Fund Accounting Solution, News, Uncategorized
From a Vision To The Accounting Leader – A Brief History of MIP’S First 40 Years
What started in Austin, Texas, in 1982 as two men with a vision to develop a flexible, easy-to-use fund accounting system for the nonprofit sector is now the leading accounting software for a wide variety of nonprofits. Forty years later, MIP Fund Accounting is thriving across health, education, government, human services, arts and humanities, community improvement, and housing nonprofit sectors. Its modest beginnings are almost unfathomable when considering that its innovation began in the home of an MIP co-founder.
Bill Locklear and friend and colleague Hans “Rusty” Turley founded Micro Information Products in 1982 at the forefront of the tech development boon in the Texas capital. The duo used their software design background and sought out on a mission to produce solutions for nonprofit organizations and municipal and state governments, areas previously overlooked in software offerings. As legend has it, work began with developing software from a spare room in Locklear’s home. Eventually, they found success with a game-changing accounting system—a DOS product named Micro Information Products, better known as MIP. Their creation combined programs for basic accounting and financial statements production along with a capability to track accounts payable and receivable.
Locklear and Turley were early adopters of using a Table-Driven Chart of Accounts paradigm in developing accounting software, an innovative development at the time. They developed a reporting model that provided for cross fiscal year date controls, a much-needed feature for grants which often require reporting schedules that do not synchronize with an organization’s fiscal year. Those two developments were paramount for nonprofit accounting needs.
The MIP company slogan “helping those who do good things do them even better” was born. The Delta Kappa Gamma Society, an international women teacher’s organization, became MIP’s first client. MIP spent six months training staff about the system and its capabilities.
To distribute its initial product, MIP had a disk duplicator in its office and 3.5” floppy disks. When it was time for a new release, the master disk was placed into the duplicator and copies were cranked out to ship. In the DOS era, just a few installation disks were required for many of the modules. As Windows grew, the number of disks for each install reached double digits. Eventually the use of CDs, and later DVDs, became widespread and made both distribution and installation more efficient.
As IBM moved into the PC market, MIP was forced to adapt its offerings to DOS, a seemingly overnight sensation that provided a significant challenge. MIP’s evolution continued when developers raced to keep pace by updating software to meet the needs of continually emerging operating systems in the late 1980s. The DOS product continued to go strong well into the 1990s. However, the advent of the world wide web and the emergence of the Microsoft Windows operating system meant momentous change to MIP was on the horizon.
After the 1995 release of Windows, Locklear and Turley decided to adapt the product to the still unfamiliar environment. Less than a year later, MIP became available for Windows, albeit in a limited feature format with initial performance hiccups corrected in subsequent versions.
As the decade wound down, technology upgrades accelerated in anticipation of Y2K concerns and drove the push from DOS to Windows. MIP had to assess its DOS product to ensure Y2K compliance, but DOS was on the way out and MIP released its last version in 2001.
Easing customer concerns over the movement from DOS to Windows presented a challenge. MIP attempted to convince customers to create new databases in Windows. MIP customer support did conversions from DOS to Windows databases, but initially it was not a seamless process. Eventually, MIP’s Windows system took hold and became the consensus platform of choice.
The ability to make crucial adaptations helped solidify MIP’s presence into the new Millenium and grew the base of customers significantly, both domestically and across Europe. Today, many of the most recognizable nonprofit organizations use MIP for their accounting solutions. MIP is an award-winning solution, receiving an array of product honors, including 2022 TrustRadius Top Rated Awards for Nonprofit Accounting, Accounts Payable, and Expense Management categories.
MIP’s vast customer list includes some who have surpassed three decades using the product. One goes back nearly as long as MIP itself.
Long-time customer Humanities North Dakota was part of the evolution from MS-DOS to the cloud since switching to MIP in 1985 on an auditor’s recommendation to replace paper books of long ledgers and multiple columns. Even while using clunky floppy discs to run one of the initial versions of the software, MIP met their needs in managing large federal grants. Humanities North Dakota, a continuous client for 38 years, cites MIP as its “all-in-one accounting solution” and as the “only system that worked really well.” The organization is taking an exciting next step by moving into the MIP Cloud, the time-tested MIP platform in an always-connected, modern interface that will allow multiple staff to work on finance operations simultaneously and access MIP remotely (read their story).
MIP’s evolution has come a long way in its four decades since original development within the confines of a spare room inside one its founder’s homes.
Join in on MIP’s 40th Anniversary Celebration and read customer success stories, more about MIP’s history, and an exclusive offer for new customers.
NOTE: Special thanks to Stan Duncan, Robert “Q” Johnson, Thomas Tweedel, Claudine Martin, Susan Swarts, and Charlie Schroeder-Arce for their assistance in helping tell the story of MIP’s history.