Overcoming Accounting Challenges: A Q&A With Property Management Experts

Last modified on January 17th, 2024
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In today’s fast-paced and ever-evolving real estate industry, efficient and accurate accounting practices are crucial for property management companies. To shed light on the challenges faced by property managers and the role of technology in streamlining accounting workflows, we reached out to two AppFolio Stack™ Solution Partners, Proper AI and Eng Flanders Group, which specialize in providing accounting and bookkeeping services to businesses.

In this article, these experts share their insights on accounting challenges, what to look for in property management accounting software, and how technology can revolutionize how businesses handle their financial operations. Keep reading to see how you can simplify and optimize your operations.

While this article contains helpful information, we are not providing legal advice.

Challenges in property management accounting

We asked Proper AI to tell us more about some of the complexities and challenges businesses commonly face when it comes to accounting. 

Overdue bookkeeping and limited accounting technologies

Proper AI says overdue bookkeeping and insufficient accounting software are two of the main issues their customers report:

“Accounting is hands-down the top challenge our property managers face. More specifically, 50% of our clients come to us with back books (overdue bookkeeping) due to a lack of accounting and software expertise and proficiency. 

Other common pains include staying current with industry trends, hindrances to growth, and the challenges of high volumes and slim profit margins.”

Maintaining accounting processes at scale

Managing multiple property types or very large portfolios also brings unique challenges to property management accounting. Proper AI explains:

“Diverse revenue streams, complex expense structures, lease variability, and valuation make mixed portfolios more challenging to manage.

Additionally, the complexities associated with property management accounting get more pronounced as companies grow their unit count. Larger volumes of financial data require skilled talent to address the demands of more complex clients and operations. 

As companies reach a scale where they engage investment banks and hedge funds, the need for advanced reports becomes apparent, as smaller companies may need more accounting knowledge and sophistication.” 

Overcoming accounting challenges

To solve these challenges and simplify the complexities, Proper AI says businesses need a partner specializing in real estate accounting. Their services can streamline accounting operations and enable businesses to free up their teams from tedious data entry and have a better picture of their financial data:

“Proper AI serves as a strategic growth partner, aiding companies by offloading accounting to a dedicated team of specialists paired with proprietary automation, standardizing tasks to enhance efficiency. 

We streamline operations — everything from basic accounting tasks to intricate financial reporting — and then collaborate with clients to develop growth strategies tailored to the complexities of property management accounting. Our accountants specialize in mixed-use, residential, multifamily, student housing, and HOA properties.”

In addition to an accounting partner, when you have a solid accounting technology platform, it’s easier to overcome obstacles and avoid some of the risks of manual processes or disjointed systems. For instance, Eng Flanders Group says accounting technology built for property management can improve accuracy and reduce errors in the event of an audit:

“Good accounting software includes controls that ensure data integrity and minimize the possibility for users to make out-of-compliance entries. It also enables businesses to run reports that can help make sure their bookkeeping is accurate. Internal reports can be used by accountants to validate compliance. External reports make it easy to provide information in the form required by the auditor.”

What to look for in property management accounting technology

The right accounting software and support can make a big difference in your processes. However, it’s not always easy to know what to look for. Eng Flanders Group shares some insight on this matter:

“Good accounting software will enable a more professional accounting operation because it allows accounting teams to save time, instantly track finances, and reduce human error. It is vital that accounting be built into your property management software. 

Integration with your software is important to eliminate redundancy, ensure accuracy, and maintain efficiency. It is crucial that the software is continuously developed and updated to keep up with accounting standards and practices. 

This ensures that the customer is always at the forefront of policy changes and stays competitive. Using an accounting software product no longer in development will cause the user to fall behind and risk being out of compliance.”  

Along with integrating with your property management system, accounting software should be easy to use so your team and new hires can get up and running faster and you can maximize productivity. Eng Flanders Group shares:

“Transitioning from legacy accounting software is much less disruptive when the new software is easy to use because it enables change management and its adoption by the user.

Additionally, it is much easier to attract and onboard new employees because the software is mastered much more quickly. Hiring managers can focus on finding candidates who are qualified accountants without worrying about their past software experience. 

Also, users will take less time to complete their tasks, making them more efficient, thereby allowing the company to be more productive.”

Level up your accounting processes with AppFolio Stack™ Solution Partners

When you are an AppFolio customer, you can work with accounting experts who are part of our network of trusted Solution Partners to find specialized solutions and support that enhance the AppFolio experience. 

For example, Eng Flanders Group provides outsourced accounting services and software consulting: 

We have a team of accountants that can assist in your entire accounting cycle or with specific processes. We have been providing outsourced accounting services to AppFolio clients for over 10 years, and services can be custom-tailored to our clients’ needs.

We also have a full-service consulting team specializing in software implementation and onboarding. Our training team can set up and host remote training sessions for any AppFolio topic, assist you in onboarding new properties or portfolios, troubleshoot data and accounting issues, and provide a financial review to ensure you’re getting the full value of AppFolio.”

Proper AI can help boost efficiency and profitability for your business:

“Our clients focus on scaling their unit counts while we manage the books. To ensure accuracy and reliability, we combine dedicated teams of AppFolio-savvy accountants with automation specifically for AppFolio. That way, our clients spend less time on accounting (at 30% of the cost) and gain the freedom and peace of mind to focus on core business and growth. 

Our services are powered by teams of property management accountants with deep knowledge of AppFolio, paired with automation that makes their tasks and reporting faster, more accurate, and less expensive than an in-house accountant.”

To uncover our full list of partners, visit our website.

Ready to optimize and streamline your accounting?

Property management accounting processes can be complex and time-consuming, requiring precision, organization, and the right tools. From automating routine tasks to providing real-time financial data, technology has proven to be a game-changer in streamlining accounting workflows. You can enhance efficiency and accuracy by leveraging the power of technology with the help of accounting and bookkeeping Solution Partners such as Proper AI and Eng Flanders Group. To learn more about how you can save time and improve transparency, download our free accounting guide below.

accounting challenges guide

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