Most people who are searching for nonprofit accounting software want to see a few solutions, get strong references and if possible buy the solution that someone they trust is already using and liking. Boyer & Associates has three strong Microsoft ERP solutions that hundreds of nonprofits throughout the Twin Cities use. Which one would work best for you depends on the type of organization you run.
Arts Organizations, Foundations Tout GP’s Easy Integration
Many of our clients in the Arts find Dynamics GP a strong candidate. Many of these organizations are looking for software to integrate in a proven and seamless way with either a point of sale or a fundraising package. Simple grant management can be done in Dynamics GP and some of the best integration tools you will ever see — Web Services, Stored Procedures and Service Based Architecture — exist as integration options. What I love about Dynamics GP is how well documented these integration tools (and the software in general) are for users, developers and business analysts.
Foundations tend to be a strong fit for Dynamics GP too since strong financial reporting, integration and financial modules are typically enough for them. Difficult grant management tracking is not required because they typically demand reporting from grant recipients but have no need for that type of reporting themselves.
Dynamics GP has penetrated the nonprofit market well across the U.S. due to the fact that the solution has very little need for support. The product just works. This makes the total cost of Dynamics GP very attractive and enhances its reputation along with the willingness of nonprofits to recommend the product.
SL Budgeting Appeals to Associations, Social Services
For associations and other membership-oriented organizations we offer Dynamics SL with a budget program we designed with the American Academy of Neurology and the American Academy of Dermatology. The budgeting capabilities go beyond typical nonprofit budgeting and deliver budgeting that is specific to associations with a focus on event budgeting and newsletter budgeting. The budgeting programs are written in the Dynamics SL toolset so there is only one database and one user-interface.
Social Service organizations billing the state of Minnesota also find functionality we’ve created for these organizations very helpful. Most of these organizations do not want to key data into the state’s website and then again into their accounting system. Our modifications to Dynamics SL allow organizations to bill the state of Minnesota electronically and thereby eliminate the duplication of work.
We have also figured out how to rebill for missing medical assistance or social security numbers — another great time saver. Applying cash against invoices electronically rather than manually can save up to one FTE for many of these clients. Social Service organizations tend to configure the strong Dynamics SL project modules so that a family is a project and a task is a budget line to facilitate reporting back to families how they are doing against a budget.
Larger Organizations Prefer NAV’s Handling of Complexities
Larger multi-program, multi-fiscal year and multi-donor organizations that need to track complex restrictions on donations over varying fiscal years typically need to move out of “Excel overload” more quickly than other nonprofits. They are probably the best fit for Serenic Navigator (powered by Dynamics NAV). These organizations typically require a more complete ERP system with built-in full-cycle grant management, rules-based budget/expense control and tracking of fund restrictions.
Nonprofit accounting operations looking to manage complex indirect cost allocations and revenue recognition policies or firms that require multi-national capabilities, including multiple languages and specific localizations by country, often choose to go with Serenic Navigator as well.
A quick note of caution: Be careful not to buy Dynamics NAV thinking you can simply add Serenic Navigator later. The tailoring of Dynamics NAV does not make for the easy transition you might expect.