Aplos Review: Best Point Solution for Nonprofit Accounting

Aplos Review: Best Point Solution for Nonprofit Accounting

Aplos is an exceptional web-based accounting solution built specifically to help you manage your nonprofit's finances. Beyond its flagship accounting application, Aplos offers membership management, event management, fundraising, and marketing functionality that make it a competitive church management system for small to medium churches.

Pros

  • Built specifically for nonprofits to help manage fund accounting
  • Bank integrations make it easy to import transactions
  • End-to-end solutions for donor and event management

Cons

  • Uses a third-party business named Gusto to manage payroll
  • The main application is not mobile-responsive
  • Does not offer facility management functionality

Editor's Rating

4.5/5.0

Aplos Pricing & Cost

Aplos offers Aplos Accounting as a stand-alone software solution, in addition to its full suite of solutions.

  • Aplos Accounting starts at $49/month
  • Advanced Accounting starts at $179/month
  • Full suite starts at $59/month for 1-2 users and 500 contacts

Aplos offers the following add-ons:

  • Bookkeeping Services: $300/month
  • Implementation Services: Starting at $300

Aplos Online Giving Fees are currently:

  • Credit or debit transactions are 3% + 30 cents per transaction for 501c3 organizations
  • American Express transactions are 4.1% + 30 cents per transaction for 501c3 organizations
  • ACH transaction fees are 2% + 30 cents per transaction for 501c3 organizations

To see more pricing information, visit Aplos here.

Table of Contents

Full Review: Aplos

Aplos was founded in 2009 by an executive pastor and a certified public accountant. Aplos' web-based software was built to help nonprofits with fund accounting, tax preparation, and donor management. Outside of this core focus, Aplos has built high-quality software for membership management, fundraising, marketing, and event management. The company believes that every church and nonprofit, no matter their size, should have the software they need to easily manage their organization. In the past 10 years, the company has served over 40,000 nonprofits. Aplos is based in Fresno, California and has a team of 40 employees.

Aplos is a great solution to help you manage your nonprofit's finances and will make it easier to get your financials out on time. The system allows you to enter all contacts and transactions, track donations, and manage your accounting at the fund level. You can integrate the register with your bank account for importing transactions and reconciliation. For those with the budget, Aplos' Advanced Accounting package provides valuable features such as budgeting by fund, and submitting your Form 990 directly from the application. We strongly recommend Aplos' accounting package as an alternative to Quickbooks for any small to medium sized church or nonprofit.

Known mostly for its accounting software, Aplos exceeded expectations with the breadth and quality of its offering. Its full suite is a competitive church management system for small to medium sized churches. We recommend it for small to medium churches that prefer a tool that excels at accounting & reporting, and is above average at marketing and member engagement. Aplos' donation management is not as robust as a point solution like Tithe.ly, but it is effective and benefits from the end-to-end integration of Aplos' website builder, email marketing, and accounting solutions. Similarly, Aplos does not provide the facilities management solution offered by Church Community Builder, but it does offer a strong overall event management solution.

Key Features

Below, we'll discuss some of the key features of Aplos software, and how they would benefit your church or non-profit. We have also included images to give you a sense of the look and feel of the software.

Getting Started

Signing up for Aplos couldn't be simpler. The company offers a free 15 day trial, which you can access directly on their website. Here's a look at the main dashboard you'll see in Aplos once you register:

aplos main dashboard

People Management

In Aplos, you can store members of your church and vendors that you do business with. For each member, you can store detailed information including name, contact info, relationships, contributions, transactions, event attendance. Below is the member profile in Aplos. The different components of Aplos all use this same database, which means the data is nicely integrated throughout the system. If someone makes a donation, or RSVPs for an event, all that information will be stored in the same place.

aplos member profile

You can also create and manage groups in Aplos. Each group has its own member portal that can be used to send emails and messages, create and manage events, and upload documents. While not as robust as dedicated group communication systems like Flocknote or Text In Church, Aplos has created a solid solution that covers the basics. Here's what the group portal looks like:

aplos group portal

Fundraising Tools

Aplos has built an end-to-end solution to help you with your fundraising. To get started, you create a purpose, or reason your members should donate. Each purpose is linked with an income account and corresponding fund. When you are ready to start accepting donations, you can use Aplos to build an online donation form that you can embed on your website. Here's an example form created through Aplos:

aplos donation form

Aplos has partnered with WePay to enable credit card processing. The system enables recurring giving, which typically provide a big boost to donations. Below are the current processing fees. Aplos does provide the option for your donors to cover the transaction fee.

  • Credit Cards: 3% + $0.30
  • ACH: 2% + $0.30
  • Amex: 4.1% + $0.30
  • Fees for international cards are typically 1% more, but rates may vary.

Any online donations you receive will be automatically tracked in Aplos. The system also allows you to manually record donations. For each donation, you can enter the following information:

  • Date
  • Reference ID
  • Donor
  • Purpose
  • Amount

Finally, the reporting section of Aplos provides monthly, quarterly and annual donation reports that you can use to monitor your donations. These same reports can be leveraged to create contribution statements to send to your members.

Marketing & Communications

In addition to the valuable group portals that we covered above, Aplos offers email marketing and website solutions that will improve the way you engage your members.

Email Marketing

Email marketing is a core component of any organization's communications. Aplos provides the functionality you need to build and send group emails, and set up automated campaigns. Specific features include:

  • Create static and dynamic lists based on any data in the system (e.g. contact information, donation history, donor type, communication history)
  • Mail-merge dynamic content into emails
  • Design custom emails for thank-yous, donation receipts, donor statements and more
  • Pre-built email templates
  • Automated emails that trigger at key moments (e.g. event registration receipt, group invitations and reminders, donation receipts)

This is an example of a pre-built email template provided by Aplos:

aplos email template

Website Builder

The Aplos suite includes a website builder that allows you to create a feature-rich website in less than an hour. The website builder was created specifically for churches and nonprofits, so it comes with valuable features like an online donation widget and event registration. It also does not require that you know HTML or software coding. Your website hosting fees are included in your Aplos subscription, and all data from the website is stored directly in the Aplos system.

Here's how you would edit the donations page of your website using the Aplos tool. Note that you can develop your website using HTML if you prefer. The HTML version of each page is easy to access in the navigation.

aplos website builder

Event Management

Aplos has a broad suite of tools. As a result, managing events in Aplos is seamless and effective. In the same system, you can create an event, manage ticketing & registration, accept donations, manage communications, and measure the event's success.

The system provides a significant level of event customization; for example, you can accept unlimited free registrations for a webinar, or sell tiered golf packages for a fundraiser. The ticketing functionality includes early bird sales, individual and group tickets with corresponding number of available tickets, and fair market value of the tickets for tax accounting. The people who register for the event you create with Aplos are added to a list that you can use for event-related communications. For safety, the company has built a kids check-in feature to manage the drop-off and pick-up of children in your organization. Finally, Aplos' accounting software will track your event income and expenses, and generate reports to understand how your event performed.

Fund Accounting

Aplos was built by a pastor and a certified public accountant to help churches and nonprofits manage their finances. As a result, it excels in tracking donations, and allowing you to manage your accounting at the fund level. In Aplos, each fund has its own asset, liability, equity, income, and expense balances. The basic capabilities of the system include:

  • Journal entry for fund transfers and payroll imports
  • Track and pay bills
  • Manage accounts receivable and payable
  • Create invoices and receive payments online
  • Import transactions from your bank
  • Print checks
  • Bank reconciliation
  • Track 1099s
  • Donation tracking
  • Giving statements

Here's a view of Aplos' register entry form, which is the most common method for recording transactions. The bank integration can also be used to import transactions.

aplos register

Additionally, Aplos offers an advanced package for $179/month that includes:

  • Budget by fund
  • Project, campaign and department level reporting
  • Automated transaction entries
  • Form 990 reports
  • Fixed asset tracking
  • Income & expense allocations

Reporting

Aplos provides robust reporting for all components within its application. In total, it offers over 70 reports. This includes critical financial reports such as income statements & balance sheets, as well as valuable reports created just for churches and nonprofits. Some examples of more unique reports created specifically for Aplos' target customer include:

  • Budget by fund
  • Donations by contact and household
  • Top donors
  • Contributions by purpose

Here's what the donations by contact report looks like in Aplos:

aplos donation report

Is Aplos right for you?

Aplos is a great solution to help you manage your nonprofit's finances and will help ensure your financials are out on time. The system allows you to enter all contacts and transactions, track donations, and manage your accounting at the fund level. You can integrate the register with your bank account for importing transactions and reconciliation. For those with the budget, Aplos' Advanced Accounting package provides valuable features such as budgeting by fund, and Form 990 submission. We strongly recommend Aplos' accounting package as an alternative to Quickbooks for any small to medium sized church or nonprofit.

Known mostly for its accounting software, Aplos exceeded expectations with the breadth and quality of its offering. Its full suite is a competitive church management system for small to medium sized churches. We recommend it for small to medium churches that prefer a tool that excels at accounting & reporting, and is above average at marketing and member engagement. Aplos' donation management is not as robust as a point solution like Tithe.ly, but it is effective and benefits from the end-to-end integration of Aplos' website builder, email marketing, and accounting solutions. Similarly, Aplos does not provide the facilities management solution offered by Church Community Builder, but it does offer a strong overall event management solution.

To start your free trial, visit Aplos here.

Bruce Hogan

Bruce Hogan is Co-founder & CEO of SoftwarePundit, a technology research firm that provides advice, information, and tools to help businesses thrive. Bruce has experience investing at multi-billion dollar private equity firms, leading teams at venture-backed Internet companies, and launching new businesses.