Property Management Software
The annual tax return chore can become extremely tedious and prone to errors when done manually using a paper based system, potentially leading to mistakes. Not only is a manual paper system tedious and time consuming, inaccuracies can potentially lead to a tax investigation into your affairs – something you want to avoid at all costs – this itself is a very time consuming and expensive process, even if ultimately everything is in the clear.
In addition to the annual tax calculations, landlords and property investors need to treat their investments as a business. They need to account for the capital values of their assets so that taxation matters are simplified on disposal, and so that capital allowances are claimed when necessary. Back of the envelope methods make this a hit and miss affair.
The good news for property investors and landlords is that there are far better alternatives. Good Property Management Software is designed to organise all your property related transactions so that preparation of your tax matters becomes a piece of cake – well almost!
The more properties you have, the more administration work they will generate. Not only will good Property Management Software keep you on top of your accounting, it will also help you with all the other management tasks involved with property, reminding you, for example, when gas checks are due, check-ins and check-outs, inventories etc.
The Advantages of Good Property Management Software:
Good software (check the specifications) helps you organise all the routine management matters, accounts and financial analysis, such as:
- produces maintenance schedules, gas check reminders etc.
- generates tenancy agreements and notices.
- gives lease renewal times and notice reminders etc.
- issues and tracks invoices, rent payments, late payments and issues final demands.
- manages property keys.
- manages projects and tasks
- supports foreign currency conversions.
- supports VAT records.
- reports on the profitability of your lettings and investments.
- gives you finance tools including mortgages and in-depth investment analysis
- imports transitions from MS Money, Quicken and your own bank (QIF format)
- exports data to Excel spread sheets.
- gives you reports for exporting to your accountant or straight into the tax-return.
- searches and matches tenants to properties.
- able to send SMS messages to tenants and contractors.
- links to SAGE and other we known accounts systems.
Software Packages and their Features
Property Management Packages vary and all have numerous features, but perhaps the most important one of all is the accounting facility: you need any easy to follow and straightforward accounting system which will assist you in making the entries into the correct categories and linking these to individual tenants and properties. Where you have regular and repeat entries you want your package to automate the entries to save you time.
All the packages advertised on LandlordZONE® are proven, reliable systems having comprehensive features and good support from their providers.
Business Accounts is a powerful general accounting package which is useful for business accounting and is capable of being adapted for property management. Whilst it may not have some of the property specific features of a dedicated landlord’s package, it has other features which may suit those who want more powerful business accounting features.
Landlord’s Property and Tax Manager and Landlord Manager are both tried and tested dedicated landlord’s packages with specific features for property management.
The package must also be capable of generating reports and customised reports on the specific information you will need: by tenant, by property, by income and expense items etc.
When you set-up the system in the first place, it’s important to align the accounting categories with related tax return entries. If, for example, all your total income and expenses categories produce the correct totals for the tax return forms, then completing tax returns will be simplified and speeded-up.
So, by choosing a good reliable Property Management Package with extensive features, your property management, accounting and tax administration become almost one operation – you enter data once, minimising the risk of mistakes, and the tax income and expenditure reports are done for you automatically.
Completing your tax return becomes a piece of cake compared to the old methods, and the system puts you in complete command of your investment lettings business. You can produce numerous reports which allow you to analyse your data and your investments’ individual and portfolio performance, cash-flow, individual building expenses and capital values etc.
By building a complete record over time you keep track of your buildings’ asset valuations and capital expenditures – repairs and improvement costs. These become so vital in your capital allowances claims, capital gains tax and family estate tax planning calculations, or if you operate under a limited company, your company affairs. When you eventually sell assets, or, God forbid, when your estate is dealt with, everyone knows exactly where you stand!
SmartPropertyManager.com provides an alternative approach via an on-line web-based solution. As well as having all the key features of the classic desktop products it’s also available via the web, meaning it’s accessible wherever you have an internet connection – including any modern internet-enabled mobile device such as an iPhone.
Better still, its entry-level Personal Edition is completely free, obviously making it very good value for money! The other advantage of the web-based solution is that you don’t need to worry about installing and upgrading the software as the site (and your data) is automatically upgraded as improvements are introduced.
By Tom Entwistle
©LandlordZONE All Rights Reserved – never rely totally on these general guidelines which apply primarily to England and Wales. They are not definitive statements of the law. Before taking action or not, always do your own research and/or seek professional advice with the full facts of your case and all documents to hand.