A nonprofit organization needs an affordable small business accounting software to manage donor contributions and expenses as well as generate detailed reports. Larger nonprofits require a more robust, customized system to meet their tracking and reporting requirements. To determine the best accounting software for nonprofits, we looked at several products and narrowed it down to our top six.
Top 6 Nonprofit Accounting Software 2018
|QuickBooks for NonProfit||(Best Overall) For nonprofits of any size because of chart of account and report customization, ease of use, and affordability.|
|Aplos Accounting||A nonprofit company looking for an alternative to QuickBooks for Nonprofit.|
|Non Profit +||Large nonprofits ($10MM+ annual receipts) needing accounting, project tracking, and CRM in one program.|
|QuickBooks Online||A nonprofit that wants to be able to access their data 24/7/365 from any mobile device at an affordable price.|
|Sage Intacct||In-depth dashboards that provide multiple metrics at a glance and advanced report filtering.|
|Blackbaud||A nonprofit looking for another good nonprofit accounting alternative to Aplos Accounting.|
How We Evaluated Nonprofit Accounting Software
When it comes to keeping track of income and expenses for your nonprofit organizations, it’s really no different than businesses that operate for profit. However, nonprofit organizations are scrutinized more frequently and must meet specific reporting requirements to keep their nonprofit status. Similar to most small businesses, your nonprofit organization probably operates on a strict budget, so it must be affordable.
We assessed our top picks based on pricing, ease of use, customer reviews and the following key features:
- Donor Management – track donor contact details such as address and telephone number, as well as contributions made throughout the year.
- Budgeting/Forecasting – create a budget to track actual donor contributions and expenses incurred against your budget so you can address any issues.
- Accounts Receivable – ability to track money owed to your nonprofit organization based on commitments made by donors in the form of pledges, grants or dues.
- Accounts Payable – track money owed to vendor suppliers for overhead costs (utilities, rent) and supplies and materials purchased.
- Reporting – able to generate key financial reports to provide stakeholders detailed information on how contributions have been allocated and used.
QuickBooks for Nonprofit is the best accounting software for nonprofits; it is ideal for small, medium or large nonprofit organizations. With QuickBooks for Nonprofit, you can easily manage all income and expenses and run detailed reports to analyze donor contributions as well as budget vs. actual reports.
QuickBooks for Nonprofit: Best Overall Nonprofit Accounting Software
QuickBooks for Nonprofit is ideal for any sized nonprofit organization. It is the #1 accounting software used by small businesses; you can easily find a QuickBooks ProAdvisor if you need help. In addition to including the features found in standard QuickBooks, it includes a customized chart of accounts, products and services list and reports for nonprofits.
QuickBooks for Nonprofit Features & Pricing
There are two versions of QuickBooks Nonprofit: Premier and Enterprise. Unlike most of its competitors that offer cloud-based products, both products must be installed on your computer in order to use them. QuickBooks Premier starts at $499.95 for one license and QuickBooks Enterprise starts at $1,100 per year. The only difference between the two products is in the maximum number of users and the number of donors, suppliers and employees that you can manage.
QuickBooks for Nonprofit Tiered Pricing & Features
|Maximum Donors, Suppliers, Employees|
|Custom Chart of Accounts|
|Manage Accounts Receivable|
|Manage Accounts Payable|
|Custom Non-Profit Reports|
QuickBooks Desktop Premier for Nonprofit
QuickBooks Desktop Premier includes all of the features that QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise has, like custom chart of accounts and reports, budgeting/forecasting tools, and donor management and tracking. The primary difference between the two products is in the maximum number of users you can add (five for Premier versus 30 for Enterprise) and the maximum number of donors, vendors and employees (14,500 for Premier versus 1,000,000 for Enterprise).
QuickBooks Desktop Premier is ideal for a small to medium-sized nonprofit that generates $1 million or less in contributions and does not need to give more than five users access to QuickBooks. If you need to give more than five users access to your data or if your donor base is growing rapidly and you will soon surpass the maximum donor limit (14,500), it’s time to upgrade to QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise for Non-Profit.
QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise for Nonprofit
When it comes to features, QuickBooks Desktop and Enterprise are identical. However, you can give more users access to Enterprise than you can Premier (five versus 30)—additional fees will apply. The capacity to hold member information, vendor suppliers that you pay and employees is far greater at 1 million versus 14,500 for Premier.
QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise is ideal for a medium to large nonprofit that generates more than $1 million in donor contributions, needs to give more than five users access to the QuickBooks data file or has more than 20 employees to process payroll for.
What QuickBooks for Nonprofit Is Missing
If there is one thing that is missing with QuickBooks for Nonprofit, it’s having access to data 24/7/365. By using software installed on a desktop, you can only access your data from one computer. However, QuickBooks is a lot more affordable than its competitors, which is one of the reason why it is our top pick.
What Users Think About QuickBooks for Nonprofit
QuickBooks customers like how customizable the software is and how easy it is to manipulate the reports to get the information you need. On the flip side, customers also feel that even though the cost of the software is a one-time fee, it can be expensive to upgrade every year to access any new features. Check out our QuickBooks Premier customer reviews page for more details.
QuickBooks Online: Best Nonprofit Accounting Software for Affordability & Accessibility
QuickBooks Online is the most affordable cloud-based nonprofit accounting software. If you need to give multiple users access to your data 24/7/365, this product is ideal for your nonprofit. Depending on which plan you choose, you can manage donors, accept online contributions, create budgets by grant and fund, and keep track of donated products.
QuickBooks Online Pricing & Features
QuickBooks Online comes in four versions: Self-Employed, Simple Start, Essentials and Plus. However, only two of these are ideal for nonprofit accounting—Essentials and Plus. QBO Essentials is $35 per month and includes five users, while QBO Plus is $60 per month and includes seven users. You can accomplish all of the basic accounting with Essentials while Plus gives you bonus features like budgeting, 1099 reporting and inventory management of donated goods.
QuickBooks Online Tiered Pricing & Features
|Custom Chart of Accounts|
|Manage Accounts Receivable|
|Manage Accounts Payable|
Out of the two QBO plans, Essentials is the most budget-friendly at $35 per month ($420 annually) versus QBO Plus at $60 per month ($720 annually). You can give up to five users access to your data, manage your donor contact information and contributions, and accept online contributions by adding on the Intuit Payments (additional fees apply).
QBO Essentials is ideal for a small to medium-sized nonprofit that doesn’t need any bells and whistles but just a basic nonprofit accounting software solution that is easily accessible by multiple users from any mobile device with an internet connection.
QBO Plus is the top of the line plan at $60 per month—that’s $25 per month more than QBO Essentials! For that steep price, you do get a few bells and whistles. QBO Plus has inventory tracking so you can easily keep track of donated products if you need to. In addition, you can create annual budgets for programs or grants and run budget versus actual reports to do further analysis. If you hire contractors, you can do 1099 reporting.
QBO Plus is ideal for any sized nonprofit that needs the ability to track donated items in inventory or that wants to create budgets. If you don’t need either of these features and you don’t hire 1099 contractors, then you should sign up for QBO Essentials instead.
What QuickBooks Online Is Missing
Unlike QuickBooks Desktop, QuickBooks Online is not customized for nonprofit organizations. This simply means that you will have to invest some time to make the customizations required to the chart of accounts and other areas of the program.
What Users Think About QuickBooks Online
Overall, QuickBooks Online has more positive reviews than negative. On the positive end, customers like how easy it is to set up and use. They also like having access to their information through the app. On the negative end, customers who switched from QuickBooks desktop to QuickBooks online don’t think the online version is as powerful as desktop version.
Aplos: Best Nonprofit Accounting Software Alternative to QuickBooks for Nonprofit
Aplos is ideal for any sized nonprofit organization. Similar to QuickBooks for Nonprofit, this software is customized for nonprofits and unlike QuickBooks, you can access your data 24/7/365 from any mobile device. Overall, customer reviews were more positive than negative, but the steep price of $25 to $150 per month ($300 to $1,800 annually) is a lot more than what you would pay to use QuickBooks.
Aplos Pricing & Features
Aplos offers three pricing plans between $25 and $150 per month. All plans allow you to give access to one accountant and unlimited access to contact and donation managers. All plans allow you to manage pledge/donor receivables, pay bills, create budgets and accept online contributions. Both the Standard and Advanced plans allow you to manage donations and automatically create contributions statements.
Aplos Accounting Tiered Pricing & Features
|Manage Accounts Receivable|
|Manage Accounts Payable|
|Auto create Contributions Statements|
|Form 990 Reporting|
|Fixed Asset Management|
|Budget by Fund|
The starter plan is the least expensive out of the three tiers at $25 per month ($300/year). You can manage all pledge receivables as well as your outstanding bills. This plan also includes budgeting and allows donors to make their contributions online. However, you cannot create contribution statements or file Form 990 with this plan.
The starter plan is ideal if you don’t mind manually tracking contributions/donations and you are OK with completing Form 990 at the end of the year or you plan to hire a CPA to do it for you.
The standard plan is the middle tier plan at $40 per month ($480/year). In addition to the features included in the Starter plan, you can manage donations and generate automatic contribution statements for each donor with this plan.
The standard plan is ideal for any nonprofit organization because you can keep track of all income and expenses and produce the reports that you need to provide to stakeholders at the end of the year. However, this plan does not include the ability to export a report that will help you to complete Form 990 like the Advanced plan does. Therefore, you will have to use multiple reports from Aplos to manually complete Form 990 or hire a CPA to take care of it for you.
The advanced plan is the top tier plan at $150 per month ($1,800 per year). This is $1,500 more than the Starter plan and $1,320 more than the Standard plan! For the additional money, you get several additional features: create customized reports by project, location or department, create budgets for each fund, and use tags to track income and expenses, and export the information to a report to complete Form 990.
This plan is ideal for a nonprofit organization that wants the ability to not only keep track of all income and expenses, but also needs the ability to slice and dice reports by location, department and fund. Best of all, you can file your own tax Form 990 without the need to hire a CPA to do it.
What Aplos Accounting Is Missing
When it comes to features you would expect the best accounting software for nonprofits to have, Aplos has got it all. While they offer an affordable package for just about every budget, they don’t beat QuickBooks when it comes to price.
What Users Think About Aplos Accounting
There weren’t many online reviews for Aplos Accounting. However, the reviews we were able to find indicate that customers are quite pleased with the product. Customers like how affordable and user-friendly Aplos Accounting is. On the flip side, customers feel like there is too much focus on developing new modules instead of fixing existing bugs.
nonprofit+: Best Nonprofit Accounting Software for Nonprofit Organizations with Gross Receipts of $10 million+
nonprofit+ is a robust system that goes well beyond accounting to include a full CRM and project tracking and scheduling tools. nonprofit+ is ideal for very large nonprofit organizations with multiple offices and employees spread across the globe. While it comes with a steep price tag ($12,000 to $14,000), you won’t outgrow this system anytime soon.
The pricing for nonprofit+ is based on the needs of your organization. At a minimum, you will need to purchase the Advanced Financials module, which includes accounts payable, accounts receivable and reporting. In addition, you will need to purchase the nonprofit+ suite, which includes the Funds Management, Program Management and Grant Management modules. In total, this will cost approximately $12,000/year for five users and $14,000/year for 10 users.
nonprofit+ has a number of great features that go well beyond what some standard accounting software programs have. For example, you can limit the accounts that can be used on a grant, you can setup email accounts within the software, and send reminders and tasks to each user’s inbox. You can also manage multiple entities, so if you have a nonprofit organization and a for-profit organization, you can easily manage both within the same account.
nonprofit+ has built-in CRM capabilities; you can create donor profiles that include the donor’s basic contact information like address, phone number and email. You can also include their preferred method of payment for contributions (e.g., check, credit card) and see all emails and telephone communications, completed and incomplete tasks, and notes, all in one screen.
nonprofit+ also includes the ability to assign tasks to staff and include a reminder email once the due date is approaching. When you create a task, you can include notes and attach files so they can easily access all of the information needed from within nonprofit+. You can also choose to receive a notification once a task has been completed.
Time tracking is also included in nonprofit+. Whether you need to keep track of hours worked by volunteers or other staff members; you can manually enter the hours worked or each user can login and use the built-in timer to keep track of their hours. Hours can be allocated to the appropriate grant, program or fund.
Create invoices to keep track of pledges or other commitments made by donors. You can email invoices to donors with a due date. Payment can be made via ACH, check or debit/credit card. nonprofit+ also has an accounts receivable aging report so that you can keep track of what pledges are coming due or what’s past due so that you can follow-up with the donors regarding payment.
nonprofit+ allows you to easily keep track of outstanding vendor bills. You can create vendor profiles with contact information like telephone number and mailing address. In addition, you can enter the payment terms so that nonprofit+ can alert you when an invoice due date is coming up. Bill payments can be made via check, credit card or ACH.
There are a variety of budgets that you can create with nonprofit+. Separate budgets can be created for funds, grants and programs. You can easily run budget versus actual reports throughout the year to see how things are going. If there is a fund, grant or program that is significantly over/under budget, you can do further analysis to determine the root cause.
What nonprofit+ Is Missing
As we’ve discussed, nonprofit+ is ideal for large nonprofit organizations that have gross receipts between $10 million and $200 million. With that said, I believe nonprofit+ is missing out on a number of small to medium-sized nonprofit organizations that could benefit from the number of great features and tools offered in this software.
What Users Think About nonprofit+
Unfortunately, we could not find many customer reviews for nonprofit+. In the reviews that we were able to find, customers said that nonprofit+ includes everything that you need to manage funds, grants and programs. There were no negative reviews—just tips like make sure you don’t underestimate the product during implementation and be sure to vet your implementation partner.
Sage Intacct: Best Nonprofit Accounting Software for In-depth Dashboards & Reporting
Sage Intacct is ideal for large nonprofit organizations that need a robust system customizable to meet the needs of their organization. With Sage Intacct, you can create the system that you want, based on how you operate; implementation can generally take from two to three months to complete. The most impressive feature is the in-depth report dashboard.
Sage Intacct Pricing
Since Sage Intacct is a system that is built to the customer’s specifications, pricing will vary from one organization to the next. However, the sales rep that I spoke with shared that it could be anywhere between $8,000 and $10,000 annually. There is also an implementation fee that generally runs between 1 percent and 1.5 percent of the annual fee.
Sage Intacct Features
Sage Intacct goes well beyond the basic income and expense management features to provide in-depth reporting, granular permissions that allow you to set up for each user role, a customizable user interface to meet your specific needs, and an approval process for all invoices, bill payments and purchase requisitions. You can also manage multiple for-profit and nonprofit entities and share or create a custom chart of accounts for each.
Sage Intacct allows you to manage all donor information such as phone, email and mailing address. You can also keep track of all donations made by check, cash or online so you can generate contribution statements.
With Sage Intacct, you can create budgets for each project, fund or grant. This allows you to utilize the detailed budget versus actual reports to see how well each project, fund or grant is performing.
Stay on top of outstanding pledges or commitments made by donors by reviewing an A/R Aging report to see what pledges are coming due or past due. Send a friendly reminder to follow-up on past due commitments made by donors.
Maintain good credit with vendor suppliers by running an A/P Aging report to see what bills are due or coming due. Pay your bills through Intacct by writing a check, ACH or using a credit card.
Easily track all fixed asset purchases like cars, furniture and equipment made by your nonprofit. Keeping track of purchase date, description, amount and serial number or make and model. This information will come in handy at tax time when your accountant needs to calculate depreciation expense and determine if you qualify for the Section 179 tax deduction.
Reporting and Dashboards
Sage Intacct has the most impressive dashboard and advanced reporting out of all of the products we looked at. The dashboard appears when you first log in and it can be customized to show almost any data you would like to see.
For example, the sample company that I looked at had total expenses, total volunteer hours and number of meals served on their dashboard with a comparison to the previous year. Reports can be filtered in a number of ways and are available in text, bar graph or pie chart form.
If you have more than one nonprofit to manage or if you have both nonprofit and for-profit organizations that you need to track income and expenses for, you can do that under one account in Sage Intacct. This feature allows you to share chart of accounts or create a custom chart for each company.
What Sage Intacct Is Missing
Similar to nonprofit+, Sage Intacct is not missing any features. However, due to their steep price, they are missing out on a large group of small nonprofit organizations. Many of these organizations cannot afford to pay thousands of dollars for an accounting solution.
What Users Think About Sage Intacct
Sage Intacct has mostly positive reviews. Most customers like how robust the system is and the ease of being able to track multiple entities under the same account. On the negative end, customers feel that the product is quite pricey if you have a lot of users. Visit our Sage Intacct reviews page to read all customer reviews.
Blackbaud Financial Edge NXT: Best Nonprofit Accounting Software as Another Good Nonprofit Accounting Software Option
According to Blackbaud Financial Edge NXT, their software is ideal for a mid-sized nonprofit that has $1 million or more in annual revenue. Similar to nonprofit+ and Sage Intacct, this product is ideal for a nonprofit that wants a custom system to meet their specific organization needs, which will require you to request a quote.
Blackbaud Financial Edge NXT Pricing
Similar to many of its competitors, Blackbaud Financial Edge NXT customizes their software to meet the individual needs of their customers. This means that pricing will vary based on what you need to manage for the financials of your nonprofit.
Blackbaud Financial Edge NXT Features
Blackbaud Financial Edge NXT includes a number of features. You can track outstanding pledges, track and pay bills, create budgets and manage fixed assets. In addition, there are over 100 reports that you can customize to review key data metrics that will help you determine the overall performance of a fund, program or grant.
Blackbaud allows you to create and send invoices to donors for pledges and commitments made. Stay on top of unpaid invoices by running the accounts receivable aging report to review open invoices and take the necessary steps to follow-up with donors.
With Blackbaud, you can keep track of all expenses incurred by the nonprofit for overhead and supply purchases. Run the accounts payable aging report to review all outstanding bills and determine what needs to be paid and when. You can easily print checks or pay bills online.
Blackbaud allows you to create budgets by department, grant, program or project. You can create an unlimited number of what-if scenarios and you can also control budget spending by setting business rules and turning on notifications that will alert you when you are over budget.
You can easily stay on top of all furniture, equipment and vehicles purchased for the nonprofit organization. You can keep track of key information like purchase date, purchase amount and description so that you can calculate depreciation and take any Section 179 or other tax deductions you may be eligible for.
Blackbaud has over 100 reports that you can customize to review and analyze data by department, fund, program, and project, to name a few. This feature will give you insight into every aspect of the health of your nonprofit organization and overall performance.
What Blackbaud Financial Edge NXT Is Missing
Similar to some of its competitors, Blackbaud Financial Edge NXT is not missing any of the features you would expect in a nonprofit accounting software. While we could not get anyone to provide us with an average price, we know that it is more expensive than QuickBooks.
What Users Think About Blackbaud Financial Edge NXT
Overall, Blackbaud customers like how easy it is to use and the robust reporting capabilities. In addition, they like how customizable the software is to fit your organization’s needs. Most of the cons were centered around how pricey the software is and some users said it was too complex to set up on multiple devices.
Free Accounting Software for Nonprofits
If you’re a brand-new non-profit organization or you just don’t have the budget to purchase an accounting software, there are a couple of great accounting software products that work great for nonprofits and you can use them for free: Wave Accounting and Odoo.
Wave Accounting allows you to manage all of your income and expenses, give an unlimited number of users access to your data, and manage more than one business for free. You can also generate key financial statements like Profit and Loss, Balance Sheet and Cash Flow statement so that you can monitor the overall health of your nonprofit business.
Odoo is an open source (customizable) accounting software that allows you to manage all of your income and expenses and run detailed financial statements. Unlike Wave, Odoo goes beyond accounting to include apps to manage inventory, point of sale, CRM and MRP all in one integrated system; additional fees may apply.
Still Have Questions?
Have a question about choosing the right accounting software for nonprofits? Our analysts are standing by to answer!
The Bottom Line
Now that you are better informed about the variety of nonprofit accounting options on the market, the ball is in your court to select the best nonprofit accounting software that will meet the needs of your nonprofit. To get up and running in about the time it takes to install the software, we recommend QuickBooks for Nonprofit.
QuickBooks for Nonprofit is the best accounting software for nonprofits. At a starting price of just under $500, you get a software that includes a customized chart of accounts and custom reports like the Statement of Functional Expenses to assist you with completing Form 990.