Softline Pastel’s latest release will improve accountability in non-profit sector

Softline Pastel’s launch of Pastel Partner for Non-Profit Organisations represents the first formal financial management software solution for the non-profit sector in South Africa.

The new accounting program from the country’s leading developer of accounting and business software - and part of the Sage Group plc - still retains Pastel Partner at its core but in addition, brings powerful complimentary modules geared towards addressing particular needs and challenges of the non-profit organisations (NPO) sector. The version for NPOs ships with project tracking capabilities, an advanced business intelligence reporting system and an NPO terminology module, which has been created to align Pastel Partner with ‘NPO-speak’. This means that phrases like ‘profit’ have been replaced with ‘surplus’ and ‘accumulated funds’ is used instead of ‘retained income’.

The financial management requirements of NPOs are different to those of businesses. They usually have several different funding contracts, each with separate budgets and varying time periods over which budget periods extend. Funders may also determine which specific activities and programmes must be funded with their donations. Non-financial donations also need to be accounted for, all of which makes financial management a tricky and time consuming activity.

“We developed this non-profit specific software to help organisations in that sector increase their accountability by enabling them to accurately monitor the financial impact of all activities and projects,” says MD of Pastel Accounting, Steven Cohen.

The NPO software’s innovative Project Tracker module gives users an overall view of each project, including a clear picture of income for the project and all individual activities. The business intelligence reporting module allows the organisation to create customised reports, providing comprehensive insight into the organisation’s overall financial management and that of each project.

Mark Milner, the development manager at NGO solutions, which collaborated with Pastel to produce the software says: “Many NPOs operate supplementary systems, they may use an old version of Pastel or an Excel based system of spreadsheets and they are still not effectively managing all resources and demands. A complete reporting module is essential to gaining a holistic view of the organisation’s finances. And we feel this solution has moved a long way in addressing these needs.”

Pastel Partner for NPOs also has the ability to capture donations in kind. This is useful because many NPOs rely on non-financial donations and if these are not recorded the organisation’s ability to mobilise resources cannot be accurately judged.

Of course, being a Pastel program, NPOs won’t battle to find staff with the skills to work on the software. Registered users will be able to access the NPO Zone on Pastel’s website. This is an online support resource that includes, amongst other resources, information on steps for SARS registration, tips and tricks for non-profit financial management, regular newsletters on relevant topics and webinars training.

Milner concludes, “This program will constantly evolve and grow to meet NPOs needs. With better reporting and project tracking abilities it is a must-have tool for this sector and will increase efficiency against limited funds.”

The program is now available directly from Pastel at .