Book keeper and accounting software

I have a small park and am closing on another small one in 3 weeks. I have a couple questions.

  1. Current park is very easy to run. Utilities direct billed, no POH’s, no notes, just dirt. The new one 59 spaces, notes, plan to sub meter water soon. Collect house payments for 3 homes current owner will keep, quite a few no/slow pays.

Just my wife & I. No bookkeeper needed on first park. We use quick books now. I know Frank & Dave use Rent Manager. Is it appropriate for small operators? We’ll have 100 lots total.

  1. Neither of us have accounting background. Do we need part time book keeper due to adding new, trickier park?
    Appreciate thoughts/ thx

Yes, you do.  You need to be efficient and outsource as much of your operations as you possibly can.  Find a bookkeeper for under $10/hour on or  Give them read-only access to your bank account.  Make your (accounting) life simple.Good luck,-jl-

Steve,I disagree with Jefferson.  Rent Manager is excellent for managing 100 units and lets you see what is happening at any moment (delinquencies, comparisons) and you get to know who pays late.  It does not need a bookkeeper.  If you are using Quick Books now, that is all you need for a park or three.  Doing it yourself will give you some idea of the time involvement when you expand your operation.  Only then can you truly evaluate how much and what kind of outsourcing you should do.For notes, NoteSmith is probably the best of the terrible programs out there.  Whatever you use for notes (?spreadsheet), you do not need a bookkeeper.  Since my view and Jefferson’s are completed opposed, you may want other opinions.Howard

I’m taking the hard road and doing it all myself and I tell you what, it is a real pain in the ass. I recommend hiring a book keeper and watching how they do it to learn much more effectively.@Jefferson,Give me an example of costs for accounting on a 100 space park via the outsource employee, please. What type of duties to you give the accounting? Does he/she do the whole thing, rent roll and expenses?

There are several variables that may come into play depending on where the parks are located and the structure of your organization and what state that it is in.  Since you are already on Quickbooks, which is a very compatible software for CPA’s, you would have no problems handling all 100 spaces.  However, the IRS and your CPA will probably want a separate set of books, bank accounts, etc. for each park.  Be very mindful of some of the new regulations and laws that have come on board both at the IRS and Labor Department.  If you are not personally tracking those items, make sure your CPA is.As far as paying $10 for a bookkeeper?  You will get what you pay for.  (Personally, I charge $35/hr to clean up and fix what the $10-$15/hr bookkeepers do for CPA’s.  As long as you both don’t mind a weeks worth of data entry and processing, keep it in-house and make sure you are allocating your expenses appropriately.  You may want to work out a flat fee collection/eviction service with a local practitioner to the county where your park is located in.  That is the paperwork that is going to bog you down and require additional follow through and follow up.  If you decide to get a bookkeeper, see if your CPA can recommend someone…

Keep in mind that Quickbooks is not really GAP compliant and its made for a non-accountant to use. Not only can an bookkeeper mess up your books quickly, if you don’t know what they are doing it can be easy to take advantage of you. I don’t recommend outsourcing through Elance or any other freelance site for this same reason because anyone can say they know Quickbooks on those sites (I signed up to try it for a few weeks and found it to be let’s go for the cheapest people possible, and I was hired by someone who found that out the hard way.) As an accountant myself, I took a controller position in March of this year with a $60 million company that went from Quickbooks to Great Plains a few years back and had “professional” accountants that screwed up their books. You don’t want to find yourself in an incredible mess that takes months, not weeks or hours to clean up, because even a small company can have that kind of a mess from a “bookkeeper”. If you use Quickbooks, it may be worth the investment to learn it yourself, otherwise please lesson to the pros on their recommendations. If you can have a program that gives you good history and not just statements to print off for a bank loan, or your taxes, that would be best to manage your projections, and cash flows better.