Is QuickBooks Overkill for a Small Church?

by Marcus
(Charlotte, Texas USA)

I have recently been asked to serve as church treasurer for a small church in a small south Texas town.

Average regular Sunday worship attendance is about 100 men, women and children. The annual operating budget of the church is approximately $225,000 and the church has a total of 7 full time and part time employees. The total annual payroll is less than $120,000.

The person who has been serving as church treasurer has recently asked to be replaced and has been using QuickBooks for about 9 years, primarily because that is the accounting software used in the business where she is employed.

Although I have a background in accounting and finance, my initial impression is that QuickBooks is much too complicated for this small church and that it also produces more information than a small church really needs in order to properly account for both the revenues and the expenses of the church.

Are the products that you sell less complicated and less difficult to learn / understand than QuickBooks?

I have told my pastor and the stewardship/budget committee that I am willing to serve as treasurer for not more than 5 years (assuming I live to be 75) and at that point another person will need to assume these responsibilities; however, my belief is that in such a small church, finding someone who is able and willing to take the time to learn QuickBooks may be rather difficult and I am convinced that there must be a less difficult, simpler way to handle the accounting needs of a small church like ours.

Thanks for whatever advice you can provide me.

Vickey's Reply

My spreadsheets are free; however, they are just single entry and with a church your size a double entry system that can track assets and liabilities may be a better choice.

With QuickBooks already set up (which is the hard part in my opinion), it shouldn’t be too hard to teach a church treasurer how to enter data and run reports.

Who may find someone who loves QuickBooks when it is time to hand over the reins :-)

Contact me and I'll send you my spreadsheets to look over.

Comments for Is QuickBooks Overkill for a Small Church?

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Using QuickBooks
by: MarcusinTexas

Sandi---- after I submitted my original comments (now over 3 years ago)I decided to stick with QB, but when I ordered the QB 2010 software from I also ordered a copy of "QuickBooks for Dummies. That a good decision since that book answered virtually all of the questions I had and continue to have from time to time. I recommend it for anyone who is using the QB accounting system. To alleviate my concern about my eventual successor as church treasurer, I have been compiling an "Accounting Procedures Manual" to pass on to the person who will follow in just 3 more years when I turn 75 (unless God and I decide that I can hold on longer). Our annual church budget now exceeds $350,000 and we will be adding an eighth employee before the end of March 2013, so I am very glad that I have continued to use QB. Having an accounting background of over 40 years (rising from Accountant I to Exec. VP Finance when I retired) made learning QB easier once I got into the "Dummies" book, so having a strong accounting / finance background is a definite advantage. Sandi---Thanks mucho for your comments.

MarcusinTexas (Eagle Ford Shale country)

small church and QB
by: Sandi

I took over the bookkeeping a little over a year ago. Our Church has 45-50 people who attend (so your church seems large to me) and we have QB, learning it is not fun but as it is the program the church had I learned it (actually still learning).
With the tracking it provides I can see why churches should use it.
If it is set up properly inputing info goes fairly quickly, I have been trying to make detail notes for all transactions I input so the person who takes over will have an easier time than I have....

Streamlining QB for Small Churches
by: Marcus in Texas

More information on streamlining QB for a small church environment would be greatly appreciated. Any advice anyone can provide will be most helpful.

Quickbooks can be streamlined.
by: Anonymous

I'm the bookkeeper at our church of about 100 people with an annual budget of $215,000. We use Quickbooks. It was set up to begin with when I took over and I had no knowledge of how to work Quickbooks but with a few instructional books I learned very quickly.

The previous bookkeeper had not "streamlined" quickbooks to fit a small church so her way of doing things were difficult. I have streamlined and only use what is applicable for our small church.

The payroll feature is invaluable for me. I would highly suggest using Quickbooks for this size church especially with 7 people on the payroll.

It keeps track of all our W/comp payments we need to make for the state along with Federal payroll taxes - company and deductions for those who are not Ministers. At the end of the year and a click of the button, it prints out my W-2's along with my W-3's and can be set up to print out 1099's/1096's when needed.

Vickey's Reply:

Thank you very much for your comment. If you or any other readers have time, could you give us some tips on how you streamlined QuickBooks for your church?


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