Many people mistakenly assume that businesses are the only organizations that require effective accounting software solutions.
Although businesses comprise the lion's share of the accounting software market, there are many other types of organizations that also demand robust accounting applications, including churches.
Churches often find it difficult to use traditional business accounting software because even though they share certain similarities, a church operates differently than a for-profit business entity. Church accounting programs have to be capable of performing fund accounting functions and create a seamless audit trail so they can support a fully transparent accounting system. Church accounting software is also required to track other information like pledges and membership data that would be irrelevant for a small business.
In response to the unique accounting requirements that exist in the religious community, software developers have created accounting software solutions that are tailored to churches. In some cases, it may be possible to use a more generic accounting program (especially for a smaller congregation). If you have been charged with procuring accounting software for your church, here are some of the options you need to know about.
Church Windows is a popular and integrated accounting solution for churches. It's available in either a classic form or in one of nine versions that have been customized by denomination. Like many of the best church accounting solutions, Church Windows integrates the organization's fund accounting tasks with modules that track membership, record contributions, maintains membership records, generates payroll and schedules events. Depending on the modules you require, the cost can run $1,000 or more – and that price range is typical for best of breed church accounting software solutions.
For more than 25 years, PowerChurch has been one of the most highly rated church accounting software solutions on the market. Like Church Windows, it's designed to be an integrated solution that combines accounting features with other modules that are vital to the long-term success of the institution. However, there are also some differences, not the least of which is an online option that gives leaders and support staff anytime, anywhere access to important data and accounting applications.
Intuit's Quickbooks Pro is an attractive option for smaller churches because it is less expensive and still provides basic accounting functionality. For around $150, churches get a user-friendly application that accommodates simple accounting and reporting requirements.