Which apps can save my church time and money? Part 1
We’ve talked about the importance of good policies and procedures for your church. And we’ve discussed the general advantages of using cloud technology in your church.
Now, let’s combine the two and find out how which apps can help your church create super effective policies and procedures.
Let’s start with accounting software. Your church needs to be able to make good financial decisions. To make good financial decisions you must have accurate, up-to-date information.
Every church should be “keeping the books”. If you are not, start now! It’s not optional.
Choosing the right accounting software is very important since it is the financial and budgeting backbone for your church. Everything flows through this software. So, take your time and do the research before deciding.
Most churches are still using desktop-based accounting software. Unfortunately, these systems have some serious flaws:
They have limited user-access to view financials.
They are usually stuck on one computer.
The data must be backed up constantly and on multiple destinations.
They need to be updated when new updates come out (all the time).
They need to be upgraded when new versions come out (often annually).
Cloud accounting systems, like Xero, QBO, and Aplos, overcome all of these flaws:
They have unlimited user access.
They are internet browser-based. So you can log on from any computer with internet.
The data is stored on remote servers and automatically backed up.
They never need updating because you are always using the latest version.
They never need upgrading because you are always using the latest version.
I only mention these three software options because they are good, cheap, and easy to use. But there are many other options out there. I’ll give you a quick rundown of these three.
Built specifically for nonprofits.
Created to make “fund accounting” easy.
Out of the box nonprofit report formats.
Integrated donor management.
Does not integrate well with other cloud programs for accounts payable, payroll, etc.
Account reconciliations and other processes are cumbersome.
Takes more time overall to get the same job done.
Most popular accounting software in the US.
Integrates well with other functions because most other functions are internally built.
Tons of educational resources available.
Reports not prebuilt for church formats.
You get stuck with a narrower set of integrated apps because Intuit is closed-source.
Aggressive sales for products and services.
Fastest growing accounting software in the US.
Created to be functional and intuitive. “Beautiful Accounting Software”
Very flexible and customizable reporting formats.
Huge ecosystem of independently-created connected apps provides great flexibility.
Reports must be customized for certain church uses. (one time)
So many options for connected apps requires more research.
Still relatively new in the US. Early users experienced bugs but seems those are worked out now.
We use Xero for our clients. We found that the entire bookkeeping process is better and more efficient when centered around Xero.
And the huge ecosystem of apps allowed us to combine the best apps into a process that saves our clients a lot of time and money.
We love Xero! We’ll take a look at some of those integrated apps in the next post.