Hi, can anyone give me suggestions on programs or systems to use for keeping better track of rehabbing projects and records? My husband and I are working on our fourth rehab and I am terrible at the paperwork aspect, which I know is so important. I'm looking for something that I can handwrite and carry around. The day planners seem way too small and bulky. I also have a quicken cd but haven't really used it. Any good inexpensive record keeping classes online? Thanks!
Hi @Jennifer Shuler ! You need to establish solid financial systems and controls. Like, yesterday! The good news is that it doesn't need to be expensive or complicated.
I would urge you to be honest with yourself about whether you have the skills to set these up, or if you need help. At very least, you will need:
1. A good accounting program - I recommend QuickBooks Online, which has the added bonus of offering a phone app that lets you enter transactions right when they occur.
2. An accounting chart of accounts that supports your type of business - As a rehabber, you'll need to set up your accounting software to capture expenses by project, allow creation of expense budgets, and track progress to ensure you stay within those budgets. Your needs are different than those of a landlord. Your accounting needs to be set up to support your specific needs. The chart of accounts is the first step on that path.
3. A set of daily bookkeeping habits that keep your accounting program current and relevant.
My team just this year went through this process: I'd be happy to share my experiences with you. I've got nothing to sell, but I'd love to spare others the unnecessary pain and expense we endured for nearly two decades!
Connect with me here on BP if you'd like to chat.
@Jennifer Shuler , if what you really want is a paper-based system, then you're definitely on the right track with looking for a class to take. Check with your local library and see if it has any online accounting courses you can enroll in for free. If they don't have any, see what reciprocal membership relationships they have with neighboring counties and check there too. Lynda.com also has some good tutorials on accounting basics. A good accounting class is going to show you how everything works on paper and it's great foundational knowledge for any business-person to have.
In regards to how you ultimately track your expenses, computer/app-based systems are HUGE time-savers in terms of data entry and identifying/correcting mistakes. I agree with @Mitch Messer that Quickbooks Online is a really great option. (I also agree with his outline of what you need to get a your financial systems in order). QBO allows you to create "classes" so that you can centralize all of your rehab records into one system and still be able to tag expenses based on project.
If QBO is feeling too complicated or costly for just starting out, then I'd suggest looking at Xero. The platform is a bit more limited, but the price tag is a little easier to swallow and they do have some limited tracking functionality available to help you break out costs between projects.
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