Today’s blog post is written by Scott Goodger, General Manager for one of our Ministry Brands partners. QuickBooks is a marketing leader for small business finances. Churches often gravitate to this option because it’s recommended by other nonprofits. But because of most church’s unique financial management needs, QuickBooks for churches is rarely the optimal choice. Researchers predict worldwide church financial fraud to reach $80 billion by 2025. That is an increase at an annual rate of more than six percent. How a ministry handles its accounting and financials are more critical today than ever. QuickBooks various iterations control nearly 80% of the market share of US businesses, with over 2.5 million subscribers. But just because this financial software works for a local cupcake shop doesn’t mean it’s the best option for churches with unique needs. Here are four reasons why QuickBooks and QuickBooks Online aren’t the best solutions for churches: #1 – QUICKBOOKS AND QUICKBOOKS ONLINE DON’T SPECIALIZE IN NON-PROFITS Accounting for non-profits, churches, in particular, is different than for regular, for-profit businesses. Churches have different needs, different issues, and different tax considerations. Consider this example: A contractor could use a Prius in his construction business, but would he want to? Wouldn’t a vehicle built for carrying lumber and driving on dirt roads better serve his needs? In the same way, a good Church Management Software package like Shelby Financials is built for churches. It’s the right tool for the job. #2 – QUICKBOOKS AND QUICKBOOKS ONLINE AREN’T MADE FOR CHURCHES OUT-OF-THE-BOX QuickBooks and QuickBooks Online are for small businesses. It’s solid software, built over time to accomplish its main goal: To become a user-friendly solution for entrepreneurs and small corporations. However, the first thing a church must do when they use Quickbooks is to change the way it works. Thick books have been written and hours of online video courses have been recorded touting work-around systems. It takes effort to get QuickBooks and QuickBooks Online “set up properly” for ministries—even when using the “Not-for-Profit” edition. Instead of wasting time rewriting software functions, churches should find an accounting system created for their needs. #3 – QUICKBOOKS AND QUICKBOOKS ONLINE DON’T TRACK DONORS AND DONATIONS EASILY Tracking online and offline giving by individual donors becomes a huge headache with QuickBooks and QuickBooks Online. Imagine tracking donations as “sales,” and having to issue “sales receipts”—or “refund sales” if a check bounces. We’ve seen churches create workarounds like this…and regret it. The more time a church is anchored in one software solution, the more complicated it gets to dig out of the hole. Instead, we recommend churches don’t start digging that hole in the first place! #4 – QUICKBOOKS AND QUICKBOOKS ONLINE DOESN’T INTEGRATE WELL (IF AT ALL) WITH OTHER CHURCH SOFTWARE Do you want to build your member database and track check-ins to children’s church, Sunday School and small groups? QuickBooks and QuickBooks Online aren’t made for that…so you’ll be using a secondary system to complete your church’s needs. Most likely, that secondary system doesn’t directly integrate with QuickBooks or QuickBooks Online because Intuit’s software is made for completely different purposes. Shelby Software is built by pastors and leaders with real-life experience in the ministry. We know the kinds of connections you want to make between your software programs…and all of them are set up properly by default, right out-of-the-box. Partnering with a financial software solution specifically designed for churches makes accounting fast, easy and GAAP compliant. In addition to being integrated with great accounting software for churches, Shelby Systems also handles member management, integrated online and offline giving, background checks, mass messaging and more. It works on any computer with a modern browser. Shelby Financials is the standard in church accounting with over four decades of experience. General ledger, payroll, accounts receivable, and accounts payable are just some of the features and functions available. Click here to schedule a free demo of everything Shelby Financials can do for you. We’re convinced once you see how much time our software solution will save you, you’ll be ready to ditch QuickBooks for good. Stay tuned for an actual story from a church where Shelby Software saved the church from potential fraud. ShelbyNext Financials includes the accounting functionality churches need to properly steward their finances. As you consider various accounting software options, keep in mind that software which isn’t specifically geared towards non-profit organizations may not have all the GAAP required features that you and your auditors need. Also, if you prefer an all-in-one ChMS and accounting solution, you have the option to integrate with ShelbyNext Financials ShelbyNext Membership, Shelby Arena, or other Ministry Brands products.