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excel for rental income and expenses

As your rental business grows so does the amount of admin work.  Managing your rental property accounting through spreadsheets quickly becomes unwieldy at best. The result can be hours of unnecessary time spent and thousands of dollars left unclaimed in your tax return.

Swapping from paper and spreadsheets to a rental property accounting system will save you time. More importantly, though it will help you keep everything organized so that you don’t miss out on any rental property expense deductions.

In this article, we explore the why and how of moving from spreadsheets and paper to a rental property management system like Landlord Studio – a better rental property accounting solution.

Excel vs. 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 spreadsheets in a manner which makes sense with the right formulas, and formatted to make it understandable is a significant challenge. 

One of the key advantages of using 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.

Additionally, our software allows you to easily digitize receipts and attach them to your expenses, manage tenant communications, screen tenants, and create rent reminder emails so that your tenants never miss a rent payment again.

Finally, cloud-based software 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.

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How to Set up Rental Property Accounting Spreadsheets

Setting up 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 properties 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 it up is this 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.

Download our free spreadsheet for rental property accounting below.

Free Property Accounting Spreadsheet

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 use our online portal or our app to manage your data and we offer a 14 day free trial 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 Seamlessly Transition from Spreadsheets and Paper to Property Management Software

The first step you need to do is enter all of your property’s details. This entails adding the property, units, current leases, and tenants details to the app. This should take less than 5 minutes for each property if you have all the relevant information to hand.

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.
  • List of expenses (and your box of receipts to digitize).

Visit our help videos or knowledge base articles for detailed information and instructions on getting set up and making the most out of our rental accounting system. 

Landlord Studio Features Make The Transition Easy

Start typing your property address in the app and select from the Google Maps prompted address to add your property fast.

As you are adding your lease you can simultaneously bring your income history up to date with a single click.

Enter the exact date of the expense to easily backdate your expenses as well as enter expenses that are yet to be paid. 

Import your tenant’s details from your phone’s contact list. Meaning you don’t need to type put their full name, number, and email address.

Easily upload all your important property documents in one place to keep everything organized.

Use your phone camera to digitize your receipts and our smart scan system will automatically read the details in the receipt and input them into the expense fields.

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Final Words

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.

This leaves you with two options. Either you spend hours every month sorting through receipts and trying to remember every expense. This will inevitably lead to you forgetting some resulting not just in lost time but costing you thousands of dollars.

Or you upgrade your systems to modern software (like Landlord Studio) to track income and expenses and get your rental property accounting back on track.

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Expense TrackingRental Property Accounting

Ben Luxon

Ben is the editor and lead writer for Landlord Studio. He has worked with real estate professionals all over the world and written educational articles on tech, real estate, and financial growth for sites such as Forbes, NARPM, and Business Magazine.


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