Intuit’s QuickBooks is pretty much the industry standard in bookkeeping for smaller companies. These days, they have products that will work for virtually all companies of any size. Their original product was a desktop application, now known as QuickBooks Desktop. QuickBooks Online launched in 2001, and has been growing it’s user base ever since. The last new version of QuickBooks Desktop was released in 2021, forcing it’s users to make the switch to some online platform. I was one of those users.
If I sound a bit salty about Intuit discontinuing their desktop version for smaller businesses, it is because I am. QuickBooks Desktop worked great for real estate investors. It actually worked very well for any type of company as far as functionality goes, and the price was pretty reasonable. The main downside was that it was locally installed, which made remote access very challenging. If you could get around that, QuickBook Desktop was a great choice for virtually any business. For new users, there is TONS of content online about how to use QuickBooks Desktop.
QuickBooks Online is still the main name in small business bookkeeping software. It is still a very good bookkeeping platform. I have used it for several businesses, and it seems fine.. Why do I hate it for rental properties? In a word – classes. Or more specifically, the lack of class or location tracking until the Plus version. The Plus version has a ton of features you don’t need for rental properties, and it costs a whopping $90/month for the subscription – more than what I charge to do your bookkeeping for you. Most smaller landlords can’t afford $1,000 per year just for bookkeeping software.
What is class tracking (or location tracking, which is similar functionality and would make more sense for rental properties)? It gives you the ability to attach a property address to every expense or income entry. This lets you run reports per property, which is extremely useful for seeing poor performing properties and is what your CPA will want for your taxes – Schedule E records per property income and expenses.
While there are a few other options out there, I use and recommend Xero for your rental property bookkeeping. All of their plans, even their $15/mo Early plan, has a feature called Tracking Categories. This feature allows you to do virtually the same thing you can do in QuickBooks Online with class or location tracking. You get this without paying for many other features you do not need. If you can do without invoicing, we can get you down to $11/month or even $6/month if you don’t need bank feeds.
Give us a call or drop us an email today to discuss your options.