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Accountancy Software Review

Updated 29/3/04

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This table, compiled in early 2000 and with little updating since, was produced while collecting data for an article published in NGO Finance, March 2000. As it concentrates on the smaller organisation, we havent gone in to depth on higher end packages (often using SQL Server or similar client/server approaches). We note that some sector clients are claimed by more than one software firm. This may be due to differences between branches and HQ use, or the published info being out of date.


Sw House Prog name Version OS Price range - plus VAT Prices valid at Country of firm, how supplied Evaluation s/w Add-ons available Strengths useful for Sector Analysis levels VAT options Reporting flexibility Export/import facilities Has been interfaced with Ease of use Sector clients Breadth of adoption Accredited by Awards Limitations Overview Web Co Address Phone Email
Access Accounts Foundations     From 595. Cut down version of Horizons Nov-99     Costing/Project Management 100   1 sort key, 1 nominal category.   Can use Crystal Reports ODBC, can use Outlook for emailing etc             125 records (= nominal codes, suppliers, customers) initially. 250 for 125 more across the board Analysis may be too restricted, but for small org expecting to grow could be good place to start          
  Horizons   32-bit OS, incl Apple Mac (min PowerPC 603e) 1495 basic bundle, 1 user + extra users 450 (350 over 4). 25% charity discount on s/w (not installtn/maint) Nov-99 UK based, has Scot and Irish offices. Via resellers. LAN Demo 150. Costing/Project Management 450. Transaction Broker 'middleware' for web, ecommerce, conversions of data No limit on number of chart of accounts (companies). Multi-lingual facilities, can re-label various fields. Can see all transactions (not just current year) 4 'sort' keys in Sales/Purchases. Nominal can split into 4 categories. Proj Mgmt has 10 levels. Good Comes with Nominal Explorer report writer - Crystal Reports extra Import Utility, Also see Transaction Broker Mship db. Import of timesheet info from Outlook Good. Summary screens, drill downs all operate sensibly. Can 'tab' easily in entry screens. Inst of Acoustics, RSA, Coeliac Society, Save The Children Alliance, Historical Assn, Winchester Diocesan BoF 150 dealers, thousands of users/sites. Bidding to compete with Sage   BASDA midrange 97 12 or 13 periods per year, can't post to a period once closed (but can post up to 23 periods ahead). Many codes numeric only A hot contender especially with upgrade path to Dimensions. Just make sure that your needs don't go beyond Horizons when costing! Access Accounting The Old School, Stratford St Mary, Colchester, Essex, CO7 6LZ 01206 322575
  Dimensions   High-end - client/server 3900 upwards Nov-99                                          
            Armstrong Consultants                             Largest Access dealer, can customise software   Salisbury Hall, London Colney, St Albans, Herts, AL2 1BU 01727 826726
  Big Red Book     Starts from 95, will give discounts to registered charities.   Ireland     Available in Gaelic           Screen layout + reports based on traditional manual 'red book', so those familiar with that approach will find it easy to use.           Not sure analysis will be up to the needs of many charities, but if the idea sounds attractive, take a look.     1 Clonskeagh Square, Dublin 14, Ireland 0161 926 8822 (UK)
Blackbaud Accounting for NonProfits   Win32 Nom Ledger: 2000 single user, 3000 2-4 user; Sales/Purch ledgers same prices. Feb-00 US origin, direct from UK office - initial consultancy recommended CD based 'tour' Project, Grant, Endowment Mgmt 1500; Interest Allocation; Accounting Queue to automate tasks; Budget Mgmt; Forms mgmt; Bank Rec (import data) Written for SORP. Commitment accounting. Auto allocate investment income to funds. Easy to set up projects and restricted query privileges. 30 character ac codes, in up to 10 segments (1st seg. for Funds). Also 'Attributes' which can be any data type, incl a values table. Projects module adds another Can distribute VAT over nominal acs, post VAT to sep. control acs. Crystal Reports. SOFA already set up. Standard options on reports to put Fund Balance movements at end; print sep pages grouped per category (eg project) Yes, and import Raisers Edge Not the most beautiful screen layouts or simplest entry forms, but OK   Approx 20 UK clients, Jan 2000. Many more in US.     VAT really needs to be driven via Sales or Purchase Ledgers. Training and basic consultancy pretty essential to set up well. Analysis and reporting features closely tailored to charity needs, gives easier use than equivalent 'commercial' packages for those with multiple projects or restricted funds Blackbaud Europe 112 Cornwall St South, Glasgow, G41 1AA 0141 575 0200
Exchequer Enterprise 4.30a Win32 From 2700 single user   UK based, Irish and NZ/Aus offices Yes Project, job and time costing   CostCentre + Dept, 3 digit (alpha-num) (as part of nom code?) 14 rates available Report writer module available OLE and utilities   Well-designed layout Samaritans, Henshaws Society for the Blind, Population Concern, Housing for Women     Accountancy Age 99. BASDA midrange Nov 98 Seems to be complicated to set-up fully. Not happy with some modern PCs? High-end professional use? Needs a more powerful PC than mine to get to grips with demo! Enterprise Software Exchequer Grange, Wootton Gardens, Bournemouth, Dorset, BH1 1PW 01202 298008
  Exchequer   DOS                                              
Great Plains Dynamics   Win32 - mainly NT 2500 system mgr, 1500 ea General Ledger, Payables etc. 2 user Special edition   US firm. Via resellers                 Highest usability score in PC Mag Childrens Society, Help the Aged, Shelter, VSO, YMCA Global: 25000 installations (May 99)     High end        
            Touchstone - Charities Sector                        25 Angel Gate, City Road, London, EC1V 2PT 020 7841 7300
            Deloitte & Touche                                        
            Mazars Neville Russell                                        
Intuit QuickBooks 6 Win - any 99 incl VAT (not multi-user) Mar-99 US based co. Sold by web, PC World, John Lewis, Tempo etc Yes, 25 uses   Cheap Cost Centres = Classes, and can have 5 levels of sub-classes. Uses names rather than codes. Flexible - 'freeform' descrip, reference, any %. But no 'flags' to separate out on standard VAT report. Easy to amend report options eg accruals/cash, Net/Gross VAT. But more 'non-standard' reports will take a time to get right. Use of filters/advanced features could confuse non-accountant. Comparatively limited - Tab, CSV or ASCII files from reports   V good       Recommended by various computer mags Options on User Permissions a bit crude Getting a SORP type report looking 'nice' would take some effort, and no ODBC etc makes spreadsheet reporting harder. But otherwise brill for smaller vol orgs Intuit   0800 585 058 orderline  
    Pro 6   199, 599 for 5 user (max level)     60 day money back Payroll 69   Job costing/time tracking                                
Kubernesis Kubernesis Accounting System 3.2 Dos based 235 incl VAT Dec-99 Small UK co., direct only 47 deductible Sep progs for mship, donation mgmt Designed for SORP 26 Funds (3 types)     CSV file of I&E, TB, BalSht or SOFA   Good, but DOS based See list: Hull CVS, MK Comm Fndn, various churches       Ltd VAT accounting. Max 999 ac codes, in 2 ranges (BS/I&E). Ltd printer support. V good if got older machines, ltd money or staff/vol time Kubernesis, 36 Acomb Wood Drive, York, YO24 2XN 01904 788885
    4 Dos based 423 incl VAT         Expert support 234 Funds (3 types)                                
Navision Financials 2 Win32     Via resellers                   Woodland Trust, Aid -Call (part of Age Concern), Archbishops Council, Diocese of London         Not recommended for less than 4 users. Compare against Dynamics, Sun etc. Navision Software UK Elstree House,Elstree Way, Borehamwood, Herts, WD6 1SD 020 8207 4141
            Creative Business Systems                        1st Floor, Albany House, 162-168 High St, Waltham Cross, Herts, EN8 7DJ 01992 628800
OpenAccounts     WinNT, Unix, etc                         W Berkshire Housing       High end   The White House, Church Walk, Daventry, Northants, NN11 4BL 01327 301900
Pegasus NB give 10% charity discount Opera 2.6 DOS, Win, Network 400 per module   UK firm. Via resellers.   BACS, EDI, EPOS etc   Cost Centre, Job. Can classify nom. Acs, eg by Fund Adequate OK, but not v modern interface Yes via Report Mgr - CSV, XLS etc   Not multiple windows YMCA, Help the Aged - but both claimed by Dynamics too! well established ICAEW        
  Capital 1.03.12 Win (16bit) 299                                            
  Capital Gold 2.02 Win, 32bit 800       Job Costing, Payroll, electronic payment   Sales/Purch Anal Grps. Classify nom acs by Fund etc 35 rates Inbuilt report not v friendly - can use Crystal Reports to add more. CSV, Word, Excel, HTML etc   OK     ICAEW   Up to 10 users            
  Mpower 1.01 WinNT           Multilingual     Crystal Reports               High end            
Sage Line 50 30% charity discount 5 or 6 Windows 840 Fin Controller   UK firm. Via resellers.   Sage Jobcosting, Payroll   Crude departments (numeric) Up to 100 'T' codes, with EC flags Quite flexible but Report Designer not v. friendly ODBC (FinCont)   OK   Most popular UK package ICAEW     Well known so easy to find someone knowledgeable. But ease of use and analysis not up to QB   Sage House, Benton Park Road, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, NE7 7LZ 0800 447777  
            Intelligent Solutions                                        
  Exordia Job Costing for Line 50 1.2 Win 95 on from 150 basic, single user to 1050 5 user     30 day demo, with printing, reporting disabled Job-costing - Exordia   adds CostCentre, 'nested' Jobs analysis and Job Type (numeric)   Untested. Will link to CR Not apparent   As painful as Sage to install (demo version). Access rights didn't seem to work correctly.         Still has rough edges - demo crashed a lot. Very much designed for 'cost management' - cant do 'quick and dirty trapping/analysis of odd items. Exordia Software PO Box 7973, Ayr, Scotland, KA7 4RB 01292 445599
Sage Line 100 10% charity discount   DOS or Windows Financials Bundle: 2500 single user - system mgr, Sales, Purchase, Nominal, Cash book, Crystal Reports   UK firm. Via resellers.     Add-ons, strength of Sage brand Alpha-numeric nominal, 3 char. Dept, 3 char CC   Crystal Reports ODBC                          
            Intelligent Solutions (IS)   SORP reporting (using Excel/ODBC). FirstPoint contact management 3500, + modules for events mgmt, subs mgmt                               Magdalen Centre, Oxford Science Park, Oxford, OX4 4GA 01865 784777
            Accounting Answers (also available via IS)   Enterprise 100 range (1 user price): Donation Mgmt 550, Membership 2200, Event Mgmt 1100                    Rumbridge St, Totton, Southampton, Hants, SO40 9DR 02380 667644
Scala                 in 30 langs, 60 countries                     High end            
Systems Union SunSystems     At least 3000   UK firm. Via resellers.     Analysis, Multi-currency and language variants 2 main code highly flexible structures   Several internal report writers     Once set up, good.      Dogmersfield Park, Hartley Wintney, Hants, RG27 8TD 01252 339300
            Tate Bramald   Partial VAT recovery module                    243-253 Lower Mortlake Road, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 2LS 020 8332 2417
            Touchstone                   Marie Curie Cancer Care    25 Angel Gate, City Road, London, EC1V 2PT 020 7841 7300
TAS TASBooks Plain Win32 127 single   UK firm. Direct.     Sage import wizard           Menu numbering for speed     BASDA VAT & EMU, ICAEW Accountancy Age entry-level        
    Plus   299 single, 399 multi user, + 100 multi-co. 1200 for network versn?   MD closely involved with BASDA 60 day moneyback     Multi-dept/CC (numeric?) 20 rates available