baud SKY Re­port­ing, we have added con­fig­urable, unique units of mea­sure that ex­pand the abil­ity to not only mea­sure and uti­lize mone­tary val­ues, but also track unit val­ues. Sta­tis­ti­cal Units gives users ac­cess to track cu­mu­la­tive data, set fil­ters by date range through all avail­able fis­cal years, and use for­mu­laic met­rics to get clear in­sight into how their spend­ing is di­rectly con­tribut­ing to spe­cific mis­sion out­comes.” Other new ad­di­tions are ex­pense man­age­ment and the Budget Cre­ator Ex­cel Add-in and the Dis­tri­bu­tion Set Cre­ator for Black­baud Fi­nan­cial Edge NXT.

An eye on the fu­ture

Black­baud’s Blan­ton shared some of the things the ven­dor is work­ing on: “Ex­pense Man­age­ment in Black­baud Fi­nan­cial Edge NXT will pro­vide com­pre­hen­sive au­tho­riza­tion con­trols, real-time vis­i­bil­ity into or­ga­ni­za­tion-wide spend­ing for bet­ter cash-flow man­age­ment and greater in­sight into ven­dor spend, so or­ga­niza- tions can ne­go­ti­ate bet­ter rates based on spend vol­ume to achieve cost savings. Black­baud SKY Re­port­ing is cross-plat­form an­a­lyt­ics and re­port­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties cur­rently en­abled in Black­baud Fi­nan­cial Edge NXT, Black­baud Raiser’s Edge NXT and other prod­ucts. In ad­di­tion to the sim­ple, no-setup, in­ter­ac­tive anal­y­sis tools in our pre­built dash­boards, we are soon launch­ing In­sight De­signer that en­ables users to cre­ate and dis­trib­ute their own dash­boards most rel­e­vant to their or­ga­ni­za­tion’s re­port­ing needs.”

He also added, “Black­baud is en­hanc­ing our fund ac­count­ing func­tion­al­ity by pro­vid­ing or­ga­ni­za­tions with the abil­ity to fur­ther man­age their en­dowed and in­vested funds. This ca­pa­bil­ity will gen­er­ate spend­able bal­ance cal­cu­la­tions; we will also be adding the abil­ity to cal­cu­late the ad­min­is­tra­tive fees paid by each fund. To aug­ment the in­vest­ment port­fo­lio fea­tures, we are plan­ning to sup­port in­vest­ment re­turn al­lo­ca­tion by ei­ther bal­ance or units. In ad­di­tion, we will sup­port en­sur­ing that each donor’s spe­cific re­quested in­vest­ment pool elec­tions re­main true to the orig­i­nal per­cent­ages as gains/losses and in­vest­ment in­come is al­lo­cated over time. Lastly, we will be of­fer­ing a fund state­ment re­port that will track the orig­i­nal gift, in­vest­ment re­turns, and spend­able bal­ances, as well as gift and grant his­tory. In 2019, Black­baud will be de­liv­er­ing a donor fund por­tal that will sup­port in­di­vid­ual donors log­ging in to see fund bal­ances, gift and grant his­tory. Donors will also be able to search for po­ten­tial re­cip­i­ent or­ga­ni­za­tions and make grant rec­om­men­da­tions.”

Not ev­ery ven­dor shared such com­pre­hen­sive en­deav­ors. Ken Hil­ton, pres­i­dent of Red Wing Soft­ware, sim­ply said that they will be mak­ing changes to com­ply with all the new tax law changes to ac­count­ing, de­pre­ci­a­tion and pay­roll. And Don­ald Cas­sady, pres­i­dent and CEO of Grants Man­age­ment Sys­tems Inc., de­scribed a ma­jor un­der­tak­ing in a few words: “We have com­pleted our soft­ware mi­gra­tion to the .net plat­form. This is a dra­matic in­crease in its func­tion­al­ity and abil­ity to com­mu­ni­cate with other

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