Cloud Bookkeeping

No time like the present…

I have been “preaching” about working smarter not harder for several years now. To me, this means implementing automated processes when possible to ensure the mundane administrative tasks are taken care of as efficiently, securely and timely as possible – even when you are not in the building!

Why do this? Because you can save time, save effort, and save your church from bad things like embezzlement and fraud. In addition, you can work remotely!

Working more efficiently, with less manual intervention and at the same time building audit trails means you are working smarter not harder AND perhaps, more importantly, realigning your human and financial resources for your main purpose — your mission.

So, how does a church do this?

Bookkeeping: Subscribe to a monthly, cloud-based bookkeeping software provider. This is your “hub” for automating all of your church bookkeeping and creating a transparent and efficient system of stewardship. In addition, this tool will allow you to formally document your annual budget AND track your progress to the budget allowing for course corrections during the year.


Regular, monthly, necessary bills (i.e. utilities, rent, pest control, janitorial, security, rent):

  • Have the invoice emailed to your church email
  • Set up autopay through the vendor website where possible
  • Use your bookkeeping software to pay if you cannot set up autopay

“But we must have two signatures?” – Provide a report (easily from your bookkeeping software) of the bills paid each month for them to review. Better yet, show the comparison of the bills paid this month to last month or your budget so they can really see if the bill is in-line.

Once-in-a-while bills (maintenance, reimbursements and such)

  • Have the vendor email the invoice to you or better yet to your bookkeeping software unique email address.
  • Or “smart scan” by taking a picture with your phone on your bookkeeping app
  • Manually enter the information via your phone or tablet or pc.

You can even route these invoices for approvals based on your defined conditions, i.e. the amount, the category, the type of expense. Sometimes there is a small fee for this per invoice (like .99) and ACH payments are often free.


Online, recurring donations: This is the most reliable and constant form of donor support. Of course, it requires you have some type of web presence to receive these donations. (Did you know you can operate a website for as little as $10/month now?) Donations from the donor’s bank account are as little as $0.25/transaction to $0.00 and donations they charge to their credit cards have slight percentage fee for your organization. But think about it – no processing, depositing, internal control issues on your part.

Check Donations: Most donors can set up an automatic ACH transfer to your organization for free. Have you asked them to do this?

Get your congregation used to the idea of regular, recurring automated donations. If they must mail you a check, of course you will take care of that either the “old-fashioned” way OR you can deposit it by your phone to the church bank account.


  • Cloud-based subscription: By using a cloud-based bookkeeping software you can “sync” your bank account to the bookkeeping software. This means all your transactions come into your software automatically. No manual manipulation of the accounts. No manual entry required.
  • Classifying and Coding Transactions: With your bookkeeping software you can create “rules” for all of those banking transactions coming in. For example, every time the bank brings in a bill from your electric company, it automatically codes it to “utilities” and matches it to the copy of the bill you already loaded to the software (see Expenditure section above).
  • Reconciliations: The bank reconciliation is your main internal control for ensuring all financial transactions were recorded properly. With all of the automation mentioned above, your reconciliation is practically completed for you by month’s end! You review and finish coding any odd-ball transactions that have come in from the bank.

Now having an independent person(s) review the bank statement and your financial records is excellent internal controls and they will be able to do that on-line or manually with your cloud-based system.


  • Monthly Financial Reports: You can use the standard reports provided or customize them to your liking with most software. These reports are virtually available to you and whomever you have granted ‘report’ access in your software at any time.

Talk about transparency and accountability! You will have timely, standard financial statements with a comparison to your budget at your finger tips!

Payroll: Use a cloud payroll provider

  • Personnel payments: This is the most troublesome area of all for most churches. As a matter of fact, many churches we find are paying their pastors incorrectly because they do not have an understanding of the dual-tax status for pastors.
  • Government documentation: Most churches don’t realize they have not only a W-4, but also I-9, State Attorney General New Employee Notice and a declaration to employee that they are not entitled to unemployment pay if your church is not participating in SUTA or FUTA.
  • Monthly and Quarterly Tax Payments and Filing: Reporting in error, or not reporting at all means hundreds of dollars in fines and penalties.
  • Process from anywhere: Whomever is responsible for reviewing hours and processing can do so from anywhere when you are using a cloud provider.

We highly recommend using a payroll service that will sync to your cloud bookkeeping service. They are available now for less than $50/month and may save you thousands! They take care of payroll payments, tax payments, reporting, W-2’s and even contractor payments if you like.

So what are you waiting for? A company like GoodBooks can get you set up and going with total costs under $100/month. Is it worth it to you to have the peace of mind that this is all taken care of? Contact us today at or 1-210-802-1499.