10 Best Church Bookkeeping Software to Manage Budgets

In this guide, we'll walk through the details of choosing the right church bookkeeping software.

Breeze Church Management

Digital giving apps and tools

For churches of all sizes, keeping track of finances demands meticulous accuracy and robust support. Church bookkeeping is more than just juggling numbers; it's about ensuring funds are well-managed and directed to serve the community's greater good.

Church bookkeeping software is an essential tool to the ministry, streamlining administrative tasks and archiving financial data in accordance with legal and ethical standards.

In this guide, we'll walk through the details of choosing the right church bookkeeping software. You will also be introduced to ten of the most exceptional bookkeeping solutions tailored to churches. Whether you lead a small parish, a megachurch, or anything in between, rest assured that there's a financial platform suited to your church's unique needs.

Selecting the Right Bookkeeping Software for Your Church

Before we present the top 10 church bookkeeping software, it's essential to understand your ministry's financial requirements and shape your expectations accordingly.

Defining Your Church's Financial Must-Haves

Begin by conducting an in-depth assessment of what you need from a bookkeeping software. Does your church require software that integrates with online giving platforms? Are payroll services a must-have? Consider categorizing these needs into primary, secondary, and tertiary lists.

Understanding your church's financial needs can significantly streamline your search for the perfect church bookkeeping software. Primary needs will most likely include basic accounting functionalities such as expense tracking, donation tracking, and report generation, which are crucial for daily financial management.

For churches that actively engage with their congregation through events and mission trips, software with event budgeting and fund allocation features becomes indispensable.

Budget and Usability

Be transparent about your budget for financial software, which includes not just the initial cost but also any ongoing subscription fees or maintenance charges. Equally important is the software's usability. Can your staff comfortably operate it without complex training?

And what's the user interface like? How easy is the church bookkeeping software to use? A user-friendly interface reduces the learning curve, increases productivity, and minimizes errors in financial reporting. Ultimately, finding a balance between cost-effectiveness and ease of use in bookkeeping software will sustain your church's financial health and support its mission.

Security Concerns

Church bookkeeping software should offer robust security features to protect sensitive financial data. Ensure all software you consider is compliant with data protection laws and offers encryption, role-based access control, and regular backups.

It’s also crucial to examine the provider's track record and reliability. Investigate whether they have a history of data breaches or security lapses. Reviews from other churches or non-profit organizations can shed light on the software’s resilience against cyber threats.

Additionally, consider software that offers two-factor authentication (2FA) for an added layer of security, ensuring that only authorized personnel can access the financial records. Also, it's worth looking into the software’s compliance with industry standards, such as the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). This ensures that your church's financial transactions are handled securely.

Reporting Features

Comprehensive financial reporting is vital for understanding the church's financial health and making informed decisions. The software you choose should offer detailed, customizable reports that can be easily interpreted by all stakeholders. Additionally, the software should allow for easy export of data to popular spreadsheet formats, such as Excel, for further analysis and manipulation.

Some useful reporting features to look out for include budgeting and forecasting tools, graphical representations of financial data, and the ability to track donations and expenses by specific categories. These features can help keep your church's finances organized and provide insights into areas that may require adjustments or improvements.

Integrations With Other Platforms

Consider the other software and platforms your church uses, such as online giving systems or event management tools. Look for a church bookkeeping software that offers integrations with these platforms to streamline data management and reduce manual data entry.

For example, if your church utilizes an online giving system, it would be beneficial for the bookkeeping software to seamlessly integrate with it. This would eliminate the need to manually enter donation data into the bookkeeping software, saving time and reducing the risk of errors.

Customer Support

It's important to also evaluate the level of customer support provided by the vendor. Look for options such as phone, email, or live chat support during regular business hours. Some vendors also offer online tutorials, webinars, and user forums for additional support.

In the event of any technical issues or questions, having a reliable customer support team to turn to can be invaluable. This can ensure that your church's financial data is accurately managed and any problems are resolved in a timely manner.

The Top 10 Church Bookkeeping Software Solutions

Now that we've laid out the framework for selection, it's time to explore the top 10 church bookkeeping software.

1. Breeze Church Management System

Breeze Church Management System takes the lead for its intuitive design, easy-to-use interface, and powerful bookkeeping features. Breeze offers features such as donor and gift tracking, powerful reporting, support for online and text giving, easy creation of year-end giving statements, and simple user management.

It's known for its robust customer support and reasonable pricing, making it a favorite among smaller congregations. Additionally, the church management system integrates with numerous other platforms, allowing you to easily integrate it into your existing technology stack. 

If you need an all-in-one church management platform that includes financial features, Breeze is the way to go. 

2. ChurchTrac

ChurchTrac is a robust tool suitable for churches that require detailed financial tracking. This includes capabilities such as fund accounting, monitoring income and expenditures, budget creation, statement reconciliation, and more. It also includes features for accepting contributions, generating financial statements, creating pledge campaigns, and more.

ChurchTrac is also known for its volunteer management and member communication capabilities, which add significant value.

The software is reasonably priced at only $60/month. There is a freemium version but it does not include all the features the paid version does.

3. Aplos

Aplos is another popular choice for church bookkeeping, offering a cloud-based accounting platform that integrates with popular giving apps. Aplos's intuitive interface allows for easy management of funds, tracking of donations, the creation of professional-grade financial reports, and much more.

Aplos also offers deep reporting and analytics, allowing churches to explore giving trends. On top of this, the church bookkeeping software also includes email marketing and communication tools, rounding out Aplos' feature base.

Its robust customer service and training resources make it a solid choice for churches transitioning to digital bookkeeping.

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4. IconCMO

IconCMO is a comprehensive solution that includes fund accounting and reporting. Tailored to the needs of medium-sized and large churches, IconCMO's software can handle complex accounting tasks while providing a user-friendly experience.

Nonprofit and church-specific features make it a standout for fiscal management while also integrating with ChMS tools for an all-in-one management solution.

IconCMO also offers full support and training, reducing the learning curve for churches new to bookkeeping software. Additionally, the software includes automatic upgrades and backups. 

5. PowerChurch Plus

PowerChurch Plus is a well-established name in church software, offering a comprehensive financial suite with features like accounting, payroll, and contributions management. Suited for churches of all sizes, PowerChurch Plus provides powerful reporting and financial statement generation tools to keep your ministry's financial picture clear and accessible.

Beyond its core financial functionalities, PowerChurch Plus is known for its multi-faceted approach to church management. It integrates seamlessly with church event planning, membership tracking, and even inventory management. 

6. Shelby Financials

Shelby Financials is part of the larger Shelby Systems suite, designed to handle the financial needs of churches and nonprofits. With modules for general ledger, accounts payable, accounts receivable, and fixed assets, Shelby Financials offers a complete financial solution. It's one of the few church bookkeeping software that's able to scale adequately for larger churches without losing functionality.

Additionally, Shelby Financials offers a payroll application specifically designed for churches that makes it easy to calculate clergy payroll and handle tax filing. This integration with church-specific payroll needs makes it a popular option for many ministries.

7. ACS Technologies

ACS Technologies provides complex accounting solutions specifically designed for churches and ministries. With a focus on larger congregations, ACS offers modules that handle everything from fund accounting to online contributions. Its integrated suite ensures all your church's financial processes are not only managed but also linked in a cohesive system for maximum efficiency and control.

Alongside its accounting modules, it includes tools for membership management, enabling churches to maintain a comprehensive database of member information, attendance records, and engagement activities. Its robust reporting capability allows for the creation of detailed financial reports and analyses, ensuring transparency and aiding in strategic planning.

8. QuickBooks Online Advanced

While not church-specific, QuickBooks Online Advanced is a powerful accounting tool that can be customized for church use. With features such as automatic bank feeds, detailed reporting, and an expansive ecosystem of apps, QuickBooks Online Advanced can accommodate most church bookkeeping needs with its scalability and deep feature set.

Among its standout capabilities is the custom roles and permissions feature, which allows church administrators to assign specific access levels to different users, enhancing security and ensuring sensitive financial data is protected. Additionally, the platform offers batch invoicing and expenses, which can greatly reduce the time spent on monthly or weekly financial tasks by processing multiple transactions at once.

9. Sage Intacct

For larger churches that require robust and scalable financial management, Sage Intacct is an enterprise-level solution that offers powerful fund accounting, budgeting, and reporting tools. While Sage Intacct requires more significant investment and is best suited for large, complex organizations, its depth of features and customization options make it a potent solution for the most demanding church finances.

Sage Intacct's key features include advanced financial management capabilities that enable precise fund accounting, sophisticated financial reporting, and granular budgeting tools designed to meet the specific needs of large churches.

10. Xero

Xero is a popular choice for small to mid-sized churches requiring a flexible and easy-to-use accounting solution. With features like automatic bank reconciliation, invoicing, and over 800 integrations, Xero provides a strong platform for small churches that may be cutting their teeth on digital bookkeeping. Its growth-oriented platform ensures that as your church expands, Xero can grow with you.

Final Considerations

Selecting the right church bookkeeping software is vital for managing church finances effectively. From robust, enterprise-level solutions to more flexible, user-friendly platforms there's a diverse range of options available to suit varying needs and organizational sizes.

By carefully considering each option's offerings against your church's specific requirements, you can ensure a choice that not only streamlines financial operations but also supports your church's growth and mission over the long term.

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