114 reviews

ACS

Cloud-based church management and accounting software

3,9 /5 (114 reviews) Write a Review!
Overall rating
3,9
/
5
Value for Money
3,5
Features
3,7
Ease of Use
3,4
Customer Support
4,5
68% recommended this app
114 reviews
Verified Reviewer
Industry: Religious Institutions
Company size: 2-10 Employees

A Great Product Overall with World-Class Customer Service

Used Daily for 2+ years
Reviewed on 2018/09/25
Review Source: Capterra

ACS is a church software product with several different suites to choose from. I found the People Suite, then Realm, extremely helpful in keeping member records, and the Financial Suite gives the church the reports and information needed for making budget decisions.

Pros

ACS Realm is a simpler version of ACS People Suite, and much more intuitive. The implementation was smooth and the transition fully backed by their wonderful customer service. I also love getting a live, knowledgeable person on the phone within a few seconds of calling.
Payroll is also very easy in ACS Financial Suite.

Cons

The Financial Suite is not intuitive, but mistakes have gotten easier to fix due to upgrades. The church is still waiting to switch to ACS Realm Financials, as payroll cannot be done there, despite well over a year of promises that it is happening soon. It would be helpful for Realm input of donations to flow to the Financial Suite.
Also, ACS People Suite gave options for certain reports that cannot be run in ACS Realm.

Rating breakdown

Value for Money
Ease of Use
Customer Support

Likelihood to recommend: 10.0/10

Susan C.
Industry: Religious Institutions
Company size: 11-50 Employees

Solid Church Software

Used Daily for 2+ years
Reviewed on 2020/01/22
Review Source: Capterra

We use ACS to keep track of our members. To track groups and to allow easy communication through email or mass mailings.

Pros

The attendance module has allowed us to automate a process that used to take many man hours. It has also improved our ability to keep in touch with our members.

Cons

The reporting feature of the software is highly customizable which is great for it's ability to enable you pull information exactly how you need it, but it makes it's user friendliness a bit lacking.

Rating breakdown

Value for Money
Ease of Use
Customer Support

Likelihood to recommend: 7.0/10

Verified Reviewer
Industry: Religious Institutions
Company size: 11-50 Employees

There are better options

Used Monthly for 2+ years
Reviewed on 2020/10/30
Review Source: Capterra

To be fair, it's been a few years since I have spoken to ACS customer support and they were friendly and tried to be very helpful at the time, but it wasn't a good experience. We had issues with updating older versions of the software and trying to make it work within our own bylaws and Canadian law, which wasn't on ACS as a software manufacturer, but it didn't help the overall experience. There seemed to be a disconnect between how we were (poorly) implementing the software and struggling with teaching staff and the way in which the ACS team communicated to us and told us to get excited about functionality that never worked in our context because of difficulty of implementation. Thankfully, there are better software options out there today - including Realm, which we transferred to from ACS and have had better luck.

Pros

If you spent a lot of time setting things up and were using it daily, ACS seems to have the capability to have good functionality. I've been in two different organizations where that wasn't the case, and heard similar things from other users, which meant ACS was something that I used only when I really couldn't get someone else to do the thing I needed, or I really needed to find a piece of information. It seems to be a great place to store all kinds of information.

Cons

The user interface was difficult, making learning it (and teaching it to church staff who are often technically slower) very difficult. Because people never learned it, it was used poorly and data was sometimes out of date, making the whole database only really functional for the financial side of things and we never managed to get the use out of it that we often hoped and tried for. Overall it was a frustrating piece of software when we had to engage with it and people would create their own systems and spreadsheets as work arounds.

Rating breakdown

Ease of Use

Likelihood to recommend: 2.0/10

Josh E.
Industry: Religious Institutions
Company size: 11-50 Employees

Aching for ACS

Used Daily for 2+ years
Reviewed on 2019/09/30
Review Source: Capterra

The customer service at ACS is outstanding and would recommend this company and their products to anyone.

Pros

This software was the solution we needed. When ACS Realm is fully launched, we will find that our questions will be answered with the product provided.

Cons

Sometimes the software can be clunky and not able to fully customize the solution we need but then the question is asked, "What do I really need to do?"

Rating breakdown

Value for Money
Ease of Use
Customer Support

Likelihood to recommend: 8.0/10

Verified Reviewer
Industry: Religious Institutions
Company size: 11-50 Employees

ACS for First Church

Used Daily for 2+ years
Reviewed on 2018/10/03
Review Source: Capterra

Pledgers who are not attending.

Pros

Reports, tracking a stewardship campaign over several years, customer service is tops.

Cons

Uses a software that doesn't convert excel spreadsheets into a functional spreadsheet. The columns do not keep the formulas. Therefore you have to make the formulas in a new column. Multiply steps for reports. Should have more reports that are already set up in the software.

Rating breakdown

Value for Money
Ease of Use
Customer Support

Likelihood to recommend: 7.0/10

Verified Reviewer
Industry: Marketing & Advertising
Company size: 2-10 Employees

ACS is overall okay.

Used Daily for 2+ years
Reviewed on 2018/09/16
Review Source: Capterra

Pros

I like how it stores a lot of information and that the customer service is always very prompt.

Cons

I do not like the ​interface, it is outdated and can be confusing.

Rating breakdown

Value for Money
Ease of Use
Customer Support

Likelihood to recommend: 7.0/10

Amy H.
Industry: Automotive
Company size: 2-10 Employees

Used ACS for 7 years

Used Other for 2+ years
Reviewed on 2020/11/17
Review Source: Capterra

When we had talks of switching the software to a new company ACS was so far behind that we wouldnt have even been able to transfer our database into a new system

Pros

I worked as a pastoral assisant for 7 years at my church and we used this software. I found the system to be very outdated and difficult to use, the only thing I liked about it was the customer service when you had a question.

Cons

Honeslty the software is stuck in the 90s, I am shocked how far behind the programing is, it was not user friendly at all/

Rating breakdown

Ease of Use
Customer Support

Likelihood to recommend: 2.0/10

Andrew H.
Industry: Nonprofit Organization Management
Company size: 11-50 Employees

It's reliable yet dated church management software

Used Weekly for 2+ years
Reviewed on 2019/04/15
Review Source: Capterra

We have been ACS users for probably close to 10 years and it works, it does work. However, we are in the process of switching to The Rock and, although it's much more powerful, The Rock also requires a greater size management team with technical programming proficiencies. When choosing your management software, you'll pay for it one way or another. In my opinion, ACS is a great solution for small to medium size churches...say up to 2000 people.

Pros

ACS is a fairly reliable and robust church management software useful for, among other things, managing your general ledger, giving, kids check-in, and people database. If you're a musician, I could tell you that it's like a Shure SM58 vocal microphone...you can drop it 100 times and it still works great...but other mics sound better...and may cost more.

Cons

It is very much out of date according to today's standards. It seems to prefer a large amount of bandwidth for our kids checkin machines running ACS for checkin...it technically isn't a ton of data, but ACS really seems to prefer having a big pipe for it, network wise. ACS is fairly limited in who can and should have access to different parts of it. My biggest complain, though, would be that ACS just hasn't kept up with the development side of their platform to match the technology that everyone is used to using in 2019.

Rating breakdown

Value for Money
Ease of Use
Customer Support

Likelihood to recommend: 4.0/10

Corey S.
Industry: Education Management
Company size: 201-500 Employees

I used ACS in my previous job as a Finance Manager for a church

Used Daily for 1+ year
Reviewed on 2018/05/10
Review Source: Capterra

Pros

I really liked the ease of use and the features that ACS offered for church and school management. Also, ACS's customer service and development teams were incredible.

Cons

At times, the wait time for customer service was rather lengthy, especially around peak seasons like in February and March near tax time.

Rating breakdown

Value for Money
Ease of Use
Customer Support

Likelihood to recommend: 9.0/10

Anthony M.
Industry: Religious Institutions
Company size: 11-50 Employees

ACS is a financial/membership workhorse for our church

Used Weekly for 2+ years
Reviewed on 2020/02/06
Review Source: Capterra

ACS has been an invaluable tool for us to manage the finances and membership of our church. It handles details which allows us to focus on ministry.

Pros

The ability to sort individuals and groups within the larger congregation. We have set up numerous subgroups in our congregation and use ACS to generate our directories.

Cons

Some categories could not be customized as we would have liked. In the people arm, some fields were mandatory even if unnecessary for our purposes.

Rating breakdown

Value for Money
Ease of Use
Customer Support

Likelihood to recommend: 10.0/10

Brian M.
Industry: Religious Institutions

ACS - great value for churches and small nonprofits

Reviewed on 2016/03/25
Review Source: SoftwareAdvice

Pros

As a small nonprofit, we have used ACS General Ledger, People, and Contributions for over 15 years. What I like best is that it is an affordable, integrated, double-entry accounting system designed specifically for churches and small non-profit organizations. The People and Contributions modules allow us to easily monitor pledges, acknowledge donations, summarize gifts by fund, and report on subsets of our donor base using criteria we choose. The General Ledger offers the custom budget-actual reports and statement of financial position (non-profit balance sheet), as well as the summary of restricted accounts that is not found in typical for-profit packages. ACS also allows your administrator to set specific user permissions customization, so you can limit each user to only the functions that he or she needs.

Vendor support is key, and we have found the vendor support behind ACS to be very solid. The software does not do everything, but what it does it does well. When we have had problems or questions, ACS technical support has pro-actively worked them out. In most support sessions, the ACS rep is temporarily granted remote control of our local computers and works directly with our data and reports. Support reps are readily available when we call, and they are very knowledgeable of the product.

Cons

Overall, we like ACS. I don't have a lot of criticism. The addition of a functional expense statement would be very helpful, since this is the format used by the IRS on Form 990 (required of most 403(b) organizations but not for most churches). Direct delivery of GL reports by email would also be helpful, but printing to pdf and emailing is not terribly difficult. As our number of donor records and years of data have grown, I have found the software to slow down somewhat, particularly when running custom extracts of donor data.

Rating breakdown

Ease of Use
Customer Support

Likelihood to recommend: 8.0/10

Jo S.
Industry: Nonprofit Organization Management
Company size: 11-50 Employees

Documentation lacking, some add-on modules don't mesh well, reporting in Access sorely lacking.

Used Daily for 2+ years
Reviewed on 2016/07/05
Review Source: Capterra

In general, many of the features of your software are frustrating and not intuitive. I was a programmer and it seems your programmers need to spend more time using the product in real world applications. It should be word like in functions like word. Copying and pasting, formatting those types of applications.

Pros

#1 Pro is that ACS addresses the most important tasks a church is in need of.

Cons

I have found many thing that weren't intuitive. Uploading of photos ok although no way to standardize within the program (cropping sorely needed) and downloading photos isn't intuitive. The modules are limited, all the data in Access needs to transfer into the people suite for reporting purposes. Access pretty useless for reporting purposes. Using the volunteer management is not really practical to use as intended. Although you have made changes where you can transmit data to excel or word. OnDemand stings because you can't save locally in an easy manner. Many times our church has served more or less as your beta testing because we actually try to use all the features and give feedback but we get nothing in return for that. We only do that because it is lacking features or functionality.

Rating breakdown

Value for Money
Ease of Use
Customer Support

Likelihood to recommend: 2.0/10

Suzanne M.
Industry: Nonprofit Organization Management
Company size: 11-50 Employees

Exploring software for your church - consider ACS.

Used Daily for 2+ years
Reviewed on 2019/07/26
Review Source: Capterra

My experience with ACS has been very good. I started with them when we all had DOS computers and moved up to the windows platform. Now, we are able to have versions of the software on our phone. The system has the capability of being backed up to the cloud and does not need to be kept on your church's server. There is also an alternative for more contemporary churches called "Realm."

Pros

ACS gives you the total package in church software. It helps you efficiently mange both the "people" side of the job and the "accounting" and numbers side and will allow them to communicate with each other. There are several modules that will allow you to track different aspects of the member or prospect in the life of the church and this system does it very effectively. It has been around for a long time and they have perfected the software.

Cons

Because the software does so many functions and can be tailored to almost any church of any size or situation, it can be a little confusing. Therefore, training is vital. They excel in offering wonderful training through their company and through local trainers.

Rating breakdown

Value for Money
Ease of Use
Customer Support

Likelihood to recommend: 10.0/10

Verified Reviewer
Industry: Religious Institutions
Company size: 11-50 Employees

Bulletproof, contains all the core functionality, but dated

Used Daily for 2+ years
Reviewed on 2018/01/10
Review Source: Capterra

Crucial information that aids in caring for our church family.

Pros

I love that this software has been refined and is extremely reliable and fast. Efficient data entry and keyboard functionality. Powerful reporting. Covers the basics of what a ChMS should offer with ease, speed and power.

Cons

This software is dated. It's "cloud" based, but lacks lots of modern communication tools such as text communication, easy email distribution and remote web-based functions like small group attendance, and volunteer management. In all honesty, ACS is so big and has so many add-on features, it can probably do all of these things, but it's hard to know all of the functionality because it's not easily explained anywhere (and I've been a user for 12 years).

Also, it's reporting process is not difficult for someone with some background in reports, but it's far too complex for an average pastor or lay-leader to use - which requires a database person to run reports.

Also, no customizable dashboards, etc.

So, it will probably do most everything you want, but you'll need a ChMS expert to figure it all out and run the reports...

Rating breakdown

Value for Money
Ease of Use
Customer Support

Likelihood to recommend: 6.0/10

Aimee R.
Industry: Religious Institutions
Company size: 11-50 Employees

ACS is okay...

Used Daily for 2+ years
Reviewed on 2017/07/14
Review Source: Capterra

We can keep track of our members and visitors and keep good records for visitation.

Pros

The transition from Servant Keeper to ACS was smooth. The onboarding team and the customer service reps are easy to work with and try to be as helpful as possible. The Church Life app is great, and has been a blessing to our church members.

Cons

Working through a separate "portal" is a total pain. The software seems like it's not advancing with the times, and I would much prefer a true "cloud" based system. We are often "kicked off" the portal and have to log in again. We also have difficulty with AccessACS, because it can only be accessed by a Windows based browser (and we all use Mac computers). It's a bit of a hassle to access AccessACS through a separate browser to do the needed uploading tasks and helping our folks with their passwords and such. Finally, they really haven't updated much in the software. It's stagnant, and I see some areas where we may want to explore more modern technology.

Rating breakdown

Value for Money
Ease of Use
Customer Support

Likelihood to recommend: 3.0/10

Verified Reviewer
Industry: Information Technology & Services
Company size: 11-50 Employees

Great Functionality Needs Upgrade

Used Daily for 2+ years
Reviewed on 2018/12/12
Review Source: Capterra

We used ACS for everything for several years, but now only use them for financials. We moved to a more user friendly platform for our users. This is a give and take situation the new system is more user friendly, but not as feature rich as ACS.

Pros

This software will do most anything you want with great support especially with Megachurch support. It is built for all kinds of churches and includes all the modules you would need. ACS is one of the only church management systems that include a financial module that will manage GL accounts as well as POs.

Cons

Software needs to be upgraded from the backend. Speed is an issue when running large reports and I think SQL would help this. This software is feature rich so it makes it not so user friendly sometimes and it kinda has a 90s look in several areas. NO API ACCESS.

Rating breakdown

Value for Money
Ease of Use
Customer Support

Likelihood to recommend: 8.0/10

Nadine M.
Industry: Nonprofit Organization Management
Company size: 11-50 Employees

ACS - small group management

Used Daily for 2+ years
Reviewed on 2016/06/12
Review Source: Capterra

We are a non-denom multi-site church in the DC suburbs (predominantly African-American) with apx 4000 in weekly attendance and 10,000 watching services online. We chose ACS software over the competition because it was robust enough to meet our needs. And like most churches...our needs are varied and nuanced.

Pros

1. The customer support!!!! If I can't figure out how to do something, there are so many ways to get help: Phone calls to a live person that walks me through things step-by-step, webinars, other ACS users in different online communities, etc.
2. The flexibility of the product and how it's grown...and continues to grow...to meet our needs.

Cons

The volunteer management piece isn't as directly integrated as we would like.

Rating breakdown

Value for Money
Ease of Use
Customer Support

Likelihood to recommend: 10.0/10

Chris S.
Industry: Nonprofit Organization Management
Company size: 2-10 Employees

As Great as You Can Make It

Used Daily for 2+ years
Reviewed on 2019/02/01
Review Source: Capterra

This software is amazing one-stop shop for database, scheduling, volunteer, financial, and communication software.

Pros

My title may be odd but it describes this software. This software is very powerful and its capabilities are far greater than any church I have ever worked at has taken advantage of. It is marvelous in it's simplicity but also the sky is the limit with regards to it's complexity in it's ability to create reports, schedule volunteers, and communicate with teams.

Cons

It is a very steep learning curve. Although the customer service is excellent, but it is important to remember that the learning curve is high if you have a transition in staff (give them time to learn and use the tutorials.)

Rating breakdown

Value for Money
Ease of Use
Customer Support

Likelihood to recommend: 9.0/10

Verified Reviewer
Industry: Religious Institutions
Company size: 51-200 Employees

Legacy ACS Suite is Not Your Beat Option

Used Daily for 2+ years
Reviewed on 2020/01/08
Review Source: Capterra

Excellent customer service. Realm product is am improvement. Financials package is still an industry leader.

Pros

Robust, lots of functions, built with churches in mind

Cons

Clunky, slow, old interface, can't adapt to ongoing demands of changing churches

Rating breakdown

Value for Money
Ease of Use
Customer Support

Likelihood to recommend: 3.0/10

Sally P.
Industry: Religious Institutions
Company size: 11-50 Employees

What happened to the wonderful ACS of past?

Used Daily for 2+ years
Reviewed on 2020/06/13
Review Source: Capterra

Back with the awesomely designed old ACS On Demand I was a huge fan of everything about this company - great support - robust trouble-free (rarely had a file corruption issue) modules with tremendous flexibility. The new Realm products - For the price they are charging - we would be as well served with Quickbooks.
Don't get me wrong - I'm all about paying for quality but this Realm product falls short on too many important features.

Pros

ACS had fantastic software until they created Realm Giving and Realm Accounting and decided to care more about form than function, and "dumbed" down the flexibility of the accounting module. Their outstanding reputation is based on the old versions I believe. I am currently looking to overhaul our entire system at tremendous expense because the new accounting interface does not work the way I need it - we are locked out of any contra-accounting interface due to the product management team's decision to "appeal to non-accounting people" - If you are serious about your job then that should say it all.

Cons

There are absolutely no drill-downs in the new system - no calculation features and it is over-engineered so that nearly every entry field has a drop down box - really, really, really slows you down if you have a large JE to process - and if you just fill in the box and don't go through all the steps, half the time it loses that entry. I also can no longer run event and other income smoothly and directly to a contra-expense. The product management people have decided that they understand accounting better than professional users.

Rating breakdown

Value for Money
Ease of Use
Customer Support

Likelihood to recommend: 0.0/10

David S.
Industry: Religious Institutions
Company size: 2-10 Employees

Not Easy or Quick to Use

Used Daily for 2+ years
Reviewed on 2020/01/22
Review Source: Capterra

The old ACS system is just much too dated and expensive for current usage. ACS does have a new product called Realm that is supposed to be much easier and more flexible to use. I have looked at some of the demos for Realm and it does look like a vast improvement. If a church were to consider using ACS, I would encourage them to either specifically look at ACS' Realm product or go with another vendor entirely.

Pros

The best aspect of ACS is that it can hold and track a massive amount of diverse data. You can track all of the things you would expect in a database like names, contact info, birthdates, etc. As a church, you can track the first time someone attended, when they got baptized, and other random bits of info you may want to keep.

Cons

The traditional ACS system is incredibly difficult and cumbersome to use. Its computer app interface looks like it was made 20 years ago; it is not aesthetically pleasing. It requires hours and hours of training to learn how to use (they hold training sessions at different locations throughout the year and have various online helps). Running what you would think would be simple reports is not easy (I have had to pull together updated reports that have members names and addresses to do mailings. I have had to call ACS to have them walk me through how to do such reports as doing so is in no way intuitive. Also, using the computer app program to login to ACS takes several minutes to log into, which can be frustrating if all you are trying to do is look up a phone number (they do have a webbased platform where you can log in, but its function is not as robust in what it can do as the computer-based app, which as I said is slow and cumbersome).

Rating breakdown

Value for Money
Ease of Use

Likelihood to recommend: 0.0/10

Jean K.
Industry: Religious Institutions
Company size: 11-50 Employees

ACS - Finance - People - Headmaster

Used Daily for 6-12 months
Reviewed on 2018/08/03
Review Source: Capterra

We selected this product years ago, because we needed a church database software that could do a good job with Finance/General Ledger processes. The product we were using at the time did not perform well. We researched a variety of products, narrowed our search to 3, and visited areas churches that were using the 3 products to test them out. At that time, ACS was much more user friendly than the other products. We have now been talking to ACS about converting to Realm. Watching demos, Realm is much more modern looking and ease of use is high. We will be working on transitioning to this within the coming year. After talking to other churches who have made this transition, we will take a gradual approach - activating Realm with staff for a time period first before fully activating with the entire congregation.

Pros

Performs general ledger and accounts payable functions well. Headmaster is used for Preschool/Kindergarten classes.

Cons

Headmaster is a little cumbersome to use, but you get used to it. Heavy on data entry to set up students. We looked into using Event Scheduler, but determined it was too cumbersome for our use.

Rating breakdown

Value for Money
Ease of Use
Customer Support

Likelihood to recommend: 8.0/10

Susan G.

Best church software I've seen!

Used Daily for 2+ years
Reviewed on 2016/11/03
Review Source: Capterra

The software is superb and the customer service goes above and beyond to answer all my questions. ACS offers everything I need to run the church office tasks. From member information, contributions, directory, to financial reports, payroll, taxes, etc.

Pros

Ease of use; frequent upgrades; makes my job more efficient

Cons

I really do like everything about it but if I had to name one thing, it would be the reports part of the program. The reports can be a little difficult to search & display the results you want.

Rating breakdown

Value for Money
Ease of Use
Customer Support

Likelihood to recommend: 10.0/10

Melodi H.
Industry: Religious Institutions
Company size: 2-10 Employees

Helpful, but not user-friendly

Used Other for 1-5 months
Reviewed on 2018/11/19
Review Source: SoftwareAdvice

As a new employee coming into the administrative secretary position a few months ago, I was confident that it would take me no more than a couple of months to get familiar with ACS and to be flying through the steps necessary to keep an accurate accounting record. I have a higher than average knowledge and skill base with technology and software. I have been discouraged with how long it is taking me to grasp the full scope of the ACS software and how best to manage our accounting needs.

Pros

ACS Technologies accounting software for churches has many capabilities that are necessary in the accurate accounting of all the funds coming into and going out from the church. We are able to print detailed reports for our Finance Team to review each month, follow a clear auditing trail, and have up-to-date information on the funds remaining for each ministry team.

Cons

ACS is not at all user-friendly and requires a great deal of specialized training in order to be up and running within a reasonable amount of time. It is not intuitive and while the customer service phone line is very helpful and readily available, it is extremely difficult for someone to come in as a new employee and take over the reigns in regards to accounting. There are training sessions available, but they are typically only offered in South Carolina where the ACS corporate offices are located. That makes it difficult for a smaller church to afford to send one or two employees for training in a timely manner. There are manuals available for print, but again, weeding through the many pages of the manual is not an easy task for a person who is unfamiliar with the software. The tools needed for church accounting are there, however, they are difficult to master in practice.

Rating breakdown

Value for Money
Ease of Use
Customer Support

Likelihood to recommend: 6.0/10

David W.
Industry: Religious Institutions
Company size: 11-50 Employees

ACS is THE BEST!!

Used Daily for 2+ years
Reviewed on 2020/01/09
Review Source: Capterra

ACS cares about us. Cares about churches. Our business relationship with them helps us to do what we, the church, were intended to do in the first place, which is build the Kingdom of God.

Pros

We have been ACS clients since the beginning!! Currently we are using Realm for membership tracking, but still use ACS Financials for our book-keeping needs. It does everything we need, and our books are not as simple as one might think.

Cons

The only con I can think of is that I wish ACS Financials could integrate with Realm. We have ACS Financials down pat, and I wish we could port it over!!

Rating breakdown

Value for Money
Ease of Use
Customer Support

Likelihood to recommend: 10.0/10