Scientists don’t spend years in graduate school to end up as accountants, but that’s sometimes how it seems. Writing proposals may consume more of. a researcher’s time than the research itself. And the paperwork only increases when the grant is awarded "salaries and fringe benefits have to be paid, capital expenses have to be encumbered, reports to the granting agency have to be made.

If you’re sighing in agreement, take heart. At least three software packages now on the market— Grant Tracker, Grant Accountant, and Grant Manager, have been designed for the express purpose of managing academic and scientific grants. These products range in price from $149 to $425, and in complexity from a fairly simple general-ledger accounting system to a program capable of handling the accounts for an entire department or laboratory. Let’s look at them one by one:

Grant Tracker is intended for use by a lone principal...

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