Capterra Nonprofit Technology Blog

The latest tech advice for how to manage your nonprofit organization

5 Outstanding Nonprofit Accounting Software Solutions Worth Paying For

Share This Article

It finally happened. Your small nonprofit organization has taken off and donors are flocking to your cause. But just like a teenager growing out of their jeans, your nonprofit is growing way too fast for your free accounting software to handle.

It’s time for your nonprofit to move over to a nonprofit accounting software (AKA fund accounting software), but with so many options to choose from, which one is right for your organization?

First off, what makes for good nonprofit accounting practices?

Nonprofit Accounting Tips

1. Use nonprofit specific accounting software

You wouldn’t use a Samsung-specific phone case to protect your iPhone, so why would you use accounting software not made for your nonprofit? Accounting software built for nonprofits will include features not available with standard software options, including donation and grant tracking.

Good thing every system in this list is nonprofit specific!

2. Always prepare for IRS audits

Let’s be honest, no one likes the IRS, especially if they are auditing your nonprofit. In this case, luck favors the prepared and it’s best to always have your organization squared away. Here are a few tips from Capital Business to make sure you are prepared for an IRS audit:

  • Be aware of federal and state law audit requirements
  • If audited, be sure to hold a pre-audit meeting with staff who will work with auditors
  • Assemble all documentation, including year-end reconciliation statements, bank statements, list of grant funds received and expected, assets, payroll, etc.
  • Plan for auditor field work by planning their work location, internet access, and coordinate how many will be visiting your office

3. Always plan for inconsistent income streams

When it comes to nonprofits, nothing is certain, especially in terms of fundraising. When budgeting out for the future, be sure to leave wiggle room in your projections to account for potential drops in fundraising.

After the last recession, nonprofit fundraising saw a substantial decrease. It wasn’t until these past few years that nonprofits saw their donation rates climb back to their pre-recession levels and there’s no telling when another downturn will happen.

Prepare for the worst and hope for the best when accounting and budgeting for your nonprofit’s future.

Nonprofit Accounting Software Solutions

Now that you have some working knowledge of how to improve your nonprofit accounting situation, it’s time for the main event.

These five nonprofit accounting software options were chosen based on their features lists, usability ratings, and their overall reviews.

(Software options are listed in alphabetical order.)

1. Aplos

Aplos is a cloud-based nonprofit accounting software that covers most core features you should expect from an accounting software. At first glance, Aplos is a clean and aesthetically pleasing software with its sharp user-interface and cloud-based system.

The lack of payroll capabilities is where Aplos falls short, despite its otherwise strong features list. Since payroll is such an obvious budgeting item, it is a significant oversight for Aplos to ignore these features.

Aside from the lack of payroll features, Aplos has strong ratings from Capterra praising its ease of use and functionality.

Software Type: Cloud-based

Free Trial: Yes

Features:

  • Accounts Payable
  • Accounts Receivable
  • Activity Tracking
  • Asset Management
  • Bank Reconciliation
  • Budgeting & Forecasting
  • Donor Management
  • General Ledger

Pricing:

Starter: $25/month

Standard: $40/month

Advanced: $120/month

Capterra User Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Have you used Aplos? Be sure to leave a review!

2. Financial Edge by Blackbaud

Blackbaud is known for their solid and diverse nonprofit software options, and Financial Edge is no exception. They provide plenty of resources to learn the ins-and-outs of their software before making the decision to purchase, including feature descriptions, images of the software, and instructional videos on how to use their system.

Unfortunately their user-interface leaves much to be desired with its solid grey color pallette. As for the features list, Financial Edge covers all of the core functions expected of a nonprofit accounting software, such as a general ledger and budgeting.

Similar to my issue with Aplos, it is surprising that an established brand like Blackbaud wouldn’t include payroll features with this system.

Software Type: Cloud-based

Free Trial: Yes

Features:

  • Accounts Payable
  • Accounts Receivable
  • Activity Tracking
  • Asset Management
  • Bank Reconciliation
  • Budgeting and Forecasting
  • Compliance Management
  • General Ledger
  • Partnership Accounting
  • Purchasing and Receiving

Pricing: Price is negotiated between the vendor and client based on the client’s needs.

Capterra User Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Have you used Financial Edge? Be sure to leave a review!

3. Intacct

I was immediately drawn to Intacct’s user-interface. The differing color schemes and simple layout makes for a simple and intuitive user-experience. If you are new to nonprofit accounting software, Intacct also offers plenty of training and support options to ensure a smooth transition onto their system.

This system offers many of the core nonprofit accounting features, but unfortunately also leaves out payroll management as well as explicit donation management features. Aside from the lack of payroll features, Intacct’s reporting and ledger system is very detail oriented and in-depth even when compared to other software options on this list.

If you are looking for a data heavy fund accounting software, Intacct may be what you are looking for.

Software Type: Cloud-based

Free Trial: Yes

Features:

  • Accounts Payable
  • Accounts Receivable
  • Activity Tracking
  • Asset Management
  • Bank Reconciliation
  • Budgeting and Forecasting
  • Compliance Management
  • General Ledger
  • Partnership Accounting
  • Purchasing and Receiving

Pricing: Price is negotiated between the vendor and client based on the client’s needs.

Capterra User Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Have you used Intacct before? Be sure to leave a review!

4. Intuit QuickBooks

I was impressed with Intuit QuickBooks. Not only does QuickBooks offer a sleek desktop and mobile user-interface, but they were the first tool that I found to offer payroll features in their software.

While their features list may seem shorter compared to some others in this list, QuickBooks offers all of the core features every nonprofit accounting software would need, such as donor management and account management. If there are any other features or extras you need, Intuit offers an add-on library in order to customize your experience with their software. The only catch is most of the add-ons come at a cost.

Software Type: Cloud-based

Free Trial: Yes

Features:

  • Accounts Payable
  • Accounts Receivable
  • Billing and Invoicing
  • Cash Management
  • Collections
  • Donation Management
  • Fixed Asset Management
  • Payroll

Pricing:

Self-Employed: $10/month

Simple Start: $15/month

Essentials: $30/month

Plus: $40/month

Capterra User Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Have you used QuickBooks before? Be sure to leave a review!

5. Xero for Nonprofits

Out of the five nonprofit accounting software options in this list, Xero has the most extensive number of features, are most transparent about their pricing, and are the easiest to evaluate for purchase. It seems that Xero offers all that a nonprofit would need for accounting and more.

What really impressed me was the extent of Xero’s integrations with third-party software and apps. Xero has the capability to integrate with over 500+ tools, including Google Suite, different payment tools such as Square and Stripe, and many other apps for every software feature.

One last highlight for Xero is its pricing model. Not only are their prices affordable for most nonprofits, but Xero also offers exclusive discounts on their software for nonprofit organizations.

Software Type: Cloud-based

Free Trial: Yes

Features:

  • Accounts Payable
  • Accounts Receivable
  • Bank Reconciliation
  • Billing and Invoicing
  • Cash Management
  • CPA Firms
  • Expense Tracking
  • Fixed Asset Management
  • General Ledger
  • Multi-Currency
  • Payroll
  • Purchasing
  • Revenue Recognition
  • Tax Management
  • Trust Accounting

Pricing:

Starter: $6.30/month for first six months and $9/month thereafter

Standard: $21/month for first six months and $30/month thereafter

Premium: $49/month for first six months and $70/ month thereafter

Capterra User Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Have you used Xero before? Be sure to leave a review!

Is your nonprofit looking for more upgrades?

Free accounting software isn’t the only thing nonprofits grow out of as they scale. Luckily, Capterra’s nonprofit technology blog is a fantastic resource for finding the latest software and tech upgrades your organization will need.

Be sure to check out these blog entries so that you stay up to date with all of the newest nonprofit software tools:

Do you have any experience with the software tools listed above? Be sure to leave a review on our page so we can offer the valuable insights to other potential buyers!

Looking for Nonprofit software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Nonprofit software solutions.

Share This Article

About the Author

Nick Morpus

Follow on

Nick Morpus is a Content Writer for Capterra, a free resource that matches buyers and sellers of business software. He has a background in politics, economics, and journalism, which he dedicates his off-time to contributing his thoughts to other political sites. In his free-time he enjoys reading, drawing, photography, playing guitar, writing, and cooking.

Comments

Hi Nick:
Great article and thanks for referencing Blackbaud and Financial Edge NXT. I’d love to catch up with you anytime to talk about our solution and fundaccounting in general. one thing I think would be valuable to your members is additional conversation around what real fund accounting tools do vs. those that are only fund accounting in name. Have you ever considered doing an article like this for mid-to-large nonprofit organizations? If not, would love to help if that’s of interest. While this list is full of very solid solutions across the board, I would say that most mid-sized organizations would not be able to reasonably use Quickbooks, Aplos, or Xero for their reporting needs — whereas FENXT and Intacct are regularly sold to organizations with large staffs and revenue streams.

Let me know if you’d like to connect!
Michael Blanton
Product Marketing — Blackbaud
843-654-2175

Comment on this article:


Your privacy is important to us. Check out our Privacy Policy.