Content of the Guide
Content of A QuickBooks Guide for Vacation Rental Managers
BONUS – Define Your Business
Every vacation property management company may operate slightly differently. Before you begin using QuickBooks for your business, it is important that you take some time to define how your vacation rental business works. Make note of the processes and procedures you currently have in place, so that you can make sound decisions about integrating QuickBooks.
We suggest printing the following pages of the vacation rental property QuickBooks guide and sitting down with a pen to fill in the forms and make notes. When you get to the step by step instructions in A QuickBooks Guide for Vacation Rental Managers, you will have the required information at your fingertips. Depending on how you handle certain things, you may enter data and use QuickBooks differently. In the vacation rental guide, we always clearly explain the variations.
We have made the following pages landscape, so that you have the maximum room to fill out the forms and write down your answers.
Section 1: Getting Started
This guide is designed for QuickBooks users of all levels. Some readers may be experienced users, while others may be using QuickBooks for the first time.
We recommend that you read each chapter of the vacation rental guide, even though you may believe that you can skip one, because many chapters are interrelated and include specific QuickBooks instructions.
In this section of the vacation rental guide, you will learn how to copy the template file, as well as backup and restore files. After opening our custom designed QuickBooks template, you will enter basic information about your Company and begin to apply best practices.
Section 2: QuickBooks Basics
Before you further customize your Company’s file and begin using QuickBooks for your financial recording; you need to understand the basic layout and functions of the software. While QuickBooks is user friendly, becoming acquainted with its various functions will help your day-to-day operations run smoothly.
In this section, we will explore QuickBooks’ basic functions and special features you will use for your vacation rental management. You will see that QuickBooks is easily adaptable to managing your finances on a cash or accrual basis, and provides basic financial reports for your Company. You will learn how to use the time management tools within QuickBooks, as well as familiarize yourself with some basic and advanced transactions such as invoicing, reconciling, deposits, and owners proceed reports.
Section 3: Your Company File
In preparation for entering your vacation rental property company information into the template file, gather all company information, including your tax ID number. In some states, rent is taxable and you may be required to file the appropria1te sales tax returns. These returns are typically due monthly, quarterly, or annually.
In this section, we will modify the QuickBooks template file with your Company’s information and customize settings based on your real estate business procedures. Having the correct settings and entering data and transactions appropriately produces accurate reports for your vacation rental business.
Section 4: Manage Names
what is a vacation rental property manager without properties and guests? Now that you have learned the basics of QuickBooks and have restored your company file, it is essential that you enter property owners, properties, units, and/or guests correctly.
We are “tweaking” QuickBooks’ use of Customer:Job in the following manner:
- Property Owner as a Customer (Only if it is owned by different LLC’s or EIN’s)
- Property as a Job of a Property Owner (Customer) (optional)
- Unit as a Job of a Property (Job) (Only if there are Multiple Units)
- Guest as a Job of a Unit (Job) (optional)
Think about this: If you are a contractor, you have several customers or real estate vacation rental investors, and for each customer you have multiple jobs. Similarly, we are using Customer and Job to mean Property Owner, Property, Unit, and Guest, respectively.
For each Customer (Property Owner) and Job (Property), there are multiple Jobs (Units) and you have new and old Jobs (Guests) for the same unit. You may have multiple units in one building with multiple guests at one time or you may have single-family homes with one guest at a time, but there are still multiple guests over the course of time. This is how the relationship between the Property Owners, Properties, Units, and Guests fits into QuickBooks’ Customer and Job setup.
When entering names into QuickBooks, you may wish to abbreviate them, as shown in the below under the Abbreviated Names heading. The reason for this is that when you create forms, the entire name may not be visible, due to space restrictions.
Screen Shot 1 Received From
Either method will yield to the name printing exactly as it is keyed into QuickBooks.
|Screen Shot 2 Names Abbreviated
||Screen Shot 3 Names Regular
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Section 5: Balances
When you begin with a new QuickBooks file, it is very important that you enter all the opening balances the day prior to your start date. For example, if you are going to start entering data from July 14th, then your balances should be entered on July 13th.
Entering balances is the first step to accurate financials, giving you access to accurate reports in QuickBooks. You will have your financial information on demand, rather than guessing or attempting to synthesize multiple excel sheets and/or paper reports. Additionally, tracking a budget and forecast for each vacation property and your Company is crucial to the growth of your vacation property rental business. Having these reports available is an added benefit for owners, too.
Before you begin entering opening balances, compile the information about your vacation rental business and operations in one place.
Section 6: Manage Guests
Guests are the bread and butter of vacation property rentals. By staying organized, you will be prepared for your visitors and make sure they keep coming back.
However, you are Company handles the tracking of guest balances; you will learn how to manage your vacation rental guests’ visits from deposits and reservations to departures in this section. It is important that you record in QuickBooks all funds received from guests, such as deposits, rent payments, and fees for amenities
Flow Chart 1 Track Guest Balances
If you do have an online reservation system for tracking vacation rental guest balances, refer to the chapter on Online Reservation Software for instructions on creating sales receipts. You may still receive money for amenities paid at the time of service (trips, toiletries, extra towels for gifts, etc.) and will need to create sales receipts for those items, as well.
If you do not have an online reservation system, or if you add the cost of amenities to the guest’s balance, you should create invoices in QuickBooks to track guest balances owed to you. Refer to the chapter on Guest Charges and Payments.
Section 7: Manage Orders and Time
Employees or subcontractors provide services for which you pay them. You may track their work by time or by task completed within QuickBooks.
Orders are used for the hiring of contractors or purchase of supplies. Enter an order to track supplies and/or avoid overpaying a supplier. Orders are documents that keep track of work or repairs expected to occur.
When a guest calls for cleaning or repairs of your vacation rental property, complete an order to track the need and eventual completion of the work. Keep track of repairs and maintenance for the vacation property, unit, and guest. If you have a similar problem later, you will know when the problem was reported, the date of the original repair, and who did the work. Also track whether you provided proper notice and/or received permission to enter the vacation rental unit.
Section 8: Manage Vendors
Managing vacation rental properties and guests are only half of the operation; the other half is managing vendors. As you purchase goods, supplies, and services from insurance companies, contractors, utility companies, and other suppliers, you will have to track these goods and services, bills, and payments within QuickBooks. As money comes in, it also goes out!
The following chapters will explain how to track every interaction with vendors from deposits at the beginning of a job to credits after paying for completed work in QuickBooks. You will learn how to enter and pay bills, either online or by using a credit card, petty cash, or your checking account. If expenses are reimbursable, you will learn how to enter the bill in QuickBooks and invoice the company that has agreed to repay your vacation rental property business expense.
Section 9: Manage Equity and Loans
As a manager of vacation properties, you will most likely find your Company in the position of borrowing or investing money at some point. The source of this money may be an equity holder or lending institution. Track your investments, loans, mortgages, escrows, and/or lines of credit, as well as and each vacation rental property’s escrow, interest, and mortgage within QuickBooks. Account for all loans to make sure your Company does not miss a payment.
Section 10: Mange Owners and Properties
As a vacation rental property manager, you will charge a management fee for your services. In this section, we will cover how to correctly process management fees, view the appropriate reports, and track property owner’s proceeds within QuickBooks. Set up a Reserve Fund for each vacation rental property if your agreement with the owner calls for it.
Section 11: Manage Bank Accounts
Performing simple, regular tasks to manage your bank accounts is valuable to your vacation rental business in more ways than one. Regular tasks might include writing checks, connecting your bank and credit card accounts with online statements, moving money from one account to another, and reconciling these accounts with your statements to ensure the accuracy of your balances.
Section 13: It’s a no brainer!
There is always more to do than meets the eye. Performing miscellaneous and regular vacation property management and accounting tasks will enable you to operate efficiently, put everything into action, and run a smooth and organized vacation rental business! If you get stuck, please reach out and contact us.
There is always more to do than meets the eye. Performing miscellaneous and regular tasks will enable you to complete the operation with perfection.
Put the final touches into action and run a smooth and organized business!