Church Financial Software
Churches can no longer rely on paper ledgers. Church financial software is essential.
But where do you find high-quality accounting software for your church?
I've narrowed the options down to six main contenders. Here are my thoughts on each.
Please note that I am neither an accountant nor a treasurer. My reviews of these products only reflect the usability of the software.
Church Pro is a good looking offline version of church financial software. Downloading the program is fairly easy, except that you have to download three distinct programs. But the downloading process is made pretty simple. Just a few clicks and the program is ready to run.
The first thing you want to do after downloading is to go to the setup tab. There you set up your staff members, your classes, and several other options.
When you open Church Pro for the first time, you will notice that it has a graphical interface. It doesn't just have a menu of text choices. Each option is represented by a graphic. This makes the program look nice and clean and makes it appear easy to use.
However, there is a significant learning curve to this church financial software. You will have to take time to read the manual. Very few items are fully self-explanatory. For instance, the program relies heavily on codes. There are codes for classes, for budget items, and for people.
Church Pro offers basic accounting features including a budget creator. You can track income and expenditures. There's even a payroll feature. And you can run a large number of reports to help you sort and analyze all the information.
As with many other programs, this church computer software allows you to both email people and print labels for mailings. You can also track attendance.
One interesting and fairly unique tool is the counseling section. You can enter a name of a counselee, the date of their next appointment, and then enter any notes about the counseling session.
Overall, Church Pro is a functional program with enough features to make it appealing to a lot of churches.
Here's what they had to say about their software:
"New to ChurchPro is Kiosk-Touch Screen Login software. Attendance is counted when they login. Also new is user passwords and levels. You can assign read-only or full rights to a user. With ChurchPro's QwikTrakker or our groups module, you will be managing your ministry in no time. QwikTrakker puts practically every weekly task at your fingertips and only ChurchPro has it. We invented Rapid Offering Recorder, Rapid Payroll and Easy Deposit for churches. When comparing ChurchPro, we believe you will discover that we give you more reports, more features, and more modules than any other church management system. It is truly the most complete church management software package available."
Visit their website for more information.
Aplos is exclusively a fund accounting program. It was designed as the result of the founder's inability to find a software package that was simple enough but well-equipped to handle his non-profit organization's finances.
In Aplos' own words,
"We believe anyone should be able to utilize our software and maintain confidence that accounting methods are being implemented properly. Our goal is to create the best nonprofit accounting software in the world by continuing to make the complex simple. Our aim is to create efficient software to help people and organizations spend less time on finances and more time succeeding with their own goals and vision. We have resolved to create dynamic software that allows the user flexibility for their own accounting needs within their own organization. You do not need to be a CPA, have a great deal of time or feel limited by your software. Users tell us the best thing about our accounting software is that it's simple to use. In fact, we named Aplos, with that in mind. Aplos is Greek for "simple." Our accounting software was designed by an Executive Pastor and CPA who found the accounting software on the market too complex or too expensive for his small start up. So he abandoned the search and created Aplos Software. Aplos is designed specifically for the non-accountant - the volunteer at your church who is willing to get their hands dirty and keep your books clean. Our multiple users function allows organizational oversight. An executive pastor, CPA, or board member can check a church's finances any time and from anywhere.
Aplos Software is simple web-based accounting software.
- Nothing to download or back up (let us worry about that)
- No installation
- No time consuming updates (we constantly update our software, but it’s all done behind the scenes so there’s no additional work for you)
15-day FREE TRIAL! We offer the features you need to get started for as low as $11.99/month. As you grow, you can add features for as little as $1.99/month.
Features of our fund accounting software:
- Check Register
- Customizable donor and vendor contact database
- Bank Reconciliation
- Check Printing
- Contribution Management (donor tracking)
- General Ledger
- Financial Reports (by fund)
- The ability to export to spreadsheets or PDF’s.
Let Aplos Software do your accounting, so you can focus on your mission. Our customer support team is excellent and ready to help you get started. To join the conversation, follow us on twitter @aplos_software, and like Aplos Software on Facebook."
I tested out the software and found the following:
- Setup is fairly easy. The dashboard prompts you on steps needed to complete your set-up or you can click on "Accounts" to set your chart of accounts.
- Navigating through the software is simple and straight forward. Movement from one page to another is very logical.
- Deposits and payments are entered in a form just like a check/bank register. It is very easy to use.
- All the primary reports you need are already formatted for you: Chart of Accounts, Trial Balance, Balance Sheet, Income Statement, Income Statement by Month, and Transactional Report.
- The contact database is a valuable standard feature where you can store contact information about all your individual donors and contact information about your vendors and/or service providers.
- Bank Reconciliation is another add-on feature that is worth the small cost. You are able to automatically reconcile your ledger with your bank accounts.
Overall, Aplos church financial software is an easy to use but more than adequate program. It allows you to track everything and generate many of the most basic reports.
Visit their website for more information and a free trial.
Church Windows is a full featured church financial software package. The primary software comes with four modules: membership, scheduler, donations, and accounting. You can add on the optional payroll feature.
The membership module provides the core data for the entire program. You can completely customize what data you collect. You can also create text-only and text and picture directories.
The scheduler allows you to create basic church calendars. But it's kind of like a calendar on steroids. It allows you to show your scheduled functions. But it also allows you to schedule rooms and equipment. That way the software will tell you if/when there is a conflict – that is, when two groups are scheduled to use the same room or piece of equipment. You can also filter out things you don't want printed on the calendar. For instance, everyone knows when your worship service is, so don't put that on the calendar – leave room for other items.
The donations module is completely integrated with the membership module. You can track member's pledges and/or their donations. You can even set up direct deposit. And all this information transfers directly to the accounting module.
The accounting module is completely fund oriented – so it complies with the non-profit requirements. Here you can print checks, reconcile your bank statement, and show income and expenditures.
Church Windows also offers an add-on Payroll option. With this you can provide direct deposit for employees or print checks. Church Windows even keeps track of payroll deductions and can print W2's and other tax forms. All of this payroll information transfers directly to the accounting module.
Visit their website for more information.
In their words:
"CahabaWorks is a professional Church Management Software solution. CahabaWorks is designed to make it easy to manage information about Members, Groups, Contributions, and Financials. CahabaWorks Editions (FREE, SmallChurch, Standard, and Premier) offer a product that can accommodate the requirements and budget of any size church. CahabaCreek Software is passionate about providing products for the faith-based community that are affordable, easy to use, and that minimize the time spent on administrative tasks.
"The Members Module supports multiple views, providing intuitive navigation to information about members and their households; the Groups Module allows you to manage small groups and attendance at meetings; the Contributions Module allows contributions to be entered, attributed to the appropriate member, and to be credited to the correct fund in a single contribution entry. Contributions can be deposited as a batch into your bank account, updating all your financial records simultaneously. And, of course, CahabaWorks is designed to accommodate the unique fund accounting requirements of the spiritual community. Optional CahabaWorks features include Payroll, Child CheckIn, and Online Giving."
I tested this church financial software and found the following:
- Cahaba Creek combines a church financial software package with a contact management solution.
- The contact management portion is not a printable directory. However, it does give you all the contact information and is sortable by a variety of options.
- The contact management portion allows you to send email directly to a list.
- The church financial software package provides full fund accounting capabilities.
- The church financial software also includes a calendar feature. It automatically integrates people's birthday's and couple's anniversaries.
- There is a budget feature.
- The contact management package provides a section to track visits to people.
- Cahaba offers a seperate Sunday School check-in function.
Visit their website for more information.
ACS Technologies produces the gold standard of church financial software. See this page for more information.
Quickbooks is the most-used church financial software package. The best option they offer is one specifically designed for non-profit fund accounting. See full information on their web site.
Church Financial Software Conclusion
Make sure you compare all the options available to you. Don't just fall in love with the first church financial software you test. And be certain that the accounting package you choose follows the fund accounting principles. This is a requirement for all non-profit organizations.
You may want to also consider the more full-featured church office software.
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