Before starting with bookkeeping for your clients, you should ask yourself: what is my business accounting software? Is it good enough for taking care of small holiday rental business taxes? If you are a highly profitable holiday rental business owner with lots of properties and hundreds of tenants renting from you each year, you might be tempted to jump into the most sophisticated property management program out there. But considering the budget constraints that usually come with small companies and startups, your first decision will have to be much more careful and cost-effective. And although it might seem more complicated, there is one simple way to save money when choosing property management software — get open source options.
Finding the best accounting software for small holiday rental business can be a difficult task. There are many different solutions available and everyone has different needs. Some might need a simple solution for maintaining their books, others might want an extensive reporting suite and still others might need some kind of inventory tracking.
Bookkeeping and accounting can be a major headache for small holiday rental businesses. Administering the software, maintaining books and files, and sorting out who paid what can quickly become overwhelming for a one or two-person team.
If you are a small holiday rental business owner and you want to find the best accounting software, then our article is the one that could help you. You don’t need to buy the expensive software or get stuck with a free accounting tool that will do nothing. We recommend some of the best accounting software for small rental business here.
What Is Vacation Rental Software?
Vacation rental software helps you manage, maintain and run a short-term rental property. It could be a small apartment in a big city that you rent out a couple of weekends a year, or a lakehouse that you lease throughout the year.
These properties are not hotels or bed-and-breakfasts, which rent out multiple rooms in the same building to multiple guests. Instead, these are discrete units (whether individual buildings or specific apartments within a larger complex) rented out individually.
As such, owners and managers of vacation rental properties face different challenges than hotel managers, and they require a different type of software solution to traditional hotel management software. In fact, vacation rental systems have as much in common with property management software as they do with hotel management systems.
Vacation rental management software combines the most important software functions used by both hotel and property managers. These tools address the specific needs of vacation rental property owners and managers, no matter the size of their portfolio.
BEST FOR EXPERIENCED ACCOUNTANTS Property Matrix
Property Matrix comes packed with all the advanced features professional accountants would need, with the ability to customize everything, making this the best software for experienced accountants.Pros
- Fully customizable features
- Has a mobile app
- Designed for all levels of accounting experience
- Fit for landlords with over 250 units
- More expensive than other accounting software
Designed for users of all levels of accounting experience, Property Matrix is a website-based software equipped with powerful and advanced features that have automation capabilities for expert users. Furthermore, all features are fully customizable, allowing experienced users to pick the top-of-the-line accounting features they need to improve their reporting efficiency.
There are three pricing plans: Standard, Property Matrix Pro, and Enterprise:
- Standard: $400 per month for up to 250 units: $1.50 for additional units. Key features include enterprise accounting, maintenance, marketing, portals, custom reports, unlimited phone support.
- Property Matrix Pro: $475 per month for up to 250 units: $1.50 for additional units. Includes all Standard features, plus tools for commercial properties, budgets, and CAM (common area maintenance) charges.
- Enterprise: $1,200 per month for up to 800 units: $1.35 for additional units and all Property Matrix Pro features.
Property Matrix surpasses other software programs due to its advanced features and customization muscle. It’s capable of managing complex accounting processes, minimizing workload, and eliminating the need for third-party accounting software.
Property Matrix users can:
- Organize and track transactions
- Manage multiple companies
- Create recurring invoices and bills for vendors and tenants
- Set triggers and automate routine actions
- Track information efficiently through custom fields
- Manage documents from one single system
- Create custom forms
- Collect electronic signatures
- Organize communications through one single Communications Hub
- Get a professionally designed website
Users can customize the features they use, making it suitable for any experience level. However, enterprise-level landlords and their accountants will benefit more than small and medium-sized landlords due to the robust accounting software.
Property Matrix serves accountants, investors, and property managers through its numerous affiliates, such as the National Apartment Association and the American Apartment Owners Association. User reviews are very complimentary on Capterra and Software Advice.
BEST VALUE Stessa
Popular among investors, Stessa is a free rental property finance software that comes with everything a landlord with several properties would need, making it a great pick for those that want to keep expenses low and get the best value.Pros
- Free and easy to use
- Automated bookkeeping
- Designed by landlords, for landlords
- No tenant screening, maintenance request, tenant communication, or property advertising and listing options
- Not fit for professional or enterprise-level users
- Focuses more on real estate investors
Because Stessa is free software and comes with ample accounting features, it is the best value for real estate investors to get the basics done well.
Founded in 2016, tens of thousands of investors use Stessa to monitor over $45 billion in real estate assets. It’s a web-based software that has an app compatible with Mac devices.
It has fully automated bookkeeping and financial tracking feature that syncs with the bank and financial accounts associated with a rental property, a document management center, an option to scan receipts, and the option to create a variety of reports (balance sheets, cash flow, rent rolls, IRS-ready tax statements, and more).
Stessa is perfect for landlords and investors who want to manage their assets and track their finances by focusing on key metrics. However, it has a limited amount of features and is not fit for professional or enterprise-level users.
Stessa currently integrates with AppFolio, allowing users to import income and expense transactions automatically every month. It’s fairly easy to use for novice investors and accountants, a fact backed up by reviews left from previous users.
BEST EXTRA FEATURES Rent Manager
Rent Manager has the most complete accounting system with advanced features that handle all aspects of a business’s finances and documents.Pros
- Extra features to manage properties of all sizes
- Comes with online and standalone versions and a mobile app
- Customizable accounting software
- No pre-made pricing plans
- Each version comes with different features
The comprehensive accounting system in Rent Manager has all the functionality a landlord may need combined with outside platform integrations, so we awarded it as our best for extra features.
Rent Manager doesn’t currently have any pricing plans, so to check the exact cost for a specific package of features you need, you have to contact them directly.
It comes with an online version, standalone versions, and a mobile app to help users manage their business wherever they are.
Rent Manager allows users to process e-payments, e-checks with delivery via email, create custom-designed reports, make electronic bank reconciliations, control every aspect of accounts payable and receivable, and more. It also functions in cash and accrual accounting simultaneously, saving time otherwise spent on double-entry bookkeeping.
Rent Manager also has additional customizable features for each user, including online payment portals, marketing and leasing, operations, maintenance, and advanced reporting. It integrates with close to 100 other programs like Avidxchange, Beanworks, Safeguard, and ZeGo by PayLease.
Customer service provided by Rent Manager is top-notch. The customer support staff is also praised for their knowledge of all features, including the latest upgrades.
Websitewww.buildium.comPrice from$50/moFree Trial14 days
Best accounting software for landlords for the price
Buildium is best for residential property managers, commercial property managers, and homeowners associations. They cater to a broad spectrum of users, from small property investors to those with large portfolios.
Ease of use:
Buildium is easy to set up, easy to integrate, simple to use, and easy to navigate. The cloud-based software is very accessible no matter the location of the user, therefore, certain tasks can be handled in real-time. We found the learning curve to be very low and, if needed, there is plenty of online help available. Overall, the user interface feels very intuitive and personable.
Buildium has all the standard features and then some. You can create your marketing website by using the program’s DIY tools. On the website, you can include a list of your properties, communicate with tenants and vice versa, and accept applications.
Buildium has a lease tracking feature that tracks leases, deposits, and monthly payments. It tracks both leases and tenants. The online dashboard notifies you which leases will expire in 30-90 days. The advantage of this is that it reduces vacancy rates, which results in more profit.
There’s also an app where both owners and tenants can generate reports. Reports can be run to show which tenants have paid and which have balances due. Reports can also be generated to show a comparison of budgets by property.
Not only do owners have access to information, but via portals, tenants can access information as well. Tenants can track previous payments, track maintenance requests, make online payments, and access documents. This saves the owner time by not having to do all of this leg work.
Between email, the help desk, FAQs, a forum, knowledge base, chat, phone support, live online training, webinars, documentation, and videos, Buildium has a great all-around support system. Their support team is very knowledgeable and helpful.
The price for Buildium is reasonable. Plans start at $50 a month. They offer a free trial so you can try it out before purchasing.
The market for vacation rental systems includes vendors ready to meet a variety of levels of functionality.You can find a system that fits your specific needs, based on the size and scale of the properties you manage and rent, without having to pay extra for features that you don’t really need. If you do need those features, however, they are available in more robust systems.
Still, there are additional considerations to bear in mind when choosing a software product:
Legal compliance. Housing and property codes are constantly being updated, and a vacation rental system can help you make sure all your properties remain in compliance with both local and national requirements as they change. This is a feature of larger, more robust systems.
Separation of accounts. If you make enough income from your rental properties that you want to create a separate business entity to manage them, you will want to keep your financial accounting for that business separate from your personal accounts. A robust vacation rental system will assist you with this trust accounting.
However, if you are only managing one or two properties, avoid systems that exceed your needs. You will likely be fine with a simple system that integrates with a service such as HomeAway or Airbnb, generates bills and invoices and helps you track your contacts and financial information.
If you’re running a small holiday rental business, or just want to keep an eye on your properties’ finances, we’ve got the right software for you. Built specifically for small business owners who operate in the vacation rental space, our cloud-based accounting software streamlines your accounting process and makes reporting simple. You don’t have to be a financial expert to own and operate a vacation rental property business. You just need the right holiday accommodation management software.
Your small business is a home away from home for your family. It’s a place where you can make your own rules and do what you love without answering to anybody. Your small holiday rental business though starts off as a home, but it isn’t long before it becomes the foundation of your family.