Bookkeeping for Property Management: 8 Best Practices

property management accounting best practices

In this guide, we’ll cover all the essentials of managing your property accounts, including tips, tools and best practices. Even if you have an outside accountant, you’re going to want quality accounting software you can plug everything into. These reports are arguably one of the three most important things your accounting system does for you (the others being tracking your finances and preparing your taxes). Visually, a chart of accounts is just a list of your various financial accounts, typically using a number system to organize those accounts.

That’s $2,000 per month, so you’ll have a $2,000 transfer from your business operating account into your tax savings account every month. Banks started providing online banking and granting accountants administrative access into their client’s bank accounts. Many different tools and apps exist solely to help improve your accounting systems. Some are designed specifically for real estate investors and property owners, and others are broader, but they can all benefit you greatly.

Management accounting

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  • Your general ledger, or G/L for short, is a complete record of all your business transactions.
  • Poor HOA financial management can lead to numerous unwanted consequences for the HOA and its board.
  • These days, property owners, real estate investors, and property management firms can find great accounting software.
  • Some systems will even allow associations to create recurring payments, so bills are automatically paid, and owner dues are automatically collected.
  • If your bank balance is higher or lower than what it should be according to your general ledger, it’s usually a sign that there are monies owed or owing.
  • Be sure to record any fees that are waived and categorize those units or properties accordingly—ideally in your property management software.

I am amazed at the number of business owners who view their tax work as a commodity that must be negotiated to the lowest cost. Even business owners who recognize the value of a superior tax professional often forget to seek advice prior to making big, even huge, decisions. In most cases, it is impossible to track these incentives automatically.


Financial statements are reports on a variety of topics that detail the financial health and status of a business (or property portfolio). Depending on the report, these might include payments made and received, accounting period statements, or profit/loss statements. For individuals managing their own properties, cash accounting is usually advised (and preferred). For larger organisations or business owners with a team of staff members, accrual accounting is generally more appropriate. The two most common approaches to property accounting are cash basis accounting and accrual accounting. When starting out with property management, there are a number of things you should put in place to ensure the smooth running of your property management accounting.

As a best practice, the HOA should have rules in place that minimize opportunities for deliberate theft and unintentional money mismanagement. As an example, a single board member should never have control over every financial law firm bookkeeping department. Instead, the person who writes the association’s checks should be different from the person in charge of managing receivables. Similarly, checks addressed to the HOA should go directly into the proper bank account.

Best practices for HOA accounting

After all, each member must pay dues, so each member should be informed about where that money is being spent. Board members are encouraged to be transparent about all relevant financial transactions, and be open about results and outcomes, even if they aren’t all positive. Software makes this entire process remarkably easier, and gives the association more transparency and insight into accounting activity.

  • Accurate financial reporting is essential for those managing a real estate agency.
  • With your company books, you might buy a big piece of expensive equipment, a computer, or a vehicle and book it as a fixed asset.
  • That is more than the entire cost of the software in my failure example.
  • Accrual accounting allows for a more accurate financial assessment since it records expenses when they are due rather than when they are paid.
  • The various elements of property management include building maintenance, financial management, working with insurance companies, and consulting with attorneys to address legal issues.

The last step to setting up your property accounting is all about growing accustomed to the reports that your accounting system can generate. A chart of accounts is simply a list of all the financial accounts that your business uses. Now that you’ve learned the essential property accounting terms, it’s time to put them into practice and get to work setting up your accounting. Overhead includes all costs to run your business outside of the actual service you provide.