7 Tips For Using QuickBooks as Your Rental Property Accounting Software

Table of Contents

Purchasing an investment property is a noteworthy moment in your life, but significant work accompanies it. You’ll be responsible for maintaining the home, advertising vacancies, finding renters, and collecting rent. There are also accounting duties you’ll also have to consider.

Many landlords use accounting software to make it easier to manage their finances after buying a rental home. QuickBooks is a popular option because it’s relatively easy to use and a trusted name in the industry with over 40 years of experience. 

There’s a learning curve when starting with QuickBooks or any other software to assist with your rental property accounting, so you might not hit the ground running. This guide explains how to use QuickBooks for rental properties and examines the advantages of selecting this program.

What Is QuickBooks?

QuickBooks is accounting software that allows users to track income, expenses, and tax obligations in real time, minimizing how long it takes to handle these jobs. It’s popular with small business owners because it also has functions for tracking inventory, payroll, and overall financial health. 

An online version with a mobile app is becoming favored because it doesn’t require software updates and provides access to company finances from anywhere in the world. Using QuickBooks Online for rental properties could be an option for many landlords because they can access and track data from their smartphones and even send monthly rent reminders to their tenants before payment is due. 

The Benefits of Using QuickBooks for Rental Properties

QuickBooks doesn’t offer a version specifically for investment properties, but landlords can still use the service to track their income and expenses. This software can make your life easier because it cuts down on your paperwork and stores your information in a single location. Other benefits of using QuickBooks Online for rental properties include the following:

Easier to Use

QuickBooks is relatively user-friendly compared to other accounting software, though not as easy as outsourcing the task to a property management company. The program features an intuitive design for business owners without an accounting background. The software also automates certain aspects of the accounting process so you don’t have to figure the math out for yourself.


Your QuickBooks software has templates you can customize with relevant fields and information. This aspect is vital when using the software for your rental property because you won’t require the same data points as a traditional business. 

Ability to Integrate

Integrating QuickBooks with other software, including the programs you use when doing your taxes, is possible. You can also merge your bank account and credit card information, automating how you record the expenses and income associated with your rental property. 

These benefits make QuickBooks a popular option for landlords in the D.C. area. Remember that learning to use this software will take some time, and you’ll want to ensure you take full advantage of its features if you go down this path. Those that don’t have the time or interest in learning another software program may find it easier to work with a property management company that can take the entire task off your plate.

Seven Best Practices for Using QuickBooks Online for Rental Properties

QuickBooks is intuitive software but isn’t specifically made for rental property accounting. You’ll need to adjust the template to get it working adequately for you. Some tips on how to use QuickBooks for rental properties include the following:

1. Create a Company Name

QuickBooks Online will ask for a company name when you begin, so although you won’t have to register this name, you’ll want to make something up. Creating a company name makes it easier to keep your accounts organized, especially if you have multiple rental properties. Integrating the address into the name is probably the easiest way to go.

2. Set Up a Chart of Accounts

The next step is setting up a QuickBooks chart of accounts for rental properties. You can consult IRS Schedule E Form 1040 as you organize your chart of accounts and list the rental property as a fixed asset so you can manually deduct its depreciation at the end of every year. 

3. Add Bank Accounts

The program allows you to add bank accounts and credit cards to your template to help track income and expenses. You can also add your mortgage accounts. This process is easier if you have a bank account dedicated solely to your rental property. 

4. Configure the Property as a Class

Your QuickBooks template will have a class category, and all you have to do in this section is enter the address. You’ll have to configure sub-classes if you have a multifamily property or add additional class categories if you own multiple investment homes.

5. Make the Tenant a Customer

The QuickBooks program has a section where you identify your customers. A landlord’s customers are the tenants, so you’ll insert the names of all tenants on the rental agreement in this section.

6. Set Up the Product as Rental Income

You’ll need a section for the product, and this is where you’ll mention the rental income you collect. You can also set up multiple sub-product areas to track other income like late fees and pet fees.

7. Send Recurring Invoices for Rent Payments

You can send recurring invoices for rental payment directly through QuickBooks Online. This feature ensures your tenants always know when rent is due and provides them with a direct way to pay what they owe monthly.

Understanding these best practices can help ensure your QuickBooks rental properties experience is a positive one. One drawback is the cost, however, as QuickBooks Online users pay a monthly subscription fee that adds up significantly over time. 

Managing Your Rental Properties

QuickBooks is an option worth considering, but the work you’ll have to put into using it and the monthly fee could push you in another direction. Hiring a property manager also costs you a monthly fee, but you’ll receive so much more for your money. Property managers collect rent, vet tenants, and handle maintenance, providing peace of mind and outstanding value.

Nomadic Real Estate offers property management services in the Greater D.C. area. We understand how much work goes into owning a rental property, so we streamline the entire process for you. Contact Nomadic Real Estate to learn more about our property management services. 

Share via Email
Share on Facebook
Share on LinkedIn
Share on Twitter
Get help from DC's top real estate team.
Founded in 2005, Nomadic is the go-to full service real estate firm in the DMV. We've helped thousands of landlords, investors, and residents and we would love to connect with you next.
Scroll to Top

Thinking of selling? Get an instant property value report:

Enhanced Reporting

Your portal includes a selection of extremely useful reports. Reports are available in the “Reports” section, and are distinct from the financial statements. Unlike financial statements which are static records, Reports are dynamic real-time records that will update with current data every time you view them. 

Scroll down to learn more about Reports:

Navigate to the "Reports" module in your portal:

Owner Portal Reports
  • Keep in mind, these reports are dynamic records. They will refresh to display current information every time you view them. 

Enhanced Rent Roll Report:

Enhanced Rent Roll Report
  • The Enhanced Rent Roll Report will show the rent amount, last payment date, move-in date, lease expiration date, and security deposit amount for each of your tenants. 
  • It will also show a portfolio summary with occupancy percentage, vacancy loss, and more!

Unit Comparison Report:

Unit Comparison Report
  • If you own multiple units (or buildings) with Nomadic, you’ll get access to the Unit Comparison Report. 
  • This report enables you to quickly compare financial performance between your units at a glance without toggling between individual reports. 

Income Statement Month-Over-Month:

Income Statement by Month Report
  • The Income Statement Detail – Monthly Report serves as a month-over-month record of portfolio performance. You’ll see itemized income and expense categories and can track monthly. This report will update with fresh data every time you view it. 

Financial Statements

Financial statements will be published to your portal on a monthly basis. The statements are found in your Documents library, and provide a historical record of all financial performance. The statements serve as a snapshot of financial performance over a given period, and are static documents (unlike Reports, the statements do not update/change in real-time). 

Scroll down for more info about the Financial Statements in your Documents library:

The Documents area contains monthly financial statements:

Owner Portal Documents
  • The statements in the Documents are are static documents. They are posted to the portal once a month to serve as a historical record of financial performance. 

Download a statement to see month and YTD financials:

Owner Portal Property Statement

You'll also find a month-over-month operating statement:

Month over Month Statement

Portal Communication Tool

You can use your owner portal to communicate with our team. Any messages you send through the portal will go straight to your Account Manager. When we reply, you’ll get an email notification and you’ll also see the message in your portal next time you log in. 

Here’s an overview of using the communication platform:

Click "Communications" and navigate to "Conversations":

Commincation Dashboard Screenshot
  • The communications module will contain a record of all messages that you create through the portal. 

Click the "New Message" button and send your message:

Owner Portal New Message Screenshot

Responses will show up in the conversation ticket:

Portal Conversation Response Screenshot
  • You’ll get an email notification whenever you get a response, and you’ll also see the message in your portal next time you log in. 

You can reply in-line using the comment box:

Owner Portal Comment

Each conversation will be logged in its entirety:

Portal Conversation Snapshot

Understanding the Ledger

Your portal includes a ledger with all transactions. The ledger is populated with data in real-time as transactions flow through our accounting software. Much of this information is also available in the Reports area, as well as the Statements in your Documents library, but the ledger is the most comprehensive resource for diving into the details. 

Please scroll through the sections below to get a better understanding of how to interpret the ledger. 

By default, transactions are sorted chronologically:

Owner Ledger Dates
  • The date reflected in the lefthand column is the actual transaction date, not the “bill date”. This is the date the transaction was actually processed. 

If you have multiple properties with Nomadic, you'll see the address for each transaction in the "Location" column:

Ledger Property Column
  • You can filter the ledger to look at just one property, all properties, or specific sets of properties. 
  • If you only have one property with us, you’ll just see the ledger for that property. 

The Description column displays the transaction type:

Owner Ledger Description Column
  • BILL: this is an expense transaction, such as for repair costs or management fees.
  • CHARGE: this is a transaction  billed to the tenant, most typically a rent payment. 
  • NACHA EXPORT: this is a credit we processed to your distribution account. This type of transaction is how you get paid! 

The Amount column shows the dollar value of each transaction:

Owner Ledger Amount Column
  • Positive Amounts: if an amount is positive, it reflects a transaction that is payable to you. Typically, this will be a rent payment that we collected from your tenants. On occasion, a positive number could also signify a journal entry or credit adjustment. 
  • Negative Amounts:  if an amount is negative, this is a transaction that is either payable to Nomadic or is an amount that has already been paid to you. Typically this will be for repair costs or management/leasing fees. Owner draws (net distributions into your checking/savings account) also reflect as negative amounts, since they have already been paid to you. 

The Account Balance column shows a sum of positive/negative transactions at a given point in time:

Owner Ledger Account Balance Column
  • Account Balance should always equal zero after a net distribution has been processed. When the balance is zero, this means that all expenses have been paid and you’ve received the remainder as net operating income, leaving a balance of zero (meaning: no one is due any money, as all funds have been distributed appropriately). 

Navigating the Propertyware Owner Portal

Your portal includes some extremely useful features that help you understand your property’s financial performance at a new level, with real-time transparency into every transaction.

Scroll through the snapshots below for an overview of portal navigation! If you need more help or have specific questions about using the portal, you can reach out to your Account Manager any time for a screen share. 

You can filter all info by date range or property:

PW Portal Filters

View a snapshot of income and expenses on your dashboard:

PW Owner Dashboard View

See every transaction in real-time on your ledger:

Owner Portal Ledger View

Statements and forms will be posted to your documents library:

Owner Portal Document Library

View a suite of real-time financial reports:

Portal Reports View

See a running list of all bills, and drill down for more detail:

Owner Portal Bills View

Under Bill Details, you'll find dates/descriptions/amounts and more:

Portal Bill Details

You can also communicate with your Account Manager through the portal:

Owner Portal Communication Tools

How do net distributions work?

Net distributions keep your accounting clean and simple. Each month we’ll collect rent from the tenants, deduct any repair expenses for the previous month and any management/leasing fees for the current month, and credit the remaining net operating income to your account. 

Net Distribution

You’ll receive a statement via email each time a net distribution is processed, and can view all transaction details in your Propertyware owner portal.