Your church needs accounting software, but ordinary accounting software won’t do. Check out these 4 options designed specifically for church needs
As a church administrator, you have a lot to keep track of. From organizing the food for Sunday’s potluck to how many volunteers are needed for bible school. One duty that cannot fall off your to-do list is your church’s finances. It’s imperative you manage every penny of your members’ donations. And the right accounting software can help you do this and more.
But before you dive into popular accounting software tools, you need to understand that your church has specific needs. For example, church accounting software works with your donations and membership management systems to make sure all donations are recorded and tagged for tax purposes. When tax season rolls around, you will need a system to help you pull this information.
Just like you wouldn’t use generic business management software to manage the day-to-day activities of your church, you shouldn’t use general accounting software to handle your church accounting.
Whether your church is big enough to employ a full-time accountant, or small enough to use a team of volunteers, church accounting software can make the job of tracking your church finances more efficient and easier for everyone.
Best church accounting software
Keeping this in mind, we’ve created this article featuring the four best church accounting software tools, listed alphabetically, based on verified user reviews over the past calendar year. Each of these products has at least 10 reviews on Capterra and an average recommendation rating of at least 8.5 out of 10 (click here for full methodology).
Aplos church accounting software (Source)
Aplos church accounting software was founded in 2009 by the executive pastor of a church in California. While Aplos started as a web-based church accounting system, it has evolved to include event registration, church marketing, fundraising, website builder, and more.
The accounting system offers integrated payroll, tithe tracking, automated donations, and more.
Intro to Aplos Accounting for churches (Source)
- Aplos starts at $59/month
- For $79/month, churches can add text-to-give
- Customized systems with advanced accounting (project and fund budgeting, fixed asset management, automation) start at $159/month.
Fund accounting in CahabaWorks (Source)
CahabaWorks launched as an Alabama-based church management system in 2006. Along with standard church management features like membership and small group management and child check-in, CahabaWorks also covers all church accounting needs, from donation management to financial reporting and payroll. CahabaWorks is locally installed, meaning that users can download the software onto their system and use it without an internet connection (though there is an option for off-site backup).
Online giving overview in CahabaWorks church accounting software (Source)
- CahabaWorks offers a free version of their software with limited features and no customer support
- For $350/year, the standard edition adds child check-in, cloud backup, online giving integration, and customer support (30-day onboarding, technical assistance, free updates)
- For $650/year, customers can add payroll and priority support
- For $1,500/year, the premier edition adds multiple administrative users on the local network
Importing transactions in ChurchTrac accounting (Source)
ChurchTrac, founded in 2002 in a Florida church, includes features for membership management, donations, check-in, worship planning, event planning, website management, and of course, fund-based church accounting. In addition to all of the standard church accounting features, ChurchTrac also offers check printing, recurring transactions, advanced search, and more.
Getting started with ChurchTrac accounting (Source)
- ChurchTrac offers a free plan for up to 75 members, which includes membership management, imports and backups, and free tech support
- The Standard plan includes everything in the free plan plus track giving and pledges, online donations, child check-in, and more for $5/month
- The Plus plan, which starts at $15/month, includes advanced scheduling, worship planning, song library, and more
The main accounting menu in Church Windows (Source)
Church Windows is the signature product of Columbus, Ohio-based Computer Helper Publishing, which has been publishing church management software since 1987. Church Windows is available as an installed desktop version, or as a cloud based software. The accounting features include fund accounting, recurring transactions, custom check-printing, and automated budgeting.
New features in the Church Windows accounting module (Source)
- Church Windows desktop version starts at $379 per module (accounting, donations, membership/scheduling, or payroll) with six months of updates and customer support
- After the initial purchase, updates and support start at $115/year
- The web version starts at $58/month after initial purchase and a 30-day free trial
There are discounts for multiple modules, and multi-module packages designed for small churches with limited needs.
Next steps to find the right church accounting software for your church
The church accounting software systems we looked at in this article are the most recommended based on verified user reviews. But if you’re still looking to browse more top rated options, check out our 2021 Shortlist for church accounting, which charts 16 top options based on verified user reviews and popularity in the market.
Capterra’s 2021 Shortlist for church accounting software (Source)
To be considered for this report, products had to meet both our church accounting software market definition and our review count minimum.
- Church accounting software market definition: In order to be considered a church accounting software system, products must include accounts payable and receivable, fund accounting, and general ledger functionality. To meet our market definition, products must also primarily serve churches and religious organizations.
- Review count minimum: Products had to have 10 or more unique reviews over the past year, from 6/7/20 to 6/7/21.
From there, the four products with the highest average recommendation user rating were selected for inclusion.