The best church accounting software should provide detailed transaction information and reports to key stakeholders, such as donors and the board of directors. Many churches can benefit from church management software that’s integrated with good accounting software. We evaluated several options and chose the six best church accounting programs:
- Aplos: Best overall church accounting software
- IconCMO: Best for church management, integrated payroll, and scalability
- PowerChurch Plus: Best desktop accounting software for churches
- QuickBooks Online: Best easy-to-use accounting software that can be customized to the accounting needs of churches
- Wave: Best free accounting software for very small churches to track income and expenses
- QuickBooks Premier Nonprofit Edition: Best customizable accounting software for churches with experienced bookkeepers
Best Church Accounting Software Compared
Answer a few simple questions to see the software we recommend for your church. Afterward, continue reading for more information about each program.
Aplos: Best Overall Church Accounting Software
- Base price includes only two users
- Base price excludes donations by text
- Could be difficult to find an external accountant who is familiar with the program to assist you
- Invoices aren‘t customizable
Plans & Pricing
- Aplos Lite: $79 per month for two users
- Aplos Core: $99 per month for two users
- Aplos Advanced Accounting: Starts at $189 per month and scales with the needs of the church or nonprofit entity
- Enterprise: Custom quote
You can save 10% if you get an annual subscription, and Aplos offers a 15-day free trial.
- Monthly Bookkeeping: $420 per month
- Weekly Bookkeeping with Bill Pay: $1,020 per month
Aplos gets the highest rating in our evaluation, but it’s not far from its competitors, IconCMO and QuickBooks Online Plus. In our rubric, Aplos takes the lead in ease of use because of its intuitive interface. Like IconCMO and PowerChurch Plus, Aplos gets a perfect score in church features, which we already expected given Aplos’ comprehensive church management features. However, pricing isn’t its strongest suit given that its prices are on the higher side; IconCMO can offer more or less the same set of features at a much lower price.
IconCMO: Best for Church Management, Integrated Payroll & Scalability
- No fixed-asset management system
- Doesn’t provide a less expensive option for churches needing fewer features or users
- Receiving payments with event registrations requires an additional fee
Plans & Pricing
IconCMO’s pricing scales with the number of families enrolled in the system. However, you can still use IconCMO for zero families at the base price. You may also try IconCMO for free for 30 days.
Number of Families
0 to 50
51 to 100
101 to 250
251 to 500
501 to 750
751 to 1,000
1,001 to 3,000
- Icon Payroll: $25 per month; $275 per year
- SMS Messaging (250 to 25,000 messages per month): $5 to $500 per month or $60 to $6,000 per year
- Assisted Bookkeeping: $375 per month with free IconCMO subscription for up to 500 households
PowerChurch Plus: Best Desktop Church Accounting Software for Churches
- Payroll tax schedules must be maintained by users
- Cannot prepare budgets of income and expense
- Reports are cash basis only
- Available for Windows users only
Plans & Pricing
PowerChurch Plus licenses are per church—meaning you only need to purchase one license for your organization. You can also install it on multiple church desktops or laptops.
- Downloadable: $395
- Physical CD: $415
Existing Users (Upgrades)
- Downloadable: $159
- Physical CD: $179
PowerChurch Plus is our recommended pick for desktop church accounting. QuickBooks Premier Nonprofit, another desktop program, performs well in general accounting but is limited in church management features, such as member management. Given, PowerChurch Plus wins in church features because of its fund accounting and congregation management features.
However, its user interface is complicated for starters, and the platform is available for Windows users only. Hence, it has a low ease of use score. Though it has the same overall score with QuickBooks Premier Nonprofit, we still recommend PowerChurch Plus if you want desktop accounting and church management at a more affordable price point. But if you want to focus on accounting, we recommend QuickBooks Premier Nonprofit.
QuickBooks Online: Best Easy-to-Use & Customizable Accounting Software
- Expensive after adding third-party church management software
- Must mimic fund accounting by using classes and subclasses
- Price includes books for only one organization
Plans & Pricing
For church accounting, our recommendation for the best QuickBooks Online plan is Plus and Advanced for their class and location tracking features, which are necessary to mimic fund accounting:
- Plus: $90 per month (five users)
- Advanced: $200 per month (25 users)
You can also add QuickBooks Payroll for $45 plus $4 per employee and monthly bookkeeping through QuickBooks Live starting at $200 per month. QuickBooks currently offers a 50% discount for the first three months or a 30-day free trial.
As accounting software intended for for-profit businesses, QuickBooks Online won’t disappoint. Its perfect score in general accounting features reflects its ability to perform all the essential accounting tasks. such as invoicing and billing.
However, it’s not primarily for nonprofits and churches. With modifications in the settings, it can be used for churches—but only up to some extent. It lacks congregation management features, so we recommend either Aplos or IconCMO in this case. These are the two reasons why QuickBooks Online received only above-average marks in church features. Overall, we recommend the platform if you want to focus on accounting and preparing financial statements.
Wave: Best Free Accounting Software for Very Small Churches to Track Income & Expenses
- Lacks church management features
- No budgeting features
- No way to account for multiple funds
- Cannot track income and expenses by program service
Plans & Pricing
Wave offers its accounting, invoicing, and receipt scanning features for free. You only pay for processing financial transactions, such as payroll and bank payments.
Wave is a decent pick for small churches that only need to track income and expenses. Since it’s free, expect that it will not have church-specific features, which is the reason why it has a low score in church features. But for general accounting, Wave performs decently. Ease of use is its best feature because it’s easy and simple to use even for non-accountants.
However, it is not a good pick for large churches because it is not full-scale accounting software. If you find its features to be inadequate for your needs, we recommend IconCMO as a cost-effective paid option.
QuickBooks Premier Plus Nonprofit: Best Customizable Accounting Software for Churches with Experienced Bookkeepers
- No church management features
- Difficult to use especially for non-accountants
- Sharing data with external accountant is hard
- Maximum of five users only
Plans & Pricing
QuickBooks Premier Plus 2022 is available on an annual subscription. The yearly plan includes unlimited product updates, security patches, and unlimited customer support:
- One user: $799
- Two users: $1,099
- Three users: $1,399
- Four users: $1,699
- Five users: $1,999
QuickBooks Premier Plus Nonprofit is an industry-specific edition in the QuickBooks Premier Plus line-up of desktop accounting software. Since this version is specifically for nonprofits, it’s ideal for churches and religious organizations.
Our evaluation reveals that it is more powerful than QuickBooks Online in terms of church accounting features, but it is not as powerful as Aplos in terms of congregation management features. It is also more expensive than PowerChurch Plus but boasts of stronger accounting features than the latter.
How We Evaluated Church Accounting Software
We evaluated financial and accounting software for churches based on price and how they meet the needs of small- and medium-sized churches, such as tracking donations. We prioritized systems tailored for use by churches and took into account the flexibility that general-use software can give an experienced bookkeeper. Finally, we considered a software’s ability to integrate with church management software.
10% of Overall Score
We compared the pricing plans of each church accounting application and ranked it from most affordable to least affordable. In scoring, we considered the price point, number of users, limitations on transactions, and overall affordability of the software for churches.
20% of Overall Score
20% of Overall Score
Church accounting software must have church-specific features that can help administrators manage the day-to-day operations and long-term plans of the church. In evaluating church features, we considered the following:
- Fund accounting features, such as creating and managing funds
- Donation and pledge tracking by members
- Recurring donations
- Reporting features, such as printing nonprofit financial reports
- Congregation management features, such as member profiles, church activity tracker, and event scheduler
30% of Overall Score
Our major focus for ease of use was customer support and assisted bookkeeping options. We also considered payroll and online payment integration, as long as it was not through a third-party app. Overall, we also gave a score for subjective ease of use based on the overall experience when navigating and using the software.
20% of Overall Score
Our expert analysis score is based on the overall experience of the software, from its general accounting features to specific church management features.
A good church accounting software should provide helpful insights about your church’s finances through reports. It must also have features that let you account for every transaction using church accounting standards. In choosing software, here are things to consider:
- Pricing: As an entity that generates revenue only through donations, considering the price is a major factor. Software providers come at different prices, and you should pick the one that’s not heavy on a monthly or yearly basis. Moreover, you may also consider providers that base their prices on the member or family count.
- Accounting features: Church accounting uses different accounting standards from for-profit entities. Your church accounting software of choice must comply with these standards to make it easier to generate reports. If it’s general accounting software, the software must be flexible enough to be converted for nonprofit and church accounting use.
- Church features: Including church features within the accounting software is a cost-efficient solution since you get two solutions in one software package. Although some church software focuses heavily on accounting, you should weigh in on the factors further if you need dedicated church management software.
- Ease of use: The degree of difficulty in using the software will influence your productivity and efficiency in using the software. If your church has an in-house accountant, let them choose which software is easier to use for church accounting. Otherwise, choose software that’s popular so that you can easily hire an external CPA or bookkeeper to do your monthly bookkeeping.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
A church accounting system is software that helps churches manage contributions, donations, and grants. It can also be used to track income and expenses from fundraising events, generate nonprofit reports, and account for the daily administrative costs of the church. Church accounting is unique because it must utilize fund accounting, which separates funds available to the church for general and specific purposes.
QuickBooks Online Plus and Advanced are the two plans that can be configured for church accounting. Moreover, QuickBooks Premier Nonprofit is the desktop counterpart if you prefer desktop accounting software.
Churches are nonprofit entities, so the financial statements are different, at least in the naming. The profit and loss (P&L) statement for churches is called the Statement of Activities, and the balance sheet for churches is called the Statement of Financial Position. Churches and nonprofit entities also have a special financial statement called the Statement of Functional Expenses.
There are various factors to consider when choosing the best church accounting software, including your church’s budget, size, and unique needs. While every software in our guide is worth using, we recommend Aplos because of its robust, flexible, and easy-to-use features for church accounting. If your church wants to focus more on the accounting side, we recommend QuickBooks Online or QuickBooks Premier Nonprofit.
Small churches can start with Wave because it’s free, even if it cannot track separate funds, and has unlimited users. If your church needs an affordable payroll add-on, IconCMO is the best choice. For robust congregation management features, we recommend PowerChurch Plus because of its outstanding member profiles and church management functions.