In spite of the mega churches of Joel Osteen, T. D. Jakes and Rick Warren, smaller churches are still most prevalent in the United States. Though smaller churches do not bring in the multimillion dollar income of mega churches, they are still considered to be organizations (often non-profit) and must keep accurate and consistent accounting records for operations and tax purposes. Many smaller churches do not have the budgets to hire an accounting staff or utilize complex software; however, there are inexpensive ways to keep accurate accounting records with a little computer skill.
Spreadsheets can be a cost-effective way to keep accounting records for your church. Excel spreadsheets can be created to calculate monthly and yearly totals for tithes, bills, supplies (such as Bibles and Sunday school literature) and donations. Spreadsheets can also be printed and distributed as a means to provide documentation or records.
Because of its low cost and ease of use, Quickbooks has become a popular accounting software program for smaller churches that receive a considerable amount of donations and grants. The non-profit version of Quickbooks provides smaller churches with an opportunity to do the following: keep track of both income and expenses, create letters for donors and prepare IRS forms 990, which is used by non-profit organizations to file taxes. Also, Quickbooks is compatible with Microsoft Office programs such as Word, Excel and Outlook.
Much like Quickbooks, Flockbase is a software program that can be purchased for download. In fact, Flockbase was specifically designed for smaller and medium-size churches. Churches that invest in the Flockbase software will be able to group donations into deposits, provide accounting statements to church members and export deposits and statements to Quickbooks. Other features include the ability to document the personal information of church members (address, phone numbers, birthdays) and to keep track of monies given by members of the church. As with Quickbooks, Flockbase can be purchased for download. The downloadable file should be saved to your hard drive and then installed by hitting the "run" tab when it appears.