Churches would not exist without the generous donations of their members. These church partners give sacrificially to support a ministry that they have a passion for.
Through this generous giving, churches are able to reach more people, impact their community, and achieve thier mission and vision.
For instance, a church may have a strategy to provide food for the hungry in their community. Church donations are what supports these kinds of strategic efforts.
Accurate Financial Records Are Important
Maintaining accurate financial records is essential for providing a clear picture of how much money comes in and how much money is spent running a church.
It is also difficult to create a church budget without having accurate accounting records.
For instance, a church may budget for outreach programs, which necessitates knowing how much money is avialable.
People who give to a church want to know that the money they donate is used for its intended purpose.
This reality makes good record keeping an essential aspect of ensuring proper stewardship of church resources.
Donors also expect a contribution statement at the end of the year so they can take advantage of the tax benefits of donating to a charity.
Year-end statements help members see what they have given and a giving letter explains how their tithes were spent.
Technology Can Help With Accounting
A computerized accounting system can help ensure that there is an accurate record of member donations.
For instance, volunteers are the labor force for churches. Church data can be very motivating for engaged volunteers who have an interest in how the church operates.
Paper Methods of Accounting Are Obsolete
I’m often amazed at the number of churches that still use manual methods of record keeping.
Some of these churches keep journals with information about their members and donations; some use spreadsheets to create a quasi database, and some use even less sophisticated methods.
Oftentimes these antiquated methods are used out of fear of those things (software) they may not be familiar with.
For instance, It may be that the bookkeeper isn’t very computer savvy and resists technology because she isn’t comfortable learning a new computer program.
Some churches resist technology because they are afraid of it.
However, some churches are unable to take advantage of church management software because many of the products on the market are simply cost-prohibitive for a small church.
There Are Affordable Church Accounting Softwares
The good news is there are more and more affordable software solutions being developed that can help churches with limited resources.
One church accounting software I am familiar with is Aplos Accounting and Contribution Management.
Accounting can be complex. The language and accounting rules can intimate bookkeepers who don’t have formal accounting training.
What I like about this company is that it does a good job bridging the gap in financial knowledge for churches that don’t have the expertise of an accountant on staff.
Oftentimes bookkeepers are not accounting majors and lack the basic knowledge of required accounting practices.
For these people, Aplos provides training for its members in the form of an Academy which offers free tutorials on nonprofit accounting.
This 12 part video series does a really good job of simplifying the complexity of the accounting function and teaches the language and process of keeping accurate books. This 12 part video tutorial includes, and answers the questions:
- Intro to Nonprofit Accounting.
- What is Accounting?
- What is Fund Accounting?
- What is Non-Profit Chart of Accounts?
- What is a General Ledger?
- What are Non-Profit Financial Statement?
- What are Internal Controls?
- What are Non-Profit Accounting Standards?
- How to Account for Donated Items
- Tracking Your Accounting Journal Entries
- Do Non-Profits Need to do 1099s?
- Month End Closing Checklist.
Aplos also does a great job of keeping in contact with its customers and using their feedback to improve and enhance its products.
They have an HQ page where you can see the latest news, chime in on new features, and join discussions in the Aplos community to share ideas and answer questions.
The best part of this software is that is very reasonably priced. Their basic accounting package starts at just $29.95/month!
There is a free 15 day trial of this software, and unlike other organizations, you can sign up and try it without using a credit card. It allows you try it and then decide if you like it.
You can click here to check them out and start your free trial!
If you do try it and like it, you can use the promo code SmartChurchManagement to get 50% off of your first 6 months!
Maintaining good financial records is essential to managing the people in your church, budgeting toward the vision, and being faithful stewards of the money God has provided your ministry.
What kind of church management software do you use?
Learn more tips for managing your church by enrolling in our Fundamentals of Church Administration Course!