What are the best property accounting software on the market, and how can you use them to save time and stay compliant with legislation.
There are a few ways that property management and landlord accounting software can help you run a more professional and scalable buy-to-let business. Running a rental requires you to stay ahead of a vast array of ever-changing legislation, legislation that makes it constantly harder to turn a profit from your buy to lets such as EPC requirements and section 24.
Having the right tools will help you stay on top of important deadlines, better manage your tenants and tenancies, and give you the financial oversight needed in order to run a profitable business.
In this article, we take a look at the best property accounting software available on the market, and the key features that you can use to streamline your workflows to save time and ensure you stay compliant with current rules and regulations.
Related: New Landlord Checklist: 15 Steps To Successfully Let Your Property
It’s recommended that you have a separate business bank account for your properties to make it easier to manage your income and expenses across your portfolio.
The ability to connect your business bank accounts allows you to reconcile transactions directly from your feeds, minimising manual data entry which saves time and reduces errors.
All of your related bank accounts can be linked using Landlord Studio so that you can leverage open banking innovations to view and reconcile transactions in real-time from inside the app.
Reconciling transactions frequently will help ensure that you don’t miss any allowable expenses. The Landlord Studio app makes it easy to quickly reconcile your accounts on your phone whenever you have a spare moment.
Make sure to accurately track all your business expenses by digitising receipts in real-time with our smart scan receipt feature. Use the camera on your phone to snap a picture of your receipt. The system then automatically reads the expense details and enters them for you. Simply select the expense category and hit save.
This will save your receipts carefully organised and easily accessible for future reference should you need them.
All income and expenses should be accurately dated. This helps better inform your portfolio cash flow graph on your Landlord Studio dashboard. This in turn allows you to spot potential discrepancies in your finances.
Additionally, it can help you plan and predict your expenditures ongoing with expected income vs expected outgoings extrapolated from your current cash flow data.
Related: Tax Deductible Expenses for Landlords
Although it is the leading accounting software for small businesses, there are some limitations to using QuickBooks for rental properties to track income and expenses.
The first limitation of using QuickBooks for a rental property is it’s not designed with landlords in mind. Because of this, it takes a nuanced understanding of the product to set up and accurately maintain your books on this platform.
The second major limitation is that QuickBooks doesn’t have industry-specific features. For example, software like Landlord Studio allows you to create recurring reminders to stay on top of things like your gas safety certificates, EICR, or renewing your EPC. Plus, you can create, customise and send any number of email templates through the system. These features are designed to help save you time and to stay on top of the numerous legislative responsibilities of being a landlord.
Finally, since QuickBooks is not targeted toward landlords, the support and help articles don’t provide industry-specific tips, and there are limited educational materials to help you utilise the platform to grow your portfolio and achieve your financial goals.
It’s for these reasons that many landlords are switching to property management software like Landlord Studio.
Not sure what to look for when searching for the perfect rental property bookkeeping software? Here are a few features to keep in mind:
Landlord Studio is the number one rated property management and accounting software designed by landlords for landlords. Landlord Studio simplifies your accounting allowing you to accurately track income and expenses and gain advanced oversight of your portfolio’s financial performance. Instantly generate professional reports in .csv or pdf format and share with your business partners and accountant from any device.
These landlord accounting features are paired with a suite of property management tools allowing you to save time by automating workflow and centralising information.
* Digitise your receipt at the point of sale and the Smart Scan feature automatically reads and inputs the receipt details for you. Hit save to record the expense and securely store the receipt for future reference.
Pricing starts from FREE. This includes all the basic features you need and your first 3 units.
Landlord Vision enables landlords to keep track of their loan and mortgage management, record their suppliers’ contact details as well as their rental income. Landlord Vision is primarily desktop software, though they do have an app.
Pricing for the limited features offered by their basic package starts at £6.00 per month including 1 unit with each additional unit costing 50p.
FreeAgent is purely an accounting software. As far as accounting functionality goes it’s excellent and supported by several major banks. However, because it’s not designed with landlords in mind you will need to keep track of things like tenancy agreements, tenancy end dates, safety certificates, EPC expiry dates, and tenant details in a separate system.
Because of this, it has many of the same downsides as QuickBooks (as outlined above). With that said, if you’re looking solely for an accounting platform and don’t have very many properties this could be a good solution for you.
Pricing starts for sole traders at £9.50 a month + VAT for the first six months and £19 a month + VAT after your first six months. Prices increase up to £19.50 per month depending on the complexity of your accounting needs.
However, you can get a free account if you currently bank with NatWest, Royal Bank of Scotland, or Ulster Bank NI.
For both residential and commercial property Yardi Breeze is a cloud-based property management software designed to help landlords streamline their property management. This software is less about the accounting side of things, more about property management, and is aimed at larger portfolio landlords in need of more advanced features. However, its app functionality is limited.
This software is designed for larger portfolios ad pricing starts from $100 per month.
Arthur Online is a property management and financial reporting tool designed to help landlords and agents streamline their workflows. The software is suitable for both commercial and residential lets. Amongst their numerous features, they have developed integrations with several great platforms including Xero for accounting, Rightmove and Zoopla for lettings, and TransUnion for tenant referencing.
Pricing for Arthur Online starts at £47.50 per month. This initial price includes 45 units. Integrations come at extra costs.
The good news is, there are dedicated solutions available now that don’t just offer the unique tools you need to manage your rental property accounting but also to optimize, streamline, and even automate many other tasks. Deciding on the right software for you depends on a few important factors including how big is your portfolio and what are you trying to achieve.
For small and mid-sized portfolio landlords looking to centralise their data management and income and expense tracking a solution like Landlord Studio would likely be the best option. However, for landlords and agents with 100+ units, you might want to explore some of the alternative options outlined in this article.
It’s always a good idea to test the software before you purchase to ensure it has all the features you require. Landlord Studio offers a free plan. Sign up today and get started for free.