Accounting software is used by businesses to track income and expenses. However, property managers also have unique industry-specific needs such as vacancy reports, tracking maintenance and common area expenses, holding security deposits, bank reconciliation, and calculating rent increases.
It’s important for landlords to use property management accounting software to not only keep track of their income and expenses but also to save time by automating certain accounting processes. Using the software also reduces your likelihood of being audited and helps you meet tax deadlines, stay organized, and adhere to security deposit regulations.
We reviewed more than a dozen different accounting software packages before deciding on the best based on pricing, features, ease of use, and overall functionality.
The 7 Best Property Management Accounting Software of 2020
Best Overall: Buildium
Buildium was founded in Boston in 2004 by landlords who managed their own properties. The company is a cloud-based platform that also provides an app, so accounting can be handled on the go. It offers accounting software and general property management functionality for residential properties, condo complexes, and homeowner associations. Buildium also excels because you don’t need to be an accountant to use it. It's actually fairly easy to use and offers tutorials and help pages if you get stuck. It can be used by landlords with only a few units or with portfolio investors who own thousands of units.
Some of its features include:
- Prepare 1099 e-filings
- Track every payment and manage accounts payable
- Generate financial reports including balance sheets, general ledgers, cash flow statements, and more
- Collect rent and pay vendors using e-pay
- Make, receive, and process cash payments
- Automate monthly bank reconciliation
- Integrate other sites including apartments.com, PayNearMe, and Zillow
- Track all expenses including maintenance
- Market vacant listings, offer renters insurance to tenants, and access leasing tools
Pricing for Buildium is as follows:
- Each plan includes a full property management platform with accounting features, maintenance, online portals, and more, as well as a free 14-day trial
- Plans range from $50 per month for beginner investors to $460 per month for a top-tier plan
Buildium has a solid reputation in the property management accounting software space. It was made for property managers and landlords and offers industry-specific features such as online rent collection, paying vendors, 1099 e-filings, and rent tracking. It’s our best overall property management accounting software because of its robust features, ease of use, different tiers for different types of landlords, and its ability to function as both accounting and property management software.
Runner-Up, Best Overall: Property Matrix
Founded in 2001 in Culver City, Property Matrix is a fully customizable, cloud-based property management software that boasts top-of-the-line accounting features. It was designed to be forward-thinking and provides an app to access records on the go. You don’t need to be professional accountants to sign up; the system is geared toward landlords and property managers with varying size portfolios and little to no accounting experience.
Some of its features include:
- ACH, check scanning, and credit card processing
- Easily pay vendors and accept rent payments online
- Customize everything including reports, themes, searches, and property searches
- Enterprise-class accounting
- Line item and management company accounting
- Owners statements and transaction history
- Property management features including leases, leads, tenant screening, and property websites
- Built-in document signing
Pricing for Property Matrix is as follows:
- Standard: $400 per month for up to 250 units and $1.50 for each additional unit, with features like enterprise accounting, marketing, maintenance, portals, and customer support
- Pro: $475 per month, which includes everything from Standard plus commercial properties, budgets, and common area maintenance charges
- Enterprise: $1,200 per month, which includes 800 units, everything from Pro plus some custom feature options
- Each tier has a 30-day money-back guarantee
Property Matrix is great for landlords and property managers because it has so many options that can be customized, including the dashboard, templates, forms, and more. It’s our runner-up because it’s easy to use and accepts online rent payments. It also offers all of the accounting features you need plus all the other property management components you'd expect, like tenant screening and marketing vacant listings, on one platform.
Best for New Property Managers: Yardi Breeze
An offshoot of Yardi, which was established in Santa Barbara, California, in 1984, Yardi Breeze was created for small to midsize landlords and property managers. Yardi Breeze is a cloud-based software and doesn’t offer an app like some of the other property management accounting software on our list. It can be used for residential, commercial, and mixed-use properties. It is helpful to landlords with beginner or advanced accounting experience and it offers free training and customer support.
Some of Yardi Breeze's features include:
- Online rent collection with payment portals
- One-click data import from spreadsheets
- Integration options for QuickBooks and other accounting software
- Owner reports
- Accounting management
- Billing and invoicing
- Document management
- Property management features including marketing listings, tenant and vendor communication, maintenance requests, and renter's insurance
Yardi Breeze pricing varies by property type. It doesn’t charge any setup fees, and pricing starts at $1 per unit per month. The minimum monthly spend for residential properties is $100, or $200 for commercial and mixed property portfolios.
Because Yardi Breeze offers free training and support and is geared toward landlords with small to midsize portfolios, it’s ideal for new landlords or property managers that are just starting out. It’s easy to set up, integrate, and use, which is why it’s our best option for new property managers. It can be used alone for basic accounting needs or combined with other accounting software.
Best for Experienced Landlords: AppFolio
AppFolio was founded in 2006 as a customer-focused, customer-driven software. It is cloud-based and also has an app so its users can use it on the go. It can be used by landlords and property managers who manage both residential and commercial properties, as well as student housing, condos, and HOAs. It offers comprehensive property management accounting software and can be used alone for all of your property’s accounting needs. You don’t need any accounting experience to use AppFolio because it offers training, free help resources, and a customer support team.
Some of its features include:
- Real-time flexible reporting
- Automated accounts payable
- Smart bill entry
- Online rent payments and vendor payments
- Performance insights
- Utility management
- Bulk tenant charges
- Security deposit holding
- Automated late fees
- One-time and recurring bills to assign expenses to general ledger account code
- Property level budgets and quick bank reconciliations
AppFolio charges a $400 onboarding fee and a monthly per-unit fee that varies by property type. The minimum monthly spend is $250, so in order to be cost-effective, it’s ideal for landlords and property managers with at least 50 units in their portfolio. The per-unit price ranges from $0.80 to $1.50 per month. All Appfolio users have access to all of the software’s features and their customer support team.
AppFolio is our top choice for experienced landlords because it was built with the landlord in mind and includes a full property management accounting system. You can access your accounting and other property management tasks all on one platform, with no integration necessary. It is pricier than some of its competitors, so is best for experienced landlords who are managing larger portfolios and have bigger budgets to work with.
Best Price: TenantCloud
Founded in 2014, TenantCloud’s primary goal is to save landlords and property managers time and money. It boasts a streamlined management and accounting software and is the only property management accounting software on our list to offer a totally free option. TenantCloud is cloud-based and gives users the option of accessing their information through a mobile app. It’s a global company with landlords in 40 countries, with users that have all different levels of accounting experience.
Some of its features include:
- Online rent collection
- QuickBooks integration
- Income and expense tracking
- Online vendor payment
- Automatic invoicing, late fees, and receipts
- Quick access to cloud storage
- Receipts for tax filings
- Simple exporting of financial data
- Market reports
- Property management tools including lease templates, insurance reminders, and maintenance requests
Pricing for TenantCloud is tiered and offers free and paid versions. If you pay for your service annually, you will receive two months free. Pricing is as follows:
- Free up to 75 units
- Includes one administrative account
- Maintenance requests
- Online leases and 10 notice templates
- Online rent payments and late fees
- Basic accounting worksheets
- $9 per month up to 150 units
- Includes all Basic features plus unlimited notice templates
- Online payments
- Google calendar sync
- $35 per month upto 500 units
- Includes all Standard features plus administrative accounts
- Property messenger board and customer support
We chose TenantCloud as our property management accounting software wit the best price because it offers a free option, which is ideal for landlords who are just starting out, who manage a small portfolio, want to use it for their own properties, or have a strict budget to adhere to. It’s made for property managers and landlords so has features that are industry-specific like online rent collection. Because TenantCloud only offers basic accounting functions, you may need to use it in conjunction with other accounting software if you have more complex needs or a larger portfolio.
Best Extra Features: Rent Manager
Rent Manager is an integrated platform combining accounting and property management features. It is customizable and can be used for properties of any size. It’s for landlords with any level of accounting experience from beginner to advanced. There is an online version and a standalone version, as well as an app. It was started in 1987 in Cincinnati, Ohio, and includes hundreds of integrations for marketing, accounts payable, business analytics, and more.
Some of Rent Manager’s features include:
- E-pay processing for online rent collection and vendor and owner payment
- E-checks with delivery via email
- Custom-designed reports
- Metered utilities and tracking
- Electronic bank reconciliation
- Every aspect of accounts payable and receivable is handled in the software
- Financial reporting with both cash and accrual methods to prepare for tax time
- Job costing including construction projects
- Custom training, data migration, and customer support
- Property management features such as web chat, virtual post office, and property websites
Rent Manager offers a free demo and is for any size portfolio from just a few units to thousands. It offers several pricing options for the online software version, the standalone version, a per-unit edition, and an unlimited-unit edition. Pricing is tailored to your needs, and you can contact them directly to get more information and specific numbers.
We chose Rent Manager as best for extra features, as it boasts full accounting functions, online payment portals, easy integration with hundreds of other platforms, custom options for almost every feature, and customer support. It’s ideal for landlords and property managers who are looking for extra features and want to be able to customize them.
Best for Commercial Properties: MRI
MRI is a real estate property management and accounting software founded in 1971 as a streamlined solution for property managers and landlords. It offers an app and is also cloud-based. While it’s headquartered near Cleveland, Ohio, MRI has global offices in seven countries. MRI real estate software is specifically for commercial landlords and property managers but also services residential properties, public housing, and international properties. It doesn’t require any accounting experience to set up or use.
Some of MRI’s features include:
- Online rent collection and vendor payments
- Budgeting and forecasting
- Automated accounts payable
- General ledger
- Fixed assets accounting
- Investor reporting
- Corporate accounts receivable and debt management
- Other property management features including maintenance requests, multifamily insurance, manager compliance, and lease templates
MRI offers so many different types of property management accounting software—commercial, public and affordable housing, and residential properties, for instance—that it doesn’t list prices for each one on its site. Instead, it’s best to contact the company directly to find a software solution that meets your company’s needs and budget.
MRI real estate software is great for landlords and property managers with any type of properties but really caters to those with commercial properties. It offers tools such as manager compliance, investor reports, and accounting and owner communication portals, which are important for commercial landlords. We chose it as our best property management accounting software for commercial properties because of all of these features and it can be used on an app on the go and offers full accounting and investor relation services.
What Is Property Management Accounting Software?
Property management accounting software keeps all of the accounting records, receipts, and books in one easy-to-access place (usually on a cloud-based platform). It is accounting software specifically made for real estate, so, in addition to including things like accounts receivable and payable, it also includes industry-specific items like online rent payments, owner reports, bank reconciliations, utility billing, and other features.
Why Do Landlords and Property Managers Need Accounting Software?
Property managers and landlords need accounting software to balance their books, keep track of receipts, pay bills and utilities, and receive rental payments. The software saves them time and money by automating certain processes, such as bank reconciliations, accounts payable, late fees, and recurring monthly charges. It also helps keep track of important documents and receipts and helps prepare for tax time, as well as reduces the likelihood of being audited or missing a tax deadline.
Accounting software is an integral part of managing rental properties. By inputting your income and expenses, you can know if your property is generating a profit or if you need to raise rents, fill vacant units, or cut back on maintenance expenses. One of the goals of investing in real estate is to make a high return on your investment, and property management accounting software lets you keep an eye on this and shows you ways to improve.
How Much Does Accounting Software Cost?
Accounting software varies in its features and functions and so also varies in its cost. Some free versions offer limited features that can be used for a couple of properties in addition to integrating with other accounting software. There are also programs that charge additional fees of $1 or so per unit and monthly fees as low as $50. Other more robust software may charge an onboarding fee of $400 and higher monthly costs often ranging from $100 per month all the way up to $1,200 per month for more involved accounting features.
How Is Accounting Software Different for Property Managers?
Accounting software can be used for different industries and businesses, but property managers need a different kind of accounting software. In addition to balancing books and tracking receipts and accounts payable, this software often includes industry-specific functions like online rent payment and collection, vendor payments, utility billing, and vacancy reports.
Certain software platforms may even include other features such as lease templates, marketing info, and even tenant screening services. The more robust the features, typically the higher the cost. Property management accounting software that helps prepare tax forms, file 1099s, and maintain security deposit and rental accounts will cost more than software that offers more basic accounting features.
How We Chose the Best Property Management Accounting Software
We reviewed over a dozen property management accounting software programs before we decided on the best options. We researched these top contenders based on features, ease of use, price, and the type of functions the software performs, as well as options to integrate with other programs and financial institutions.