CPA Practice Advisor

JUL 2018

Today's Technology for Tomorrow's Firm.

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10 JULY 2018 ■ REVIEW: NOT-FOR-PROFIT Aplos Fund Accounting Aplos Fund Accounting is a cloud-based fund accounting program designed for small to mid-sized nonprofit organizations. Aplos works on both Windows and Mac platforms and contains a user-friendly interface for easy system navigation. Scalable, Aplos is available in three versions: Starter, Standard, and Advanced. Starter is $25 per month and includes fund accounting, reporting, and budgeting. The Standard version is $40 per month and also includes contributions management, donation management, and the ability to track special gifts. The Advanced version, ideal for larger nonprofit organizations, is $150 per month and also includes custom reporting capability, automatic recurring transactions, Form 990 reporting capability, and fixed assets and allocations. Prices are slightly higher if paying month-to-month. Aplos also offers users a free 15-day trial that those interested can download directly from the Aplos website. Read the full review for this product online at: 12418419 4.75 2018 OVERALL RATING Blackbaud Financial Edge NXT Blackbaud Financial Edge NXT is well suited for mid-sized nonprofit organizations and government entities that require a comprehensive financial management application. Blackbaud Financial Edge NXT is cloud-based and can also be accessed from a smart phone or tablet for true anytime/ anywhere access. Blackbaud Financial Edge NXT users can request a demo of the application directly from Blackbaud as well as a custom quote for their organization. Read the full review for this product online at: 12418399 5 2018 OVERALL RATING Blackbaud Helps Nonprofit Serve Its Community Lawndale Christian Health Center is a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) with roots in the Lawndale, IL Community Church. In 1984 they launched an effort to provide affordable, quality health care services for its low-income community members. Lawndale now provides more than 164,800 medical visits in the Chicago area each year, including laboratory, radiology, pharmacy, dentistry, optometry, behavioral health, and health support services. Chris Dons was introduced to Blackbaud when he joined years ago as the accounting supervisor. Now, as the CFO, Chris appreciates how the solution benefits his financial staff and the organization as a whole. When Blackbaud released Financial Edge NXT®, Lawndale adopted the cloud solution and has seen increased productivity as a result. Prior to Blackbaud, the organization struggled to manage the myriad of reports required by FQHCs., such as internal decision making reports, Uniform Data System, 990 filings, Medicare and Medicaid cost reports, and unique reports for over two dozen funders. The organization manages 20 grants, including federal, state, and private awards, which have fluid requirements. Most are reimbursable, so ensuring that expenses are properly tracked and allocated is critical. Managing these dynamics with a lean staff is next to impossible without a robust solution like Blackbaud Financial Edge NXT. Nonprofit-Centric Design Improves Reporting & Operation Chris and his team ascribe productivity gains to Blackbaud Financial Edge NXT’s capabilities for analysis, Accounts Payable, and cloud deployment—but as an FQHC, it all starts with reporting. Blackbaud Financial Edge NXT simplifies reporting with a unique GL design. Using standard elements like Projects, Grants, and Transaction Codes, Chris can report on key business components while maintaining a streamlined chart of accounts. The team can easily adapt financials using the template designer to respond to ever-changing funder requirements. “The structure is clear and consistent whether you are working in AP, GL, or Fixed Assets. Anyone who is used to working in one module can easily get up to speed working in another module,” shared Chris. This design is what drew the organization to Blackbaud years ago, and they are glad that Blackbaud Financial Edge NXT reflects the same consistency. Navigating through Blackbaud Financial Edge NXT is intuitive. Chris’s team uses dynamic search and queries to drill into reports and create subsets of data, giving them confidence in the integrity of their output across business processes. Lawndale manages its budgeting through Advanced Budget Management, which allows its team to complete the first draft of their operating budget in three days thanks to distributed budgeting and a tight process. Chris believes the AP functionality contributes to the team’s efficiency managing expenses. Blackbaud Financial Edge NXT allows them to capture granular detail while enabling other departments to manage payments within their approval thresholds. This, combined with bringing detail into a single source for reconciliation, saves Lawndale 15-20 hours per week. Impact of Cloud Delivery As the head of a seven-person staff in a 500-employee organization, Chris found it difficult to get his IT needs prioritized. In the past, he’d have to “negotiate” with the IT department for his financial application. With Blackbaud Financial Edge NXT, he no longer has to rely on IT to make critical updates—it’s all managed by Blackbaud. With a pure browser-based solution, the staff can securely share live, online reports for non-financial users and department heads through view-only licenses. “There is substantial value in the ability to push information out without having to manually send reports,” Chris adds. The simplicity of the migration process from Financial Edge 7 was key to his decision to move to Blackbaud Financial Edge NXT. He didn't want to lose access to the existing solution and was concerned about training. Blackbaud alleviated those concerns by allowing the organization to adopt a modern web solution with no impact to the existing functionality of Financial Edge 7. Learn More at Read the 2018 review of Blackbaud Financial Edge NXT at

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