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Church accounting software benfits your church finances like a tuned piano benefits a pianist: it's instrumental. (Yes, I can hear your groaning through the internet. No, I don’t regret the joke.)

While accounting is near the very bottom of my list of skills, I'm okay with that! My gifts center around counseling and discipleship, not the intricacies of church accounting (benefits notwithstanding). Since you’re here, I imagine you are in a similar spot.

Enter church accounting software. It can save you PILES of time and energy. Rather than sweating it out over spreadsheets, A/R reports, and financial forecasting, you can focus more on teaching, discipleship, and evangelism. My team and I invested in deep research to identify the best, most effective church accounting software solutions.

The Basics: What IS Church Accounting Software?

Church accounting software is a tool for managing churches' finances. It tracks donations, handles bookkeeping, creates budgets, pays expenses, and generates financial reports, making it easier for churches to keep their finances organized and transparent. 

Many pastors (myself included) struggle to balance the passion for ministry with the demands of managing church finances.

Accounting for Church vs Accounting for Business

Church accounting prioritizes transparency and accountability to donors and members, ensuring funds are used appropriately. It also manages tax-exempt status and adheres to nonprofit regulations. By contrast, business accounting prioritizes profitability and shareholder interests.

As such, it’s best to use accounting software designed specifically for churches. When the software tool is made for your ministry it will provide features you need, like tracking donations and managing member info. 

Why is Using Church Accounting Software Important?

Without church accounting software, managing cash flow, bookkeeping, and tracking donations must be done manually—which can be done successfully..  if you have a razor-sharp eye for details and a thorough grasp of the financial and legal regulations. 

If not… well, you’re playing with fire.

Layer in budgeting, payroll, fund accounting, expense payments, and generating financial reports and tax documents, and you’ve got a whole mess of problems. Accounting isn’t something to mess around with

In addition, churches must meet financial compliance standards and always be ready for an audit. Accounting software will streamline everything for you — something your bookkeeper, finance committee and volunteers will appreciate.

Jesus said to them, “Give to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and give to God the things that are God's.

Mark 12:17

Church Accounting Software Benefits

Simply put, church accounting software takes care of the tedious stuff. It's like having an extra team member who never needs a coffee break, loves accounts receivable, always shows up on time, and won’t quit after a few months (if this brings up trauma…I know some good counselors).

Here are seven benefits you can expect:

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1. Quickly Generate Accurate Reports

Church accounting software provides detailed financial reports, making it easy to track income, tithes, and donations, pay expenses, and keep records—all in one place instead of in multiple people’s spreadsheets. 

It ensures compliance with nonprofit regulations and generates essential reports in the event of an audit. This relieves the pressure on key volunteers to know everything or memorize the church accounting guidelines!

3. (MUCH!) Simpler Tax Preparation

Even if you secretly love tax time, I’m going to guess you want a simple way to prep tax documents at the end of the fiscal year. If your answer is ‘yes’, read on. (If you answered ‘no,’ see this handy church financial best practices article for a 101 on good church management.) The right software simplifies tax preparation by accurately tracking donations, expenses, and financial transactions throughout the year. 

4. Streamlined Budget Preparation

Church accounting software simplifies budget preparation by accurately tracking income, expenses, and donations throughout the year. It organizes and categorizes this data, allowing you to create detailed budget reports and forecasts easily. Essentially, it takes the guesswork out of creating a church budget. 

5. Saves You Time (and Lots of It)

Sure, we all love to track some things on paper — but let’s save that for our journalling and ideas, not church finances! A good church accounting software will boost your church’s efficiency and save your volunteers, staff, and finance committee time.

6. Improved Fiscal Transparency

Having your finances sorted out, generating reports, or quickly answering financial questions helps build the trust and buy-in of your church congregation when they are giving regularly or contributing to financial needs.

7. Member and Event Management

The right software can also help manage member information, attendance, and event finances, streamlining administrative tasks and improving organization (I haven’t met a single church that couldn’t use a helping hand here — prove me wrong!).

Church Accounting Software Pricing and Comparison

Here are this year’s leading church accounting software solutions:

Tools Price
QuickBooks Online From $15/user/month
Realm Pricing upon request
ChMeetings From $12/month
AccountEdge Pro One-time fee of $499 for Windows users, while Mac users can avail themselves of the software for $15/account/month.
IconCMO No price details
ACS No price details
ZipBooks From $15/month (5 users)
Botkeeper From $69/license/month
PowerChurch Plus costs from $395
Blackbaud Financial Edge NXT Pricing is available upon request
Preview Image - <h2 class="c-block__title b-summary-table__title c-listicle__title h3" > Compare Software Specs Side by Side</h2>

Compare Software Specs Side by Side

Use our comparison chart to review and evaluate software specs side-by-side.

Compare Software

Three Keys to Experience Church Accounting Software Benefits

When evaluating or choosing church accounting software, there are three foundational elements to look for. If the software you choose addresses these three functions, you'll be in good shape.

First: don’t ignore the need for scalability.

What works today needs to work tomorrow and next year, too. Choose software that will grow with you (and offers additional features), not one that you’ll have to replace as your organization grows. Things to look for include cloud-based options and multiple-user access.

For example, If you already use QuickBooks, did you know they also have an online, cloud-based version?

Second: don’t ignore the need for user-friendliness.

Volunteers often help with accounting tasks, so choosing simple and easy-to-use software is important. Look for one with a clear, intuitive interface to keep training time short. User-friendly dashboards let volunteers easily track important metrics without accounting experience.

Third: don’t ignore the need for integration.

Integration ensures efficiency and a unified workflow, reducing manual data entry and minimizing errors. Choose software that integrates with your church's other systems (e.g., Planning Center) for seamless operation. Without integrations, you’ll be facing redundant work, increased errors, and a fragmented system that hampers productivity.

Every Church Needs This.

The right church accounting software solutions make keeping track of church finances virtually headache-free. With the right solution, everything’s accurate and easy to manage, so your congregation knows their contributions are in good hands.

How much does church accounting software cost?

As with most things, you can find what you need and not break the budget. If figuring out the price point and what you should spend sounds daunting, delegate this task to your church finance committee! (Remember, work smarter, not harder.)

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Joshua Gordon
By Joshua Gordon

Joshua Gordon is a lay-pastor, author, and editor of TheLeadPastor.com. Over the last two decades, Josh has worked closely with pastors and other christian leaders, helping them to sharpen and elevate their messages. Today, Joshua pastors at New Life Fellowship, a thriving church he helped plant in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada.