Is Quickbooks the best accounting software for REIs?

13 Replies

I know that there have been many threads about this topic, but is Quickbooks still the best accounting software for real estate investors? To further the discussion, does anyone have an opinion or experience with Quickbooks desktop vs. Quickbooks online? And lastly, if choosing Quickbooks online, which monthly subscription plan offers the best value, specifically regarding the needs of REIs?

QB is definitely not the best accounting software for REI. Sorry, but this topic has been beaten to death.

There are a ton of accounting software out there. I would first ask what size REI you have.

Like 1-10 I would use a spreadsheet...Like Excel.

11-25 I would then be looking into something like Quickbooks or some other REI friendly software.

25-unlimited...I would hire an accountant not a CPA. That does your books monthly for you and at the end of the year and only then I would send those books to the CPA.  

Not to all those you have a CPA, they are great when you want to ask a question about your REI financing, they are great when it comes to doing your taxes, they can be great at doing the monthly books for clients. BUT, do you sign a contract with them that says if you don't give them the right information then they are not held responsible? IF you sign that then realize that means if the IRS or anyone else needs information and it is wrong they will then re-charge you money to fix the issue and if it is the IRS, they will go with you and try to negotiate the issues for a price.

Getting an accountant is much cheaper and will get you to the same place.  Spend your money wisely.

Sorry if any of you out here are CPA's and don't agree with me about this.   

Good Luck and just FYI if you can get Quickbooks online for free and you have a small amount of houses then I would use that.   

Good luck and ask me if you need anything else.

I personally think QB sucks but that puts me in the minority on BP.  It's not intuitive at all and I'm an accountant to boot.  I use Xero.

Not to all those you have a CPA, they are great when you want to ask a question about your REI financing, they are great when it comes to doing your taxes, they can be great at doing the monthly books for clients. BUT, do you sign a contract with them that says if you don't give them the right information then they are not held responsible? IF you sign that then realize that means if the IRS or anyone else needs information and it is wrong they will then re-charge you money to fix the issue and if it is the IRS, they will go with you and try to negotiate the issues for a price.

Getting an accountant is much cheaper and will get you to the same place.  Spend your money wisely.

Sorry if any of you out here are CPA's and don't agree with me about this.   

An Engagement letter? I mean ya....obviously if a client gives us a bunch of wrong information and we have no way to know how could we possibly be held responsible? 

Also how is this related to QB at all? Seems like  dig at tax pros to push bookkeeping. 

I get books regularly from bookkeeprs that are super wrong. 

Does your bookkeeping engagement letter say "everything in these books is perfect and if the CPA files using them then I find an error later I'll pay for the tax pros time to amend and re-file" 

None of this is related at all to the OP's question. 

I see a push on here for CPA's and for software that people don't need. That is what I was trying to get across.

My wife and I are just starting out and will be purchasing a 4-unit multi-family soon. We plan to owner-occupy one of the units, so we will have three units starting out to manage. I could use excel, but would like to start using a dedicated software since we plan to grow our portfolio over the next 5-10 years and would like to choose a software that I can grow our business with. I haven't been able to determine a consensus from looking through past threads about this topic. Everyone seems divided, but I'm leaning towards using Quickbooks, simply because it is still one of the most widely used platforms amongst accountants/CPAs. Thanks for all the feedback thus far!

Originally posted by @Joseph Getts :

My wife and I are just starting out and will be purchasing a 4-unit multi-family soon. We plan to owner-occupy one of the units, so we will have three units starting out to manage. I could use excel, but would like to start using a dedicated software since we plan to grow our portfolio over the next 5-10 years and would like to choose a software that I can grow our business with. I haven't been able to determine a consensus from looking through past threads about this topic. Everyone seems divided, but I'm leaning towards using Quickbooks, simply because it is still one of the most widely used platforms amongst accountants/CPAs. Thanks for all the feedback thus far!

What it kind of comes down to is really is QB best? Not really. 

But is it the most common/industry standard? Yes. 

You'll want something your CPA can easily utilize come tax time, and if you're using a crazy one-off software it may be harder to find a bookkeeper or tax pro who are familiar with it, can help you with it, ect. 

Quickbooks, Freshbooks, Xero are all big enough someone should be good with them. Stessa is new and some people like it, free version doesn't include balance sheet tracking I believe and it was recently bought out so people are worried about fees changing. 

I would say for not- utilize a good spreadsheet and check out trials of the 3 above and see which you like best and or see what the tax pro you work with uses too.

I agree that Quickbooks is used widely among CPA's and Bookkeepers. I think you should look for a Accountant /CPA/ Bookkeeper that will use a software that is for REI only.

But as I said before I don't think you need to spend that cash yet.....lets say you buy software 400 for the program for the next 5 years and you only have 10 doors....that is 2000 you could spend/save to move faster on your goals.  

Its your money and your investment if you want it do it is what I say!

@Joseph Getts . My other ‘job’ is bookkeeping. I use QB online for some clients and hate it. I also use a program called Xero for a majority of my clients and love it. I use Xero for my real estate business and it’s fabulous. You set up Tracking Categories such as Dwellings or Houses. Then it’s easy to add a new Dwelling. So when you enter an expense, you select which house it’s pertains to. Same with income transactions. You can run your P&L, income statement, or any other report, and toggle between your houses. It can show you company as a whole, or individual properties. Very user friendly. They have free training and certification.

Here are my thoughts on why to use software:

  • To view your financials for each property that is Profit & Loss and Balance Sheet for each property
  • To easily compare monthly, quarterly, yearly reports to see where you stand for each property
  • To make it easy not only for tax time but for you to grow your business
  • Cost segregate your expenses and improvements to accelerate your depreciation 
  • Easily see when you purchased HVAC, washer, dryer etc 
  • and my list goes on

@Simon W. which software would you recommend for REI?

How many times do you struggle to know what your equity is in each property? The question is how much time do you spend on bookkeeping, taking the box of receipts and scratching your head at the end of the month or trying to figure out your numbers on April 1st to file tax returns by April 15? 

Which every way you track your money in and out - be consistent and track it at least every week. 

As to QuickBooks desktop - you can purchase it starting at $190 depending on the version. But just remember as technology changes, and companies support the software - it is advisable to purchase a new version every three years.

Quickbooks isn't the best for anything. I've never once sat down with a CPA and had them open Quickbooks. I suspect the only reason they have QB is so that they can exchange files with their mom & pop clients who use it as a glorified checkbook register. 

Also, they are a scummy company. If their nagging doesn't get you to buy the latest version, be prepared for when they turn off a bunch of features in your current version because they are no longer supported.

I recommend Yardi. it is just a much better program overall. But the OP is just starting so that's the question if he plans to grow big rapidly. 

Because constantly transitioning to new platform isn't fun.

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