Accounting software that works well for grant tracking and nonprofits
Eric Griffith | TrustRadius Reviewer
Updated October 09, 2018

Accounting software that works well for grant tracking and nonprofits

Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Overall Satisfaction with Sage Intacct

Intacct is being used as the accounting software for a "primary care association". Having multiple dimensions for departments, programs, and funding sources is vital for reporting and satisfying federal grant requirements. It has given us much more visibility and insight into what's going on financially with our organization and programs. Dashboards and custom reports are the easiest to configure out of the many other accounting systems I've used. Intacct features also allow our small office to maintain internal controls, which get tricky with a one-person accounting department. Compared with other accounting systems, user friendly interface and brilliantly developed features save time and make many tasks easier to complete.
  • Custom reporting. Most accounting systems I have used require a programmer or an external software like Crystal Reports to create neatly formatted and usable custom reports. Intacct's report writer is intuitive and easy to use.
  • All employees have limited access logins and complete expense reports and time sheets right in Intacct. We used to pass printed Excel sheets around the office for signatures/authorization for these processes. When researching accounting software, I wanted to avoid the cost of buying time keeping and expense reimbursement software separately and the hassle to make them work with an accounting system.
  • Dashboards for specific programs let managers see in real time how their program is doing. They can see the moment invoices are charged to their program, and see income statement type reports when a month is closed. One of our training program dashboards has a custom report that shows when participants have paid tuition fees. This means lower demands on accounting staff for information.
  • Transaction "list screens" are easy to customize with multiple views. These views can show different data elements in different column orders, and sort transactions on different fields. This makes finding transactions easier to view at a glance and easier to find.
  • User preferences can be customized. People prefer to work and see things in different ways, and this is very easy to set up in Intacct.
  • Most of the menus and options are intuitive and easy to figure out. I had to gain a good understanding of the relationship between building blocks of the reporting structure (GL accounts are grouped by category, categories are grouped into account groups, account groups can be grouped into other parent account groups, etc.) but just navigating the software is easier than any other software I've used in 25 years as an accountant.
  • Budgets and journal entries are easy to export/import from a CSV file. This helps with longer transactions which have many lines.
  • If you're considering purchasing, make sure you're fully aware of the pricing structure and business model. Extra modules and external software that works with Intacct can add functionality to the core module, but they drive up the cost dramatically. Intacct has a solid core module of basic GL, AP, AR, and reporting, but it is missing a couple key features I needed for federal grants compliance.
  • Intacct has a solid core module of basic GL, AP, AR, and reporting, but it is missing a couple key features I needed for federal grants compliance. I was told by a salesperson that Intacct offers timesheet approval, which the core module does not. For that feature, you need to pay an additional $9,000 per year for the Project Accounting module. My small non-profit can't afford that extra cost for a single feature we needed, so I was forced to find a solution outside Intacct. Also, I was told that "employee users" could approve invoices, which they can't, and additional "business user" licenses are pricey and quickly drive up the cost of your subscription. Because I called them on this, they worked out a customization in Purchasing, where unapproved invoices could be created, approved by our CEO with an "employee user" license, and converted to AP invoices for payment. (An accountant cant approve his own work.)
  • Importing budgets and long journal entries can get frustrating with the cryptic error messages. "Why didn't that work? What does this code mean?" With practice comes understanding, but it's a much steeper learning curve in an otherwise user friendly system.
  • Visibility is probably the biggest improvement. As the accountant, I was the only one with access to the old system, and all financial info to the organization flowed through me. Dashboards has greatly reduced the requests for information from staff. They all have logins and can see how their programs are doing on dashboards. My CEO has his own customized dashboard, and when he has questions I can answer them while he stands by my desk instead of saying "Give me a few minutes to track down the answer and I'll get back to you".
  • Creating different budgets and reports for the needs of different programs and grants has been a huge liberation from my old software, Sage 50. (So please don't ruin Intacct, Sage! Let them continue to work their magic!)
I like being able to duplicate and update previous journal entries and invoices with lots of lines. Rolling financial periods on financial statements are great! Filtering a report by program (project), or department is very useful and means you don't have to build the same report for each program. All of this saves time and standardizes these processes.
Our organization is a small nonprofit, and those extra modules are expensive and out of our reach.
I can't comment because we haven't connected Intacct directly with other software.
Intacct offered better reporting and customization, and offered flexible use of dimensions for categorizing transactions.
Intacct functionality and features are well suited to nonprofits, and I understand why they successfully market to this industry. The dimensions (projects, departments, locations, etc.) allow for "slicing and dicing" your financial information and reporting in many different ways. When you're tracking federal grant funds, this is critical! The biggest selling point for me was the user-friendly custom reporting, which is very flexible and easy to use.

Sage Intacct Feature Ratings

Accounts payable
Accounts receivable
Cash management
Bank reconciliation
Expense management
Time tracking
Fixed asset management
Not Rated
Multi-currency support
Not Rated
Multi-division support
Not Rated
Regulations compliance
Electronic tax filing
Not Rated
Self-service portal
Not Rated
Global Financial Support
Not Rated
Intercompany Accounting
Not Rated
Journals and Reconciliations
Enterprise Accounting
Not Rated
Configurable Accounting
Centralized Rules Framework
Not Rated
Standardized Processes
Not Rated
Inventory tracking
Not Rated
Location management
Not Rated
Not Rated
Order entry
Not Rated
Credit card processing
Not Rated
End-to-end order visibility
Not Rated
Reimbursement management
Standard reports
Custom reports
API for custom integration
Not Rated
Not Rated
Role-based user permissions
Single sign-on capability

Not-For-Profit Usage

1. The biggest benefit was visibility. We had one user license for our old accounting system, and when program managers needed financial info about their programs, they came to me. Now they all have dashboards in Intacct, which update in real time, and they access them using "employee" type Intacct licenses.
2. Custom reporting - I don't need to learn Crystal Reports or similar, because Intacct has the best custom reporting setup of any accounting system I've seen. This creates a lot of efficiencies when getting answers, and pulling information for grant billing or budget to actual reports.
3. Intacct's multiple dimensions - This is really important for us, because our departments and funding sources don't have 1-to-1 relationships. Some funding sources support multiple programs, and we do have departments funded by multiple funding sources. So being able to run reports and filter on these dimensions in different ways is not just a "nice to have".
  • Excel - Importing payroll journal entry as a CSV file.
This is very easy compared to more complicated integrations. Intacct can even spit out templates in the right format, which can be filled out and imported back in. It will send error reports to help your track down the cause of failed imports.
I have set up separate dashboards for each major program we have. Managers can log into Intacct and see expenses showing up the instant they're entered into the system. Access can be granted in several ways (departments assigned to user ID, grant access directly to user ID, etc.). They have a chance to alert accounting of coding mistakes (this isn't my expense) or control spending (we're spending too much on travel relative to our contract budget) when needed. The only thing to be aware of with real-time updating dashboards is that certain times of the month expenses are shown but revenue (grant invoice) is not calculated and entered yet, so financial performance looks horrible. Communicating to staff WHEN the reports are complete for the prior month is important.
My organization only has one entity currently, but implementation specialists helped me set up Inacct to be able to add additional locations or subsidiaries in the future.
Intacct helps us anticipate future funding needs more accurately when applying for grants. Spending up funding early impacts how you can help your customers during the current project period, and having too much left over may reduce future funding and limit what you can do going forward. Also, a mixture of good reporting tools and wise strategy can help make the most impact with limited resources. This is how I see Intacct helping our mission.

Using Sage Intacct

15 - Admin staff member enters payable invoices, CEO approves, accountant processes payments and ensures accurate allocation of expenses. Accountant (me) is a "business user" and all other staff are "employee" users. Staff use Intacct for viewing dashboards related to programs they manage, entering expense reports, and entering timesheets. Supervisors approve expense reports. Timesheet approval is only available via a paid, add-on project accounting module, which we can't afford.
1 - I'm the only person who supports Intacct (staff training, login help, report setup, etc.) I have a degree in accounting, and I've used 10 plus different accounting suites and implemented two. I'm fairly computer literate, but not an IT guy or a computer expert. Our operations are simple, but it doesn't take a lot of technical skill to support Intacct.
  • Program managers need timely visibility into the finances of their programs.
  • The Finance Director needs to be able to provide quick answers to financial questions from the staff and the CEO.
  • The Finance Director and CEO need to be able to budget and respond to changes in funding, relying on easy to use financial reporting tools.
  • Because the Finance Director is the only accounting staff in a small group, efficiency in recording transactions is important.
  • I was able to create two custom reports from scratch based on timesheet data. One tells me how many hours each staff member worked during the pay period, and types of hours (vacation, sick, regular, holiday) which we use for payroll processing. The other splits each employee's time into funding source percentages, which helps allocate personnel costs accurately. I'm an accountant, not a computer expert. No support was needed to do this.
  • I was able to create financial report which lists funding sources down the side, departments across the top, and showing salaries at each cross section. This report is used in allocating shared costs (indirect expenses) because we use salaries as a basis. I've never used an accounting system that would allow me to create a report like this without the help of a programmer, or database reporting expert.
  • Intacct has something called "statistical accounts" which can log non-financial data. I'd like to look into how this could be used - what the possibilities are.
  • Tracking event attendance, occurrences of something particular, efficiency measures, are just a few guesses.
  • My organization currently only has one entity, but in the future, it's nice to know that a subsidiary could be added and allow finances to roll up together.
I have 25 years of accounting experience, I've used 10-plus different accounting programs, and implemented two. I have never used another software this user friendly and with such a flexible system for creating custom reports. My questions to Intacct have been about what's possible, not "why doesn't this work when it worked yesterday", or "how do I get this done". It's fairly intuitive and easy to figure out. There are a few features I was happy to have implementer help on, but I had almost no training before diving in.