Running a churchs finances is similar to running the finances of any organization, particularly in ensuring the accuracy of financial records. A sound accounting practice translates to a transparent and efficient operation, which in turn is a key ingredient to any organizations success. Thus, an extensive church accounting software is important for the smooth implementation of a churchs accounting system.
An extensive software offers complete features that can be used separately or at the same time. This software includes features that aid in fund accounting, check registry, budgeting, and payroll. And these features must be interconnected for a convenient recordkeeping. An accounting software should allow managing of different checking and savings accounts. In addition to that, the accounting software must enable users to make and print reports of the latest financial information.
The reports that can be generated using a software include donation statements, spending reports, balance sheets, budget reports, fund balance, transaction reports, and payroll checks. The complete software package must also include the ability to generate reports for taxes. Flexibility is another essential software feature as it allows users to customize various reports, as well as charts and graphs for presentations of a churchs financial data.
Usually, most of the people who staff the church offices are either volunteers or have no accounting training. Thus, the church accounting software should have an easy interface and user-friendly functions. The software should not be complicated and can be operated by anyone with basic computer knowledge. Integration of the different features will come in handy in this respect. For example, when posting entries in the check registry, the same data are posted in related fund accounting fields, eliminating the need to enter the same data twice. Most of the commands should be accomplished at one click of the mouse.
A complete accounting software must include other features such as the ability to merge mails and transferring financial data to other software programs. And since large religious organizations own various offices or computers, the accounting software must provide multiple user support. This feature, aside from preventing processing delays, allows several church members to use the software simultaneously.
The latest comprehensive church accounting software also supports online back up. Traditional back up systems such as hard drives or burning information to disk take too much time to do and are prone to being lost, stolen, or corrupted. With online backup, data is stored in an offsite server. In the event of disaster like fire, flood, or crashing of the computers, data is not lost. Online backup is almost instantaneous which means that recovered data is almost always up to date. Recovery of data can also be done instantaneously, minimizing downtime so that the church can go back to running its operations as soon as possible.
Lastly, the provider of the accounting software should offer customer service and technical support. The software company should also be able to answer inquiries without any hassle through email, chat, or telephone.