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APM Help Blog

What to Look For When Hiring a Property Management Bookkeeper

December 9, 2021

Maintaining daily and accurate bookkeeping is a vital part of a property management business. As a property manager, you have a wide variety of responsibilities and that includes bookkeeping. Property management bookkeeping has diverse needs and it is important you have the best person or team ensuring that portion of your business runs smoothly.

Many qualifications are important when considering a bookkeeping team. Can your bookkeeper answer these questions?

Does your bookkeeper have Bookkeeper/Accounting Experience?

  • Starting off the #1 question you should always ask your bookkeeper is if they know the difference between an income statement vs balance sheet? Just because they have done Accounts Payable in the past doesn’t mean they have the experience to answer owner questions such as suppressed fees or why their 1099 amount doesn’t match their year end financials.
  • Is prepaid rent income or a liability?
  • What is the threshold for when you are required to send a 1099?

These are the most basic questions that a bookkeeper should be able to answer before they are even able to take a peek at your books!

Does your bookkeeper have Property Management Software Experience?

Some of the recommended property management softwares include AppFolio, Buildium, Propertyware, and Rent Manager. If going through the software’s training materials online was easy then you would probably do this job yourself right? The learning curve of the software is steep (time, resources, patience). 

Accounting softwares such as Appfolio is always improving or adding new features. Having a bookkeeper or team that can adapt quickly to those changes is valuable to ensure accuracy is being maintained.

Even if you find someone who says they know the software, how do you even evaluate them?

  • What’s the operational difference between a one bank setup and a two bank setup?
  • What’s the difference between a trust account and a regular business checking account?

Does your bookkeeper have Property Management experience?

A person having a property management background is crucial. PM experience is relevant when assisting with tasks such as move in or move out accounting. Certain property management terminology is typically used alongside accounting, so knowing what should be inputted into the database is important.

Have they managed properties similar to what you’re hiring for? Commercial property management is completely different compared to residential, and even more different than student housing. Making sure the bookkeeper has experience managing the same type of property as yours is a must.

Does your bookkeeper have Trust Compliance experience?

As a Property Management broker you might think finding a bookkeeper is just Accounts Receivable of Accounts Payable data entry. But did you know the data your bookkeeper enters and what they submit the risk ultimately falls on you as the license broker? You can lose your license for something your bookkeeper does and we see it happen all the time.

  • First let’s start off. What is a property management trust account?
  • What’s the difference between a Trust account and a Checking account?
  • What is the purpose of a bank reconciliation?
  • How would you handle security deposit and rent in one check?

These are just a few qualities that APM Help looks for when hiring bookkeepers. If you want to know the answers to any of these questions we are happy to answer them for you.

Once again, what your bookkeeper does ultimately falls on you as the licensed broker. Don’t let  an inexperienced property management bookkeeper jeopardize your license!

Want to skip hastle of trying to hire a qualified bookkeeper? Speak with us today about how we can get your books clean and keep them clean!

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