Understanding Property Management Accounting

Property management accounting courses are a vital component of any real estate investment venture. While most real estate management firms do not offer their own accounting program, it’s a good idea for those that do to seek out courses that teach students how to audit the financial books of a rental property, and provide them with a complete picture of the business’s profit and loss accounts.

Property management is an extremely complex aspect of managing a rental property. Rental properties include both private and commercial properties and are often owned by multi-million dollar corporations, or are managed by attorneys, accountants, banks, and other professionals with a vast amount of knowledge on all facets of real estate. Managing such a business requires a combination of many different skills, from bookkeeping to budgeting, from financial management to marketing and branding.

Because all aspects of a successful business depend upon the information contained within the financial books, it is imperative that they are carefully maintained. In the end, if they are not maintained in a professional manner, any revenue generated will be less than anticipated.

Property management accounting courses require students to have a thorough understanding of finance, including business cycles, investment analysis, banking, asset management, credit card processing, cash flow analysis, lease terms, tenant and landlord relations, tax analysis, and marketing. This information must be presented in a clear and concise manner so that the accountant can clearly and accurately produce reports, which must be presented to the management staff for approval and implementation. The courses should also teach students how to perform various financial transactions such as loans, mortgages, and vendor financing.

Coursework can be taken at home, at a community college, or through an online institution. Online courses are generally more affordable and allow students to take courses while working full time, but a person still needs to make time to attend all classroom lectures, submit assignments, and complete projects.

Courses offered through online institutions also generally come with a more flexible schedule, allowing students to set their own schedule without having to worry about school or work obligations. Courses are typically taught by certified accountants or licensed financial planners who are also qualified and certified in property management, and may also provide consulting services as needed.

Students should expect to take the courses over a number of years in order to fully understand the structure of a real estate and business environment, and be able to understand why certain aspects of the bookkeeping must be considered in an analytical manner. Accounting classes usually include sections on marketing, financial statements, income statements, balance sheets, operating expenses, and net worth, as well as case studies that teach students how to conduct market research and analyze trends in order to determine profitability. There are typically several exams that test the students’ ability to interpret financial statements correctly and give them a solid grasp of what they’ve learned during the coursework.

Whether a person decides to take an accounting course at a local community college or through an online institution, a property management accountant is a very important part of any real estate investment strategy. Accounting courses are an essential skill set that all property managers need in order to run a successful business. Without the proper accounting expertise, an owner’s bookkeeping will be significantly hindered.

If you are a new property manager, or an experienced property manager who has decided to take advantage of online courses to earn your degree, there are a number of schools and programs that offer real estate properties and property management accounting degrees. Depending on the institution that offers the classes and which state they are located in, these online programs can be completed in a matter of months, instead of years as was traditionally the case.

Many community colleges offer online courses as an alternative to attending a traditional brick-and-mortar campus setting. This is especially beneficial to those who live a very busy life and cannot make it to an on-campus program in person, as many campus based universities are located far from home and are not convenient to local employers. Online classes are often available for a short time frame, allowing students to continue their careers while still maintaining a full time job.

Once enrolled in a school or an online program, students should expect to complete approximately 60 credit hours, and complete approximately one-third of the total amount of the coursework through online coursework. Students who do not have time to complete a traditional campus based courses will find online courses much more appealing because they are less costly and have a flexible schedule that does not require full-time attendance.