How to Choose the Right Nonprofit Accounting Software in Five Steps
Boyer and Associates knows that implementing a new software system requires the valuable time, money and resources that nonprofits never seem to have in excess. Fortunately, picking the right software solution can increase your nonprofit’s efficiency, save money and help build accountability to donors and grantors.
Working with hundreds of nonprofits over the past 23 years has helped us understand common challenges companies face when researching products. It’s a tough market to navigate, but we’re here to help. Here are five tips or steps on how to find the best financial management software for your not-for-profit company:
1. Define your requirements
Do some research within your nonprofit. Discuss concerns and requirements with all employees who will use the accounting software to manage your nonprofit’s finances. Help identify which features are necessary by asking the right questions to narrow your search. For example, you might ask the following questions:
- What features does your current accounting software have that you consider essential?
- What would be the cost of operating without those features?
- What integration with other software would save you from rekeying data?
- What features do you currently lack that you hope to find in another system?
Use that information to prioritize your top must-have features and a would-be-nice wish list.
2. Determine limitations to your existing technology
Other upgrades may be required if equipment is outdated. If applicable, have your IT team evaluate whether your current servers or computers are compatible with a new system and up to date. Any upgrade costs should be included in your estimate when considering the total cost of the software implementation.
3. Consider additional costs
As the previous point noted, one mistake to avoid is only budgeting for the cost of the software license. Additional costs accompany the adoption of new software, including training and support costs. At Boyer & Associates, these costs are bundled upfront, and we will discuss them before your purchase to help you stay within a budget that is realistic for your nonprofit.
4. Conduct research on ERP options
After you define your preferred features and budget, research the available software options to create a list of products that meet your nonprofit’s needs. For example, at this stage you might want to:
- Read product reviews and product comparisons
- Check out case studies for companies that are similar to yours
- Ask your peers what they have and what they do/don’t like about it
5. Watch Product Demos
Once you’ve narrowed down your list to four or five of the most promising products, connect with different vendors to ask questions and schedule product demos. Seeing how the software operates in person or online through video tutorials can help you observe different features and ease of use.
To schedule a demo on Microsoft’s premier line of ERP/accounting solutions, call Boyer & Associates at 763-412-4315. We will need to learn more about your business before we can demo software so expect some questions first.
Once you’ve done your research and watched the demos, tally up the pros and cons of each product. Hopefully, this process will help clarify which software option is best for your nonprofit.