real estate accounting guide

Books, books, books, and filing cabinets; it’s worked for centuries, and it still does today. Not only that, but it’s generally agreed upon that if you want to turn a profit and generate substantial wealth, you must invest in a multitude of properties. That’s a lot of assets, a lot of speculation, and a lot of numbers to crunch; and that’s why having accurate accounting is a must. You might have sub-accounts for some categories, including rental income and late fees for your revenue category.

Multiply this either twice or three times to keep a cushion in case you have a slow month or if an emergency occurs. Once you get this emergency pad of money in your business operating account, you can then set up the other two accounts and begin building those up. You never know if you can afford to go to that conference, or if you can afford to spend on the new marketing you need. Maybe you aren’t sure if you can afford to pay an admin or hire a coach.

Real Estate Accounting Guide 2022

You can then make adjustments before the “damage is done” and you can effectively stay ahead of the ball this way. Their efficient, proactive approach to customer service makes the whole process easy. The support given to their clients and to the employees alike has given me the confidence I needed to work with an outsourcing company. Accountants typically hold a bachelor’s degree in accounting or finance and may pursue additional certifications.

real estate accounting guide

Plus, you will have to return to your books and redo them to ensure that they’re error-free. While some investors keep hard copies, many other rental property owners scan and upload each document to a secure, cloud-based storage system on the internet. Storing real estate receipts, invoices, and documents digitally may allow you to find paperwork in minutes rather than hours. Under the accrual method of accounting, income is generally reported in the tax year it is earned, regardless of when the payment is received. For example, if you send the tenant an invoice for the January rent in December, income is credited in December and recorded as receivable from the tenant.

About Company.

Overall, accountants enable real estate agents and real estate firms to make smarter financial decisions by giving them an accurate, high-level view of their business performance. Each time a transaction occurs, the income or expense is recorded under the appropriate category and account. A good real estate accounting system also allows details for each transaction to be entered, so that it is easy to understand what the transaction is for. Regardless of your position in the real estate field, let this guide on real estate accounting be your ultimate asset in your effort to maximize your assets. The first few sections will detail general accounting practices across all industries, just in case you need to freshen up on Accounting 101.

Keeping your business funds in one place makes it easier to review finances and ensure you are not accidentally spending business money for personal gain. You might know by now that a real estate accounting system is necessary, but you might now know how to set one up for your business. Real estate agents always have the chance of being audited, even though it does not happen often.


In order to effectively manage their finances, real estate agents need to have a basic understanding of accounting principles and practices. Real estate agents should also be familiar with the accounting software and tools that are commonly used in the industry, such as QuickBooks Online. Autonomous accounts payable software for real estate (AP Autonomy) is a solution designed to reduce or eliminate the need for human intervention throughout the invoice processing workflow. This type of accounts payable software uses artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to automatically capture, process, and approve invoices, payments, and other financial transactions. Whether you’re processing utility bills or work order payments to your general contractors, AI for real estate can streamline property management accounting.

  • Autonomous AP can also improve visibility and control over the accounts payable process.
  • You might be reading this guide because you’re intent on doing the accounting yourself.
  • Derek Miller is the CMO of Smack Apparel, the content guru at, the co-founder of Lofty Llama, and a marketing consultant for small businesses.
  • For an affordable solution to your accounting needs, you can download our rental accounting spreadsheet template or create a free Landlord Studio GO account.
  • Although there are other considerations such as skillsets, experience, and specific duties.
  • One of the best pieces of advice for better real estate accounting is to familiarize yourself with local regulations specific to your jurisdiction when you get started.

A budget and a P&L statement is necessary NOW, not when you finally get enough business, or when you feel like you are bringing in enough income to justify one. If you want more step-by-step help on this topic, along with the resources The Importance of Accurate Bookkeeping for Law Firms: A Comprehensive Guide and guide to start implementing better financial practices in your business today, check out our online course. The software should let you manage your funds and help you keep tabs on what goes in and out of business.

Commission checks are an important part of making a living as a real estate agent, but you can’t rely on those funds until they clear. If you have the money spent before it clears, you can harm your own cash flow. Managing real estate is a local and regional game, meaning that rules and requirements vary based on where you live and work. One of the best pieces of advice for better real estate accounting is to familiarize yourself with local regulations specific to your jurisdiction when you get started. The terms “bookkeeping” and “accounting” are often used interchangeably, but when it comes to maintaining your real estate business, they’re typically used to describe entirely different things. A strong accounting foundation is relevant whether you sell small properties as a hobby or facilitate property management services and generate millions of dollars.

Although commissions and other income sources technically belong to you as a real estate agent, lumping them into your general bank account can become an organizational hassle. While this doesn’t require complete knowledge of everything there is to know about financial management, it does require a willingness to learn, make changes, and stay on top of essential accounting tasks. This year’s publication also examines key tax aspects that real estate investors are facing in various Central European countries. The guide focuses on the most problematic and current issues, which pose practical difficulties and rise the greatest concerns among real estate investors.