The FUND Suite runs on the Windows environment and all the modules are integrated to the system's general ledger, meaning that entries to accounts payable will post directly to their designated accounts in general ledger. As with most fund accounting systems, the FUNDS Suite can also automatically create the necessary due-to/due from accounting transactions that properly track transfers between funds.
While the system is not a web-based application, their implementation of remote access works well. It uses SinglePoint, a specially configured Applianz server to create a remote connection. In practice this is similar to connecting to a Citrix server, but unlike Citrix and Microsoft terminal access, this is not a general purpose connection. It is dedicated to the Cougar Mountain software. In the end, this may be a more secure approach and may even deliver more consistent performance.
I found the interface to be consistent to the point of being boring. But used in this context, boring is not a negative connotation. The design is a traditional Microsoft Access type layout right down to the color scheme. The advantage to this approach is that many users will be immediately familiar with the way the screens work, eliminating the need for long ramp-up times and probably reducing at least some need for training.
The system supports a 36 period calendar, meaning you can leave your current year open to even after the year has ended. In addition, you can have as many as two years of budget in process, in addition to the current year and its budget.
The account number seems flexible enough. It is limited to a maximum of 45 characters in eight segments, and each segment carries a label, making it easier for casual users to identify the contents of the structure. I was able to use the system's restructure feature to change the layout of the account codes across the system, something you wouldn't normally do. But in the event you do need to change the account code structure, this function is a lifesaver.
The system is batch oriented. For those accustomed to working with batches of transactions, the FUND Suite will be comforting. But non-accountants may feel put-upon by the additional steps required to step through the various processes associated with batch systems. While working with batches provides a high level of control over the accounting process, it also adds steps to the process that more casual users might find to be unnecessary.
The reporting system is adequate, and includes the FASB reports necessary in the nonprofit world. But I was disappointed in the lack of any kind of drill-down capability. On the positive side, the report generation window allows selection of account ranges, accounting periods, and fund, making it flexible enough to print the most frequently used reports. The lack of drill-down capability severely limits the usefulness of the reports as research tools however. If the user finds it necessary to view the source of any individual line item in a report, it's necessary to go to the account history and find the transactions. So while the system maintains the detail necessary to maintain a robust accounting system, its presentation has not kept up with the technical advancements of most accounting systems.
Cougar Mountain's FUND Suite is a modified general accounting application. It includes all the components necessary to handle a small to medium sized nonprofit's accounting. Accountants who are accustomed to batch oriented accounting systems will feel right at home with the FUND Suite, but administrators more concerned with usability and convenience (without sacrificing GAAP and FASB) may be put off by the extra steps required for posting batches. In addition, FUND Suite's reporting, though adequate, lacks up-to-date drill-down facilities that make researching accounting transactions so much easier.
FUND Suite retails for $6,358, and the SinglePoint appliance that supports an unlimited number of local users, and 20 remote users sells for $15,995.
Modular suite of applications
Can be extended by adding components
Remote access via SinglePoint server available
Lacks drill-down capabilities in reports
Batch oriented accounting