MIP vs. QuickBooks: Affordable Accounting Software for Nonprofits

Explore whether MIP or Quickbooks is the better accounting software for your nonprofit based on the key differences.

Replacing an introductory accounting solution like QuickBooks with a mid-market product such as MIP Fund Accounting is one of the most important decisions a nonprofit will make. And one of the most difficult.

Upgrading to an objectively superior solution like MIP sets a nonprofit up for sustained growth driven by accounting excellence. But it also comes at a higher cost, involves an extended transition period, and means abandoning the familiarity of QuickBooks. The difficult question facing nonprofit leaders is whether they’re overdue for an upgrade or fine with what they have?

JMT Consulting has worked with 2,000+ nonprofits over multiple decades, including countless clients seeking the right accounting software. We are vendor agnostic. We are not neutral, however. And in our experience, nonprofits will eventually outgrow QuickBooks and require a purpose-built solution like MIP.

If you’re on the fence about which product to trust with your nonprofit’s finances, explore five key differences between MIP and QuickBooks. You know what your nonprofit needs. Now find out which product delivers.

Auditing Excellence

QuickBooks has one of the most user-friendly platforms on the market. That’s an asset to a small nonprofit just starting out. But it’s a liability to a more mature organization subject to auditing requirements. QuickBooks sacrifices auditing controls in favor of accessibility. Users can even reclass or reverse transactions without leaving a record in the audit trail, making it difficult or impossible to complete a trustworthy audit.

MIP exemplifies what strict audit controls look like. For one, it forces these controls out of the box so the audit trail begins immediately. The system also balances the need for users to find and amend data with the need to limit and track any changes made. In practice, MIP automatically creates the kind of unbroken audit trail that transparent nonprofits depend on (and auditors love to see).

Expansive Features

As a solution designed for beginners, QuickBooks has a relatively limited number of features, many of them simplified for general users. The chart of accounts, for instance, leaves much to be desired, and QuickBooks can’t handle grant tracking. In the absence of these key features, nonprofits rely extensively on Excel, which is an amazing product – but it’s fundamentally a workaround.

With MIP, nonprofits have a true all-in-one accounting platform with 30 modules for vital administrative functions: General ledger, AP/AR, Bank Reconciliation, Payroll, and many more. Offering gold-standard capabilities for fund accounting, MIP lets users program dozens of segments into a fully-customized chart of accounts. Excel becomes irrelevant with a solution that can do exactly what nonprofit accountants require.

Optimal Reporting

The sparse toolkit in QuickBooks contains only the most basic reporting capabilities. Building reports takes extra time because it often requires stitching together various data sources and overcoming different system limitations. Worse, the reports Quickbooks can build offer a shallow perspective that leaves nonprofits in the dark about their true performance.

MIP has exemplary reporting capabilities thanks to the segmented chart of accounts mentioned earlier. Users can easily mix and match various data sources to create highly-customized reports focused on whatever merits exploration. A simple yet powerful report writer also lets anyone with authorization create reports and replace unknowns with answers.

Nonprofit Specialization

QuickBooks aims to satisfy as many users as possible. It wasn’t built to be a nonprofit-specific solution, and especially not a solution for nonprofits managing multiple funding sources with restriction requirements. The incompatibility between Quickbooks and nonprofit accounting only becomes more apparent with time as more of accounting bleeds into Excel.

The list of accounting solutions built specifically for nonprofits is small and contains MIP at the top. Everything from allocations to budgeting to reporting reflects the unique needs of nonprofits while conforming to all applicable accounting and regulatory standards. With a specialized solution like MIP, accountants don’t have to wonder if their software is up to the task.

Focused Support

Serving hundreds of thousands of users means QuickBooks rations its support resources carefully. Users only get 30 days of support from a basic license. Making matters more difficult, QuickBooks doesn’t have a robust partner community. Frustrated users without a place to turn for answers and help often rely on internet forums as a last resort.

The situation is exactly reversed with MIP. Users have a vast ecosystem of support resources they can tap into. That includes support from MIP itself, which is known for being accessible and in-depth. MIP also has a community of partners like JMT Consulting that exist to help nonprofits optimize their accounting software throughout its lifecycle.

MIP vs. Quickbooks: Final Verdict

If your nonprofit is leveraging Quickbooks and it’s (1) meeting your needs from a functionality standpoint and (2) giving you the visibility you need to make strategic decisions, that’s great! But as soon as it isn’t, we can help you explore a solution that is designed to meet the complex requirements of your nonprofit (like MIP Fund Accounting). Remember: it’s better to transition sooner than to rely on the wrong solution for longer.

Contact us to explore what comes after QuickBooks.

Why I Will Never Use A Desktop Phone Again

How Integrating Our VOIP Phone System With Microsoft Teams Made Communication Easier For Me
I hate having to hold a phone to my ear, and while not everyone feels that way, I know I’m not the only one! Since online meetings have become commonplace over the last year and a half, having to switch from the ease of using my PC headset (allowing me to type notes and easily pull up whatever I need to on the computer related to my conversation) to picking up the phone was just annoying. While I could use the app on my cell phone to make and receive calls, that required me to use a Bluetooth headset to be hands-free. However, that introduced the issue that when my headset batteries were running low (unbeknownst to me), my voice started to become choppy to those on the other line. I would also have to switch headsets between my online meetings and phone calls. Even if I tried to get a headset connected to my phone and my PC simultaneously, I still would have the battery issue.

Fortunately, our engineers were piloting a system to integrate Microsoft Teams with our phone system. They took a couple of weeks out of their schedules to get this past a beta stage, and I’m impressed with the product. I’m in Microsoft Teams all day, so it made sense to use it as my primary means of communication. I now use my USB-connected headset for both online meetings and my phone calls throughout the day. No more switching headsets, no more battery issues, no more having to hold a phone.

Since May, I have not used my desktop phone, and I don’t think I ever will again. If you are like me and are ready to leave your desktop phone behind, contact us to schedule a review of your business phone system and see how to become more efficient (and save money too!)

Request a FREE Cost-Benefit Analysis For Your Phone System

The Recruitment Risks of Too Many Interviews

Employers today are struggling to find workers. Those that ask applicants to go through an unnecessarily lengthy and opaque process are likely to lose out on candidates who have plenty of alternatives. 

It’s a significant financial and operational commitment for a company to hire a new team member. Onboarding and training require considerable resources, not to mention the salary, benefits, and taxes involved in compensating the new hire. Operationally, new team members are often accountable not just to their boss but also to stakeholders in other departments by virtue of increasingly interconnected and collaborative offices.

So it’s understandable that employers might want to use an extensive interview process to thoroughly vet candidates before selecting one for an open position. But employers need to be careful not to drive applicants away with overly onerous interview processes, particularly in a job market in which applicants have considerable leverage.

Long Interview Processes Can Be a Big Turnoff

In an article for BBC Worklife, Mark Johanson presents the experience of a 49-year-old software engineer from Indiana named Mike Conley, who became so frustrated with a seemingly never-ending interview process that he ultimately pulled his application. In Conley’s case, the employer was unable—or perhaps unwilling—to even share whether a six-round follow-up to an already completed three-round interview process would be the final step in making a hiring decision.

According to Johanson, Conley’s experience is not unusual. “The internet is awash with similar stories jobseekers who’ve become frustrated with companies—particularly in the tech, finance and energy sectors—turning the interview process into a marathon,” he writes. With many jobseekers enjoying a large number of potential opportunities these days, they have the luxury of being selective and may be turned off from an interview process that seems unnecessarily burdensome and time-consuming.

Streamlining Your Interview Process

Insufficient vetting might result in your costly investment’s failing to deliver the desired results. But too much vetting might result in quality applicants’ opting out of the process altogether. So, what is an employer to do?

A couple of best practices might help strike the right balance for recruiters:

  • Be deliberate in arranging interviews. Recruiters should avoid adding additional interviews without first evaluating the need for each additional round. If an interviewee already has several rounds of interviews, resist the urge to add on others that might provide only marginal benefit.
  • Be transparent with interviewees. Recruiters shouldn’t keep applicants in the dark on the hiring process. If there are going to be six rounds of interviews, make that clear upfront. Applicants may decide they aren’t interested enough in the position to invest that much of their time. While this might mean some applicants drop out early, it’s better than wasting everyone’s time only to reach that same result later in the process.

The labor market, as with most markets, is cyclical. Sometimes employers have a great deal of leverage and are awash with candidates. In these cases, they can ask them to submit to extensive vetting. But this is not one of those times! Employers today are struggling to find workers. Those that ask applicants to go through an unnecessarily lengthy and opaque process are likely to lose out on candidates who have plenty of alternatives.

Shared Content, Author Lin Grensing-Pophal

Nonprofit Partner Spotlight: October

The NRH is happy to welcome one of our newest Nonprofit Partners, Justin Wheeler, Founder of Ambassadors of the Way. We sat down with Justin to find our more about his organization and why he wanted to be part of the NRH community.

NRH: Justin, welcome to the Nonprofit Resource Hub! We are really excited to have you and Ambassadors of the Way join our community. Can you tell us about your organization?

JW: We provide food, clothing, contraceptives, and addiction recovery plans to the homeless population or anyone in need.

NRH: Tell us about yourself. How and why did you choose this organization to work with?

JW: I am a college graduate who is currently going for a CASAC certification. I always wanted to educate myself on why programs were created, and how people can benefit from them. I value and respect everyone regardless of ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or income. I chose to create this organization after years of working in the mental health and homeless field. I was self-taught in things individuals need to acquire to be acclimated to society comfortably. The reason I put effort into this organization is that I want people to have a fair chance at life. 

NRH: Tell us what your goals are for your organization this coming year?

JW: My goal this year is to make people aware of my organization and the opportunities I can give them. I want people to contact me about their goals and issues so we can create a plan that can get them to where they strive to be. 

NRH: Tell us about one success story you are really proud of.

JW: A big success that I cherish greatly is helping a homeless individual with food, clothing, and referrals to different agencies for housing and health services. There are a million people that need help, but one person gives me hope for the future.

NRH: What is the biggest challenge to working in the nonprofit industry (or with your organization in particular) since the start of the pandemic?

JW: This pandemic has caused frustration and confusion in the community. It has affected me from being able to attend indoor events and important meetings that would help my organization. It is challenging, but it is nothing but a minor roadblock towards my vision.

NRH: What’s the latest event you are promoting for your organization and how can the community get involved to support you?

JW: The latest event I’m promoting my organization is the Health and Wellness Fair on November 6, 2021, from 12-4 PM at Tanner Park in Copiague, NY. I am co-sponsoring the event with a couple of mental health organizations, health trainers, and more vendors. The community can get involved by stopping by and seeing all the vendors and what they offer. People can also go to my website and donate to the cause.

NRH: What are you most looking forward to as a new Nonprofit Partner with the NRH?

JW: I am most looking forward to networking with the organizations and picking the brains of brilliant minds. I love learning everything possible to make myself aware and make my organization a solid foundation in society that people can respect.

NRH: How can we get in touch with you?

JW: You can reach out to me by writing on my website, email, or phone. 

jwheeleratw@yahoo.com or call or text me at 631-327-6073.

NRH: Is there anything else you would like to share with the NRH community?

JW: I want everyone to know that they are not alone. I give 100% and will never quit on someone who needs assistance.

AM MEMBER SPOTLIGHT: PNP Staffing Group

PNP STAFFING

We recently sat down with Gayle Brandel, CEO of PNP Staffing Group to talk about her company and the importance of the Salary Report PNP produces each year, and how this year, in particular, is critical in gathering as many surveys as possible in order to help the nonprofit industry.

NRH: Tell us about PNP and the services it provides

GB: Since 1996, PNP Staffing Group, also known as Professionals for NonProfits, has been providing talent exclusively to the nonprofit sector.  Specializing in Executive Search and Direct Hire, Interim Professionals, Consultants, Temp-To-Hire, and Contract/Temporary Staff – offering a single source of staffing solutions a nonprofit might need.    

Our specialties are in the areas of Executive management, Fundraising and Development, Finance, Human Resources, Program Management, Database, and Office Support.  

NRH: Can you tell us a little about your role at PNP?

GB: I currently serve as the CEO of PNP. Prior to founding PNP, I served in a financial and business management capacity in numerous leading NYC nonprofit institutions. I have extensive strategic talent management, and capacity-building experience.  But above all, I am committed to helping nonprofits make smart hiring decisions.

I sit on several nonprofit Boards, have authored numerous articles on hiring, retention, and professional development for publications in this sector.

NRH: Can you tell us a little about your team at PNP?

GB: Our team is comprised of a diverse group of executives and recruiters who have many years of experience in the nonprofit sector.  Team members have been with PNP between 7 to 22 years.  Our expertise, experience, and connections to leaders in the sector help us reach the top 10% of talent in the marketplace to bring the best staff to help nonprofits sustain their missions and advance capacity.  

NRH: What is  PNP’s motto?

GB: We believe in the power of nonprofits to make a difference in people’s lives and are proud that PNP provides the staff to help make that difference.  

NRH: Gayle, can you explain what the Salary Report is and why it is so important for nonprofit organizations to take the time to complete and submit the survey?

GB: Every summer we start gathering salary information from nonprofits by sending out a salary survey to the sector. It is critical that as many people as possible fill out the survey so that our information on our Salary Report is accurate.  PNP’s Annual Salary Report for Nonprofits provides hiring managers with valuable salary information to help them compete effectively for talent in the marketplace.  This free report is available every November. 

NRH: What would you say is the key to a nonprofit organization’s success?

GB: I would say the key to an organization’s success and sustainability, large or small, is the quality of its staff.  In addition, a staff that is diverse tends to be more innovative and productive.  Diversity, equity, and inclusion are at the core of all our placements as we spread a wide net in the marketplace for the best talent for our clients.  

NRH: What are the goals for PNP as you move forward into the future?

GB:  We always strive to provide staffing expertise and service to our current clients and to expand our reach more fully into the association sector and universities. In addition, we would like to increase our partnerships with companies providing services in the sector to be able to offer more robust services to clients.  

We would like to thank Gayle for spending some time with us and for all this great information.

If you want more information about Gayle, PNP Staffing, or would like to access the salary survey, white papers, and other valuable resources, go to www.pnpstaffinggroup.com.