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CYMA's Accounting for Windows Version 8.0's Not-For-Profit Accounting Software (www.cyma.com) incorporates a variety of features developed specifically for the nonprofit sector. The company offers a series of related applications that integrate, making the system capable of expanding to meet the needs of a large variety of nonprofit organizations.

CYMA's Accounting for Windows Version 8.0's Not-For-Profit Accounting Software (www.cyma.com) incorporates a variety of features developed specifically for the nonprofit sector. The company offers a series of related applications that integrate, making the system capable of expanding to meet the needs of a large variety of nonprofit organizations.

I installed the basic system and was guided by a wizard that accommodates both stand alone and networked environments, making the process simple. As its name implies, CYMA is a Windows application that runs as a local application when it is used in a single-user setting. When used in a networked environment, the system runs in a client-server configuration. This makes the system viable for organizations that operate within a local operation over a LAN.

If CYMA is to be used via remote connection, the company offers two options. The first is to use CYMA's own hosted application which it provides as an Internet based service. If remote users are to connect to the organization's own computer systems, CYMA recommends using Microsoft Terminal Services to operate as a remote user of the computer.

CYMA modules are available as individual components. This is an advantage to smaller organizations that can install the single user version of the system starting at about $1,200, then add modules and additional users as the needs of the organization increase. Each additional module costs $600, and each additional user costs $600, so while the initial costs are reasonable it's easy to see the eventual investment increasing quickly.

In Use
CYMA's interface is functional but not familiar. I had to work with it for some time before I understood the concept, but once I became accustomed to the windowed environment the operation became clear. Each segment of the application opens in a sub-window within the main operation window.

The menu options in the main menu bar are generic to the CYMA system rather than to the individual application, such as general ledger, payroll, etc. However the top menu and Active Module selector allow you to have several module windows open at the same time. This can be convenient for experienced users that often need to cross reference information in different areas of the application. New users will need to familiarize themselves with this concept in order to become proficient.

Most screens and reports allow drill-down into increasing levels of detail. This worked well, and was made easier because the cursor changes shape (it becomes a drill) when positioned over a field that is eligible for exploration.

The main working window can be configured to work like a browser, and can be used in the same way Microsoft Internet Explorer works. In fact you can use it to view any web page. Like the other aspects of CYMA's interface, this can become an advantage once the user is familiar with its operation. CYMA calls this browser functionality eDesk, and it can be disabled in favor of a standard desktop window that does not include browser functionality. The advantage to including browser features is that the user's desktop can be customized to include shortcut links to any CYMA module as well as to any web page, and could be useful for integrating external functions into the desktop. I like having the option to customize my work area, but CYMA explains that this requires "moderate HTML programming skills." I would like to see CYMA include a WYSIWYG editor so 'normal' users can make their own changes. This would be a good step toward enhanced usability.

The financial application includes special features for tracking grants. When the AP, AR, Payroll, and Purchase order modules are installed, transactions related to grants can be identified and tracked through all the modules. A particularly helpful feature is the Financial Overview function that displays the current status of a grant as a snapshot.

To assist in processing funds, CYMA includes functions for moving money between funds as both receivables and payables. This makes inter-fund transfers easy and traceable without the need to make individual ledger transaction entries.



Recap

CYMA Not-For-Profit Accounting Software is a good starting point for small nonprofit organizations because of its relatively low entry price and expandable functionality. The interface may present a challenge to users until they become familiar with its operation, but its integration with a web browser means the system can be customized to include a variety of functions beyond what CYMA provides.

Advantages
Low startup cost
Expandable
Interface expandable by adding web links

Disadvantages
Limited remote access configurations
Web interface changes require some programming skills

Last modified on Sunday, 19 May 2013
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