Choosing the right technology services for nonprofits is a long process that doesn’t happen overnight. Many nonprofits have solutions that were cutting edge at one point or another, but due to budget or time constraints, they’ve never upgraded or replaced outdated tech. Accounting software is a common issue for nonprofits, especially for smaller organizations that may still be using Excel spreadsheets or other low-tech “that’s how we’ve always done it” processes.
QuickBooks is one of the most common tools for businesses and nonprofits to use for their accounting tasks. This guide will cover the basic functions of QuickBooks for nonprofits, how much it costs, how to get it for free, and what other options are available. Let’s dive in!
Yes, QuickBooks is a great solution for nonprofits to handle their accounting and bookkeeping needs. Because nonprofits need to track how money is spent (rather than focusing on the profits earned), having an accounting software that is specifically designed for nonprofits is important. QuickBooks allows you to easily allocate revenue and expenses to specific funds or programs, and can automatically assign expenses to the proper category, whether administrative, general, or your custom accounting setup. You can also connect the nonprofit bank account and QuickBooks will learn to categorize expenses for you so you don’t have to spend a lot of time on manual data entry.
Using QuickBooks, your nonprofit can accept all types of donations, like credit or debit cards, bank transfers, cash, or checks. Your volunteers can accept and record donations on their phone or mobile device, and these donations can be tagged for a specific program or fund. You can also connect apps to QuickBooks, so if your organization uses a donation platform, you may be able to hook it up to your QuickBooks to easily record and account for those donations.
Another important function of QuickBooks that is essential for nonprofit organizations is the ability to create custom reports. Nonprofits rely on reports for legal reasons, like filling out the 990 tax form to maintain their nonprofit status, and for organizational reasons, like presenting information to the board of directors or donors. You can even set up automatic reports that are emailed to board members or send yearly donation statements to donors with thank you letters attached. Having accounting software with this type of functionality makes it much easier for nonprofits to operate, reducing work for employees and volunteers with a lot on their plate already.
It depends on what functions you need. QuickBooks is often considered the “gold standard” of accounting software, and it can sometimes have a steep learning curve. For a small nonprofit that doesn’t have a lot of accounting tasks, it may not be worth it to invest in this tool. Luckily, you don’t have to make this determination by yourself! Here at Computers in Ministry (CIM), we work closely with you to figure out what software will support and align with your mission so you have the solutions that work best for you.
No, QuickBooks is not free for nonprofit organizations. There are options for free accounting software for nonprofits out there, but keep in mind that free versions often have limited capabilities. They may not have the functionality that you need, causing wasted time and frustration.
The good news is that there are technology grants available for nonprofits to help offset the cost of implementing or upgrading software solutions. Be sure to check with your granting agencies to see if there are any upcoming opportunities.
One program that may be able to help your nonprofit receive a discounted version of QuickBooks is the Intuit donation program at TechSoup. This allows eligible nonprofits to receive one Intuit product per fiscal year (July 1 to June 30) at a large discount, though it is limited to one subscription product within the lifetime of the organization. You can check the eligibility and restrictions to find out if your organization is eligible to participate in this program.
Yes, QuickBooks has three different nonprofit versions. There are two cloud-based options and a desktop version available.
QuickBooks Online Plus is the most inexpensive cloud-based version that includes 5 users and a variety of functions. The most important thing to note is that there is no training included with this price, so it’s important to factor that in when choosing which option is best for your organization. If you have employees or volunteers who are already familiar with QuickBooks, then this could work well, but if no one knows how to use this software, it may cause some difficulties. You can also look into QuickBooks nonprofit training opportunities, like those on TechSoup. QuickBooks Online Plus includes the ability to:
QuickBooks Online Advanced is the next level of cloud-based software available. This includes all of the base functionality listed above, as well as allowing for more than 5 users and having training. The extra functionality includes:
Both of these online versions are fully customizable, and allow nonprofits to track budgets by programs or funds in real-time. They will also help with tracking donor and grant management, financial reporting, bank reconciliations, and more.
QuickBooks Enterprise Nonprofit is a desktop solution that does not include the ability to log in remotely. This version has all of the functionality of the above solutions, as well as:
Features available for additional cost:
This version allows you to set individual user permissions for more than 115 different activities, which helps you safeguard your donor data. This is particularly useful if your nonprofit has a lot of volunteers doing different tasks in the software so you can make sure that everyone has the proper access for their roles. QuickBooks Enterprise Nonprofit is great for expanding capacity and future growth. You may want to start with one of the online versions, and then upgrade when needed.
Yes, QuickBooks offers discounted products for nonprofits, though discounts may be limited to those who are first-time customers. You can find these discounts through TechSoup, a nonprofit tech marketplace. You can find pricing information listed on the QuickBooks website.
It depends on the size of your organization,the activities that you need to track, and how tech-savvy your people are. When selecting the edition of QuickBooks, here are some questions to consider:
In general, the editions of QuickBooks are tiered for a reason. The less-expensive option, QuickBooks Online Plus, works well for small nonprofits that don’t have a lot of complicated accounting to do. QuickBooks Online Advanced is excellent for small- to mid-sized nonprofits, and QuickBooks Enterprise Nonprofit is meant for larger nonprofit management.
At CIM, we can help you select the right version of QuickBooks and give you ongoing support to make sure your evolving technology needs are being met to minimize pain points and help your nonprofit operate as smoothly as possible. You’re doing great things, and having the support you need is important so your mission can continue moving forward.
In a way, yes, although it won’t generate the exact form with all the information populated in it. QuickBooks Enterprise Nonprofit has a 990 Statement of Functional Expenses report that you can print and use when filling out the IRS 990 form. There are also other QuickBooks reports you can use, like the donor, budget, and statement reports to get the information you need to fill out the annual IRS 990.
QuickBooks Online Plus and QuickBooks Online Advanced do not have the same functionality as QuickBooks Enterprise Nonprofit. They currently lack the 990 Statement of Functional Expenses report. You can use the QuickBooks 1099 Transaction Detail Report, the Profit and Loss report, and the Balance Sheet to help you fill out the IRS Form 990.
So, although QuickBooks won’t do all the work for you, it still collects the information in an easy-to-find way and lets you pull reports easily to get the information you need while completing your nonprofit’s 990.
Yes, absolutely! As you probably already know, most grants restrict their funds to specific uses. In order to make sure that those funds are being used as intended, nonprofits must track their spending and submit a final report back to the granting agency to show that the grant was successful.
To track the spending, you can set up QuickBooks easily to show how you use every dollar of the money received. You can use a few different methods, depending on what works best for your organization. You can use classes to track grants, create a donor for the granting agency, or create a unique project for each grant.
Hey, here’s where we come in! CIM can help you select the right software and get it implemented. We are different from most IT providers, due to our true partnership approach. As an extension of your team, we help you achieve your goals and make the most of your IT investment. We do that through our focus on strategy, service, and stewardship. We will work closely with you to get your QuickBooks and other software solutions set up and working well for your organization.
There are plenty of accounting software options available for nonprofits that can help you manage your books. Popular choices include:
Whichever solution you choose, here are some basic functions that you should look for:
Donations are the lifeblood of nonprofit organizations, and it is vitally important to be able to track their contributions and properly thank them. You’ll want to be able to add and edit donor information, track their relationship with your nonprofit, and create a variety of donor-related reports.
Not all accounting software gives you the ability to accept payments. You’ll want to make sure that your chosen solution can either process payments or integrate with an app or external payment platform to receive donations.
Make sure that the solution has the tools you need for your organization’s specific processes. You may want features like invoicing capabilities or the ability to sync with a bank account. Whatever it is, make sure that your solution covers it.
A poor reporting tool will cause you endless headaches and make a lot of unnecessary work. Whichever solution you choose, you should look for a good library of built-in reports as well as the ability to create custom reports.
Nonprofit organizations tend to have a lot of stakeholders: volunteers, employees,executive director, board members… and they couldn’t function without all these inputs. However, you’ll need accounting software that can accommodate collaboration and easily handle the different individuals who are a part of the financial health of your organization. It’s important to look for features like concurrent users, customizable user permissions, and the ability to see what each user did in the system.
Navigating tech solutions is tricky, especially if you’re a busy nonprofit professional with many different tasks on your plate. We’re here as a partner to help you get it right, so you can stop wasting your time searching for solutions or struggling with tech that is outdated. Our easy, four-step process will have you on the way to the right technology fit in no time. Explore our website today to learn more about our process or reach out to us with any questions. We’re looking forward to partnering with you!