My review of Financial Edge NXT
I like Financial Edge NXT and I couldn’t imagine doing my job without it!
I like that this software is for finance and accounting professionals. It has helped me to perform the daily functions of my job with limited interruptions.
I haven’t been able to understand the allocation module, and so we are still doing our investments manually. The guide that is provided seems to work more for people who have an overall understanding of how it should work.
Great cloud based accounting system for non profits!
I've been using black baud for almost 10 years, I love the ease of using the AP side. It's very easy to get from viewing a vendor, to adding a new invoice and checking for purchase orders, all in one window (with tabs).
The only thing I don't like, it seems there are updates (which is great, but sometimes complicates things). It loses the alignment on my checks pretty drastically and doesn't save the alignment for a new run. I'm not sure if there's a glitch. It does time out kind of quickly if you aren't constantly using the system.
Response from Blackbaud
I appreciate you taking the time to review Financial Edge NXT! As you may know, we listen to our customers' feedback for updates - I have let our product team know about your issue with check alignment.
Please let me know if you have any other issues!
Financial Edge is indispensible for us
We have been able to run a very busy finance office with only 1.5 employees for several years now. We also have been able to do much more efficient and flexible reporting to business units (detail) and to board management (summary).
The NXT online service is very easy to use and very flexible to our needs for reporting. The support is good, most reps are very responsive and I love Blackbaud University.
It's really expensive. And requests for customization are hard to get through. But it's overall so easy to use that we can live with the small tweaks for now.
Financial Edge NXT Not Ready for Primetime
After seeing the NXT demo, it was clear that moving to the new platform would provide our business with all the functionality we were missing in our on premise thick client version. THIS WAS A BIG MISTAKE! Although during the demo it was clearly stated that some of the modules would not be moved from the old version to the new, it was not stated that features in the NXT migrated modules would not be available... so if you are working in say AP and rolling along with your work, you might hit a feature set that does not exist in NXT and requires you to switch to the Citrix version think client. It turns out that only a small percentage of the system has been migrated to NXT. This plan to migrate the modules and functions within the modules in realtime is a massive failure. The performance hit moving to the cloud was intollerable. GL uploads take twice as long even after assessing bandwidth and attempting to do the uploads on the local Blackbaud servers in the cloud. Its as if they did not build the environment robust enough to support the client base. There were features that simply did not work. Printing is problematic and the WebPortal for purchases and requisitions simply does not work. It fails with a web browser error. They said they fixed it as they had identified a node that was not turned up (you would have though they would have a monitoring tool to know this was the case) but this did not solve the problem in the end. Screen lockups, and crashes began to occur and yet there was no one who could effectively analyze the issues and solve the problems. We now have to roll our database back to our on premise version and search for a new solution. We will not be using Blackbaud. Their support is horrendous; forget telephone support your could be on hold for an hour or more; we were able to get on chats but that took some time as well. It was not until we started yelling and escalating that we finally got some response because the number of open incidents was ridiculous. I'm sure their bread and butter CRM and Grand management apps are probably fine but hosted Financial Edge/NXT definitely not worth the money.
Product just does not work.
Way too difficult to use.
I could not recommend it for any organization under $500MM in revenue. This is for Big companies with Big staffs. No need to reach for this unless you have the size and infrastructure to support this solution.
The software clearly has a lot of capabilities. If you are a large organization with lots of time and money to burn, you can get some value out of this.
The program is very difficult to use. I was leading a team that took over the accounting function from another organization. This was their software. The company had not seen a balance sheet they had confidence in for many years. Getting information out in a form and format that they could use was difficult to impossible. I was told they spent $250k getting the program up and running in implementation costs. This was a terrible option for a company with just 2 people in the accounting department.
I'm sure it may be good for a MUCH larger organization, but a bad choice here.
Easy to Use and access. I would recommend Raiser's Edge to anyone. Once you have aligned your system with Finance reports are really easy to produce.
Raiser's Edge has so many fields that can be used or created, if you don't have an established process things can get messy like any database.
We use the full suite of modules and like the integration and support. Payroll is more challenging.
This product really can only get better
Our finance and marketing departments use Blackbaud FE and RE daily and they get the job done. Migrating to something else at this point would be a monumental task, but it still may well be worth the effort.
Interfaces with our Fund Raising software (Raiser's Edge, I am equally thrilled with that too, and mostly for the same reasons cited herein).
Blackbaud offers a good training program (which considering the product license fees all of which should be free).
The reporting is cumbersome.
Lack of a self-service audit trail.
The interface is not intuitive.
Response from Blackbaud
I appreciate you taking the time to review Financial Edge 7 (legacy version of Financial Edge NXT) and being a loyal customer. All of the concerns you brought up in this review have been addressed the cloud-based version of FE7, Financial Edge NXT.
¿ Reporting - take advantage of being able to run multiple reports in your background at the same time, so that you can keep working while they run. You also get drill-down capabilities, 100 canned reports, and more.
¿ Interface - Financial Edge NXT is a cloud-based, modern, and intuitive platform. It is responsive and highly configurable.
¿ Audit Trail - Financial Edge NXT provides a complete audit trail with the ability for users (with permissions) to self-serve this information directly in the system.
¿ Migration - Migrating to Financial Edge NXT is very easy for Financial Edge 7 clients. We ensure that you have no loss of functionality, no data conversion, and no re-implementation.
- Blake Paradise
Great Product That's Getting Better
Moving your database to the cloud?
The actual move from our local database to the Blackbaud servers was seamless: Have everyone logout, make a backup, upload. Easy as that.
We did find that the citrix receiver is a bit slower and cumbersome to connect to the servers. In hindsight, we would likely have stayed with an on premises scenario and continued to access our local compy via Remote Desktop Connect (even though it was not supported by Blackbaud).
Blackbaud Financial Edge (BBFE)
BBFE has both strengths and weaknesses, as might be expected. It is a true fund accounting software with the ability to handle thousands of funds. Being able to push data in and exporting data out are 2 features that are usually very important, and BBFE mostly does that well. BBFE allows for attaching various homegrown codes to the data at the fund, account, and transaction level. This is not a panacea but can be helpful. The software can be used in a fairly high volume a/p environment and the g/l functionality is also pretty good.
Exporting data is easy, so long as the export you are looking for is available. Importing fund codes is do-able but may require some significant preparation of the upload. BBFE allows for a seemingly unlimited amount of codes to be attached to funds, accounts, and transaction lines. This is very helpful. BBFE has some built in custom reporting facilities that can be helpful. BBFE has a detailed security model that can help with internal controls.
Reports: many of the builtin reports do not contain running totals and grand totals as well as header information page-to-page as one would like. Exports: the data exports are not true sql type, but are a simplified version, which is sometimes adequate. You might need another sql facility to adequately access the data and control the data joins. BBFE imposes credit memos and disallows negative invoices--depending on what you are doing, that could be a big problem that will need to be addressed. BBFE automatically computes and shows balance forwards and each year does not stand on its own, so for some data analysis you might have to compute balance forwards in order to avoid having to download all historical data. BBFE doesn't enforce cash balancing for JEs (if 2 funds are exchanging cash, the JE can give more cash to the recipient than was removed from the payer). BBFE doesn't seem to understand control funds (a fund that holds detail information that belongs to a pool of other funds)--this will require booking JEs that would be unnecessary in some other fund accounting software. BBFE enforces using an outside service for production of 1099s.
Financial Edge - the application that works with Raiser's Edge
Overall, FE is a good application if you are already RE but do not have an existing accounting application. If your organization is small and do not have an IT team, then look at Blackbaud to host your RE and FE applications and let the professionals take care of your application hardware infrastructure.
If you are using Blackbaud's Raiser's Edge (RE) software and need another application to perform accounting functions, Financial Edge (FE) is the application that will take care of Vendor tracking, A/R, A/P, etc. Rather than using another accounting application (ie. Quickbooks), Financial Edge integrates with Raiser's Edge. When you post gifts from Raiser's Edge, it goes over to Financial Edge and updates the information. The information for batch number, Appeal, Funds, Campaign migrate over to FE from RE. The user interface, look and feel between Financial Edge and Raiser's are the same. If you know RE, then FE will be easy to catch on. If you are hosted by Blackbaud, then you will be looking for FE/NXT
While there is a lot of integration from RE to FE, this comes at a cost. The FE application is expensive compared to other financial applications. If you are hosting FE on-premise, I believe Blackbaud charges by the number of users. You also need to a server with SQL to run FE. This is not like QuickBooks which can install on a local PC. If you are hosted by Blackbaud, then you will be looking at FE/NXT and again price will your main concern.
Financial Edge User
I have been using Financial Edge for almost four years now and the the strides they have made from my first impression to now are outstanding. When I first started my job I was thrown into the systems and provided little training and while the system (Accounts Payable, General Ledger) were easy to learn they were a little clunky looking and the features that made them powerful (attributes, global changes) were not something you would find on your own. We recently (been a little over a year) moved to the NXT version and while all the functionality is not there yet I do appreciate BlackBaud taking the time to listen to their customers while building out the functionality instead of just updating it based on the database view. While this make take more time to build out (which can be frustrating) it will hopefully allow for an even more powerful platform in the end that allows us to be a more effective and efficient team in the end.
New functionalities being rolled out that allow us to use more systems working together instead of isolated.
Community boards to allow users to make suggestions and learn from each other.
That NXT is not complete yet (but I understand why and agree with their methodology).
Customer support can be clunky at times when the first person is not able to help you.
Financial Edge - Hands Down the Best Nonprofit Accounting Package
Listen, price is always a concern, but so is the time you'll spend manipulating reports in Excel when you work with lesser software packages. I guarantee you, pit me on Financial Edge against an accountant on any other software, and I can get the job done at least twice as fast, and if it's QuickBooks, five times as fast, and without ever having to go into Excel to do anything.
I've worked with Blackbaud's Financial Edge for over 2 decades now (even back when it was called Accounting for Nonprofits), and it's the best for nonprofit accounting. Its chart of accounts can be changed at any point to accommodate as many segments as you need (I have worked with as many as 4 segments), and reporting of any kind is easily accomplished with the variety of accessible reports and queries. A lot of journal entries that you'd need to create in other software packages are easily handled through invoice entry in accounts payable, at the time of invoice entry, through miscellaneous distributions. Customer service is excellent as well.
The annual support for customer service is a bit pricey, and designed to keep you on the hook forever (if you don't pay for a year, because you don't think you will need support - and after the first year or two you may not - as soon as you need support, you've got to pay a large percentage of all the years you missed). Not a con, but Blackbaud's products get a bad rep from bookkeepers who are more used to the silliness of QuickBooks than the accountant's dream that Financial Edge really is.
The best nonprofit accounting software, period.
FE is quite flexible, especially its chart of accounts and the number of segments you can report on. Setup is easy, and unlike other packages, you're not glued to what you set up originally. If down the road you find you need to add a segment to your chart of accounts for reporting purposes, you can do that on the fly. And you don't need to be concerned at set-up with adding future account segments. But make no mistake: you've got to have a basic understanding of accounting in order to appreciate this product for all it can do. Customer support, through annual maintenance contracts, is excellent.
I too would like to be able to export financial reports into Excel without having to re-format when I get to Excel. That's a mild inconvenience, but there are times when you want to put stuff, data onto financial reports that can't get there any other way than through manipulation in Excel.
Maximizing Time and Effort - Minimizing Paper
If you are having issues, contact support staff. Work with them. If you need to refine your initial setup do so earlier than later, you will appreciate it the long run.
The integration between Altru (our sub-ledger), BB Merchant Services and FE/NXT is superb in my opinion. You have the ability to track a transaction backwards and forwards. We use the visual chart feature to create our budget in five different views - relating to the grants we are using, thereby eliminating errors in data collection by excel spreadsheet creations not getting updated.
Someone mentioned that thinking about the creation of your organization and GL was a big con for them. I disagree. We came on board with expert advice from BB and created a cohesive database that allows us to close the month within two-three days. I think the effort that is put into creating a tool should be as important as the information that you hope to receive from its use.
A few spotty delays when I an running an exceptionally detailed report as you watch the Jeopardy button go around in circles.
Great product for Non Profits
The versatility of the product was great. You are able to track data on several levels using account numbers, and several transaction codes that you are able to define yourself. Despite all of that information that was housed individually, the software also would allow you to consolidate information across multiple entities. Report writing was fairly simple as were day to day processes of entering journal entries, AP invoices and AR invoices. A nice feature of the reporting was that you were able to create one report and filter it by the transaction codes before running the report. This meant you did not have to have 100s of reports for different scenarios. Instead you could create one report and filter it each time by the transaction codes or entities you were interested in viewing. We also integrated the software with PaperSave which allowed us to go paperless.
The support was not always the best. If you had an issue, sometimes the support had a difficult time understanding your issue and resolving it in a timely manner.
Financial Edge has given us an edge up
Financial Edge has been a great experience; we have streamlined data processes and improved our reporting cabability more than 10 fold. We love the project and grant data management pieces as well. The newest addition of Credit Card payment/processing has been a WONDERFUL thing for our office.
Our CFO and Accounts Payable Staff can easily see where we are at any given moment in regards to AP/AR balances. Paying invoices is really easy and the load from tables funcationality for GL Disbursments is helpful as well. Financial Edge also has the capabilty to create recurring invoices for those AP invoices that are the same month after month.
We are integrated with Raiser's Edge as well and that process is very easy as well.
Ease of use in Query and Report Parameters
Some of the more intricate invoices can be cumbersome, but that is only for a few items that we have. I wish the Vendor integration with Raiser's Edge was more robust, but it works for us ok.
FE and RE are standards for managing your data
RaisersEdge allows my organization to keep track of tens of thousands of individual records. Without these we wouldn't be able to interact successfully and efficiently with our clients, donors and partners. Financial Edge allows us to produce accounting reports and maintain our large assets.
RaisersEdge is easy to use and store data. RaisersEdge has vast capabilities and reliability. FE makes the process of accounting and check printing very easy. Both products integrate well with other software
Even though RaisersEdge has many different tools - you may not be likely to use many of them regularly. Instead I find I reuse the same tools and end up bypassing a lot of what I could do, instead sticking to the essentials. Those extra functionalities just are not that useful to me
Full featured software but not cheap
Great functionality, and able to handle everything our local non-profit organization needs it to do, including integration with the donor management side, Blackbaud Raisers Edge. An example of the good integration is that gifts recorded in Raisers Edge then can be posted over to Financial Edge, to avoid duplicate entry. Good audit trail for all transactions, with inability to change posted items.
The desktop version is being phased out with customer support and account reps strongly encouraging a move to the web based version, which is in fact more user friendly (per the demos I've seen) but is also more expensive, and it already was not cheap.
A top accounting software for non-profit
Blackbaud really values users' opinions. It connects all non-profit users together. It also emails me helpful tips every week.
Very good customer service. Comprehensive training program. I took all courses and mastered the software within 3 months. Those courses gave me an in-depth view of the software and simplify my work process. Financial Edge has easy-to-use features that meet our organization needs. I like the query function, VCO and various reports. VCO allows me to build reports in certain format, and query allows me to extract data quickly. The query function helps me survived this year's auditing. When an account was off, I used query and easily found the problems to fix it.
It logged me out and ran very slow sometimes. I'd like it to be able to communicate with excel easily.
With their continued expanding, focus on what the users want, this product can only get better!
The 'in testing' credit card feeds function. Our company has a lot of credit card activity and with the credit cards feed we are able to link directly to the bank accounts and pull in every transaction as they occur. This has taken our 3 days process of entering all of the receipts and shortened it down to just half a day, with the receipts already in the system all I have to do is tie it to a vendor and code it then it's done. I also like the customization when filtering through vendors and invoices each person wants and needs to see different fields and NXT really lets each user have their own experience. When entering multiple invoices for one vendor you also have the ability to duplicate the last invoice speeding things along especially if there are minimal differences between the invoices.
There is no use for our Payroll Specialist or Accounts Receivable, and with each day having at least 40 invoices to enter at one time, there is no way to enter a bulk amount of invoices like the database view allows so Accounts Payable is limited to using it only once or twice a week.
FENXT is Getting There
It's web-based format is simple to use and navigate. The product is quick and responsive and their GUI does a good job at delivering content in an easy to see/read format. The chat and email support is very helpful and their response time to initial inquiries is one of the best in the business.
FENXT is a step up from the Education Edge product but it is still in its infancy. Blackbaud's development model is sound, but they need to continue to develop their current products in lieu of adding additional features. The data support team can get bogged down, causing delays of days before data can be corrected.
Blackbaud's FinancialEdge is fantastic. We here at Evangel University has been using FE since 1997 and have no problems to speak of. It is very easy to use; very easy to customize your account number structure; very stable. You can create any report you want, from very detailed to summary information. All this is capable through the Chart Organizer.
It has the capabilities to create PivotTables, charts, and update with just a click of a button. It has a dashboard which allows you to put reports, queries, or charts on one page and all the user has to do is hit a button to update - which saves me a lot of time when individuals call me to send them updated information.
We purchased the option to have View-Only Access. I have setup our department heads and admin assistants with the option where they can view their GL accounts and create reports and queries on what they want, when they want. The best feature is that they can view the activity in their GL account anytime with current information.
If you have to send out reports, which I still have to do for some, it's all done with the Accounting Que module. This feature is the best thing about the Financial Edge. I start the que and it runs by itself in the background, and I can go about my day. No more spending hours generating and distributing reports. It will run just about any report or process, including posting to Accounts Payable. You can set up your que to run anytime you want.
Support is excellent. With the few problems I have had, they always were on top of it and never went more than a day or two with out hearing from them or receiving a solution. They have the capability to log into your machine and fix, or show, where the problem is. Top notch people that are easy to understand; they speak in common terms not that techy stuff.
I recommend Blackbauds Financial Edge to anyone looking for an excellent and stable accounting software.
Financial Edge, Student Billing and Raiser's Edge - Powerful Tools!
I have used Financial Edge for over 10 years in both "traditional" non-profit settings, as well as a school. In all of these organizations, we also had Raiser's Edge - which was integrated with Financial Edge. Through the canned reports, as well as building custom reports, I have been able to accurately report on my organization's finances. The Student Billing module allows a school to record all payment activity for a student and tie that directly to the GL.
I have encountered many organizations that purchased Blackbaud Software without being properly trained. As a result, they become frustrated with the product which leads to negative comments. The sales reps should not be allowed to sell the software without a training package included.