Church Management

4 Best Church Accounting Software Options

Published by in Church Management

Your church needs accounting software, but ordinary accounting software won’t do. Check out these 4 options designed specifically for church needs

highest rated church accounting software

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).

A comparison chart showing the 4 best church accounting software options based on reviews

A screenshot of Aplos church accounting software showing reports on Contributions By Purpose and Donations by month
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)

Pricing:

  • 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.

Aplos offers a 50% discount for the first six months for new users who subscribe during their 15-day free trial, and a 10% discount for an annual commitment.

 

A screenshot of the fund accounting overview screen in CahabaWorks
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)

Pricing:

  • 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

Customers can renew for $300/year (standard support) or $600/year (priority support).

 

A screenshot of the transactions import screen in ChurchTrac accounting
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)

Pricing:

  • 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

Prices increase based on the number of members, and churches can get two months free with an annual commitment.

 

A screenshot of the Church Windows accounting opening screen
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)

Pricing:

  • 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 chart for church accounting software
Capterra’s 2021 Shortlist for church accounting software (Source)

 

When you’re ready to make some decisions, we recommend taking the following steps:

  • Develop a budget and required features (Do you need text giving? Does your accountant need Quickbooks integration?) and use that information—and our directory—to narrow your search down to a shortlist of products.
  • Read through our reviews for the products on your shortlist to uncover issues that users have run into and prepare a list of questions.
  • Contact the vendors on your shortlist to get more information, such as price quotes, and schedule demos before making your final choice.


Methodology

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.


Looking for Church Management software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Church Management software solutions.

About the Author

Andrew Conrad

Andrew Conrad

Senior Content Writer @ Capterra, sharing insights about retail. Published in PSFK, Modern Retail, and the Baltimore Sun. Austin transplant. I love spending time outside with my dog or floating on the Colorado River in my inflatable kayak.

Comments

Comment by William J. Oehlkers on

What about Church 360 from Concordia Publishing House?

Comment by Pete Finger on

We have been using PowerChurch for about nine months. We are a start-up with only about a dozen in attendance each Sunday. We use the online version which is about $40 a month I think. We have no technical problems, but when I do the financials each month, it is like starting over, since I find the software very complicated and not very intuitive. I feel like we bought a team of horses when we really only needed a pony. Does anyone have any simple solutions that would be easy and cheap for a start-up? I am even thinking of going back to ledger sheets or Excel spreadsheets, so I don’t have to keep paying a professional to help me complete basic functions. Thank you 🙂

Comment by First ChoG on

What about Church Keeper? Used this several years ago and it did a great job for attendance of about 125-150. Church we are at now has used “homemade” spreadsheets on Excel, but not doing the job needed. Is Church Keeper being used by anyone else, or reviewed to see how well it is doing with the changes in computing and cloud use over the past 6-7 years? They have been around at at least 15 years or so, and given their sole emphasis seemed to be Church Management Software, I would be interested in a review.

Comment by Dick Chandler on

We use IconCMO for Church Data Base, and Contributions Management, but not the accounting portion. For that we use QuickBooks 2014. QB 2014 is not web based as Icon is, and is not supposed to play well with Windows 10 (we use both anyway). We would like to talk to someone who is using the accounting portion of IconCMO, and could compare it to QB. We are well pleased with IconCMO for what we use it for now.

Comment by Sharon Procopio on

We just upgraded to Shelby Next and it was a mistake. It spins a lot wasting many hours of time for us. Many times it crashes and we have to re-enter all info.

Comment by Robyn Sue on

We currently use Cahaba software – any recommendations that would have better donor / database management capabilities?

Comment by Carter Payne on

What about Shelby Next church software. It was highly recommended to me, but I don’t see it listed on your site? Thanks, Carter

Comment by Michael Zehr on

Aplos raised their prices late 2015. No longer inexpensive. We are paying $900 per year for church with 40 people.

Comment by Shelia Hickman on

Any recent findings? most of these are older, looking for a simple inexpensive accounting program for a very small church

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Comment by Roger Hooker on

ACS’s REALM is a much less expensive option than the older ACS packages reviewed here.

Comment by Dwain Wilson on

Unfortunately, your price quotes for Aplos are horribly out of date and inaccurate. The lowest price they offer now is $25 per month. The top tier is now $120 a month and if you want to have more than 2 users, that’s another $80 a month.

Comment by Marcus Henry on

Didn’t see Church Contribution Accounting software. It is a very easy to use software, designed specifically for churches. cca.itclosure.com

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Comment by JP Medved on

Hi Frank, ChurchPro is a great tool, though some have mentioned the initial learning curve is steep. I’d recommend checking out their free demo if you’re interested.

Cheryl, ICON is a full featured ChMS, meaning it does a lot more than just accounting. If that’s what you’re looking for it’s a solid option, and they also have a free 10 day trial if you want to test it out.

Comment by Cheryl Rice on

What are your thoughts on the ICON Church Management System? Pros and Cons?

Comment by Frank Harris on

Do any of your contacts have experience with the ChurchPro system? Has a good looking write up. Thanks

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