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Will GnuCash handle Fund Accounting for non-profit

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on November 07, 2006 02:35 AM
We are currently running Money Counts for DOS (a fund based accounting product that was originally from Parson's Technology). Money Counts was donated to our chapter of a National Non-profit organization many years ago by Parson's Technology when we called them up and they sent us a free copy (nice of them)!

FYI - Interesting History of Money Counts and Parson's Technology:
<a href="http://www.craigr.com/csdhist.htm" title="craigr.com">http://www.craigr.com/csdhist.htm</a craigr.com>

Parson's Technology provided various software for churches at one time. Since then their product line was acquired, and in the end it seems that Intuit ended up with the accounting software and has done nothing with it at all. This might be because Intuit now has a version of QuickBooks for non-profits! We don't run very many transactions per year at all, so to buy Quickbooks for non-Profits, and keep it upgraded seems pointless due to the expense of keeping up with too costly Windows and Intuit version schemes! And also there is another interesting factor that eliminates Intuit... Due to the fact that Quickbooks will not run on LINUX and we might like to use the $100 olpc laptop as a permanent accounting device that could be affordable and could hopefully run a LINUX GUI based and easy to use Fund Based accounting application.
<a href="http://www.laptop.org/download.en_US.html" title="laptop.org">http://www.laptop.org/download.en_US.html</a laptop.org> ).

For the next person that handles the chapter's bookkeeping, I don't think that he or she/they will be able to handle the learning curve of a non-GUI based application that is not like the Windows ones that they are used to!

So - Can GNU Cash be used for FUND Based Accounting (for non-profits and churches)?

See these links with regard to fund based accounting.

<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fund_Accounting" title="wikipedia.org">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fund_Accounting</a wikipedia.org>

<a href="http://www.drfrey.com/fundchck.html" title="drfrey.com">http://www.drfrey.com/fundchck.html</a drfrey.com>

<a href="http://www.drfrey.com/fundacct.html" title="drfrey.com">http://www.drfrey.com/fundacct.html</a drfrey.com>

***As you can see from these urls...

*** FUND Based Accounting is different than regular accounting.

I have looked and looked and there is no on-profit FUND ACCOUNTING package for LINUX at all? Do you know of one?

I was hoping that a FUND BASED non-profit ACCOUNTING system could be designed for the ultimate personal accounting machine that is being
developed at the OLPC ($100 computer) project that was born at MIT.

<a href="http://laptop.media.mit.edu/" title="mit.edu">http://laptop.media.mit.edu/</a mit.edu>

This $100 laptop computer would be perfect for a treasurer of an organization to use (and pass along to the next person to hold the office of treasurer).

Based on a FLASH DRIVE <a href="http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Ask_OLPC_a_Question#Flash_memory" title="laptop.org">http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Ask_OLPC_a_Question#Fla<nobr>s<wbr></nobr> h_memory</a laptop.org>
it would operate like an accounting calculator (we have very few transactions per year so I don't think that it would fill up the flash drive.

<a href="http://www.siliconvalleysleuth.com/2006/06/first_video_of_.html" title="siliconvalleysleuth.com">http://www.siliconvalleysleuth.com/2006/06/first_<nobr>v<wbr></nobr> ideo_of_.html</a siliconvalleysleuth.com>

I know of several churches that are looking at this kind of software need as well (who don't currently have an accounting package to use
since Money Counts for DOS is no longer available to buy or get support on)! Fitting such a software with the $100 laptop would be perfect.

Also - the CFO for a large 150,000 person non-profit organization approached Intuit to see if they could arrange a volume deal with them for the Quickbooks Non-Profit version use by all the US chapters of this organization and Intuit said, no way, "no discounts".

Some of the rules that this non-profit must follow are found in part of an email from the National CFO...

"A nonprofit can charge for advertising in any publication produced by the nonprofit, but you need to keep the following in mind.

1. As soon as a nonprofit has $1,000 of unrelated business income, which advertising is, the nonprofit must file form 990T. This is a rather complicated form, so I would recommend that your chapter line up an accountant who has filled out the form for other nonprofits to do this for you. So I would really recommend evaluating if charging for the ads is going to produce net income for the chapter after factoring the additional cost for a tax preparer.

2. Unrelated business income cannot exceed 33% of total gross income for a nonprofit. This can cause the loss of nonprofit status.

3. Advertising on the web is currently treated by the IRS as being identical to advertising in a newsletter and is therefore considered unrelated business income.

4. The chapter needs to keep good detailed records on all the costs related to the newsletter and website to help offset the taxable income.
To keep your tax return preparation fees down, the records should be kept in accounting software".

We even have to keep track of volunteer hours doing newsletters, and other volunteer projects (like planting trees, etc)! This tracking
would be nice to have built in to the non-profit accounting application.

--> Do you know of any accounting package for LINUX (or the $100 laptop computer from OLPC) that will do proper non-profit FUND based accounting
with the graphs, do the tracking and reports that we need?

GnuCash has no information as to how to set up GnuCash to set up and a volunteer non-profit FUND BASED accounting that would equal our old MoneyCounts DOS application? Does anyone know of a Linux Fund Based Accounting solution that non-profits will be able to run on the olpc laptop machine (heck, since this same fund accounting is used by governments then it might be also used by small villages, towns, and others that could use such software - worldwide?

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