Via Church reaches more than 600 people in the Fresno, California area every Sunday. Just four years ago, Via Church was one man - Pastor Jordan Diepersloot - inviting folks into his living room. Driven by a passion for reaching the next generation, Via Church quickly grew beyond Jordan’s living room, and merged with another local church to build a stronger, collective presence in their community--a place where people felt they could belong.
“We went from no property to a property, a small budget to a big one, and three staff members to twelve,” explains Daniel Bunker, a pastor at Via Church. “It basically happened overnight.”
A full-time pastor himself, Daniel stretched beyond his role and learned the ins-and-outs of bookkeeping and payroll as Via was in its early days, before the budgets were there to hire the team they have today. To get the job done, Daniel searched for software solutions that, “wouldn’t take up a lot of time, and would be very easy for someone else to double check.”
Luckily, Daniel found a winning combination for Via Church: Gusto and Aplos.
Choosing Gusto was a no brainer. Daniel loved using Gusto at his previous nonprofit. “With Gusto, you can run payroll so fast. In my mind it’s almost impossible to make mistakes, because everything is automated. I don't have to fill out the tax forms. All I have to do is set it up correctly and then just press a button once every two weeks.”
Daniel felt confident using Gusto’s easy, modern solution for payroll, but he was still working out the kinks in accounting.
Via Church had inherited QuickBooks when they merged with another church. QuickBooks wasn’t built to support nonprofits and Daniel was spending hours of critical time on workarounds, and still wasn’t getting the fund accounting reporting he needed. The cost of the outdated system was spread out across the entire organization. They were spending six hours a week processing payroll. Another hour to post the entry in the accounting system and extra workarounds to get financial reports they needed. "We needed something way more efficient.”
Via Church found the efficiency gains they were looking for in Aplos. Bank integrations, fund accounting, and a more intuitive platform meant Daniel could confidently offload some of the responsibility--giving him time back to focus on the meaningful work he loves. “Aplos made it so easy to teach somebody that didn't have a lot of bookkeeping experience how to help.”
Daniel’s teammates were shocked at the level of automation Gusto and Aplos provided. “With Gusto and Aplos, a lot of the stuff we had to do manually isn’t manual anymore. One co-worker is doing the same work as she was doing before, but it’s taking her half of the time now.” With more time freed up, Daniel was able to expand his colleague’s role, in ways tightly tied to her career development goals. She’s now tackling purpose-driven projects closely tied to Via Church’s mission like running special projects and assisting the pastoral staff.
With Gusto and Aplos, a lot of the stuff you have to do manually isn’t manual anymore. We’re doing the same work we were doing before, but it’s taking half the time now.
The automation Gusto and Aplos provide is a game changer for Via Church. But the real kicker for Daniel? Customer support.
“I could actually get ahold of customer support when I needed it. Both companies are adding features customers were requesting to the product. I don't think that would have ever happened with a way bigger company.” About a year ago, as Daniel got both software solutions dialed in, he started looking for ways to streamline workflows between the two systems, and save even more time.
“Gusto was so awesome. But sometimes I struggled to account for what was happening in Gusto in Aplos. Sometimes it would take me an hour to figure it all out. I didn't want to sacrifice the quality of what either tool could do, I just needed to make the reconciliation faster.”
Thankfully Daniel didn’t need to sacrifice anything at all. After hearing requests from people like Daniel, Aplos and Gusto built the powerful accounting integration Daniel was looking for. “When I found out that Aplos and Gusto were going to work together, I was super happy.”
I chose Aplos and Gusto because I felt like their solutions could scale with the church.
Daniels advice to the other churches in his community?
“I just tell them Gusto and Aplos are so much easier, and so much better than what they’re using now.” If organizations raise hesitations about making the switch, Daniel adds the simple confirmation, “It’s worth it.”
He also reminds organizations to look at the big picture. “One of the things that I've seen happen in a lot of churches and nonprofit organizations is they don't always think forward. A process might make sense for the size you are now, but it’s not going to work when you grow. I chose Aplos and Gusto because I felt their solutions could scale with the church.”