Originally posted on The Lead Pastor
Churches need to track income and expenses like any other organization – but you also have some more specific requirements that some accounting software can’t easily support. Features like managing individual donations and tithes (and providing tax receipts) are unique. Similarly, keeping detailed reports of which church ministries and projects are funded, and how those funds are utilized are crucial to the success and transparency of a church accounting system.
Furthermore, most accounting software is set up for the needs of businesses and requires some basic knowledge of accounting and bookkeeping. Church accounting software, by contrast, is typically geared toward non-accountants, making it easier to use.
Finding the right tools to maintain compliance and balance the books can be a challenge with so many hoops to jump through. We reviewed the best church accounting software platforms based on reputation, ease-of-use, features, price, and more. We’ll share the list in a bit, but first, let’s talk more about church accounting software in general.
What Is Church Accounting Software?
Church accounting software is an accounting system that helps churches keep their books balanced. It’s a general ledger used to track income (accounts receivable), usually in the form of member and donor contributions, covering regular tithing, giving, and management of fundraising, gift days, and grants. It includes budgeting management and expense tracking and provides an accounting solution for tracking the payment of vendors or staff.
Most churches are registered as nonprofit organizations or have charity status. Because of this, church accounting software offers similar functionalities as traditional nonprofit software, such as donor management and fundraising.
Even though churches are often bunched together with other nonprofit organizations, many religious organizations don’t have experienced accountants on staff. Consequently, the needs of churches are often different from other nonprofit organizations.
Churches, particularly small churches, need user-friendly accounting software that’s easy to use and set up, with the categories and types of transactions churches need to track. Accounting software that offers pre-made reports can also help present a church’s financial picture to members and stakeholders in an easy-to-understand format.
How Much Do Church Accounting Software Programs Cost?
Most church accounting software is cloud-based and available with a monthly subscription. The convenience of having the platform online eliminates the need for churches to buy the resources required to operate and keep a system in-house. In most cases, all that’s needed is a computer with internet access.
We found that subscription-based church accounting software typically ranges from $16 to $79 per month. However, you can still find church accounting programs going for up to $350 on the high end of the spectrum.
Many service providers offer tiered pricing options based on the features a church needs. Higher-tier solutions typically include more advanced finance features like payroll processing and advanced reporting.
Features of Church Accounting Software
While each software solution will be different, these are some of the most commonly found features in a church accounting software package:
Accounting: Covers aspects like accounts payable (AP), accounts receivable (AR), and a general ledger (GL). Given the nonprofit status of most churches, the AR functionality will usually work in unison with donor management, fundraising, or fund accounting functionality.
Payroll: Manages employee compensation: wage calculation, ACH deposits, check printing, and compensation tax reports.
Donor management & fundraising: Provides details like how much each member has given on a weekly, monthly, quarterly or annual basis and generates annual giving statements for tax reporting purposes. The feature also makes it possible to solicit donations with targeted campaigns and create campaigns to encourage smaller donors to contribute more.
Membership tracking: This feature makes it possible to manage general information such as attendance, frequency of gifts, and personal information such as addresses, volunteer details, interests, or activities. You can also analyze trends to monitor attendance.
Benefits of Church Accounting Software
Successful church organizations take advantage of two elements: knowledge and efficiency. While recording information via paper spreadsheets may be cost-effective, it is not the most efficient use of time. Having to go back through records in different file cabinets or different offices is slow and cumbersome. The key is finding the right balance between keeping the cost of accounting low and being efficient.
Organize Your Member Contributions and Attendance
Most church income comes from member contributions. Consequently, tracking member contributions is crucial to gain insight into how much each member has given on a weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annual basis. Not only does this allow you to give annual giving statements to members for tax reporting purposes, but it also helps keep your financial reporting as clean as possible.
Advanced reporting on who is giving and when can help churches solicit donations through targeted campaigns. More prominent donors can be targeted for capital campaigns or even encouraged to have the church listed as a beneficiary when they create their estate plans. Smaller donors can contribute more frequently based on numerous small events or projects the church may be working on.
Get a Better Grasp of Finances
Church accounting software can help you better grasp your church finances without the need for extensive financial management skills or experience. The software can assist you in doing most accounting tasks required to run a successful and transparent organization, such as budgeting, tracking expenses, and managing savings and investments.
The software takes away the stress associated with managing the distinct facets of a religious organization. A good software program allows you to share the load and provides you with a real-time solution to monitor the health of your church finances.
Overviews of the 10 Best Church Accounting Software
Here’s a brief description of each of the church accounting software on my list, showing what it does best, plus screenshots to showcase some of the features.
1. Xero – Best Accounting Software for Small Churches
Xero allows users a quick glimpse of their financial status, providing details on how much money they have, their expenses, and their spending.
This software program can effectively help users manage everyday tasks like paying bills and receiving payments. You can use it to keep a secure record of financial documents, including bills, contracts, and receipts that you can access anywhere for quick reference.
Xero is best for small churches because it allows you to keep your finances up to date even if you don’t have a full-time CPA. You can connect your church’s bank account to Xero, ensuring a smooth and secure flow and recording of transactions. Xero also makes it possible to categorize and reconcile bank account transactions daily, ensuring your financials are always up to date.
Xero integrates with Zapier, PayPal, Microsoft Outlook, MailChimp, HubSpot CRM, and others.
Xero pricing starts at $30/account/month, and they offer a 30-day free trial. VISIT WEBSITE
2. MIP Fund Accounting – Best for Managing Multiple Cost Centers
The MIP Fund Accounting software, a True Fund Accounting System, is designed from an understanding that nonprofit financial management is complex. Some of the leading functionalities of the software include a clear audit trail that makes it easier to detect fraud, provides transparency to stakeholders at different levels and allows for integration with other mission-critical systems.
The leading advantage of the MIP Fund Accounting software is its multidimensional logic, which allows users to manage finances in different ways. This feature makes it possible to track any measure in different sections of the church organization, whether you want a view of the entire organization, a specific department, or a grant. This is made possible because the tool follows segment-driven charts instead of the more common linear charts found in many church accounting software products.
MIP Fund Accounting integrates with Diversified Billing, Martus, TripLog, Paypool, CUSI, and SkyStem ART.
MIP Fund Accounting pricing is available upon request, but the software’s website does not mention a free trial. VISIT WEBSITE
3. Sage Intacct – Best for Larger Churches
Sage Intacct provides users a quick view of their financials so they can assess their church’s financial health easily.
Sage Intacct is accounting software that has a robust reporting functionality you can use to generate financial reports using up-to-date data on your church’s finances. It also has order management and purchasing capabilities to help you handle your church’s inventory requirements.
Unlike smaller churches, larger churches handle numerous transactions, which can be challenging. Sage Intacct solves this problem by helping shorten bank reconciliations, making handling numerous transactions quick and easy.
Sage Intacct has an AI that simplifies your accounts charts, allowing non-CPAs to understand them easily. The software makes it possible to view all transactions, donations, and tithes across all checking and savings accounts, including those made using credit cards, giving you control over your church’s cash flow.
Sage Intacct integrates with a host of tools, including Emburse Nexonia, Baker Tilly SaaS Intelligence, FloQast, APS Online, Yooz Accounts Payable Automation, RadiusOne, Workforce, and QCommission.
Sage Intacct pricing is available upon request, and they offer a 30-day free trial. VISIT WEBSITE
4. ACS Technologies – Best for Church-Oriented Systems
ACS is a fund accounting software within a church management system that allows a church to manage contributions, cash flow, and financial records.
ACS is a church accounting software you can use to maintain your church’s general ledger, making it easy to monitor your church’s finances. You can use it to process outgoing funds, print checks, and manage vendor information for your church’s projects and your congregation’s daily financial needs. It also has an invoicing feature, which makes automating tasks related to invoicing a lot easier.
ACS adheres to nonprofit accounting standards, making it ideal for those looking for accounting software for church-oriented systems. It can help you track budget and spending by department, fund, committee, or project. This functionality makes it possible to keep an eye on your church’s spending patterns. You can use it to file state and federal tax forms, avoiding penalties that can reach up to $54,000.
ACS pricing is available upon request. VISIT WEBSITE
5. IconCMO – Best for Web-Based Systems
IconCMO allows you to handle your church’s tax-reporting requirements while ensuring compliance with state and federal laws.
IconCMO is a web-based system with a pledge management feature to help you develop a realistic proposed budget for your projects. This software package has features for every aspect of running the finances of a church you can imagine: complete fund budgeting, FASB compliance, banking, and accounts payable.
Suppose you’re looking for the best web-based accounting system. In that case, IconCMO might be your best choice because it allows you to take care of your church’s accounting needs wherever you are, as long as you have a device and an internet connection.
You can use IconCMO to send donor statements via mail or email, helping your donors keep track of their donations and the progress of the causes they support.
IconCMO integrates with Constant Contact and Text-Em-All.
IconCMO pricing starts at $35/account/month with additional charges for add-ons. The program offers a 30-day free trial. VISIT WEBSITE
6. PowerChurch Plus – Best for All-in-One Systems
PowerChurch Plus is a software package that combines church management and accounting tools you can use to maintain auditable books while caring for your flock. It allows you to balance all your accounts while producing clear audit trails. The software also has a payroll feature that helps you ensure both employees and contractors receive proper compensation for their services.
This software program provides an all-in-one system that includes accounting, record-keeping, and membership management features. PowerChurch Plus can also help you maintain an updated membership database, allowing you to get in touch with your congregation easily.
PowerChurch Plus also has an attendance-tracking feature to view attendance patterns at church meetings, Sunday school classes, and general meetings so you can implement attendance improvement plans.
PowerChurch Plus integrates with ASAP.
PowerChurch Plus charges a one-time license fee of $295. VISIT WEBSITE
7. AccountEdge Pro – Best for Local Installation
AccountEdge Pro enables users to handle their church’s daily financial activities like making payments, printing checks, or handling purchases.
AccountEdge Pro is a convenient accounting tool for any church that needs to manage balances, account numbers, and budgets. It has more than 100 accounting templates you can use to manage your assets, liabilities, equities, incomes, and expenses. You can also use the software to track employee hours and create billable and non-billable activity slips and timesheets for payroll purposes.
If you prefer local installation, AccountEdge Pro is a suitable software solution. The software helps manage all your bank, credit card, and expense accounts within a unified system.
AccountEdge Pro enables users to automate repetitive transactions and receive alerts about upcoming payments, ensuring that you have adequate time to ensure the availability of funds.
AccountEdge Pro integrates with Shopify, TimeSolv Legal Billing, and Rerun.
AccountEdge Pro has a one-time fee of $499 for Windows users, while Mac users can avail themselves of the software for $15/account/month. VISIT WEBSITE
8. ZipBooks – Best for Free Church Bookkeeping
If you are looking for a software package with a free forever plan you can use to manage your church’s bookkeeping needs, you may want to consider ZipBooks.
ZipBooks is free accounting software and an online invoicing platform to send online invoices and quotes as PDF files. What’s great about ZipBooks is that you can customize invoices to meet your church’s specific needs. You can use it to store and track receipts, so you have accurate records of all of your church’s expenses, ensuring accurate year-end reporting of your church’s income and expenses.
The main advantage of ZipBooks, compared to other free software tools, is that it allows users to manage an unlimited number of vendors and donors. It can double as a donation management system where you can receive digital money through Square or PayPal. You can also use ZipBooks to view basic reports and stay updated on your church’s financial status.
ZipBooks integrates with Google Drive, PayPal, Slack, Google Workspace, Asana, Gusto, Spiceworks, and Enrollsy.
ZipBooks has a free plan and paid accounts starting at $15/user/month. VISIT WEBSITE
9. Botkeeper – Best for Automated Bookkeeping
BotKeeper‘s file management feature lets users keep an accurate and paperless record of transactions, receipts, and invoices. Its Smart Connect feature makes pulling up bank and credit card statements easy, making account reconciliation equally simple.
BotKeeper is the best church accounting software for you if you want to automate your bookkeeping so you can save time. It allows the automation of repetitive bookkeeping tasks and the prevention of mistakes resulting from manual computations and bookkeeping. The software program uses AI technology to help you categorize transactions, making it easier to analyze complex financial data.
BotKeeper integrates with several tools, including Stripe, Gusto, QuickBooks, HubSpot, LinkedIn, Hootsuite, PayPal, Zendesk, Kissmetrics, and Chargify.
BotKeeper pricing starts at $55/account/month. VISIT WEBSITE
10. Blackbaud Financial Edge NXT – Best for Nonprofits
Blackbaud Financial Edge NXT is a fund accounting software with financial planning and analysis capabilities you can use to prioritize expenditures and assess funding needs. Users can use the program to generate FASB-compliant reports for sharing with team members and stakeholders. The program helps users manage multiple bank and credit card accounts to make funds balancing easier.
Blackbaud Financial Edge NXT is best for nonprofits because it allows users to structure the software to suit their accounting needs. It has a grant accounting functionality that helps you ensure your sponsored research and projects stay within budget. It also provides users with a centralized platform for storing grant information, including contact information, budget details, and expenses.
Blackbaud Financial Edge NXT integrates with Paycor, Blackbaud Raiser’s Edge NXT, Procurify, MineralTree Invoice-to-Pay, Bellwether PO and Inventory, Windward Core, DBxtra, MartusTools, WorkPlace Requisition & Procurement, Planning Maestro, DLS Financials, contactSPACE, and Endowment Manager.
Blackbaud pricing is available upon request. VISIT WEBSITE
Other Church Accounting Software
- Givelify – Mobile and online giving software for churches and nonprofits.
- Church360 Ledger – Web-based finance software that streamlines the accounting process to make balancing budgets easy.
- ChurchPro – All-in-one financial software for tracking donations, payroll management, and budget management.
- Aplos – Nonprofit and church management software with bookkeeping capabilities.
- CDM + – Church management solution with attendance tracking, donation management, and event management capabilities.
- Church Windows Software – Software for managing the membership database, donations, accounts receivables, and payroll.
- MartusTools – A budgeting and reporting tool for churches.
- ShelbyNext Financials – Cloud-based accounting and financial management software for churches and nonprofits.
- FlockBase – Church management software with accounting, payroll, and online giving functionalities.
- Breeze – Web-based church management software enabling users to monitor membership, manage events, and track donations.
- Elexio Church Financials – Cloud-based software with church management, group management, event management, and reporting capabilities.
- Paxton Charities Accounting – UK-based charity accounting software accessible online or via a desktop program.
- ExpensePlus – Cloud-based fund accounting software, that enables churches to streamline the way they process expenses, create accounts, view reports and track donations.
- Jewel – Church accounting system for writing checks and receipts, budgeting, reporting, and other financial needs.
- Breeze ChMS – Church management software for monitoring membership, managing events, and tracking donations.
- ChurchTrac – Cloud-based management solution for managing groups, tracking attendance, and handling contributions.
Church Management Software and Accounting
If you’re looking for a more integrated accounting and church management solution, that combines financial management with church management, you should check out our list of church management software. Many of these tools integrate church accounting functionality.