A guide to hiring a property accountant: How to find a good one

Property accountant - Photo 1

If you have a property portfolio and earn money through rent payments via tenants, then working alone often makes this a highly profitable venture.

However, it also means that you’re handling everything yourself: planning your finances, managing your money, and following the correct legislation to ensure you’re compliant and profiting from your work legally.

If you’re looking for support with the complex matter of managing the financial aspects of property, then a property accountant is an invaluable ally.

From simple advice to tax audits and legislation support, there’s a lot that property accountants can do for property investors and landlords.

What is a property accountant?

Much like any other accountant, a property accountant is a highly specialised individual who is great with numbers and has a thorough knowledge of finances. Accountants specialising in the property sector pair this with an in-depth knowledge of legislation and the minutiae of the business of being a landlord.

This means they’re the ideal people to come to when you need help with any financial and legal aspect of owning property that you let to others.

On a technical level, a property accountant’s job is to keep track of the financial activity respective to the property or properties that they manage. This might seem like a simple task on the surface, but there can be a lot to keep track of—particularly when managing a whole portfolio.

What does a property accountant do?

A property specialist accountant essentially deals with all the money that goes through a property. Most regularly, this will mean accounting for tenant rent payments (or lack thereof), as well as any due rent refunds and repayments of deposits once the tenancy ends.

Other tasks might include:

  • Maintenance costs for property repairs, safety checks, and other work needed to keep the property in good condition, as well as invoices in relation to these
  • Tracking payments due on a property such as taxes, insurance fees, utilities, and other demands
  • Preparing reports to track the financial activity and performance of a property

Property accountants ultimately take some of the strain away from landlords and ensure that important financial duties aren’t overlooked. They will also be a point of contact for a property’s investors should any concerns or queries arise.

Property accountants organise a great deal of financial information and will use specialised software to simplify this task. Creating spreadsheets, reports, and logging data in clear and retrievable formats is part and parcel of an accountant’s duties.

Since a lot of this information will need to be recalled for bodies like HMRC, it’s vital that it’s duly recorded and kept safe. This is something else that could easily be overlooked or left incomplete by a busy landlord with a hectic schedule; another reason that property accountant specialists are so welcome.

Do I need an accountant for my property?

Not everybody invested in property needs an accountant’s help.

If you manage one or two properties with uncomplicated circumstances — that is, very little maintenance demands and regularly paying tenants—then you’re unlikely to need a property accountant.

This is a question best answered by a landlord or investor themselves. If managing a property feels overwhelming, confusing, constantly demanding, or if it doesn’t feel as profitable as you think it should, then the help of a property accountant may be just the fix you’re searching for.

You don’t need to have property in a specific area to think that an accountant is worth the time.

Whether you own houses in central London or you’ve been considering property accountants in Manchester or Salford, an accountant’s help can be just as valuable for the individual. Even though one property might be more expensive and therefore more profitable than another, the demand is still relative to the landlord.

Simply put, if you need help with finances or you find property legislation confusing and exhausting to decipher, then enlisting the help of a property accountant is a sound idea.

That having been said, using an accountant isn’t a legal requirement for landlords. You can manage property through your own experience without any specific comeback.

However, you must ensure you know the duties of a landlord inside out if you’re looking to eschew the help of a property accountant and don’t end up regretting the decision later.

How to find a good property accountant

Finding a property accountant, in theory, is easy. A simple search for ‘property accountant near me’ can turn up many results—but how do you know you’ve got a good accountant?

Speaking with fellow landlords and property investors can be a great source of recommendations, or else warnings based on experience. They may be able to point you in the direction of an accountancy firm, or an estate agent that partners with a property accountant.

Speaking of which, visiting estate agent branches in your local area and asking about any accountants they use could also be a viable course for gathering firms which you can then research further.

Feedback and reviews given online can give some good ideas about the general impression that accountants leave their customers with, as a high concentration of positive or negative reviews could help paint some light on how a firm tends to handle their work.

Using a local accountancy firm will always be a good idea. While the modern landscape offers many services completely online and delivered remotely, having a local property accountant bears some obvious benefits.

Working with property changes from place to place. The underpinning legislation may stay the same, but each town and city has different demographics, different areas, and different local authorities with their own systems and requirements.

As such, having a property accountant local to your area ensures you’re getting somebody that knows their territory as well as they do their profession.

If you own property in Cheadle, you likely want property accountants in Cheadle who can share knowledge of the businesses, demographics, and historic house price trends of the area.

What are the benefits of using a professional property accountant?

A property accountant knows their profession inside out. This means that they not only know how to satisfy certain obligations and answer various queries and challenges that might arise, but they also know how to plan ahead and understand what to expect when dealing with property.

This is invaluable for landlords who don’t have a lot of time to spare for their investments and need processes to go as smoothly as possible. Having the help of a certified expert who can be as proactive as possible and not simply reactive makes everything infinitely easier.

Additionally, property accountants who have built up good professional networks will be able to seek extra help if needed, through fellow accountants, mortgage advisers, and other professionals specialising in the various aspects of owning property.

Property specialist accountants are on your side and will be looking to guide you through the entire process of acquiring, possessing, and eventually selling property. Often, their help can save you from making costly mistakes or wasting time with tasks that aren’t going to go anywhere.

The more complicated your financial situation, the more you’ll want to consider the help of an accountant. You might have good finances, but if your money is tied up in assets then this can prove tricky for securing a mortgage. Alternatively, you might have an irregular cash flow and have a harder time proving your financial situation than you could with regular payslips.

Accountants need to keep on top of a lot of financial information to perform their duties, so they’re the very best people to guide you through the pitfalls of various tax laws and loopholes. Not least of all, they could help you save money or perhaps even identify an asset you didn’t know you had.

Finding a property accountant

If you own or invest in property and you could do with a professional appraisal of your finances, look no further than MCC Accountants.

Our chartered accountants have helped small companies, self-employed individuals, and sole traders across Manchester and Salford. Our expert knowledge and individually tailored service approach gives you the tools you need to succeed and an endless source of expert knowledge. Whether you’re based in Walkden, Monton, Cheadle Hulme, Stockport, Altrincham or Swinton, we can help you with any challenges in your property ownership journey.

To find out more about our team’s expert services, contact us today.

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