Property management accounting, which is also sometimes known as real estate accounting, is an accounting specialty in which an individual tracks the amount of money that individuals or organizations earn from the ownership of property, along with the amount that the individual or organization must pay in order to maintain that property. Property management accountants analyze financial records; assess property to identify improvements that may be made to increase the value of the property and/or repairs that must be made to preserve the property; conduct audits; draft and/or file financial reports; and draft performance reports.
In addition, property management accountants record rent and mortgage payments that the individual or organization has paid or received; record security deposits and escrow payments that the organization has paid or received; record receipts and invoices; track inventory and equipment to ensure that the individual or organization has the property or equipment necessary for a specific business activity; and perform other similar tasks.
Individuals in property management accounting are typically known as property management accountants or real estate accountants, but an individual in property management accounting may also be known as a landlord, a management accountant, a property accountant, a property administrator, a property manager, a staff accountant, or any of a number of other similar titles depending on the specific responsibilities of the position and whether the individual primarily handles real estate, equipment and inventory, or a combination of the two.
In most cases, an individual will be able to obtain a position in the subfield of property management with a bachelor’s degree in real estate with an accounting certificate, a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree in accounting from an accredited accounting school, and/or a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) license. (An accountant is legally required to have a CPA license to file an organization’s financial reports, but a CPA license may not be required for an individual or an organization that is does not file anything other than a tax return.)
Some employers may require an Accredited Business Accountant (ABA) certificate, a Certified Property Manager (CPM) certificate, a master’s degree in business, a Master’s Degree in Business Administration (MBA), and/or another similar certificate or degree related to property management in order to obtain a position.