Fund Accounting Software
- How long have they been in business?
- How long have they been providing fund accounting solutions?
- Did they develop the product or do they merely modify
and resell it?
- Is fund accounting their main product or is it just an
adjunct to another piece of software? Some firms main focus
is on fund raising software. They offer fund accounting
only because they need to compliment their flagship product.
This is an indication that the fund accounting will be of
a lesser quality.
- How does the company provide day-to-day support?
- How often do they update the product?
- Do they provide high quality documentation? Documentation
is a complex and time consuming process. It is very important
that good documentation be supplied. It is also highly desirable
that the documentation be available on-line in an easily
- Is it a TRUE fund accounting system or is it a modified
commercial application? A good fund accounting system needs
to be developed from the ground up. Some vendors offer commercial
systems with fund accounting "overlays". If this
is what they are selling, be leery of the product.
- How long has the product been on the market? New products
may have more Flash, however they tend to be less stable.
Look for a balance between the two. More mature products
also tend to be more feature rich because they have received
many enhancements over a long period of time.
- Is it a batch system or real time? This is very important,
especially if you are a government operation. Real time
processing is necessary to check budgets, spending limits,
etc. because government budgets are legislated. They are
the law! Nonprofits can also benefit from real time processing
because it is generally much faster. It eliminates processing
steps, saving time and money.
- Has it been designed and programmed using Microsoft's
Windows 9X design guidelines? If the guidelines have not
been followed, the product may look like a Windows application,
but does not work like one. This makes for more difficult
learning and day-to-day usage.
- Does it have a large free form account number? Most fund
accounting applications require additional groupings and
breakdowns. Commercial account numbering schemes are often
- Can it handle both cash and accrual basis funds concurrently? Many operations require this ability. Example: a museum
gift shop needs to be on an accrual basis, but the general
fund needs to be on a cash basis.
- How large can the amounts be? Some low end products cannot
handle the large figures required for fund accounting. The
system should be able to handle numbers up to 1,000,000,000.00.
- Can the system handle the number of funds required? A
good fund accounting system should not have a limit on the
number of funds.
- Does the software offer security? Application access should
be regulated by program and user.
- Is it portable? It should be upgradable or movable from
system to system without conversion.
- Can invoices be paid from multiple funds using a single
check? Many commercial and low end fund accounting systems
fail this test. It is a very important feature. It can drastically
reduce the number of checks being written.
- Can multiple checking accounts be used, if necessary? Some organizations need to be able to maintain multiple
- Is Grant/Project tracking available? Grants and projects
often require different reporting requirements. They must
be reported for different periods. They also require reporting
on a to-date basis for the life of the grant.
- Does it process encumbrances? This is an absolute must
for many government operations. And, if you encumber, the
system should definitely have real time processing.
- Does the budget planning allow for global changes? Fund
accounting operations tend to have a very large number of
accounts. Global change capabilities allow the user to quickly
create and change budgets with a minimum of input.
- Do the available reports meet the needs of a fund accounting
operation? Fund operations need revenue and expense reports
in addition to the standard reports offered by commercial
systems. They depict comparisons between actual revenues
and expenses versus budgets.
- If you are a nonprofit, does the system support FASB 177
- If you are a government, does the system support GASB
34 reporting requirements?