Running a charitable organisation is no easy task. This endeavour requires constant dedication and unflinching commitment. UK charities spend much of their time filing tax returns and claiming grants.
These time-consuming tasks, as essential as they may be for funding your charitable activities, also take the focus away from more important actions. Hence why finding the best charity accounting software could be of great help to your organisation.
Let Appvizer guide you through the process of choosing the right accounting software for your nonprofit: our comparison highlights the strengths and weaknesses of the best accounting solutions available for UK charities.
What charity accounting software can do for your nonprofit
Accounting software is mostly thought of as being used mainly by for-profit organisations. But registered charities also have many needs that can only be met by this kind of solution. Of course, their requirements and goals are not the same as a traditional business. This is why dedicated charity accounting software exists.
These platforms are designed to help your organisation streamline most processes related to your finances, tax reports, gift aid and more. Some of the most important features of nonprofit accounting solutions include:
- Insightful dashboards and reports to keep track of your cash flow in real-time: you may import bank statements from a variety of sources automatically to sort your expenses and manage your income streams.
- Donor management systems: you can record various types of donations, sometimes complete with tools to make payments easier, for example with support for direct donations from a page on your website.
- Gift aid management: gift aid claims can be ready in no time, as tools allow you to generate ready-to-use reports to simplify your grant claims.
- MTD-compliant VAT filing: HMRC will make it mandatory for all kinds of businesses to file VAT returns through the Making Tax Digital Scheme as soon as April 2022. This platform provides a quick and easy way to file your taxes and stay compliant.
How to choose the best charity software?
For you to choose the most optimal solution for your nonprofit organisation, you should consider your needs first and foremost. Ask yourself questions such as:
- Do I need specific features? These could be payroll management if you manage employees or volunteers, or project management if you organise many fundraising events.
- How flexible should this solution be? If you’re a growing organisation, you should think ahead and choose a solution that will be able to adapt and grow with your charity. It could offer add-ons or dedicated support for example.
Then, you will come across two major categories of software:
- Traditional accounting software
- Cloud-based accounting software
The latter is based on the SaaS model, meaning the software vendor is in charge of installing and maintaining the solution. This offers many advantages, such as:
- Reactive customer support,
- more flexibility,
- lower upfront costs,
- constant updates, etc.
Online software can be accessed anywhere and from any device with an internet connection. This reduces the need for costly furniture such as powerful laptops to run a professional desktop solution and the associated IT costs.
The best charity accounting software for UK nonprofits in 2021
Akaunting is a free, open-source online solution to manage all your accounting processes. Keep your financial records straight and up-to-date without breaking the bank thanks to this accessible yet powerful software.
- Create multiple bank accounts to track and sort your expenses. You can keep track of your cash flows in real-time to monitor the state of your organisation at a glance.
- Create custom dashboards easily by adding widgets to control everything from one place. Powerful reporting features allow you to stay on top of your finances at all times.
- Get more things done with bulk actions to manage multiple transactions at once and a friendly customer portal for stakeholders to gain autonomy while freeing up time on your end.
- Send invoices easily and engage donors with professional-looking email templates.
- This solution is completely free and open-source, meaning you can customise it to suit your needs and that no option is hidden behind a paywall.
- You can start accepting online payments directly from outgoing invoices with no transaction fees.
- You can manage multiple currencies and even more than one organisation with only one free account!
- You have access to a dedicated app store featuring all kinds of add-ons and plugins to make adapting the software to your requirements even easier.
- It is originally designed with small businesses in mind, meaning some charity-specific features may be missing or will necessitate workarounds.
- Some add-ons from the appstore aren’t available for free.
- Akaunting is completely free to use and open-source, meaning you can use your online account for as many users and on as many devices as you wish.
Blackbaud is one of the leading software providers for nonprofit organisations. Its solutions are what you need if you’re looking for an end-to-end platform to manage your fundraising campaigns, file grant applications and more.
- Accept payments easily and securely thanks to cutting-edge payment processing services: you can accept credit and debit card payments, including contactless, with pre-reconciliation features to simplify your bookkeeping.
- Supercharge your campaigns and leverage your donor base with powerful donor management features. Create crowdfunding or peer-to-peer donation campaigns, manage sponsorships and more.
- Engage volunteers and people with event management, email automation and other innovative tools to host enticing online and offline charitable events and fundraisers.
- Keep track of your performance and boost the impact of your future actions thanks to insightful analytics. Let interactive dashboards drive your decisions to launch more effective campaigns.
- A multifaceted, all-in-one platform from which you can run your charity with confidence.
- An easy way for you to engage with your donors and leverage their collective power: marketing and engagement tools allow you to adopt a people-oriented approach while maximising efficiency.
- A flexible and innovative way to manage fundraising: create crowdfunding initiatives and allow peer-to-peer donations to turn each and every of your donors into a potential advocate.
- Dedicated grantmaking tools to keep track of where your money is going and ensure the programmes you support really make a difference.
- Offers many tools and a diverse range of features that can be too much for smaller charities that are simply looking to get their accounting right.
- Does not offer many integrations with third-party solutions.
- Only available upon request. The final price will depend on the individual characteristics and needs of your nonprofit organisation.
Liberty Accounts is a well-known solution that has been lending a helping hand to UK-based charities for a long time. This charity accounting software specialises in meeting the needs of nonprofit organisations to allow them to reach their full potential.
- It offers both a business and charity version to stay closer to the needs of all kinds of businesses and charities of all sizes.
- The charity version offers specific SORP-compliant features to cater to the characteristics of fund accounting: you can count on it to assist you with your church or nonprofit’s bookkeeping processes.
- It is HMRC-recognised for VAT returns, gift aid, payroll forms and more. This means you will gain back time to focus on your work rather than spending hours filling out lengthy paperwork.
- It integrates useful payroll management, collaboration and stakeholder management features to record interactions and keep track of your projects’ progress.
- This solution is geared towards UK-based charities, with the ability to submit gift-aid applications in one click, manage donors and stakeholders details and more.
- You can manage budgets and stock, with quality-of-life features such as document storage to make your transactions history richer and more understandable.
- Import bank transactions automatically and generate comprehensive reports to get a complete overview of your organisation without the extra effort of regular data entry and processing.
- Get unlimited users, free automatic updates and high-security standards for your data with all plans.
- Extra fees are collected for charities exceeding 500 transactions a month.
- Document storage may also induce extra costs as part of a fair-use policy.
- Liberty Accounts starts at £12.95 a month, excluding VAT. It offers a straightforward 6-month money-back guarantee and a free trial.
- Price will vary depending on the turnover of your organisation and the number of employees on its payroll.
Recap table: the best charity accounting software
||From £12.95 /month|
Focus on making a change in the world with the right accounting software
You can’t change the world without the right tools. You can’t run a charity without ensuring compliance, managing donations and accurate financial reporting. Charity accounting software does all this and more: focus on what matters with the weight of paperwork lifted off your shoulders!
If you’ve not found the right fit yet, feel free to browse through our list of the best accounting software available in the UK. This comprehensive overview should help you compare solutions and choose the best one for your current and future needs.
Accomplish more with less thanks to the right tools! If you’re looking for ways to maximise your impact without losing time on repetitive tasks, Appvizer is the best place to start.