Hi Treasurers and other finance people,
I realize that we had this discussion some months ago about accounting
software. I just wanted to follow up by letting you know that Cascadia
decided to go with Xero as we start. Your advice was helpful and I greatly
I hope to meet many of you at the Wikimedia Conference in Germany this
(now Executive Director for Cascadia Wikimedians User Group)
On Aug 20, 2014 4:12 AM, "Richard Symonds" <
I started off doing the accounts at WMUK several years ago and looked at a
fair few different systems, including open source.
Initially we used Gnucash, I believe, but because no-one else used it -
including our auditors - it was not very useful when we needed to create
year end accounts. I also considered CiviCRM after viewing a talk from the
Swedish chapter in 2012. However, the talk was not encouraging - CiviCRM
needs a *lot *of work to be useable as an accounting system. I would not
therefore recommend Gnucash or CiviCRM or any other open source system:
will find it almost impossible to find an accountant who uses them, and
also almost impossible to find a CiviCRM developer who is also an
accountant! Your auditors will not know how to use the data and will not
have the programs to access it, so in the end you will have to pay extra
for the "free" software.
In short: open source programs are good for small charity accounts, but
moment you start hiring staff (of any sort), or have fixed assets or
non-cash donations, the system does not scale and as a result you will
incur large overheads trying to get it to work. You might run into a
problem with CiviCRM if you need to generate invoices for a conference you
run in three or four years time - will your system be able to handle it,
will you need to upgrade everything at much greater cost?
We also looked at Quickbooks, Sage, and a few others. In the end, we
Sage - not because it was cheap, or because it was ethical - but because
is the UK standard and practically all UK accountants know how to use it.
It has a huge support network, and it is scalable from a self-employed
person up to an organisation with many thousands of employees. Sage is not
used much in the USA though, so Quickbooks may be a better idea for you.
My advice to you would be:
- Plan for the future - ten year's time. Your solution needs to be
scalable with little fuss.
- Use something that has a proven track record - don't got for anything
like a startup, because you need it supported in future and you can't
- Cloud-based is good, but the Treasurer really needs to understand
what's happening - things should go through him where possible.
- Don't be afraid to spend money if money needs to be spent.
- Don't be afraid to ask the WMF directly for their advice. They know
their stuff and it'd be good if your accounts were run on a similar
to theirs - cheaper in the long run, and you've got someone to turn to
it all breaks.
I hope this helps! Feel free to drop me an email if you have any more
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On 20 August 2014 10:57, Manuel Schneider <manuel.schneider(a)wikimedia.ch>
you may want to evaluate CiviCRM.
It is not perfect but supports accounting (rather than just recording
donations as before) about a year.
The advantage of CiviCRM is the fact that it integrates membership
management, mailings, donors management and that it can be used
centrally by all the committee members.
The setup and customization is not so easy with CiviCRM but there are
plenty of people in the movement who gathered some experience with that.
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