Welcome to the Software4Nonprofits Bookkeeping Software blog.
I will be using this blog to post my thoughts and questions about the development of the program, and its features, as I go along, and to request comments and input from all of you that have volunteered to help.
Once an initial version of the program is available for testing (probably with only an initial set of features!) I will also be asking those of you who feel up to it to try it out and give me your feedback. (That’s called “beta testing”. In case you are wondering “alpha testing” is what I will be doing before I give it to you!) I don’t see that being for several months – this is a big project!
The blog posts will probably be fairly frequent initially, as I try to nail down the features and user interface of the program, and how it will interact with DONATION. (They are still going to be separate programs.) If you are ever overwhelmed, you can either just ignore the emails that you don’t have an opinion about, or ask to be unsubscribed from this blog.
Many thanks to all of you that have volunteered to help with this.
For anyone that is still wondering “why is there a need for another accounting program?”, I would say that I am trying to fill a niche that I do not feel is well filled. That niche is a program that:
- uses language used by non-profits (including churches and charities, of course)
- knows about non-profits’ special needs (including providing appropriate sample charts of accounts for them, probably with different ones for churches and charities, and different ones for Canada and the U.S.A.)
- is easy to learn and use (like DONATION!), or at least, as easy as is reasonable given that accounting is not a completely simple concept!
- does fund accounting well and easily, with no manual entries required to keep balances up to date, and sensible reporting on funds (this will be an advantage over the general-purpose programs like QuickBooks, Quicken and Simply Accounting)
- is affordable ($100 to $150 price range, in line with low-end versions of QuickBooks and Simply Accounting, but noticeably cheaper than other specialized programs aimed at non-profits and/or fund accounting)
- has enough features to satisfy many smaller non-profits (the same market that DONATION serves), but probably not enough for much larger ones.
By the way, I have been calling this “bookkeeping software” rather than “accounting software” because I want to keep expectations a bit on the low end (to match its expected level of features), and want to point out that it will be suitable for non-professional bookkeepers, and doesn’t need an accountant to use it. If you have any thoughts about that, please let me know by adding a comment to this post.
An upcoming blog post will outline the features that I have more or less decided on including, based on everyone’s responses to the big survey I ran a couple of weeks ago, and some further one-on-one questioning I did of various respondents.
I also want to mention that it won’t be just me working on the actual programming. Jason Fenter, a top PowerBuilder programmer (that’s the programming language I use to create my programs) has volunteered to help me with this in his “spare time”, outside of his full-time job. It will be great to have a 2nd person to bounce ideas off of, figure out how to do the hard stuff together, etc. I’m so grateful for his help!