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What is a real estate accountant?
The knowledge of classic accountants is no longer sufficient to meet the requirements of the real estate industry – this is where the real estate accountant comes into play. Real estate accounting is an industry-specific subdivision of financial accounting; Accordingly, real estate accountants specialize in the real estate industry and work for real estate owners, real estate funds or other companies active in the real estate industry.
Real estate accountants are responsible for all tasks related to incoming or outgoing invoices, including the associated correspondence. And they bear a great deal of responsibility: all of a company’s activities and decisions are based on their work. The job profiles on the market vary greatly and contain correspondingly different areas of responsibility. For example, in addition to accounting tasks, property management can also be part of the field of activity of a real estate accountant. In smaller companies, the real estate accountants report directly to the management, in large corporations more to a department head.
Digitization has had a major impact on the field of accounting in recent years. Mainly due to the constant automation of individual work steps, positions in accounting have been eliminated. However, this puts real estate accountants in a very good position, because their industry specialization — and the extended area of responsibility that often goes with it — makes them sought-after specialists. At the same time, the demands on real estate accountants are increasing. They have to be familiar with more and more programs and systems and have to continue their education in order to be able to carry out the tasks assigned to them.
The most important things in 5 seconds
- Education: Business studies or completed commercial or business training, preferably in the real estate industry
- Starting salary: €40,000
- Top salary: €65,000
- Opportunities for advancement: Accountant, tax specialist, head of accounting
What does a real estate accountant do?
- Checking and account assignment of incoming and outgoing invoices (customers and vendors)
- Posting of banks and cash registers
- Creation of travel expense reports
- Account Clarification and Reconciliation
- Preparation and, if necessary, creation of monthly, quarterly and annual financial statements
- Preparing sales tax returns and business tax returns
Depending on the size of the company and the distribution of tasks, other tasks may also be added:
- Creation of invoices and reminders
- Coordination with external partners and stakeholders
- Construction accounting or rent accounting
- Rent receipt control (receivables management)
- Keeping budget and balance lists
- Master data maintenance of tenant, supplier, administrator and owner data
How to become a real estate accountant
The accounting tasks — and thus the associated requirements for real estate accountants — are very specific compared to most other industries. For example, a real estate accountant must observe certain legal aspects or know which costs he can pass on to tenants and which not. Therefore, real estate accountants are usually expected to already have some professional experience. In addition, real estate accountants should have the following knowledge:
- Business studies or completed commercial or business training, preferably in the real estate industry
- Alternatively or additionally: professional experience in the real estate industry after your studies or training
- Safe handling of MS Office and, if necessary, DATEV as well as ERP systems
- ideally professional experience in the real estate industry
- if necessary, knowledge of accounting
- possibly good knowledge of English
- if necessary, knowledge of the sales tax law
- possibly IFRS knowledge
How much does a real estate accountant earn?
up to €65,000
Real estate accountants earn between € 40,000 and €65,000 gross per year. As in most jobs, the salary increases with experience. In addition, the amount depends to a large extent on whether a real estate accountant works for a smaller company or an international group and how extensive his area of responsibility is. Real estate accountants can also increase their salary through further training such as accountant or tax specialist.
What do you expect from a real estate accountant?
Real estate accountants like to refer to themselves as “bean counters” – no wonder, because all activities of a company are based on their daily work. If you post something incorrectly or overlook an error, this can cause a lot of work for the annual financial statements or even mean a loss for the company. In this respect, a high degree of accuracy is indispensable for accountants, as is an independent and structured way of working.
A good understanding of numbers is also a matter of course in this job. In addition, accountants must be able to work in a team and be resilient in order to be able to cope well with the demands placed on them on a daily basis. Since developments such as digitization are constantly changing everyday work in accounting, real estate accountants should be willing to learn and undergo regular further training in order to remain in demand as a worker in the long term.
Opportunities for advancement as a real estate clerk
Although real estate accountants specialize in a specific industry, this industry is very sustainable and promising. Good specialists can do further training as an accountant or tax specialist and thus climb up the career ladder and take on a management position in the future. The maximum career goal is usually to lead the accounting department.
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