GnuCash for Non-profit FUND based accounting ? olpc $100 laptop & GnuCash?

Robert Smits labour at
Fri Oct 27 18:38:15 EDT 2006

On Wednesday 25 October 2006 12:54, Treasurer - TU SouthWestern VT wrote:

> Parson's Technology provided various software for churches at one time.
> Since then their product line was acquired, and in the end it seems that
> Intuit ended up with the accounting software and has done nothing with it
> at all.   This might be because Intuit now has a version of QuickBooks for
> non-profits!  We don't run very many transactions per year at all,
> so to buy Quickbooks for Non-Profits, and keep it upgraded seems
> pointless due to the expense of keeping up with Windows and Intuit version
> schemes! And also there is another interesting factor that eliminates
> Intuit... Due to the fact that Quickbooks will not run on LINUX and we
> might like to use the $100 olpc laptop as a permanent accounting device
> that could be affordable and could hopefully run a LINUX GUI based and easy
> to use Fund Based accounting application.
> ).

Of course you could run Quickbooks on Linux. You need Crossover Office, of 
course, but apparently Quickbooks Pro and Quickbooks both run. I wouldn't 
have anything from Intuit on my drive, but that's your call. 
> For the next person that handles the chapter's bookkeeping, I don't think
> that he or she/they will be able to handle the learning curve of a non-GUI
> based application that is not like the Windows ones that they are used to!
> So - Can GNU Cash be used for FUND Based Accounting (for non-profits and
> churches)?

I'm not certain, from a cursory look at your links what exactly is supposed to 
differentiate fund based accounting from any other form of accounting. I also 
don't see anything listed below that I can't do with Gnucash.

> "A nonprofit can charge for advertising in any publication produced by
> the nonprofit, but you need to keep the following in mind.
> 1.  As soon as a nonprofit has $1,000 of unrelated business income,
> which advertising is, the nonprofit must file form 990T.  This is a
> rather complicated form, so I would recommend that your chapter line up
> an accountant who has filled out the form for other nonprofits to do
> this for you.  So I would really recommend evaluating if charging for
> the ads is going to produce net income for the chapter after factoring
> the additional cost for a tax preparer.

Since I have no way of knowing what is contained in 990T let me say just that 
can basically have as many categories of income, expense, equity, assets and 
liabilities as you like, you should be able to track all your needed 

> 2.  Unrelated business income cannot exceed 33% of total gross income
> for a nonprofit.  This can cause the loss of nonprofit status.

You can get reports on income by many different ways.  Cash Flow, expense 
charts, income charts, profit & loss, etc. 

> GnuCash has no information as to how to set up GnuCash to set up and a
> volunteer non-profit FUND BASED accounting that would equal our old
> MoneyCounts DOS application?

Gnucash is largely supported by volunteers, and who volunteer because they 
also use Gnucash in their daily lives. What you are describing is a highly 
customized operation, and it sounds like you need to spend some time trying 
out Gnucash to see if there are showstoppers for you. 

Nonetheless, I use Gnucash to adminster a non-profit labour organization. I 
have about 6 accounts, including some investment accounts, and as many 
categories as needed to properly categorize my income and expenditures. So I 
include about 60 organizations paying dues, keeping track of grants and how 
we spend our money, ensuring it's properly authorized, etc. I have no trouble 
doing that with Gnucash.

Some of your references are for (to me) obscure American laws that most of us 
will have no knowledge of since this list is pretty international. For 
example, FASB 117, and GASB 34  are just acronyms to me. 

Doing a trial run with a month or two's entries might give you a better answer 
than any of us could.


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