3 Top-Rated Affordable Church Accounting Software

By: Ashish Upadhyay on May 1, 2024

Faith-based organizations aren’t businesses but have unique donation tracking, accounting, bookkeeping, and overall financial management needs that many traditional accounting software built for small businesses fail to handle. Those that do often come at a hefty price.

Fortunately, for accountants, bookkeepers, and other church staff in such organizations, there are dedicated software options that don’t burn a hole in the organization’s pocket, help track donations and tithes, and handle bookkeeping.

This article lists three top-rated church accounting software solutions based on verified user reviews and pricing found on vendor websites. Per our research, we’ve considered products with base plans priced less than $31.59 per month as affordable software and arranged them in ascending order of their prices. 

All products listed in the article are dedicated accounting solutions providing features and services for churches and other faith-based organizations. All the products offer the core features of church accounting software: accounts payable, accounts receivable, fund accounting, and general ledger.

What is a base software plan?

A base plan is the most affordable pricing tier offered by a software provider. Besides having the lowest price, base plans provide access to all core software features. However, they may have limitations compared to higher-tier plans in terms of the available functionality, storage capacity, number of user seats, support options, etc.

We selected products for this article based on their average ratings between April 2022 - April 2024, which may differ from their current overall average ratings.

1. Xero

Xero is an accounting software for nonprofit organizations. It has a built-in dashboard that helps monitor cash flow in and out. With this tool, you can create financial reports showcasing budgets for events and tax dues and share them with board members, donors, church leaders, and members. The software offers bank reconciliation to help identify any discrepancies in bank statements and ensure no errors in the records during tax filing.

With Xero’s base plan, you can track up to 20 monthly donations and tithe receipts. The advanced plan lets you create project-based tracking, which is helpful when running donation campaigns.

Base plan features*:

  • Forms management: Create and manage forms such as W-9s and 1099s to ensure accurate tax return filing for your organization. Additionally, you can create and view 1099 reports when you hire individual contractors for your church. 

  • Automated bank feeds: Get bank data into Xero with automated bank feeds and reconcile each bank transaction with the associated donation. The Xero dashboard displays an up-to-date view of your organization’s finances after bank reconciliation.

  • Project tracking: Create projects for donation drives, pledges, and campaigns and track the associated costs and budgets. You can also set location-based project tracking to track donations from specific geographies if your religious organization conducts a multi-city donation drive.

Starting price: $15 per month

Cost to upgrade: $42 per month

Billing cycle: Annual

Customer support options: Help center, FAQ, and email support

Who should consider Xero?

Churches often receive grants from foundations, government agencies, or other organizations to fund specific projects or initiatives. Managing grant funds requires careful tracking of expenses, adherence to grant guidelines, and reporting to grantors. Xero's project tracking and reporting capabilities enable churches to effectively monitor grant funds, ensure compliance with grant requirements, and provide accurate financial reports to grantors.

Xero

Xero

4.39 out of 5 stars

2889 reviews

Pro tip

Check for vendors who provide pledge-tracking features to help you track the donors’ pledges. Knowing the amount and timing of expected donations can simplify cash flow forecasting and ensure appropriate resource allocation to cover all expenses.

2. ZarMoney

ZarMoney is an accounting software that helps religious institutions automate their financial operations, manage funds and contributions from donors, and handle payroll for employees. The software is also helpful for end-to-end reporting that covers church expenses and donations.

ZarMoney’s base plan offers a single-user seat and unlimited transaction tracking, which helps track donations and accounting for church-related expenses. Additionally, the tool allows you to match individual transactions to specific donors and calculate which member/donor has donated the most in a given period. Upgrading to the advanced plan gives you multiple user seats, a dedicated account rep, and priority support.

Base plan features*:

  • Bank transaction importing: Import all bank transaction data and split them between church expenses and donations. You can also create rules that automatically categorize your bank transactions and add them to your books. This helps segregate cash flow in an out of your organization and makes bookkeeping easier. 

  • Bank deposits: Deposit a batch of checks or cash received through donations all at once to your banks. Once done, you can summarize all transactional activity, match it against your bank's deposits, and reconcile your books. 

  • Auto tax calculation: Apply tax exemptions when applicable, such as property tax exemptions and deductions in received donations during campaigns to meet the tax management needs of your organization, especially during tax filing season.

Starting price: $15 per month

Cost to upgrade: $20 per month

Billing cycle: Annual

Customer support options: Help center, FAQ, and email support

Who should consider ZarMoney?

ZarMoney's auto tax calculation feature can be particularly beneficial for churches with specific tax-exempt statuses or tax obligations related to federal, state, and property taxes. It can help them accurately calculate taxes on donations, purchases, and other transactions. This feature can save time and reduce the risk of errors, ensuring compliance with tax laws and regulations. It also offers fund accounting functionality, allowing churches to track funds separately for different purposes or ministries. This feature ensures that donations and expenses are allocated appropriately and in accordance with donor restrictions or designated funds.

ZarMoney

ZarMoney

4.68 out of 5 stars

85 reviews

3. QuickBooks Online

QuickBooks Online is an accounting solution that helps churches and other faith-based organizations manage cash flow, track expenses, and create detailed reports showcasing financial standing and income. The software also helps accept donations through various modes of payment, such as credit, debit, and ACH (automated clearing house) transfers.

With the base plan for QuickBooks Online, you get income and expense tracking, bank feeds that integrate with your bank account and sync your transactions with QuickBooks, and two user seats. Upgrading to the advanced plan lets you access timesheet management to track billable work hours for contractors, and a third user seat.

Base plan features*:

  • Multicurrency support: Record transactions and adjust reports in multiple currencies. Once you add an amount, the currency exchange rates update automatically. This is helpful for organizations that receive donations from multiple countries.

  • Timesheet management: Track and manage billable work hours for full-time employees and contractors to simplify payments and keep track of contractual payment invoices. 

  • Insights and reports: Create reports with specific data filters and groupings. This can include creating custom tags to tie donations to specific funds and analyze overall fund growth within a timeframe.

Starting price: $18 per month

Cost to upgrade: $28 per month

Billing cycle: Annual

Customer support options: Live chat, help center, FAQ, and email support

Who should consider QuickBooks Online?

Churches engaging in mission trips and projects abroad can benefit from the tool’s multicurrency support feature. This functionality will facilitate accurate financial reporting and expense allocation, helping users to track expenses and manage budgets in multiple currencies.. This is important for calculating VAT/GST liabilities and reclaiming input tax credits on eligible expenses incurred abroad.

QuickBooks Online

QuickBooks Online

4.32 out of 5 stars

6532 reviews

How much does church accounting software cost?

Church accounting software solutions can cost as low as $15 per month or up to $350+ per month, depending on various factors—features, number of users, infrastructure requirements, business size/type, training availability, deployment options, integrations, and customization options. Most church accounting solutions typically include the following pricing plans:

  • Free trials: Range from seven to 30 days and give users access to either all or limited features of the software. These no-cost trial plans are ideal for churches that wish to try out a tool before purchasing it.

  • Free versions: Offer perpetual access to limited software features. These free plans are ideal for small churches or individuals on a budget. 

  • Entry-level plans: Start at $15 per month and offer access to standard features. These are suitable for small churches or teams with basic church accounting feature requirements, such as fund accounting, general ledger, and basic reporting.

  • Mid-tier plans: Range from $14 to $60 per month and offer advanced features such as bank feeds, auto-transaction matching, online giving, customizable dashboards, and advanced reporting. These are suitable for churches that have outgrown entry-level church accounting solutions but don’t require the full range of functionality offered by enterprise-level tools.

  • High-end plans: Cost more than $350 per month and offer a range of advanced features, including unlimited access to entry-level and mid-tier features, priority customer support, and integrations with third-party systems. These are suitable for large churches with multiple team members and departments and extensive church accounting needs.

Hidden costs associated with church accounting software

Besides the software license, additional costs can include:

  • Training expenses: Initial training for new users and ongoing training for updates or new features can lead to additional costs.

  • Data migration costs: Migrating data from your existing system to the new tool may require expert assistance, adding to the software implementation cost.

  • Software upgrades: Additional costs may be incurred for software upgrades to access the latest church accounting features and security patches.

Frequently asked questions when selecting affordable church accounting software

  • Does the software support fund accounting?

Fund accounting is essential for churches to track restricted and unrestricted funds as specified by donors. You should inquire whether the software offers fund accounting features to manage donations and expenses in accordance with donor restrictions.

  • Is the software compliant with IRS requirements for tax-exempt organizations?

Churches must comply with IRS regulations for tax-exempt organizations, including filing Form 990 and maintaining proper documentation. Also, check whether the software helps ensure compliance with IRS requirements for tax-exempt status.

  • Does the software offer pledge-tracking capabilities? 

Many churches rely on pledges from members for fundraising campaigns and capital projects. They may seek accounting software that can track pledges, send reminders, and generate reports to monitor pledge fulfillment.


Methodology

To be considered for this list, products had to:

  • Have at least 20 unique product reviews published on Software Advice within the past two years, with an average rating of 3.0 or higher (as of April 03, 2024). 

  • Include the core features of church accounting software: accounts payable, accounts receivables, fund accounting, and general ledger.

  • Meet our market definition for church accounting software: “Church accounting software provides ministries specialized tools for church bookkeeping. It can be used for fund accounting, donation tracking, and payroll management. Churches often use accounting software to manage expenses and provide accurate financial reporting for their congregations.

  • For products that met the first three criteria, we assessed the monthly subscription price of the base plans and found the average price to be $31.59—we considered only products with publicly available pricing information. We then shortlisted products with a monthly base price lower than $31.59 for this article.

*Our research team identified these features from vendor websites (as of April 03, 2024) based on their analysis of what users find valuable in or expect from church accounting software. This list is not exhaustive. For additional features, refer to the vendor's website.  

We select and rank products based on an objective methodology developed by our research team. While some vendors may pay us when they receive web traffic or leads, this has no influence on our methodology.

Note: Products evaluated for the pricing calculation were taken from Software Advice’s church accounting directory. The pricing ranges exclude freemium versions of the products. The features highlighted were identified based on their relevance and the percentage of products in the Software Advice directory that offer them. Only products with publicly available pricing information, as of April 03, 2024, were considered for the pricing calculation.