There are seemingly countless bookkeeping solutions available, so figuring out which one is best for you is difficult. You want to streamline the bookkeeping process, track income and expenses, manage budgets, and generate financial reports in compliance with accounting standards and regulations, but need to figure out which tool is the best fit. I've got you! In this post I make things simple, leveraging my experience as an assistant youth pastor and technical consultant for religious organizations to bring you this shortlist of the best church bookkeeping software.
What is Church Bookkeeping Software?
Church bookkeeping software is a type of financial management software that helps churches manage their finances and keep track of donations, expenses, and budgets. It provides tools for categorizing transactions, reconciling accounts, and generating balance sheets, income statements, and other financial reports necessary for effective financial management and transparency
This software enables church leaders and administrators to record and monitor all financial transactions, generate reports, increase transparency, and ensure compliance with accounting and tax regulations, allowing churches to focus more on their core mission and less on administrative tasks.
Martus Solutions helps you build budget worksheets in the cloud, monitor conformance with budgets, and drill down into transactional level details. The pre-built planning templates are designed to engage church leaders in the planning process, while accurate, real-time data assists with analyzing budgets.
Martus Solutions can handle multiple forms of compensation and do forecasting on a 'what if' basis. Using this cloud-based solution, you can view graphical representations of performance versus budget. You can also save time by using built-in templates, as well as granting user-level permissions based on individual need.
Martus Solutions integrates with business platforms such as Shelby Systems, Sage Intacct, QuickBooks and ACS Technologies.
Martus Solutions offers customized pricing on request.
Church Windows is a hybrid church accounting system that helps manage day-to-day activities and interactions with followers. Designed to be flexible, Church Windows offers modules that cover church membership, scheduling, donations, accounting, and payroll.
Administrators can view and track records by households or individuals. They can also customize data fields, record interaction notes and create attendance reports.
Accounting features include recurring transactions, reconciliation, and charts. The software can create reports on salary history, allowances, taxes, or deductions.
This tool integrates with software such as Microsoft Excel, KidCheck, and Vanco Faith.
Church Windows costs from $279, plus $58/user/month for hosting. A downloadable free trial version is available.
FlockBase aims to make tracking church finances simple for both staff and volunteers. Built with true fund accounting, it allows you to manage fund balances with precision.
The payroll capabilities help you pay staff on time, while complying with tax regulations. In addition, the robust reporting features simplify tracking balances, income and expenses.
You can also print checks, pay vendors and manage budgets. Flockbase reviews note that FlockBase is very easy to use for both staff and volunteers alike. Easy bookkeeping software means that staff and volunteers aren't floundering to learn the ins-and-outs of the program.
This tool integrates with platforms such as CSG Forte and Bookafy.
FlockBase costs from $16/user/month and a two-week free trial is available.
ZipBooks is a bookkeeping system that allows you to access your congregation's data from anywhere. The system includes payroll, tax preparation, and virtual bookkeeping. You can automate processes with recurring auto-bills, send invoices, and integrate billing into your books.
Using ZipBooks, you can also tag transactions, generate income statements, manage accounts receivable, and produce other financial reports. Work can be organized into projects or tasks, with time tracked accurately. When you are ready to bill, you can add the tracked time to the invoice with a single click.
This tool integrates with popular platforms such as Google Drive, PayPal, Slack, and Asana.
ZipBooks costs from $15/user/month. A 30-day free trial is also available.
FellowshipOne assists churches and other religious organizations to structure and manage daily operations. Based in the cloud, the software simplifies administrative tasks, outreach, events, and communications.
You can automate tasks, improve member data and coordinate complex events. It's easy to schedule the use of facilities or resources, while also gaining deep insights using the reporting tools.
You can manage all contributions, gifts, and donations and accept payments by ACH, debit, or credit card. A fully-featured mobile app is included.
This tool offers an API that facilitates integration with other business tools.
FellowshipOne GO Complete costs from $169/user/month. A free 30-day trial is available.
CDM+ is a web-based church management system (CHMS) that offers contribution management, attendance tracking, event scheduling, planning center, and check-in functionality. Using this software, church administrators can record member information such as names and addresses in a central location. It's sort of like the best church management and best church accounting software software all rolled into one.
They can also pay bills, receive payments, and perform bank reconciliation—everything your church needs. The online portal makes it easy to create purchase orders, send invoices and manage vendor payments. Thanks to the Contribution module, this accounting solution can also track the performance of stewardship programs.
CDM+ starts at $25/month (25 givers/50 profiles).
Based in the cloud, Realm is a church management package that helps with administration, accounting, and community builder features. It can be used to run reports, manage cash flow, and accept all types of contributions. Users can maintain databases by connecting profiles for individuals, families, or businesses.
Other features include dashboards, custom fields, and self-managed profiles. The software supports church directory, fund management, batch entry, and group rosters. Church members can post gifts and donations online.
This tool integrates with applications such as Givelify, and Vanco Faith.
Realm costs from $29/user/month and a free trial is available.
Dext aims to eliminate the problems of bad bookkeeping data, manual tasks and overwhelm. The system captures data from cost and revenue documents via mobile app, auto-invoice fetch, or email. You can then extract data quickly and publish to the right place quickly.
This easy bookkeeping software reduce the likelihood of errors. You can also save on storage, improve communication, and delegate tasks. Overall, Dext helps churches manage their finances more accurately and speedily.
This tool integrates with most major accounting providers, including Bill.com, KashFlow, and FreeAgent.
Dext costs from $20/user/month and a free trial is available.
Aplos church accounting software is an accounting and bookkeeping platform targeting churches and nonprofit organizations. It encompasses fund accounting, fundraising tools, and donation management. Other features include membership management, event scheduling, and custom communications.
Based in the cloud, Aplos church accounting software allows you to track cash flows and create journal entries for direct double-entry accounting. You can also raise funds using online donation tools. The software facilitates custom communications, donor database reports, and event registration.
Aplos church accounting software integrates with platforms such as Gusto Payroll, Bloomerang, and PayPal.
Aplos Accounting costs from $39.50/user/month and a 15-day free trial is available.
QuickBooks online for churches helps you manage your finances effectively. They can assign every dollar to a committee, program, or worship fund. Offerings can be received online or in-person, using credit card, debit card, or ACH bank transfers.
Administrators can tag donations to specific programs as required. By creating unique user IDs, they can allow employees, volunteers, and accounting contractors to collaborate easily. Each user can be assigned a level of access appropriate to their role.
This tool integrates with apps such as NeonCRM, DonorPath, Church Office Online, and Kindful.
QuickBooks costs from $12.50/user/month. A free 30-day trial is available.
Best accounting software for real-time financial data feeds
Best for advanced cloud-based accounting management tools
Best for capturing financial data automatically
Comprehensive, low-cost, web-based church software solution with automatic upgrades and nightly back-ups
Great for all kinds of nonprofit organizationS
Best church accounting software software built for churches, ministries, non-profits and denominational headquarters
Best for a simple bookkeeping and payments option
Blackbaud Financial Edge NXT
Cloud fund accounting software
Church management with easy accounting tools for volunteers or a on-staff CPA
Other Church Finace Software Reviews
After reading this list, you may have decided you need something a bit more compact or robust than the church accounting software listed here. Here are a few similar church software reviews that may help:
- Church Finance Software
- Church Accounting Software
- Church Payroll Software
- Church Giving Apps
- Donor Management Software Comparison
How I Selected the Best Church Bookkeeping Software
If you're wondering how I selected the best church bookkeeping software, here's where I'll break it all down for you. First of all, I started with church bookkeeping software that have high user review and satisfaction ratings. Then, using my experience in church management, I discerned what key criteria were most important for church bookkeeping software and compared how each of them stacked up against the rest.
I empathize with how much time it takes to source the right software for a job. I do this work so that you don't have to. I've been using and reviewing church bookkeeping software for years so you can trust me to do the heavy lifting and compile all the facts you need to make your final decision.
After careful consideration, I've determined that these are the most important criteria when selecting the best church bookkeeping software. Here's a brief list outlining the whats and whys of my selection.
Ease of Use
Ease of use is an important consideration when choosing church bookkeeping software because it affects the productivity and efficiency of the staff and volunteers who will be using the software. An easy bookkeeping program can save time and reduce the likelihood of errors in data entry, which can help maintain the integrity of financial records. Software that is easy to use can reduce the need for extensive training and technical support, making it more accessible for churches with limited resources.
Customer service is an important consideration when choosing church bookkeeping software because it provides critical support for users when technical issues or questions arise. A reliable customer support team can help users troubleshoot problems, answer questions, and provide guidance on using the software effectively. This can save time and frustration for staff and volunteers, especially those who are not familiar with bookkeeping or accounting principles.
Software integrations are important when choosing church bookkeeping software because they allow churches to connect different systems and tools they use, streamlining workflows and minimizing the need for manual data entry. For example, integrations with online donation platforms can automatically import donation data into the bookkeeping software, reducing the risk of errors and saving time. Similarly, integrations with accounting or payroll software can simplify financial reporting and reduce the need for manual data transfer. There are also bonus integrations (not vital but nice to have) like add-ons for messaging services (SMS, Slack), automation tools (Zapier),
Pricing is an important consideration when choosing church bookkeeping software because it affects the overall affordability of the solution for churches, which often have limited financial resources. The cost of the software can vary depending on the features, number of users, and support options included, among other factors. Additionally, some software providers may offer discounts or special pricing options for churches, which can help to reduce the cost of the software.
What are Church Bookkeeping System Key Features?
Here are the core features I believe you should find in any software worthy of consideration in this sector:
- Integrated payroll management: Process pastoral payroll, housing allowances, and tax payments
- Donation reporting: Manage pledge tracking, lapsed donors, donations by donor, and other forms of online giving
- Bill payment: Basic accounting features for making payments to external suppliers as necessary
- Invoicing: Support for creating invoices and receiving payments online plus other accounting needs
- Bank reconciliation: Keep the books and bank balances in good standing regarding accounts payable and receivable
- Check printing: Option to print checks, for times when this is the best payment method over online payments
- Custom role permissions: Give individuals the level of access they need to do their work within your finance systems
- Financial statements: Features for creating balance sheets, income statements, and other financial management systems for review by church leaders
- Budgeting reports: Tracking financial health by comparing budgets to actual accounting; easy generation of general ledger
- Custom reports for churches: Ability to drill down and create custom reports on various aspects of church accounting, church budget, and donations
Is There a QuickBooks Church Template?
There are plenty of QuickBooks church templates. You can hunt around online or borrow one from other churches, like the Foursquare Quickbooks Church Template (advanced and basic versions). You can also pay for a more advanced QuickBooks church template from an accredited accountant service like Goshen Accounting, if you want to go that route.
Is There Church Accounting Software that is Free?
While they may not be church-specific, there are many free accounting software for churches to use online. Free software benefits small churches, who may not have the budget for a full system. Some suggestions would be:
Any accounting software for churches that is free may have user or feature limitations, so it’s up to you whether you are able/willing to make that sacrifice!
Church Bookkeeping Software for Clean, Compliant Books
Are these the best church bookkeeping software tools on the market? If you think otherwise, let us know in the comments. Sound financial management is core to running any faith-based organization.
With the right church financial software tools, you can stay organized and free up extra time for more important work.