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If you haven't seen it yet, I highly recommend checking out Mark McCallick's series of blog posts for TechSoup on configuring QuickBooks for use in a nonprofit:
This has also sparked some great discussion over on the TechSoup LinkedIn group
Are you using QuickBooks for your nonprofit? Was Mark's guide helpful to you?
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This article was helpful in thinking thru the process. But it also creates more questions for our organization. Currently, we are using QB Pro 2003 and we need to upgrade. We are using a different package to track our donations, so my question is: do we also need to be using QB Non Profit version? I think this would be a huge duplication of effort and don't want to loose the history we have in a different software package.
If you have any insights on this subject, I would appreciate you shaing your thoughts.
QB Non-Profit is, (from a cursory examination) a slightly customized version of QB that mostly includes different reports. None of the non-profits that I I work with use it....like you, they use a donation package separate from QB. Unfortunately, you'll probably have to upgrade your QB 2003 to 2010 or 2011, and I guarantee you'll find it more confusing, buggy and slower than the previous version.
The main thing with QB that we've found is the necessity of setting things up so that there is clear tracking of individual grant income and expenditures related to particular grants. You have to be able to report an individual grant or project separately, apart from the aggregate organizational profit and loss. This can be done by using QB jobs, classes, or by setting up grants and projects separately within the chart of accounts.
It is really helpful to have an experienced bookkeeper who has demonstrated knowledge of how to set this up. Same for your accountant. I can't tell you how important it is that you try to get it right the first time, and that you, the bookkeeper, and the accountant all agree!
Finally, with one organization that I worked with, we tried the QB online version. We found it slow and incomplete, compared with the Windows PC version. (haven't tried out the Mac version), to the extent that it was useless. The bookkeeper hated it.
I love Mark's suggestions, in fact I have been using Quickbooks in exactly that manner for over 5 years and it is an excellent way to track and report on grants and programs.
I also have an issue using one data file for both donations and fee income for billable events since Quickbooks combines it all as one "customer". My work around is to keep AR details in one file and simply create one Journal Entry at month to add the service revenue, etc. to my main QB file. I created a "customer" called "QB" and DO NOT transfer details for invoices, just the AR monthly debit increase. Deposits during the month are also posted as credits to "QB" in the "make deposit" window only. This procedure has passed our annual audit without a problem.
However, last year I utilized a Quickbooks add-on app from Big Red Consulting to create year end donor statements and it worked like a charm. Potentially could eliminate our need for two data files. Their excel add-in pulls donations from your data file based on the account(s) you map it to. So if you put all donations in specific General Ledger accounts you can easily segregate that 'income' from service fees....at least for donor statements. It even pulled in the details so I could create aggregate statements by Donor.
I found the app on the Quickbooks app list, but they also have a website bigredconsulting.com. Look under the Tools for Quickbooks link.
I am posting just a hello for now. Thanks to an email I received yesterday, I found the link to this section about configuring QuickBooks for a non-profit. I still have to read all the articles and posts before I can contribute intelligently!
I run the finance department of a local Head Start program and I use QuickBooks Premier 2010 Non-Profit Edition. I first computerized our accounting system about 100 years ago using Quicken and have stayed with Intuit products throughout the years.
Here's to profitable and helpful discussions!
The problem in tracking grants is you do not want to put them on the books until either you have received the funds or performed the service (for those dedicated to a specific event/action). I track them through the Estimates feature of QuickBooks. It allows reports and tracking without any figures appearing in the financial reports. When I receive the funds or have the event, I create an invoice from the estimate. Seems to be working fine.
Karen: A simple solution to this is to create two "customers", one for donations and one for invoicing. You will have to name them differenly, like Big Ink-donations and Big Ink-invoicing. Just set up the customer name, address the same and they will not know the difference.
Sherry: We also use a separate donor database program. I simply use the summary reports out of it to post the deposits to the bank. If I need individual donor information, I can refer back. However, my deposits reconcile back to the donor program and to the bank. Don't bother purchasing the Non-profit version. It has some custom reports and the home screen names things differently, but there is no change in what it does from any other version.
Don, Special Olympics Nebraskawww.sone.org
You might want to check out the QuickBooks forums for non-profits at http://community.intuit.com/category/non-profit which has many excellent posts. The service is free and you can post your questions and will often get answers from knowledgable individuals the same day.
megan. the link says the group is not found. can you fix the link for those of us needing this info. thanks. erna
Thanks Larry, just from your own experience, what is advantage of setting grants and projects separately with the Chart of Accounts over using classes and jobs? I would like to try out.
What is the easiest way to deal with inter-project borrowings? Although practically it's not allowed, but it always happens for one reason or another.
Thank you all for the rich discussions
Just coming to this series of posts now as my organization moves into Fund accounting... what are your recommendations for handling allocation of expenses across classes? The only solution I’ve seen is to hand code each transaction with multiple percentage allocations. Silliness.
We are using quick books and have found it very good for tracking of our expenses (operational, administrative, ect.), however we find it lacking in tracking of donors.
we attempted to work with the nonprofit income base but were not pleased. Is there a donor database such as donor perfect (but not that in particular) that interfaces with quick books?
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