How To Change From Spreadsheets To A Modern Property Management System

We explore why and how to transition from paper and spreadsheets to Landlord Studio for managing your rental property accounting.

As your rental business expands, the administrative workload also increases. Attempting to manage your rental property accounting using spreadsheets quickly becomes cumbersome, to say the least.

This can result in wasting valuable hours and missing out on thousands of dollars in unclaimed tax deductions. By transitioning from traditional paper and spreadsheets to a modern property management system like Landlord Studio, you can save time and, more importantly, ensure everything is organized, preventing any missed of rental property expense deductions.

In this article, we delve into the reasons why and how to make the switch from spreadsheets and paper to a rental property management system . This solution offers greater efficiency and accuracy for your rental property accounting needs.

Spreadsheets vs. Modern Property Management Software

Without an efficient way to manage your income and expense tracking, you could end up missing thousands in claimable expenses.

If your goal is to acquire more buildings and scale your business, the right software will help you get there faster.

Excel is wonderfully adaptable and software that most people have access to. The problem is that each property is like a business in itself, and running a single business on spreadsheets is hard enough. This is why software like Quickbooks and Xero have become so popular.

Setting up your property management spreadsheet in a way that makes sense, with the right formulas, and formatted to make it understandable is a significant challenge.

One of the key advantages of using modern property management software like Landlord Studio is that everything is already organized and set up for you. All you have to do is input your income and expenses, which couldn’t be easier with our purpose-built software.

Landlord Studio allows you to easily scan and digitize receipts on the go with our mobile app, connect bank feeds, manage tenant communications, screen tenants, and automate rent reminder emails so that your tenants never miss a rent payment again – you can even collect rent online with autopay!

Modern property management tools, paired with a mobile app, allows you to manage your properties anywhere, anytime. Meaning you no longer have to sit down in the home office for hours every month. Instead, open the app and update your income and expenses in real-time.

How to Set up Property Management Spreadsheets

Setting up a spreadsheets for rental property accounting can be, as we mentioned before, a challenge, and the more properties you have the more difficult it becomes to set up correctly and manage. And it was this exact reason which led our CEO to develop our property accounting system.

To set up your property management spreadsheet in Excel we advise you set up three sections:

  1. First, a property purchase sheet where you can record the purchase details and other key information such as insurance, LLC details, and taxpayer information.
  2. Second, a summary sheet. This sheet draws information from the other sheets in the document and gives you a complete overview of the cash flow for your portfolio for the year.
  3. Third, property pages. This sheet consists of three separate parts. This is for income, expenses, and a summary of that property’s performance.

The reason we recommend setting your property management spreadsheet this way is it allows you to add more sheets as your purchase more units.

Other considerations include rent receipts and invoices (you can instantly generate and send these to tenants from Landlord Studio) which will involve another specific spreadsheet for each property as well as storing your receipts.

In Landlord Studio you can instantly generate and email invoices, rent receipts and rent reminders to tenants from the app as well as quickly digitize receipts to save on our secure cloud storage.

Ultimately, Excel has a huge amount of adaptability but as you get more properties it can quickly become overwhelming.

Get a free rental property spreadsheet template here →

Can You Move To A New Rental Property Accounting System Mid-Tax Year?

The short answer: Yes.

The longer answer: We’ve worked hard to make our software as user-friendly as possible. You can import your spreadsheet into Landlord Studio and we've a range of features including bank feeds, receipt scanner, and automatic income tracking (when you use our online rent collection system) that are designed to help you automate your rental property accounting.

You can use our online portal or our app to manage your data and we offer a completely free plan, Landlord Studio GO, with renowned customer support to help people make the transition from spreadsheets and paper to our property management software.

“Every year I kept forgetting to write down expenses as they were incurred and at the end of the year they were never taken as deductions. Now with Landlord Studio and a personal goal to log every expense at the time of purchase I am not losing any money. I’ve saved tens of thousands of dollars! Very convenient.”

How To Transition From Spreadsheets to Modern Property Management Software

The first step is to find a modern property management system that works for you. Not all systems are created equal. Try a few different options and find a software that is suitable for your portfolio size and asset classes, is cost effective, easy to use, and has the features you need.

Once you've settled on the modern property manageemnt system you're going to uses, create your account.

You might be interested in our article detailing the 10 Best Property Management Software.

If you decide to go with Landlord Studio your next step is to create your account and enter your property and lease details. This entails adding the property, units, current lease details, and the tenants details to the app. This will only take a few minutes.

During the process you can then also upload your spreadsheet and log historical income to quickly get all of your financial data into the system.

What you’ll need to get set up:

  • Download the app or log in to our online portal.
  • Property addresses.
  • Current lease details including start and end date, rent amount, rent frequency.
  • Current tenant details.
  • Any income discrepancies – eg. any late payments or additional fees.
  • Spreadsheet of expenses (and any receipts you want to digitize).

Landlord Studio Makes The Transition Easy

Getting set up with Landlord Studio takes less than five minutes, will reduce your admin time by as much as 80%, and could save you more than $500 per property at tax time in additional deductions.

Bulk import your expense data

Use our spreadsheet import wizard to easily upload your expense data as a CSV file. Learn more.

Enter Historical Income With one Click

Log all of your income in the system with a single click when you add your lease.

Connect your bank account

Connect your bank accounts for faster income and expense tracking without the errors. Our system will auto-match transactions so you can reconcile transactions with single click. Learn more.

Digitize Receipts with Smart Scan

Digitize receipts at the point of sale with our smart receipt scanner, and the app will automatically read and input the receipt details for you. Learn more.

Automated Mileage Tracker

Our in-built GPS mileage to accurately track your mileage and maxiimize your end of year mileage deduction. Learn more.


Final Words: Transitioning To A Modern Property Management System

Yes, swapping systems requires some time and effort upfront. But the truth is, the more doors you own the harder it is to stay on top of your income and expenses with spreadsheets and paper. Spreadsheets simply don't scale.

This leaves you with two options.

1) Spend hours every month sorting through receipts and trying to remember every expense. This will inevitably lead to you missing deductible expenses and resulting not just in lost time but costing you thousands of dollars every year at tax time.

2) Upgrade to modern property management with purpose built software (like Landlord Studio) to streamline your rental accounting, save time, and increase your portfolio profitability.

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