Book Review: Property Management Accounting

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Recently, I purchased a copy of “Property Management Accounting:  A Survival Guide For Non-Accountants” to help me gain a better understanding of how the financial transactions in the property management world work. I was not disappointed by this book in the least!

The first line of the introduction in this book says it all:  “In this day and age, we’re lucky to have software that takes care of the nuts and bolts of property management accounting.  The second line puts everything in perspective:  “But even with software, you’ll find it much easier to keep accurate records if you have an understanding of the basic accounting concepts upon which these programs are based.”  This book does just that.

Before I jump into my full blown review, I feel that it’s relevant to include a little background.  I’m alright with accounting practices, in that I understand how money comes in and money goes out.  In addition, I’ve been using the Buildium software for around a year and a half now, and understand how to get the reports I want and need.  In college, I took Accounting 111, and passed with a C.  (My worst grade throughout my entire Bachelor’s studies, but hey, it counts.)  However, the intricate details of accounting were always a challenge to me.  I picked up this book partly out of necessity and partly out of curiosity to see if it could help me really get into the more intricate details of property management accounting.

The book is broken down into 3 main parts, with an introduction and an appendix.  Throughout the book, there are written explanations as well as charts of accounts and diagrams showing how the flow of the transaction works – everything is broken down step by step to provide an easy to follow path getting you from Point A to Point B.
The best part of the book, in my opinion, is that it builds sequentially.  The first chapter explains basic accounting terms, explains how the cash flow sheets work, and outlines the process a transaction goes through, from the time it takes place until the time you read it on a report.  The second chapter explains how books are kept for one property, and explains basic transactions such as recording rent and security deposits, paying bills, and managing security deposit funds at the end of tenancy (returning or applying to damages).  The third part of the book explains how the books work for a property manager, managing many properties.  This includes recording owner contributions and payments, collecting management fees, and other such tasks that a property manager would handle (assuming they wanted to stay in business!)

There is such a tremendous amount of solid information packed into the book that it will require at least a couple reads to really pick up on all the finer points.  In addition, it covers enough varying situations that it has earned a spot on my desk as a reference guide when I get stuck and need to answer a question.  I would certainly recommend “Property Management Accounting: A Survival Guide for Non-Accountants” to anyone who is struggling with the understanding of property management accounting, or for someone who wants a solid desk reference.  At a grand total of 82 pages, it won’t take up much room and the price point of $29.95 makes it a worthwhile investment in my opinion.

Property Management:  A Survival Guide for Non-Accountants” can be found on Amazon.com.

The first line of the introduction in this book says it all:“In this day and age, we’re lucky to have software that takes care of the nuts and bolts of property management accounting.The second line puts everything in perspective:“But even with software, you’ll find it much easier to keep accurate records if you have an understanding of the basic accounting concepts upon which these programs are based.”This book does just that.

Before I jump into my full blown review, I feel that it’s relevant to include a little background.I’m alright with accounting practices, in that I understand how money comes in and money goes out.In addition, I’ve been using the Buildium software quite for around a year and a half now, and understand how to get the reports I want and need.In college, I took Accounting 111, and passed with a C.(My worst grade throughout my entire Bachelor’s studies, but hey, it counts.)However, the intricate details of accounting were always a challenge to me.I picked up this book partly out of necessity and partly out of curiosity to see if it could help me really get into the more intricate details of property management accounting.

The book is broken down into 3 main parts, with an introduction and an appendix.Throughout the book, there are written explanations as well as charts of accounts and diagrams showing how the flow of the transaction works – everything is broken down step by step to provide an easy to follow path getting you from Point A to Point B.

The best part of the book, in my opinion, is that it builds sequentially.The first chapter explains basic accounting terms, explains how the cash flow sheets work, and outlines the process a transaction goes through, from the time it takes place until the time you read it on a report.The second chapter explains how books are kept for one property, and explains basic transactions such as recording rent and security deposits, paying bills, and managing security deposit funds at the end of tenancy (returning or applying to damages).The third part of the book explains how the books work for a property manager, managing many properties.This includes recording owner contributions and payments, collecting management fees, and other such tasks that a property manager would handle (assuming they wanted to stay in business!)

There is such a tremendous amount of solid information packed into the book that it will require at least a couple reads to really pick up on all the finer points.In addition, it covers enough varying situations that it has earned a spot on my desk as a reference guide when I get stuck and need to answer a question.I would certainly recommend “Property Management Accounting: A Survival Guide for Non-Accountants” to anyone who is struggling with the understanding of property management accounting, or for someone who wants a solid desk reference.At a grand total of 82 pages, it won’t take up much room and the price point of $29.95 makes it a worthwhile investment.

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2 comments to Book Review: Property Management Accounting

  • Aundrea Paluzzi  says:

    Which accounting software do you think is the best? I currently use QuickBooks and was wondering if there is anything in the same genre that is just as good?

  • Drew  says:

    The property management software we use handles some of the load (tenant ledgers, maintenance logs, etc). The rest is handled by QuickBooks.

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