Bookkeeping Applications for Real Estate Investors

There are so many bookkeeping applications for Real Estate Investors to choose from, this guide will help you determine the right application for your business by looking at 5 different applications you can consider.

QuickBooks Online Plus – This is an application that professional bookkeepers and accountants use. It is one of the costlier options on our list as it is billed monthly, but it is also one of the most robust. Because it is online you are able to access your file from wherever you have internet, and you can also give access to your bookkeeper so that they can access the file remotely. QuickBooks Online Plus also allows for class tracking which allows the tracking of different properties or units, you run reports comparing the properties at year end.

  1. Ease of Use: Not so much
  2. Price: $$$$
  3. Business Size: If you own more than one property
  4. REI Tip: If you have different legal entities in your business you will need one file per organization. This can get costly, even if you don’t take advantage of their multi-company discount

QuickBooks Desktop – This is also an application that professional bookkeepers and accountants use. Unlike QuickBooks Online, QuickBooks Desktop is a one-time fee and you buy the license to the software which is installed on your local computer. There is a price advantage over QuickBooks Online, but you also lose the ability for your bookkeeper to have remote access.

  1. Ease of Use: Not so much
  2. Price: $$$
  3. Business Size: If you own more than one property
  4. REI Tip: Your license includes unlimited companies, so if that describes your organization QuickBooks Desktop is a good choice. In the long run it will be less expensive than QuickBooks Online.

Xero – Have you heard about Xero? Xero is a newer (but still well established) accounting software that is comp arable to QuickBooks Online. It has the ability to track projects and handle large organizations. There are many integrations with supporting applications that track time, collect receipts and so on.

  1. Ease of Use: Not so much
  2. Price: $$$
  3. Business Size: More than one property
  4. REI Tip: Like QuickBooks Online, you will need a separate file for each legal entity within your organization.

QuickBooks Self Employed – If you do not hold investment properties and are a realtor, this is a good option to track your income and expenses. You are able to set up bank feeds and it is quite easy to use. It also helps with your taxes, tracks mileage, allows invoicing and will display your profitability.

  1. Ease of Use: You bet!
  2. Price: $
  3. Business Size: Small
  4. REI Tip: I do not recommend this application for multi-property real estate investors. It is simple to use and not very expensive, but it is also limiting in functionality. A little to limited for real estate. If you start in QuickBooks Self Employed and want to move to QuickBooks Online, you will have to start over, you are not able to switch from one to the other.

FreshBooks – FreshBooks is an all in one product offers many of the same features as the others already mentioned. It is extremely easy to use. In the area of features and ease of use, this has the best ratio of the group and is a good option as a solid do-it-yourself option.

  1. Ease of Use: You bet!
  2. Price: $$
  3. Business Size: Small/Medium
  4. REI Tip: Without getting too technical – FreshBooks uses single entry accounting and QuickBooks and Xero use double entry accounting. If you want to grow to one of those programs, you cannot simply transfer everything over as all of the bookkeeping data is not compatible.

The bottom line is that there are many applications that will get the job done, the difference lies in how large your company is, how proficient you are at bookkeeping and if you intend to grow. If you are going to need bookkeeping assistance or don’t have the time to put a solid effort into your bookeeping, the best options are QuickBooks Online and Xero as most professional bookkeepers use either of those options. If you have someone in-house, consider QuickBooks Desktop and if you are a pure do it yourselfer and plan to stay that way look at any of the above based off your needs and ability.


To see our list of the Top 5 Bookkeeping Differences for Real Estate Investors, please click below.