When Seacoast Church, a multisite church headquartered in Charleston, South Carolina, finished a more than four-year search for new accounting software by selecting Sage Intacct, church administrator Glenn Wood reached one big conclusion.
There’s no perfect solution.
“You as an individual church have to decide what your priorities are,” he said. “I am constantly telling churches, just because we picked Intacct doesn’t mean it’s the right solution. It was the right solution for us at the time.”
Choosing accounting software for a church involves a complex range of factors, including the church’s accounting needs, the number of people who will access the software, the training required, the security needs, and other areas unique to a given church.
Church accounting software functions and prices span a wide range, said Nick Nicholaou, president of Ministry Business Services and author of Church IT: Using Information Technology for the Mission of the Church (published by Christianity Today’s Church Law & Tax). Nicholaou estimates that a church could find a minimal accounting software package for as little as $200 or spend up to $40,000, depending on the accounting needs.
A basic software package should provide a general ledger with the ability to produce a statement of activities and a balance sheet, all with a secure audit trail, said Nicholaou. At the complex end of software needs, large, multisite churches, for instance, might need a software program that can produce reports of expenses and income in aggregate or separated by campus.