Free and Low-Cost Nonprofit Accounting Tools

When your nonprofit stays on the ball about adapting to new tools, it can work to achieve its mission. Part of this comes from good customer relationship management tools, but it can also include day-to-day operational things, like accounting and fundraising. 

In order to complete its mission, a nonprofit has to have proper accounting practices, and what better way to help you with that than resources that are reliable, efficient and easy to use? Here are some of our top free and low-cost picks to make your nonprofit’s workload a little bit more manageable.

1. QuickBooks

The most widely used accounting software for nonprofits and small businesses is QuickBooks, which lets you access it anytime and anywhere, either on your web browser or through their app. It is also connected with apps like BodeTree, that helps you organize your financials, and DonorPath, which lets you view donor information to use to your advantage.

2. Aplos

Since 2008, Aplos has been providing cutting-edge accounting software specifically designed for nonprofits. Not only does Aplos come with all the bells and whistles that your nonprofit may need, but it also allows for as many users as your organization requires. Better yet, Aplos offers a detailed tutorial to help your staff and volunteers navigate the software with ease.

3. TurboCASH

For years, TurboCASH has consistently received raving reviews as one of the best options for free accounting software. It’s ideal for nonprofits just getting their footing, since it’s easy to use and open-source. It includes automated billing, accounts payable and receivable, invoicing, credit processing and more. TurboCASH runs on Windows, Mac and Linus. Though it may not look the best aesthetically, it sure is reliable.

4. xTuplePostBooks

PostBooks not only looks nice and polished, but it’s a versatile option as well. It includes accounting software, customer relationship management tools and enterprise resource planning (ERP) tools. With PostBooks, you get an easy-to-navigate system and these bonus features for one user. Additional users must purchase additional product keys. So if your nonprofit has a single person managing the books, this system may be for you.

Though many accounting software systems are out there, we’ve narrowed down these as some of the best bang for your buck. And when you’re on top of the ball with your finances, it’s smooth sailing for your nonprofit from there on out. Do you use another free or low-cost system? Take to the comments below to rave about it!

  • Joseph Scarano

    This article is totally irresponsible if you think a ‘free’ software package is going to provide a new, growing nonprofit with the tools needed to properly manage its finances. All of the applications you listed above do not provide the proper nonprofit specific reports needed to track donor designated funds, functional areas and program activity. Nor, do they provide management with the information needed to provide proper stewardship of donor funds. Any responsible Board Member, Director of a nonprofit needs to think seriously about getting the right tools in place for proper fiscal management to help maintain and sustain their organization in its early phase of development and growth. Otherwise, you are jeopardizing the future of the organization.

    • What do you recommend Joseph? We use Quickbooks online, along with Salesforce.

      • Joseph Scarano

        There are a number of very affordable nonprofit accounting systems on the market. While they did mention Aplos, that system is designed mainly for churches, who typically don’t have to file a 990. Try FastFund Online from Araize. The only SaaS solution that seamlessly integrates nonprofit fund accounting, fund raising (CRM) and payroll in a single solution.

        • Eric Burgess

          Joseph, Aplos is not designed “only” for churches! Additionally, it DOES seamlessly integrate nonprofit fund accounting, fundraising (CRM), and payroll in one single solution.

          For those reading this comment, go to aplos.com and tell me if you think it sounds church-centric. Their header actually reads: Take Total Control of Your Nonprofit.

          • Joseph Scarano

            Eric,

            I beg to differ, since Aplos does not have payroll. Payroll is provided by Sage and is not seamlessly integrated as a single database solution. In regards to the Aplos providing proper nonprofit accounting functionality, the chart of accounts is only segregated by fund – account. All nonprofits who file a 990 must segregate their activity by functional area. Aplos handles that with a ‘tag’ that is not an integral part of the chart of accounts and you cannot budget by the ‘tag.’ Plus, if a nonprofit requires grant reporting along with their functional reporting, Aplos falls short.

          • Eric Burgess

            Well, I suppose we’ll have to let the audience here be the judge of that. One thing seems certain though, you seem highly charged and passionate about this whole topic. Not sure why you would be so negative about all of the discussions here.

          • Joseph Scarano

            Not negative, just trying to inform people to be educated when making the important decision of choosing software for their nonprofit, not to simply go with something because it is free. I’ve been in industry long enough to know that many nonprofits have gone out of business because of poor fiscal management. Don’t get me wrong, Aplos is a good product for the segment of the nonprofit market is it is designed for.

          • Nick Small

            As mentioned before, this article was written to provide some options for organizations. Aplos, Araize, Quickbooks etc. are all options that achieve similar outcomes, depending on the needs of the organization. Software is not one size fits all.

            We recommend that each organization make an informed decision based on their organization’s resources and their goals. In addition to the list of options in the article proper, the comments section will likely also be full of options to consider! Thanks everyone for your input.

            Nonprofit Hub does not formally endorse any of these companies or benefit from them in any way, we simply provide helpful solutions (including several different options) for nonprofits of all sizes.

    • Nick Small

      Thanks for dropping in the conversation Joseph!

      Our writers included both free and low-cost options here because we know that a lot of people don’t have much when they’re just getting started; and starting somewhere is better than not starting at all when it comes to the important work we do. The long game should be to invest in better software, but it’s not always realistic at first.

      • Joseph Scarano

        Nick, granted something is better than nothing, if the something is used correctly by knowledgeable people who understand proper fiscal management and accounting. I’ve worked with nonprofits for over 30 years and have seen to many organization’s go out of business because of poor fiscal management. My point is, regardless of size, a nonprofit must place fiscal management as a top priority to its mission of sustainability.

        • Nick Small

          The nonprofit sector thanks you for your service! We need more people like you.

          And your software mentioned below is a great option among many for nonprofits!

  • Jason Seiple

    What do you know about Wave? I’m doing some reading on it and it sounds too good to be true.

    Thanks, Jason

  • Billy accounting software is super cheap and super easy to use, you can import pdf bills and invoices, and put in donors as individuals. Quickbooks is a headache that no one could use, we switched out to Billy & are so happy now!! I run a 501c3 called IMPACT Network, if you sign up with our link funds support our nonprofit: https://billyapp.com/#_r_michele23

  • QuickBooks is absolutely amazing. Its is cheap also. Well I found one similar but more advanced Iaas software which can do multiple task and can be accessed from anywhere, anytime. VisDesk, VizIaas and Vizapp is the complete package by Inroviz ( http://introviz.com/ ) that has been specially designed for SMBs and nonprofits. These are SaaS software. One can have access to sophisticated data centers with redundant network, power and so on with almost 100% availability.