Driven by donations, nonprofit organizations face unique challenges when it comes to accounting. According to Charity Navigator, Americans donated over $410 billion to charitable organizations in 2017. With so much money passing through, nonprofits have to meet the strict standards and guidelines established by the Financial Accounting Standards Board.
For nonprofit staff and volunteers, accounting software can help simplify and streamline accounting and bookkeeping tasks, ensuring that financial records are in order and reporting standards are met.
To help you find the right accounting software for your organization, we researched 20 different accounting programs and evaluated them based on their features, cost, and usability. We also looked at customer reviews on Capterra, a leading software review provider.
The 6 Best Accounting Software for Nonprofits of 2021
- Best Overall: QuickBooks Enterprise Nonprofit
- Best for Small Organizations: ACCOUNTS from Software4Nonprofits
- Best for Large Organizations: Financial Edge by Blackbaud
- Best for Donation Tracking: Sumac by Silent Partner
- Best Cloud-Based Solution: Araize FastFund Accounting
- Best for Volunteer-Led Organizations: MoneyMinder
Best Overall : QuickBooks Enterprise Nonprofit
Many nonprofit organizations end up cobbling together accounting, donor management, and payroll services by using multiple programs, making things confusing during end-of-year reporting. QuickBooks Enterprise Nonprofit is our choice as the best overall accounting software for nonprofits because it is a full-service program that allows you to track your finances, manage your donor lists, and even pay your staff.
Combines donation management, financial statements, and payroll services into one package
Online backup and protection of your QuickBooks data
Syncs with apps like Kindful
Free trial unavailable on Enterprise edition
You must pay an additional fee to get remote access
Adding users can quickly drive up the monthly cost
QuickBooks Enterprise Nonprofit is issued by Intuit, the financial services and tax software company. Intuit was founded in 1983. Since its launch, it has become a household name, earning over $7.7 billion in revenue in 2020.
While there are cheaper versions of QuickBooks available for nonprofit organizations, we selected QuickBooks Enterprise Nonprofit because of its robustness. For large or growing organizations who need comprehensive accounting services, this program can be a good fit.
You can use QuickBooks Enterprise Nonprofit to track expenses and donations, budget by program and compare to actuals, and create donor and grant reports. This version of QuickBooks allows you to accept donations and securely store donor information in your database. If you upgrade to the Gold, Platinum, or Diamond plans, you can even get payroll services for your organization and pay your staff directly through QuickBooks.
QuickBooks integrates with several apps used by nonprofits including Kindful. If you use these apps as part of your fundraising campaigns, you can sync the data and import transaction details to streamline your reporting.
While other versions of QuickBooks have free trials, QuickBooks Enterprise Nonprofit does not. This version starts at $1,147.50 per year, but the price can increase based on what additional services you need. For example, the Platinum plan costs $1,831.50 per year.
The default version is only available via desktop, so employees cannot access it remotely. If you want to add cloud-based access, you’ll need to pay an additional fee for hosting for each user that will be using the program. For example, the cost for two users to remotely access the Diamond plan is $3,572.40.
For smaller nonprofits or nonprofits who are just starting out, you probably don’t need software with as many features as QuickBooks Enterprise Nonprofit. For smaller organizations and charities with more basic accounting needs, QuickBooks has other plans that start at lower prices such $35 per month and even $12.50 per month.
QuickBooks has a 4.5-star rating on Capterra.
Best for Small Organizations : ACCOUNTS from Software4Nonprofits
For small organizations like churches or community organizations, we selected ACCOUNTS as the best accounting software. It’s affordable and easy to use, with all of the necessary features you need to track income and expenses and create reports.
60-day free trial and 30-day money back guarantee
The standard version costs just $130 for the first year
The program can be used for the accounting of multiple organizations (up to 5) at no additional cost
The desktop program can only be used on Windows
You have to purchase a separate donation program to track donors
Only one user can do data entry at a time with the standard version
ACCOUNTS through Software4Nonprofits is a program offered by Cooperstock Software, a small company based in Canada. The company was founded by the treasurer of a religious finance committee because he had difficulties finding software that met his needs. He created ACCOUNTS as an alternative to the more expensive and complex accounting programs available at the time.
ACCOUNTS is an easy-to-use platform designed specifically for small organizations and churches who need basic bookkeeping and accounting services. The program allows you to track income and expenses, track fund balances, associate accounts with lines on your IRS tax forms, and create detailed reports.
If you’re responsible for managing the accounting for multiple organizations, such as the school PTA and your child’s sports team, you can use the software to handle the accounting for both at no additional cost.
The standard version of ACCOUNTS is $130 for the first year. After that, it costs $65 per year. You can try ACCOUNTS for free for 60 days, and you can download the free version online. ACCOUNTS also has a 30-day guarantee if you purchase the program. If you’re not satisfied with your purchase and no longer intend to use it, the company will give you a full refund.
Unfortunately, ACCOUNTS was designed for Microsoft Windows and the desktop version is only available for that operating system. However, there is a cloud-based, browser version called OnDemand that works on most platforms including Mac. Under the standard version, only one user can do data entry at a time. If you upgrade to the local network version—which costs $220 for the first year—up to five users can access the database at once.
If you want to track donations and donor information, you’ll need to purchase additional software. Cooperstock Software offers another program called DONATIONS, which is free if you have 100 donors or less per year. Larger organizations will need the paid version of DONATIONS.
ACCOUNTS has a 4.7-star rating on Capterra.
Best for Large Organizations : Financial Edge by Blackbaud
For large organizations that want enterprise-level accounting, Financial Edge is the clear choice. It integrates with Raiser’s Edge, a program of choice for donor and constituent management, and allows you to track expenses and budget across fiscal years.
Cloud-based software that can be managed remotely
Integrates with Raiser’s Edge donor management software
Lack of pricing transparency on the site
Financial Edge is a product released by Blackbaud, a leading software company that caters to nonprofit organizations, educational institutions, and healthcare facilities. It serves millions of users in over a hundred countries worldwide.
For large nonprofit organizations that have significant accounting needs as well as employees and a large donor-base, Financial Edge can be an excellent fit and it's our top choice for large organizations.
Financial Edge is a cloud-based program, so you can use it from any laptop. You can use Financial Edge to create budgets, track expenses, manage cash flow, and handle the general ledger. It has expanded budgeting capabilities, so you can forecast different scenarios and budget across fiscal years.
Financial Edge also integrates with Blackbaud’s Raiser’s Edge, the gold-standard program for donor management and fundraising, so you can make sure your organization’s efforts are cohesive.
The pricing for Financial Edge was not readily available on the website, but Financial Edge has a 4.2-star rating on Capterra.
Best for Donation Tracking : Sumac by Silent Partner
For nonprofit organizations that need customizable donation tracking and donor management tools, Sumac is our top choice in our review. With affordable pricing, free training sessions, and built-in email marketing, Sumac is a powerful fundraising tool.
Affordable pricing and different packages available
Staff and volunteers can access databases simultaneously from anywhere
Customizable donor profiles
Does not include general accounting capabilities
Implementation services and data migration may be an additional cost
Additional training costs $150 per hour
Many small and midsize nonprofit organizations have excellent accounting software and keep their financials in good order, but need help when it comes to donor management and donation tracking. If you’re relying on multiple spreadsheets or outdated databases, Sumac can be an affordable upgrade that can streamline how you work with your constituents.
Sumac was launched in 2003 and supports thousands of nonprofit professionals around the world. In 2018, Sumac became part of Silent Partner Software Inc and is offered alongside other products like PartnerHR.
With Sumac’s fundraising program, staff can access critical data from anywhere, and they can view databases at the same time, so they always have the most up-to-date information. The program allows you to create customizable donor profiles so you can adjust fields to meet your organization’s needs.
Within Sumac, you can see each donor’s history with your organization, including past donations and communications. You can also set up alerts so that you get a notification when a particular donor makes a donation over a certain threshold, and you create reminders to follow up with key donors.
Donation details can be converted into ledger entries and reports for your bookkeeper or accountant, and you can craft summarized annual giving reports.
The price for Sumac ranges from $35 per month to $250 and up per month, depending on your organization’s needs and number of records. Other services, like online donation acceptance, website management, and course registration require additional fees. With your fee, you get free training. If you need additional training, you’ll have to pay $150 per hour.
Sumac has a 4.3-star rating on Capterra.
Best Cloud-Based Solution : Araize FastFund Accounting
For organizations that want total remote access, Araize FastFund Accounting is our pick for the best cloud-based solution. It offers comprehensive accounting, fundraising, and payroll services and can be accessed from anywhere in the world.
You can choose one service or bundle all three
Monthly training webinars and online video training included
Can cancel anytime
One-on-one training costs extra
May not be intuitive if you don’t have an accounting background
Reports not as customizable as they are on other programs
Araize has over 30 years of experience delivering software solutions to nonprofit organizations. With Araize FastFund Accounting, you can get access to a complete cloud-based system. Because FastFund Accounting runs on the cloud, you can access it from any web browser on any device, including Mac, PC, or tablets. You can get your software up and running within a day, and multiple users can use the software at once, making it an ideal cloud-based program.
With the FastFund Accounting platform, you can handle bank reconciliations, generate accounting reports, create budgets for each department and grant, and generate all the data you need to complete the IRS Form 990. The FastFund Accounting program is available for as little as $42 per month, and there is no setup fee. Also, you don’t have to commit to a contract; you can cancel at any time.
Araize offers two other programs you can purchase separately or bundle with the accounting program. With FastFund Fundraising, you can create detailed donor profiles, track cash, pledges, and in-kind gifts, and create customized donor receipts. When bundled with FastFund Accounting, FastFund Fundraising is available for as little as $20 per month, or $42 per month as a standalone product.
With FastFund Payroll, you can also manage your organization’s payroll. You can pay employees through direct deposit or check, allocate money for taxes, and file quarterly payroll taxes. FastFund Payroll starts at $66 per month.
While your fee includes monthly training webinars and online video training, one-on-one training sessions are an additional cost.
In reviews of Araize, many people say the program is robust and powerful. However, if you’re used to pricier programs like Financial Edge, you may find that the reports aren’t as customizable.
Araize has a 4.5-star rating on Capterra.
Best for Volunteer-Led Organizations : MoneyMinder
MoneyMinder is our top pick for volunteer-led organizations. It’s easy to use, so even if you have no bookkeeping experience, you can navigate the program and take advantage of its features to manage your organization’s finances.
Low annual fee
Includes volunteer management tools
Remote account access
Add-ons, such as online stores, are an additional cost
Does not have donor management tools
Bank integration requires additional fees
MoneyMinder is powered by Nonprofit Central and was specifically created for volunteer-led nonprofit organizations who are often overwhelmed by complex accounting programs.
MoneyMinder is a simple and easy-to-use online program that you can access anywhere. If you’re the treasurer of an organization, you can use the program to manage budgets, handle bookkeeping duties, reconcile bank accounts, and generate detailed reports.
It includes volunteer management tools, allowing you to track volunteer hours and create reports by volunteer or event. Unfortunately, donor management tools are very limited with MoneyMinder.
The basic version of MoneyMinder is free, but MoneyMinder Pro is $159 per year and well worth the added cost. Unlike the free version, you can import PayPal transactions, print checks, and store documents.
MoneyMinder does offer additional services like bank integration and MyStore, which allows you to create an online store and accept online payments. However, these services have additional fees.
MoneyMinder has a 5-star rating on Capterra.
What Is Accounting Software?
Accounting software handles certain bookkeeping and accounting tasks. It stores your organizations’ financial data and records and can perform some business transactions.
For example, accounting software can be used to store and track your organization’s expenses, payroll, and transactions. It can also record incoming donations and grants, and run reports. Accounting software can help you save time, as it can handle bank reconciliation and speed up tasks like invoicing, bill payment, and even payroll.
Why Do Nonprofits Need Accounting Software?
Nonprofit accounting is vastly different from for-profit accounting. Nonprofits are backed by donations and grants, so they have strict financial accounting standards they have to meet. In terms of reporting requirements, nonprofits have to meet FAS 116 (Accounting for Contributions Received and Contributions Made) and FAS 117 (Financial Statements of Not-for-Profit Organizations) standards.
Nonprofits are often on tight budgets. While having a dedicated accountant or bookkeeper—or several—on-staff is ideal, that’s not always possible for new or growing organizations. The right accounting software can help nonprofit organizations meet these standards even if they have a lean staff, so they can reach their financial objectives and minimize their costs.
The software can help handle the additional accounting needs of a nonprofit organization, such as meeting unique reporting requirements, tracking grants, making financial information available to donors and stakeholders in a timely manner, and creating balance sheet reports.
What’s the Right Nonprofit Accounting Software for Me?
When choosing accounting software, consider the needs of your organization and the experience of the person who will be handling accounting for your organization.
Smaller organizations and volunteer-led groups will likely be better off with free or low-cost options that are streamlined, simple, and offer basic accounting functions.
If your organization is larger, has hundreds of donors, or accepts a significant amount of online payments, you likely need a more robust program and will need to pay more money for accounting software.
Large-scale organizations with thousands of donors will need enterprise-scaled solutions, such as QuickBooks Enterprise Nonprofit or Blackbaud’s Financial Edge.
How We Chose Accounting Software Companies
We selected the top seven accounting software companies for nonprofits after reviewing 20 different well-known companies. We evaluated each accounting software program based on its features, pricing, ease of use, and customer reviews on Capterra. Particular emphasis was placed on the transparency of cost; companies that did not publicly disclose its software’s price were eliminated, and organizations that were not rated on Capterra or had lower than a 4-star rating were not included on our list.