There are two developments transforming the way that churches operate. First, churches are increasingly relying on technology to manage large congregations, different initiatives and departments, and ever-expanding footprints. Second, they are increasingly obligated to practice accounting with the sophistication and transparency that people expect from major companies and large nonprofits.
That is leading many churches to conclude that QuickBooks and other legacy church accounting products, like Shelby and ACS, are inadequate and to go searching for a stronger accounting solution. A recent survey of church officials revealed what they are looking for and where their priorities lie. The key findings are worth considering for any church that is actively looking to make accounting faster, easier, and more accurate.
The Cloud is the Preferred Platform
Organizations across the spectrum pick the cloud first because it is almost universally better. Costs are lower, complexity is eliminated, and scalability is guaranteed. Churches know that the accounting solution they need now may not be adequate for the future, which is why more of them are prioritizing the flexibility of cloud-based accounting solutions. Adoption was up 19% in 2017.
Dated Systems are a Liability
At this point, older accounting systems are more of an obstacle than a tool. Many of them are under-powered, overly-complex, and no longer supported by the software vendors. These solutions may have once been adequate, but they can no longer meet the accounting needs of today, and churches can't expect to rely on them in the future. Almost 30% of software buyers were replacing an old system.
Added Functionality is Key
Older accounting systems often have limited functionality, forcing churches to create a patchwork of solutions, including a lot of work in Excel. Now, churches are looking for a system that can handle accounting needs and can easily integrate with other best-in-class systems that handle donor management, bank reconciliation, membership tracking, and comprehensive budgeting.
Accuracy and Accountability are Essential
Today's nonprofits – churches included – are expected to prove to donors that funds are being managed transparently and according to strict governance. Taking donations with vague promises to apply them to indistinct projects at a later date is no longer adequate. A big reason churches are upgrading their software is to prove to donors and congregants that the accounting is above board. Accurate, in-depth reporting inspires confidence that the church is fully committed to its mission.
Whether or not churches should consider new accounting software is not the question. The key concern is finding a solution that provides the features and enhancements a church requires without bursting the IT budget.
Sage Intacct has become a leading financial management solution in the not-for-profit world by making enterprise-class accounting accessible to all. Powerful features are made intuitive, and sophisticated tracking, analysis, and reporting are made automatic. When you're ready to build the financial future of your church, contact AcctTwo.