There has been passed down in the church office a criteria for church software that is no longer applicable today. Not only is it not applicable, it can be detrimental to a church's growth if it causes a church to select the wrong software solutions needed to properly fulfill its mission and ministry.
In the early days of church software, I would argue that the above statement was true. There were little to no standards in the software business back then, so it was important to get a comprehensive solution from one company.
Times have changed.
There are three main scenarios where the ChMS and CFS have data common.
There are two fundamental pieces of data related to financial contributions.
The total for each of these funds needs to be reflected in the general ledger. The detail of each gift needs to be stored on an individual's record.
So the sum goes to the general ledger in the CFS, while the details stay in the ChMS.
Let's follow a Sunday morning offering. For this example ten people each gave an offering of $20 to the General Fund. The total offering was $200.
With so many regulations, industry standards, and Generally Accepted Accounting Principals (GAAP) specific to non-profits, it can take a lot of resources from a software company to ensure the quality of its financial software. From ongoing development to ongoing support to maintaining GAAP standards, it can be easy for a software company who specializes in both ChMS and CFS to focus more on the CFS while its ChMS does not get the development and support you as the customer expect. While software companies do their best to not let this happen, due to the nature of church financials, they will err on making sure the CFS is the best it can be.
You are free to choose the best ChMS for your church and the best CFS for your church.
The goal of this article is not to steer you toward or away from any specific software solution. The goal is to provide an accurate picture of the relationship between Church Management Systems (ChMS) and Church Financial Systems (CFS) so you can select the best combination for your church or ministry.
What criteria are important for your church in selecting ChMS and/or CFS?
Steve's passion is to help ministers and churches do ministry in our new digital, social, mobile world at the speed of life through building a strong ministry infrastructure (minfrasTructure). With a background in church administration, Christian education, missions, and technology, he offers advice, tips, and tools through writing, blogging, speaking, online courses, consulting, and personal coaching.
Please log in again. The login page will open in a new tab. After logging in you can close it and return to this page.