Open source accounting software for nonprofit organizations

Nonprofit organizations are often on tight budgets. Every dollar spent must be thought out and accounted for. Not every nonprofit can afford to hire a professional accountant, and many nonprofits rely on in-house accounting methods. If you don’t have the funds to hire a professional, free accounting software can help guide your organization in the right direction.

Free Accounting Software Options for Nonprofits

When considering a free accounting program for your nonprofit organization, keep in mind what tasks you need the program to perform and if there are any specific reports you are interested in producing. Every program has something different to offer so choose the one that will best match your needs.

Nonprofit Treasurer

As its name suggests, Nonprofit Treasurer was created specifically to meet the needs of small nonprofit organizations, such as parent-teacher associations, homeowners associations, professional association chapters, youth sports clubs, and more. With its integrated reporting and budgeting tools, this program is this free and easy-to-use. It is designed to make life easier for volunteer treasurers and other board members when it comes to financial management and oversight, along with all nonprofit accounting needs.

GNUCash

This free software program can be useful for small nonprofit organizations. It is an open source program that has some characteristics of Quicken and some small business accounting features. This software will allow you to create a multitude of reports, but you may need to export some data in Excel to complete them. You can use this software on Windows, Mac, or Linux systems.

Adminsoft Accounts

This software is a full double-entry accounting system and even allows you to manage payroll if needed. It will run on any system running a Windows platform and on Mac or Linux machines in certain situations.

BS1 Free Accounting

BS1 software works for small businesses and allows you to establish your files in different currency formats, which would allow you to manage international billing or purchasing. You can also create user-defined financial statements. You can upgrade for a fee to get your software customized if you would like.

Lazy8 Ledger

This free accounting program is a double-entry accounting program that is designed for users who are knowledgeable about bookkeeping practices. Your organization can also follow receipts and payments automatically. This program can also run on Windows, Linux, and Mac systems.

LedgerLite

This free accounting software by Responsive Software runs on Windows systems. This shareware program is a double-entry ledger system that can be scaled upward as your organization grows. One of the benefits for non-profit organizations is that you can also calculate account balances when you want rather than only on a quarterly or yearly calendar.

FrontAccounting ERP

This is an open source solution for small businesses, making it a good option for nonprofit organizations. This program lets you keep up with bank accounts, general ledgers, and different reports. You can have multiple user access and can use this program on Windows, Linux, and Mac.

ZipBooks

The free version of ZipBooks can be helpful for nonprofits looking for a software application to handle basic accounting functions. Program features include unlimited invoicing, digital payment processing via Paypal or Square, basic reports, and management of vendors and customers (such as members or donors). One bank account can be connected to the program.

Choosing the Best for Your Nonprofit

There are numerous nonprofit accounting and budgeting software programs available that can assist your organization with anything from cutting checks to preparing financial reports. Try out various programs until you find the one that works the best for your organization’s financial management needs. You may find that one of the free programs listed here does everything you need, though if your group is large or has complex accounting needs, you may need to look at fee-based options such as Quickbooks or other more sophisticated business accounting software applications.

Nonprofits thrive when passion is at the helm.

If you want to give back as much as you can (and continue to impress donors and investors), you need to keep your expenses low—and that includes the cost of your accounting software. While some accounting software companies offer discounts to nonprofit organizations, Intuit charges full price for QuickBooks.

In other words, there is no free QuickBooks for nonprofits—but there is ZipBooks. 

Free QuickBooks for Nonprofits: ZipBooks

ZipBooks is totally free, user-friendly accounting software with all the features you need to run your nonprofit. 

It’s simple to create an account, and once you’re in, you can organize investments, contributions from owners, grants, and fundraising events. Manage a team of as many volunteers as you like and store unlimited donor profiles, invoices, and receipts. Then, access your data from any device or operating system, enjoying the flexibility of cloud accounting without the headache of monthly and hidden fees.

With ZipBooks, you get complete access to a suite of invoicing, accounting and expense management tools so your organization gets paid faster—and like we said, it’s free!

Fund accounting software built for you (not an accountant)

You shouldn’t have to master accountancy in order to help other people. ZipBooks is easy to navigate with its intuitive user-interface and straightforward layout—and it still packs the punch of big name software alternatives. 

On our free Starter plan, ZipBookers can send unlimited invoices and manage unlimited donors and vendors. Sync your bank account to automatically import expenses and funds. Then, ZipBooks machine learning will auto-categorize transactions for you—saving you time and manpower. 

And don’t worry, it’s our top priority to protect donor info. With 256-bit SSL encryption, rest assured that your organization’s financial data is secure. 

One-click invoices and donations

Fundraising for a nonprofit can be difficult, so we’ve made payment processing easy. Once you’ve found generous donors, ZipBooks lets you send digital invoices in a matter of seconds.

Accept multiple kinds of payments by connecting your ZipBooks account to Square, Stripe or PayPal. By providing payment options that are the most convenient, you make it easy for supporters to contribute. 

And if you have recurring benefactors or membership dues, you can turn on auto-bill to collect funds automatically. 

Keep track of what donors have paid

When you send an invoice to a donor for the amount they have pledged, you don’t need to manually enter transaction data. Donations are submitted digitally and immediately show up in your books. 

If you want to track fundraising efforts by program, donor, event or anything else, you can create custom tags* in ZipBooks. Keep organized (and paperless) by attaching any necessary documents to relevant transactions 

When members make payments, you can keep track of when they pay in full, or whether they are still paying in increments.

Financial reports that write themselves

Financial statements can be a major headache for nonprofits. ZipBooks generates reports for you, so you don’t have to break out your calculator. 

Just click “Go” and you’ll have access to more than a dozen reports, including the Statement of Financial Position (Balance Sheet), Statement of Activities (Income Statement) and Cash Flow Statement*.

Automate annual giving statements and keep everyone in the loop by customizing reports even further. Use smart tagging* (by grant, board member, campaign, etc) to filter only the relevant funds and then export financial statements to PDF or CSV. 

Manage your team with permissions and time-tracking

As your team grows, you can add time-tracking*, team member permissions and payroll integration* to your feature set. 

  • Time tracking

    —You and your team members can track your hours by launching our built-in time tracker. Clock billable hours and automatically add them to invoices.

  • Team permissions

    —Set custom user permissions to safeguard donor data. Mark certain volunteers as bookkeepers or set them up with time-tracking only accounts. 

  • Payroll integration

    —Use our preferred partner,

    Gusto

    , to automatically file taxes, manage employee withholding, and more.

Because ZipBooks is 100% in the cloud, volunteers can login from anywhere to contribute to your mission. 

Run all of your programs in one place

Running a nonprofit can take a lot of time as it is. When you’re busy getting organized and searching out funding, you don’t have a lot of time to process the contributions you’ve received. 

Have you ever wondered if your nonprofit could make more each year if it was even a little more efficient? ZipBooks was designed to help with that. With project tracking you can create new projects, records notes and information about the project and manage multiple programs. 

You can also create individual projects and assign them to different team members to prevent overlap and make sure no project gets forgotten.

Anywhere accessibility

When you’ve transferred your organization’s information online through ZipBooks, you’ll be able to access your data anywhere you go.

Access your donor and invoicing information from any mobile device, smart phone, computer, or operating system. The whole team can be logged in and recording work at the same time. 

Free accounting software for nonprofits

Non-profits play a special role in people’s lives as well as in the economy, and they need access to the best software and tools on the market.  

There may not be a free QuickBooks for non-profits, but there is something better: ZipBooks.

And best of all, ZipBooks is and always will be 100% free, forever.

*These advanced features are available on our Smarter and Sophisticated plans. While our free Starter plan works for most nonprofit organizations, we also offer an insane discount to nonprofits on our paid plans. Just reach out to us at [email protected] and we’ll verify your nonprofit status and keep saving you money!

About Tim

Tim is Founder and CEO of ZipBooks. He keeps his desk really nice and neat.

Accounting software helps streamline accounting and bookkeeping tasks.

Fueled by grants and contributions, nonprofit organizations often face increased requests for accountability and transparency in financial reporting. Recording donations, managing payroll, and handling cash flows are some of the common issues these organizations face.

In case you are starting afresh as a nonprofit business and wondering how to document funds and expenses meticulously, you probably need to look for an accounting system for your organization. Accounting software for nonprofits allows users to streamline accounting tasks, track grants and endowments, manage reimbursable grants, generate financial statements, and more.

While there are dozens of easy-to-implement accounting software options available on the market, they are often pricey. You may not want to invest in an expensive accounting solution, especially if you are just getting off the ground. Fortunately, there are several tools available that allow you to manage your nonprofit’s finances for free.

This article highlights the three best free accounting software for nonprofits (listed alphabetically) based on user reviews and ratings. (Read how we selected these products.)

Check out the complete list of nonprofit accounting tools in Capterra’s software directory.

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1. MoneyMinder: Features budget templates for custom budgets

MoneyMinder is an online accounting solution for nonprofit organizations that allows users to manage their finances, reconcile bank accounts, and track volunteer activities. The software features budget templates that can be modified while creating custom budgets for the nonprofit organization. These budgets can be categorized based on different activities, such as fundraising, administration, and programs. You can keep track of your budget and compare it with the actual expenses to set future goals.

MoneyMinder offers volunteer management tools that allow nonprofits to track volunteer hours in relation to events and generate reports. The nonprofit accounting software also allows you to manage members’ information, track dues, and record membership fees at different levels. In addition to managing volunteers and members, the accounting solution allows you to manage donors. The software allows you to send acknowledgement receipts to donors.

MoneyMinder also features a document library that contains all the commonly used forms, templates, and documents that can be used for quick references. These include meeting agendas, audit findings, check letters, and internal revenue service (IRS) documentation for nonprofits.

MoneyMinder offers customer support via phone, email, and chat.

2. Wave Accounting: Offers finance and invoice dashboards

Wave Accounting is an online invoicing and accounting solution that simplifies nonprofit bookkeeping processes. Some of the notable features of the software include payment tracking, payroll management, credit card processing, and finance management, among others. Wave Accounting features a finance dashboard that displays cash flows, bills, net income, bank account statements, and other financial insights useful to a nonprofit treasurer.

The nonprofit accounting software allows you to create custom invoices using several built-in invoice templates available in Excel, Google Docs, and PDF formats. The software also allows you to schedule invoices for a later date and set recurring invoices for any day of the week or month. Wave Accounting also features an invoice dashboard wherein you can see details related to billing and invoicing, such as overdue payments, outstanding invoices, and next payouts, among others.

The fund accounting software provides you with different reports that allow nonprofits to manage their operations. Examples include donation reports, profit/loss reports, transactions reports, and expense reports.

Wave Accounting is completely free for use, and you receive all the features offered by the vendor in the free version itself. Customer support options for Wave Accounting include email and chat.

3. Zoho Books: Accept donations in multiple currencies

Zoho Books is an accounting software solution that allows nonprofits to manage their expenses, track donations, send donation receipts, and generate detailed reports for purchases, inventory, and activity logs. The software features a dashboard that provides you an overview of the total receivables, payables, cash flow, income, expenses, and bank account transactions of a small business or a nonprofit organization.

As a nonprofit treasurer, you can categorize and track your expenses by adding them under multiple expense accounts and associating them with a vendor or a client. Zoho Books also provides functionality for donor management. It allows you to maintain a record of all your donors and their contribution to your cause. You can also use the software to manage taxes associated with donations.

The nonprofit bookkeeping software allows you to create and share professional-looking invoices for your clients and accept donations in multiple currencies. While the location of your organization determines the default currency, there are several other currency options that you can choose from to accept donations from donors all across the world.

Zoho Books integrates well with several major online payment gateways, such as Stripe, PayPal, Authoize.Net, Payflow Pro, and Square. The vendor offers phone, chat, and email as customer support options.

How to choose the right free accounting software for nonprofits

Accounting for nonprofits is quite different from for-profit accounting, so selecting the right software can be a bit more complex. Here are a few important considerations you can keep in mind before finalizing the best free accounting software for nonprofits.

  • Select a tool that allows you to track and manage donations: Nonprofit organizations receive donations in various forms, including grants, dues, and pledges. These require effective documentation and specialized tracking as the inconsistencies in managing funds can lead to reputational damage, fines, or even legal action. Before investing in a free accounting tool, make sure that the software can track donations in all forms via a common portal. It should also provide functionality for managing donor receipts and generating reports to showcase the amount received and its utilization.

  • Select a tool that offers invoice customization: Your free accounting software should allow you to create professional-looking invoices and customize them for donations or any goods and services that you provide. The software should also allow you to download and share customized invoices in multiple formats, including Word, PDF, and Excel.

  • Select a tool that offers automation of accounts payable/receivable: Given the number of donations received by nonprofits and the extent of their services, nonprofit organizations need to have a system that streamlines and automates accounts receivable and payable for them. While selecting a free tool, ensure that the software provides features for vendor records management, payment date calculation, finance-related alerts, and advance payment scheduling. The best accounting software should also allow you to automate and manage collections. Therefore, the software must have sales tax calculation, commission tracking, and credit card processing features.

Common questions to ask when choosing free accounting software for nonprofits

Selecting the best free accounting software for nonprofits can be overwhelming at times, especially with so many options available on the market. Here is a list of some important questions to ask before making your final decision.

Does the software provide reporting and budgeting capabilities?

Reporting requirements for nonprofit organizations are unique. The reports must always be accurate and detailed enough to ensure transparency and adherence to audit demands. Look for a tool that allows you to generate fund accounting reports, financial reports, donor contribution reports, and budget-to-spending comparisons. Also, make sure that the software allows you to present these reports in multiple formats, including Excel and PDF, among others.

Does the software offer bank reconciliation?

Bank reconciliation is important to ensure transparency in financial operations and prevent cash manipulations. Before investing in a free accounting system, ensure that the product can review, categorize, and reconcile bank account transactions at periodic intervals. Several free tools also allow you to set filters to locate specific transactions. Besides basic reconciliation, look out for any such additional features.

Does the software support multiple currencies?

Nonprofit organizations frequently receive funds from multiple donors and countries. Before you invest in the best accounting software, check if the platform allows you to accept donations in multiple currencies.

How did we choose these products? We didn’t—you did.

To find your ideal software match, you need information you can trust so you can save time, stay on budget, and focus more energy on growing your business. It’s why we vet and verify all our user reviews and recommend only the tools endorsed by people like you.

In other words, our product recommendations are never bought or sold, or based on the opinion of a single individual—they’re chosen by your peers, reflecting the views and experiences of our independent base of software reviewers.

At Capterra, we objectively select and rank products based on a methodology developed by our research team. Some vendors pay us when they receive web traffic, but this has no influence on our methodology.

Written by Jane