PowerChurch Software Newsletter - Spring 2016
Welcome to the Spring 2016 issue of the PowerChurch Software Newsletter. In this issue, we cover some important updates that have been made in the software and on our web site. Also, how to overhaul your accounting setup and the importance of keeping your software up to date.
In a recent update to PowerChurch Plus Version 11.55, we added the ability to connect PowerChurch to multiple Vanco Payment Solutions accounts. When using multiple services from Vanco, it is possible to have multiple account credentials that need to be entered into PowerChurch. The article linked below has been updated with the new account credentials controls in the Vanco setup screen.
If you missed previous announcements about this new functionality in the program or are still working on an older version of the software, please review the document below for more information.
The online training videos on our web site, as well as the PowerChurch Plus demo presentation video, now benefit from an updated video player. This player is the new standard and has better cross-browser and device support, is lightweight for better performance, and supports closed captioning.
We have been on a campaign to get over nineteen hours of videos transcribed and captions loaded into the videos. Not all have been updated as of the time this newsletter was published, but the project is expected to be complete in the following week or two.
Soon after that, all of the videos on the PowerChurch Software YouTube Channel will be updated to correct problems in their automatically generated captions.
If you have problems with your existing chart of accounts and need to overhaul it, there are three options that are available to you. These options are detailed below and will require varying amounts of effort from giving your existing chart of accounts a facelift to starting over with a brand new chart of accounts.
As always, it is highly recommended that you make a backup (or two) before getting started with this type of process. Otherwise, there is no undo button!
- Overhaul your existing chart of accounts.
You can keep all of the transaction history in Fund Accounting and simply renumber, move, and merge accounts together. The only restriction here is that you cannot delete an account that has posted transaction history or a beginning balance. You can, however, mark accounts inactive and merge multiple accounts together into one. If balances need to be adjusted, you can do so after the fact by entering a transaction in Fund Accounting.
To change an account number, go to Accounting > Fund Accounting > Setup and choose Maintain Chart of Accounts. Use the Locate button to bring up the account in question. Click into the Account Number or Description fields and make the change, clicking Save when finished.
Please note: When changing the account number, it will automatically be updated throughout the program in the setup of other modules, such as Contribution Funds, Accounts Payable Vendors, Payroll Items, etc.
To make an account inactive, click the Details button on the Maintain Chart of Accounts screen shown above. Uncheck the Active option on the Account Detail screen and click Save.
To move an account or combine multiple accounts together, click the Move Account button at the bottom of the screen shown above. Below is a video that shows how to move/combine accounts:
- Delete all transaction history and keep your existing chart of accounts.
You can use the "Delete Old Data" option in Fund Accounting to delete all posted transaction history from the Fund Accounting data files.
Please note: When deleting old data in Fund Accounting, other information in the program, like Contributions history, Accounts Payable payments, Payroll history, etc. will not be deleted.
When PowerChurch Plus recognizes that you have deleted all of the transactions, it will ask if you want to "restart accounting", keeping your chart of accounts in place, but resetting all account balances to zero. Again, with this option, if you need to adjust balances, you would do so after the fact by entering a transaction in Fund Accounting.
To do this, you will first need to close any months that you have posted transactions into. To do this, go to Accounting > Fund Accounting > Close a Month. Once you have closed all of those months, go to Accounting > Fund Accounting > Setup and choose Delete Old Data.
This allows you to delete all posted transaction data prior to the selected month/year. Select your earliest open month/year. You will then see the prompt about restarting accounting. Specify the new month/year that you want to start with.
- Go through the Accounting Setup Assistant to build a new chart of accounts.
This option is the most drastic. There is a "Restart Accounting" button in Fund Accounting. This essentially deletes most everything found under the Accounting menu and takes you back to a clean slate. This allows you to go back through the Accounting Setup Assistant, where you can enter beginning balances "on the fly" and set up your chart of accounts in a step-by-step, guided process. It is important to note that the Accounting Setup Assistant only walks you through setting up one accounting fund. If you plan to have multiple funds in use, you will be setting those up manually after completing the assistant.
To restart accounting, go to Accounting > Fund Accounting > Setup and choose Accounting Setup. Click the Restart Accounting button. You will be shown a very thorough warning about what will and will not be deleted by this process and then you will need to type the word "YES" to complete the process.
Once the deletion is complete, you are offered the option to go directly into the Accounting Setup Assistant. If you choose not to do so at the moment, you can get to it at any time by going to Accounting > Setup Accounting.
Only 37% of our nearly 38,000 users are working in PowerChurch Online or PowerChurch Plus Version 11.55. While it is great to know that older versions of the software still provide all the functionality that a user might need, it is important to note that many updates that we have made over the years have been for Windows compatibility and stability. As new versions of Windows are released, we find new behaviors in file access and interaction with antivirus and other active scanning programs that can cause problems for PowerChurch.
When this happens, we issue Maintenance Release updates. These are free updates to your existing version of the software that fix bugs, install these compatibility fixes, and also roll out new features. Only the current and one prior version of the software are kept up to date with Maintenance Releases. Currently, that is Version 11.1 and 11.55. Versions 10.4 and prior have not been updated via Maintenance Release in years.
Upgrades are discounted greatly for existing users. Version 10.4 and prior users can upgrade to the latest release of PowerChurch Plus, Version 11.55, for $149 (+10 shipping). Users of Version 11.1 can upgrade for only $119 (+10 shipping).
To see a list of what was added or changed in each new version of the software, visit www.powerchurch.com/changes.
The Support Forum on our web site is a very active online community of our users and Tech Support staff members. There you can browse through thousands of questions and answers, or post your own.
Q. Our Discipleship director is wondering if PowerChurch could map everyone’s geographical location by their home address. It would show a map where we have the least, or most amount of attending church members and where she could begin to focus reaching out to new families.
A. You can export a CSV file from under Membership > Family Mailing List > Other Output > Export Data. You can then use a map plotting service to import from the CSV. Take a look at Map a List. It is a free service that imports addresses automatically from Google Sheets.
Q. We own Version 11 and continue to see the prompt about installing a new Maintenance Release. I attempted to download Version 11.5, but am not able. Is 11.5 a Maintenance Release to Version 11 or a new version upgrade to purchase?
A. Version 11.5 is not a Maintenance Release, it is a paid upgrade.
Q. I have been researching the IRS site and did not see any information about changes in the tax tables for 2016.
A. The Circular E - Publication 15 document has everything you need and has been updated for 2016.
Last updated: 07/25/2021