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5 Reasons Churches Benefit from Having an Integrated Accounting Solution

How much time does your church spend each week entering contributions into one software program, pulling a fund summary report, and handing that off to a financial administrator, who then enters those totals into a separate accounting software program? 

Or better yet… it’s January…time to close out the books from the previous year and begin the grueling process of creating and distributing contribution statements. What does that process look like for your church?

The accounting needs of a church are very different (as you know) from what a for-profit business needs. ACS Technologies was founded 45+ years ago to help solve challenges like the ones I mentioned above, creating a fund-based accounting system that understands the nuances of the day-to-day financial bookkeeping specifically for churches. That being said, we know how beneficial it is for a church to have a native accounting solution integrated with its church management software.

The term “integrated” can sometimes be used in a way that doesn’t align with what we at ACS Technologies believe it truly means. To us, an integrated accounting solution means that you, as a church staff member, are managing one system of record. Tasks such as contribution posting or managing event payments are streamlined into your bookkeeping, eliminating many challenges while you gain multiple benefits.

Here are 5 benefits your church can gain from having a truly integrated accounting solution:

1. Streamline Contribution Posting

It’s time-consuming for a Financial Administrator to hop in and out of multiple software programs each week just to enter contributions for the church. Not only can this be time-consuming (and downright frustrating), but it also creates opportunities for human errors that may not be caught for months at a time. 

Having an integrated accounting solution like Realm Accounting eliminates these extra steps, giving your Financial Administrator(s) time back in their day and minimizing human error entry. Link your funds to primary checking and offset accounts, and boom! Call it a day!

2. Save time on Journal Entries

Do you ever come in on Thursday morning to phone calls from two to three members of your congregation who just can’t seem to write down the correct fund on their check each Sunday? You love these members—they’re your most loyal participants! But bless, it’s a weekly challenge to fix these contributions. You have to update the batch, update the contribution statement, and so on and so on.

When you have one system of record that houses both contributions and accounting, you don’t have to hop in and out of multiple software solutions to make everything balanced and correct! Realm allows you to update the batch, reallocate the funds, update the contribution statement, and create the journal entry with ONE click. 

3. Accurate Reporting

Often, when I speak with ministries that use one system for contributions and another for accounting, they say it’s a struggle to generate accurate reports because the two systems don’t communicate with each other.

If this sounds like your church, then you know that monthly financial meetings can be frustrating as no one has a clear understanding of where the church sits to budget. We as a church are called to be good stewards of the resources God provides; it’s difficult to know if you are fulfilling this call without a system that can provide transparent reporting.

With a solution that has a native accounting system comes the peace of mind and surety of knowing reports, such as your Statement of Activities, are accurate. 

4. Post Event Payments

One key effort a church can exercise to grow its ministry and engage its community is Registration Events. As you know, these events take in payments that will need to be recorded in the church’s books for budgetary reasons. As most churches rely heavily on volunteers to organize and run these types of events, critical information such as total income from an event doesn’t always make it to a financial administrator so that it can be recorded in the church’s ledger. 

It’s difficult for a church to budget for annual events, let alone know if an event is worth hosting again if there isn’t a clear path to streamlining event payments into the budget.

This is simple and easy when your accounting system is built into your church management software.

5. Secured Accounting Oversight 

“If we have our bookkeeping inside our church management solution, won’t everyone be able to see our financials? We’re worried information won’t be secure.”

This is a common and relevant concern that is brought up to us when having conversations around Realm. Frankly, it’s a question I’d want answered before even considering looking at a solution that integrates accounting. So how does Realm provide a fully integrated solution for a church, from everything to Church Management to Accounting, and still keep information secure?

Most churches utilize volunteers along with a few staff members to keep the ship running, so it’s not uncommon to have the same person who’s entering in attendance also perform financial tasks such as generating invoices. Within Realm, you can create Roles with specific responsibilities tied to them to allow individuals to fulfill their duties while blocking access to sensitive information. I like to think about it in terms of online banking. If I log into my credit union online, I can’t see anyone else’s checking account but my own. It works the same way in Realm! Realm allows you to tie visibility and access to roles you designate for your staff and volunteers.

This also provides an easy way to transition through staff and volunteer changes so that crucial information doesn’t leave when a person rotates out of a role. 

The Goal

Serving churches as long as we have, we understand that most want an easy and secure way to operate the day-to-day functions of their church so they can spend more time focusing on who they’re called to serve–the church body. Our goal is to provide a software solution that can meet and exceed this expectation. That’s how we serve the Kingdom, by serving the church.

Who knew accounting could be so spiritual?

Jenna Wallace

Jenna joined the ACST team in February 2020 as a Ministry Consultant for small to mid-size churches with a focus on empowering these ministries with the tools they need to accomplish their goals. She believes regardless of the size of the ministry, each church can utilize technology to fulfill the calling God has given them. Prior to joining ACST, she spent several years as a Sales Consultant across multiple industries, all focusing on relationship building, which she feels has allowed her to provide trusted advice to those in need. Jenna is passionate about helping others which fuels her eagerness to serve.