Which software to track income & expenses?

From: Nigel W

For those of you with multiple properties - which record keeping software do you use?

I have seen the ads for Property Manager Pro and downloaded trial version. Also seen Otter Software's demo product.

I found it a bit hard to get a sense of their functionality from the demos without a fair bit of historical rental and expense data...

As I'm heading into the multiple IP bracket I'd like to kick off with the best software to make sure I've got things well organised. A few paper files and a spreadsheet is sufficient at the moment but once I'm juggling 6 or more its going to get a bit more complex.

Also, are the software programs able to recognise that 1 property can have multiple dwelling units in it? ie blocks of flats which aren't strata'd?

Thanks for the input

ps. DuncanM I'm sure you've got some input into this one!
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Reply: 1
From: Michael Yardney

Hi Nigel
While spreadsheets work, I think that with a few investment properties you will find Quicken very useful. Its cheap and very flexible and handles property income well. When you get busier still, you can move to its bigger brothers- Cashbooks and Quickbooks Pro (which I use) these handle all your accounting needs including BAS etc
Michael Y Metropole Properties
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Reply: 1.1
From: Donna Larcos

I personally just use MYOB. Expense
accounts are all together but I just assign
a different job code for each property to
each expense and rent receipt so that I
can look at the total position or break it
down property by property. The First
Accounts model is probably quite
adequate and cheaper.

I'm sure there are programmes that have
fancy depreciation schedules etc.
Depends how keen you are.
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MYOB (a long one..sorry!)

Reply: 1.1.1
From: Scott Elsom

Sorry this is going to be long...

We used to use an elaborate Excel spreadsheet for our record keeping. This was cumbersome and not particularly effective. I was always being asked to fix this or that, and trying to show someone else how to use the spreadsheet was a nightmare.

About 3 years ago I did quite a lot of looking around for management software and settled on MYOB First Accounts. We use it for 45 permanent tenancies in a Caravan Park and 3 IPs (2 as of last Wed). It also tracks my share portfolio...but it is not very good at this.

It gives me a full payment history of each tenant showing when rent has been paid on time and not. We use this for giving tenants a 'Rent Rebate' for on-time rent. I can report on which tenants are continually late and by how much.

We can print cash receipts directly from MYOB (When I was looking, Quicken was unable to do this.). These can be fully customised.

We can record comments about each tenant, tradesperson, agent, or anyone else in the card section...having a record of phone calls and discussions has helped me out in many potentially sticky situations. A reminder can be set for each of these 'cards' as well...used to prompt us for quarterly inspections, phone calls, rent increases, etc.

It is very quick and easy to generate P & L and Balance Sheet reports on each property. I can also quickly generate a Payables and Receivables report.

It alerts me when bills are due and when rents are due.

At the beginning of each year we produce a budget and can easily compare our P & L and Balance Sheet to the budget.

First Accounts does have a graphing function, but it is fairly basic. I find it better to export the data to Excel and generate any graphs from there.

First Accounts is not as easy to navigate as Quicken, but it has more functionality. MYOB First Accounts is a little more difficult to set up as well. There is specialised property management software available, but the two I looked at were too expensive, and not particularly user friendly. (I can't remember which one's they were.)

If you have basic accounting skills (i.e. know the difference between a debit and a credit) you can drive MYOB First Accounts. We have had numerous managers running the Caravan Park and most of them have picked up MYOB quickly....from an IP point of view, I like MYOB because when I get big enough I should be able to hand over my MYOB system without having to train the person I am handing over to....any bookkeeper should be able to pick up my system easily.

Sorry...one more thing...It is very simple to zip our MYOB file and email it to our Accountant. It is much easier to talk to him about the figures when he has them all in front of him. BAS and Income Tax Returns are a breeze...(assuming you are up to date and all bank accounts have been reconciled regularly).

At the end of the year, I simply complete a reconciliation of all bank accounts and email the file to our Accountant and continue using our copy of the file. When he has completed our returns he emails me a list of the adjustments that are required (Depreciation, mistakes, etc) and I enter them in. Could not be simpler.

It was the best $199 that I have spent in a long time.

I hope this helps


P.S. Much better site!
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MYOB (a long one..sorry!)

From: Sam Coster

Thanks for your answer, we have MYOB that we
use for my primary business, and I agree with
all your comments.
To save me a lot of time and creative energy
could you let me have a copy of your Chart of
Enjoy the journey, its half the fun.
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