More than one type of property accountant exists in the business world. Some property accountants work for real estate companies, others work for property management firms, while still others can simply be responsible for managing and overseeing a company's assets including real estate, vehicles and equipment. To come up with a job description for a property accountant, start by defining the skills and experience the job requires based upon the company or organization's background and market thrust.
Skills and Experience
All property accountants need 10-key skills, advanced computer and spreadsheet skills, knowledge of federal and state real estate laws, and may require specific experience with a property or asset management software. The job requires a person with the ability to set up escrow accounts and portfolios if working in real estate, create and manage budgets and maintain financial records and transactions with respect to assets. All property accountants must have excellent verbal and written communication skills and at least one to three years of experience, depending upon the employer.
Property accountant responsibilities for a company or organization include maintaining financial records for capitalized equipment, vehicles and real estate. This includes overseeing changes in asset management such as disposal or location, and the addition of new purchases. The property accountant conducts periodic reviews, audits and inventory as necessary along with providing guidance to department managers for maintenance and repair of the company's equipment or other assets. Job duties for property management accountants entail updating tenant records to reflect changes in tenants, rent, utilities, repair and maintenance, and common area charges, along with invoice preparation for tenants.
Besides daily responsibilities, the position requires individuals to be capable of conducting periodic audits or inventory of the company or client's assets. The role of a property accountant for a private company or organization -- including real estate firms -- requires the ability to generate reports on new asset purchases, capitalization, management and disposal of a company's assets. For the accountant who works for a property management firm, the accountant must also manage collections for tenant invoices, generate reports reflecting payments or collection activities and ensure that all tenant financial records are current.
Education and Salary
Unless a property accountant gained their knowledge and skills through experience with another company, accountant positions require a college degree in accounting, business, finance or economics, though other degrees can be acceptable, depending upon the specific job and company, as long it comes from an accredited college. The government's labor statistics arm, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, groups all accountant disciplines under the heading of accountant. The average annual salary listed by BLS for all accountants in May 2012 was $71,040, with the median salary set at $63,550.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Accountants and Auditors
- Education Portal: Property Accountant Job Duties and Education Requirements
- Buildium: Property Management Features
- Miami University: Property Accounting
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment and Wages May 2012 13-2011 Accountants and Auditors
- Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images