I met with the treasurer for our local Habitat for Humanity affiliate and we agreed that we needed to migrate to QuickBooks before the year end. He wanted a plan and a schedule and I volunteered to create one after I completed a little more research. Before I can create a project plan I thought I would write a goals and benefits statement so I can make sure I focus on the right stuff.
Project Goals and Benefits
The primary goal is to improve the financial reporting and the way we implement our financial policies. Habitat for Humanity International(HfHI) recommends using QuickBooks and has created a variety of helpful documents on using QuickBooks to manage a local affiliates finances. They also recommend using their chart of accounts. The combination of HfHI recommending and supporting QuickBooks makes a pretty persuasive case for change if you are having any problems. HfHI recommends a chart of accounts that is slightly different than the Unified Chart of Accounts(UCOA) recommended by Intuit. I believe the Quickbooks builtin reports probably work best with the UCOA. A slight modification of the UCOA accounts to accommodate the needs of HfH accounting would probably be the best plan. According to information I have read on the information on the Nation Center Charitable Statistics site and it appears likely that this will be the best way to file tax returns electonically.
Problems with Peachtree, Habitrax, and implementing existing financial policies
Despite having several years experience using Peachtree this local affiliate appears to be using it as an expensive checkbook. Peachtree has reports but no one is using them. The financial and management reporting is practically non-existent. Habitrax is a program provided by HfHI to serve as a subsidiary ledger to track donations and mortgages. With the current version of QuickBooks donation tracking is probably best accomplished in QuickBooks. Mortgage and escrows are a mess. There appears to be too many Excel spreadsheets and manual files necessary to keep this system running and to overcome deficiencies.