Streamlined Real Estate Accounting Checklist

Real Estate Accounting Checklist

  1. Organize Your Records

  • Set up a lever-arch folder for each property.
  • Use a hole punch and large A4 envelopes for document organization.
  • Develop a routine for quick filing (ten-second filing habits).
  1. Maintaining Property Records

  • Keep detailed receipts of all income and expenses.
  • Store records for income tax and capital gains tax purposes.
  • For multiple properties, use a two-character code to mark receipts.
  • Keep a detailed vehicle logbook if using a vehicle for rental activities.
  1. Documentation and Filing

  • Maintain a separate file for each rental property.
  • Include an ownership file, maintenance file, and tenant file for each property.
  • Keep all important documents, like contracts, loan documents, and insurance policies.
  • Retain former tenant files and maintenance records for future reference.
  1. Short-Term Filing System

  • Use a shoebox-and-envelope system for current year tax-related documents.
  • Organize contents by income type and property receipts.
  1. Accounting for Rental Activities

  • Offer tenants direct debit or EFT for rent payments.

  • Use online banking for tracking receipts and payments.

  • Provide receipts for tenant payments and keep track of expenses electronically.

  • Consult a professional accountant for complex properties or large portfolios.


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  1. Expense Tracking and Classification

  • Deduct operating expenses from rental income.
  • Understand the difference between operating expenses and capital items.
  • Keep records of capital items for depreciation purposes.
  • Accurately record and lodge tenant security bonds.
  1. Budgeting and Cash Flow Management

  • Create an annual budget for each property.
  • Set aside a reserve fund for emergencies and unexpected expenses.
  • Plan for major capital improvements over time.
  1. Manual Accounting Methods

  • For a single property, manage accounts manually with a notebook.
  1. Using Accounting Software

  • For multiple properties, consider spreadsheet or accounting software.
  • Regularly review and analyze financial reports for better management.
  1. Retention of Records

  • Keep income tax-related records for a minimum of five years.
  • Retain records related to CGT for the duration of ownership and five years post-sale.
  • Maintain certain records indefinitely for potential legal disputes.


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