There are some things that need to be done or checked before buying church accounting software.
Research is the most important thing to do when buying accounting software for a church. It is easy to compare various accounting software products over the Internet, as software companies have their own websites with FAQ sections. To further assist their customers, accounting software providers offer technical or customer support through email, telephone, or chat.
Installation requirements. Existing church computers should be checked if they meet the minimum software and hardware requirements necessary before the software can be installed, as most software packages are non-refundable. Software vendors list the minimum requirements in their websites. If the information is not available, make the necessary inquiries via email or toll-free number.
Budget requirements. The church’s budget for the software should also be considered. Software companies price their products differently. Some base their price based on the number of entries or members that can be entered in the system, while others price according to the number of applications installed in the program. The budget can also be influenced by the installation requirements in case existing computers cannot run the software to be installed. In this case, a decision will have to be made whether the purchase of new computers can be accommodated by the budget.
In addition, a church accounting software must be compatible to the fund management needs of the church. It is a good thing that many accounting software providers offer demo versions of their software programs. These demo versions can be downloaded easily from the sites of software companies and used for a certain period. You can try the software demo version for your actual church accounting needs to check if they are fully met. Try every feature of the accounting software as well. Create reports and show them to other parishioners to get their comments. A feature that one should look for is the audit trail, which can ensure transparency in handling church funds.
See if the accounting software can provide all the needs of your church. In addition to tracking down church finances, some software programs can also manage church events or activities, monitor church attendance, and store counseling records of church members. A number of software companies provide these features in various packages within the software, and each one is sold individually.
Extra Features. Software upgrades and ability to support multiple users are some features that you may want to consider when buying church accounting software. Some providers give free upgrades while you have to pay for it with others. Determine if this is a priority for you. Consider the growth rate of the church as additional records resulting from a high growth rate might necessitate software upgrades in the near future. Also, decide if the software is to be used in one church only, or to be connected thru a computer network to be used by different parishes that wish to use the same program. Having a software that can support multiple users will be more beneficial for the latter since users will have to access the software simultaneously.
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