ACS Financials or Quickbooks?
Churches often wonder, "Should we use church software that has accounting built in, or should we use a separate program like QuickBooks?"
James B. Jordan is a CPA that has audited over 200 churches of various denominations. He is considered to be an expert in the field of Financial Management for Churches. Here are some of his thoughts about what to consider when making this decision.
"When QuickBooks is used, the difficulty in discovering fraud goes up exponentially. . . My advice is to not use QuickBooks for the church or any organization related to the church. . . There are many different commercial applications where QuickBooks is appropriate, but a church is not one of them."
— James B. Jordan
- Was the software designed for Churches?
ACS Financials was built specifically for churches’, with the churches needs in mind. Although QuickBooks is a good accounting system, it was not designed for churches.
- Does your software integrate?
Having an accounting module that integrates with your church management software is essential for many churches. ACS Financials integrates with the Contributions module and with HeadMaster billing. QuickBooks does not integrate with any membership database that we are aware of.
- What kind of support is available?
ACS offers a live support person to speak with during our Support hours.
- What should I know about reporting options?
The reporting in ACS is more detailed than in QuickBooks. There are many standard reports in ACS, and lots of flexibility to customize the reports to meet your needs. QuickBooks has limitations with its reporting capabilities.
There are also guidelines for reporting that are required for non-profits. The standard advises that all non-profits must be able to produce a balance sheet by fund and other financial statements. Although QuickBooks provides you with a procedure for determining your fund balances, it cannot give you a Statement of Financial Position (balance sheet) by fund/class report.
- Does the software provide an audit trail?
ACS has controls in place that cannot be altered. If you post an expense to the wrong account, a journal entry is required to fix it, thereby creating an audit trail. In QuickBooks you have the ability to turn this feature off, opening up your institution to fraud.
“I have not discovered a way to commit fraud with ACS software. . . I have known this company all these years and have nothing but high regard for their software, their training, their support and their people.”
— James B. Jordan
For more valuable financial advice from James B. Jordan check out his book, Financial Management for Episcopal Churches, a great resource for any church explaining leadership and roles, as well as internal controls and processes.