Disclosure: BestAccountingSoftware is reader-supported. When you buy products through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

Best accounting software for real estate agents and brokers

Susan Honea

Susan Honea – 8 years experience helping businesses with bookkeeping, tax preparation and auditing

Last updated: November 6, 2020

We reveal the best accounting software for real estate agents, whether you're an individual agent, broker, or part of a larger agency. 

Best accounting software for real estate agents and brokers

Real estate agents and brokers want to focus on finding their clients the perfect properties to lease or buy. They don’t want to be tied down in accounting tasks, but they recognize the importance of calculating and tracking commissions and other essential information throughout the year.

Many real estate agents are self-employed, so they’re potentially subject to quarterly tax estimate payments. As such, the accuracy of their payment information is crucial. They need to know how much they earned, what their expenses were, and how many miles they drove. Plus, it’s helpful if the software they choose includes some form of integrated contract management so it’s not completely separate from the accounting process.

Real estate agents and brokers have different needs for accounting. Brokers need to be able to track and report on commissions and other financial data by specific real estate agents or sales teams, and they need to be able to track leads and other information. Property-specific information is also an important factor (e.g., property or sale-specific profit and loss statement).

The products on this list are the best of the best in terms of helping real estate agents and brokers manage business finances. However, not all of the products work well in both situations. We’ve identified the target users for each product and discussed specific functionality related to each where appropriate.

Read on for in-depth information about ten accounting software products for real estate agents and/or brokers.

Best real estate accounting software:

  1. Xero. Best overall accounting software for real estate agents and brokerages. Xero excels at integrations, offering more than 700 of them. A double-entry accounting option, Xero can be as lean or robust as the real estate agent or broker needs, providing essential accounting tools, commission and payroll management through seamless integration with Gusto, a wide array of contract management options via integrations, and more. Plus, it’s affordable and easy to use.
  2. QuickBooks Online. Best accounting software for multi-agent groups and larger brokerages. Ever-popular QuickBooks Online can serve a range of real estate businesses from small to large. Robust accounting features combined with contract management options starting with DocuSign but extending to other integrations, plenty of payroll options, and a nice selection of plans to meet the needs of a variety of real estate entities, all of whom will appreciate its ease of use.
  3. FreshBooks. Best accounting software for single real estate agents and small brokerages. FreshBooks combines simplicity with double-entry accounting functionality and helpful automations. Real estate entities requiring payroll and contract management can add those via integrations. FreshBooks can adapt to meet the needs of larger businesses, but it’s most cost-effective for the self-employed agent.
  4. Realtyzam. Best accounting software designed specifically for real estate agents. Realtyzam provides basic accounting functionality, and the software can calculate commissions and fees and track financial information by listing or buyer. However, it doesn’t include contract management. Overall, it’s a simple and inexpensive option tailored to meet the needs of real estate agents.
  5. Wave. Best accounting software for start-up real estate agents. The only totally free option on this list is Wave, which provides the strong double-entry accounting new agents will appreciate without a financial investment. Payroll can be added for a low monthly cost, and contract management requires integrations. Tracking commissions requires some additional configuration, but it can be done.
  6. Zoho Books. Zoho Books is a good choice for those who want scalability, as it is a member of the Zoho family. The Zoho ecosystem includes an assortment of modules, some of which enable payroll and customer relationship management (CRM), and thus commission management. The CRM Plus module also enables contract management. Overall, Zoho Books with CRM Plus is a nice all-in-one option for managing the finances of a range of entities.
  7. Lone Wolf Back Office. Lone Wolf Back Office is a real-estate focused option that can also serve the needs of a range of entities from the small brokerage to the larger real estate firm, including those with multiple locations. Its basic accounting functionality keeps the books in order, but its real strength is in commission management and calculation, along with contract management.
  8. CORE Back Office. CORE Back Office is a good option for the small real estate agency or brokerage. With basic accounting functionality, document management, and flexible commission calculation and direct deposit payments. CORE Back Office also features integrations—more than 30—which include QuickBooks and Zoho Dashboards.
  9. Realty APX. Realty APX is another all-in-one option for real estate accounting needs and can be used by individual realtors or large brokerages. Features include accounting and management of documents and contracts, commissions and offers, leads and contacts, etc. Realty APX also includes a basic website with each package.
  10. Emphasys. Designed specifically for brokerages, Emphasys manages showings, transactions, and commissions. It can also integrate with QuickBooks Online for more robust invoicing, expense tracking, and agent payment needs.

Best accounting software for real estate agents

1. Xero

Website www.xero.com
Price from $9.00/mo
Free Trial 30 days

Best overall accounting software for real estate agents and brokerages.

Best for:
Real estate agents and brokers alike will appreciate that Xero is not only simple and easy for the agent or agency to use but is robust enough to meet the needs of accountants. Whether the brokerage employs multiple salespeople or manages commercial or residential real estate or addresses various other activities related to real estate, Xero can help in maintaining compliance with accounting regulations and rules for managing money, funds, expenses, and taxes within the real estate arena. In addition, Xero allows more than 700 integrations, making it a flexible and scalable option.

Key functionality:
Xero is based on double-entry accounting and comes with a standard and customizable chart of accounts. Xero allows for bank connections and can automatically import transactions via feed. Imported transactions become “bank statement lines” in Xero, which will then suggest matches between these transactions and payments, invoices, and purchases. The user can click to accept the suggestions and reconcile the transactions (including multiple transitions at once) or create a new transaction type. Xero’s machine learning capability allows it to “remember” transactions, too.

Invoice templates are customizable and invoicing allows for automatic reminders. The user can generate quotes and estimates, which can become invoices. Automatic bill payment features are also strong, providing the ability to schedule ahead.

Realtors can manage their own commissions easily in Xero by tracking them as income, specifically by setting up a single Commissions account in the chart of accounts, or sub-accounts can be created to track income by specific property or client.

Managing commissions within a brokerage requires the payroll feature, for which Xero has tight integration with Gusto. Although other app integrations for payroll are available, Xero does strongly recommend Gusto and advertises it. Commissions are subject to income tax, and Xero teamed with Gusto can automatically track federal, state, and local tax withholdings for brokerages who withhold for their real estate agents, and Forms W-2 and 1099 services are also included. Xero helps with monthly, quarterly, and annual payroll filings, too. Gusto does cost extra, but included in that cost are direct deposit and unlimited employees.

Information flows from Xero to Gusto and from Gusto to Xero seamlessly. The two together can support multiple payroll schedules, whether they be weekly, biweekly, monthly, quarterly, ad hoc, or some combination. They also help with tracking custom pay rates, such as varying commission percentages for a single employee.

Contract management is where Xero’s app integrations approach really shines. There are many, many options for contract management, including PandaDoc, Gatekeeper, Formstack Documents, and Adobe Sign. Other options include Zapier, allowing connections to DocuSign, GetAccept, DotLoop, and Contractbook. Workato can be used to create integrations, as well. Contract management does incur additional costs.

Xero’s Business Performance dashboard provides a real-time overview via graphs of the important information (even on the mobile app): cash flow, accounts receivable and accounts payable. Beyond that, a variety of customizable reports are available that can be saved and marked as favorites for quick future access (including by keyword search). Reports can be adjusted through an easy drag and drop feature, as well. Users can drill down in reports to see the underlying information and calculations and easily share reports within Xero. Reports can also be emailed to non-users. Reporting on the mobile apps is somewhat limited, though.

Mileage tracking is possible through Xero. It does require a third-party app, however, such as MileIQ or Expensify.

Xero does allow for accountant access to facilitate year-end tax prep. However, Xero doesn’t currently offer true quarterly estimated tax calculations or annual tax prep. That may change in the near future. To ease the end-of-year tax line mapping and return prep, Xero does integrate with the CCH Axcess tax engine.

Access & users:
Xero provides mobile access via iPhone, iPad, and Android. Mobile apps enable cash flow management, access to profit and loss statements, bank and credit card transactions, reconciliations, the ability to send invoices and quotes and attach documents to invoices, review and pay bills, and access contacts. The app cannot issue receipts. However, as a cloud-based accounting software, Xero can be accessed from anywhere via a web browser.

Xero allows unlimited users per organization, and allows the organization to determine user roles and features available to each.

Ease of use:
Because it’s easy to set up and use, Xero doesn’t require accounting skills. The interface is clear, intuitive, and easy to navigate. The dashboard can be customized to suit individual preferences and needs. Automations, automatic bank feeds, and simple reconciliation processes add to the ease of use. specific accounts can be added to an Account Watchlist for close monitoring. Though customer support tends to be lacking, Xero Central provides both support and self-service learning sections with helpful guides and training materials.

Cost:
Xero offers three affordable plans. The most inexpensive plan limits the number of bills and bank transactions per month. Most businesses will need to start with the mid-range (“Growing”) or top tier (“Established”) plan. The difference between these two is multi-currency functionality, the ability to capture and manage expense claims, and project tracking, which are only included in the top tier plan. Many real estate agents and brokerages do not need these higher-end features, anyway.

Things we liked:

  • Works for either a brokerage or an individual agent
  • Seamless contract management with integrations
  • Good mobile apps
  • Easy to navigate
  • Cost effective

Things we didn’t like:

  • Not the best customer support
  • No automatic quarterly tax prep functionality
  • Some important features require third-party app

2. QuickBooks Online

Price from $8.00/mo
Free Trial 30 Days

Best accounting software for multi-agent groups and larger brokerages.

Best for:
QuickBooks remains popular and typically turns up on any “best accounting software for” list. With so many versions of QuickBooks featuring various levels of functionality, there’s a QuickBooks solution for everyone, and real estate agents and brokerages are no exception. Businesses ranging from a single real estate agent to medium-sized brokerages with 100+ real estate agents can find something from this accounting software family.

Key functionality:
QuickBooks Online features comprehensive double-entry accounting and a customizable standard chart of accounts. QuickBooks Online enables easy tracking of income and expenses, and makes sending and creating invoices easy. Invoices can be emailed from QuickBooks Online directly, and the advanced monthly plans allow for recurring invoices—a handy feature for real estate agents who are expecting monthly commissions on rental properties. The online accounts payable function helps with organizing receipts, paying bills, paying contractors, and even issuing Forms 1099.

The built-in bank feed feature downloads transactions to the register. The user matches transactions throughout the month, and then QuickBooks Online takes care of the end-of-period reconciliation. Through machine learning, QuickBooks can categorize transactions so that over time, the need to add transactions manually decreases.

As with Xero, real estate agents can manage their commissions in QuickBooks Online by setting up a single Commissions account or multiple sub-accounts. QuickBooks Online’s chart of accounts is quite flexible.

QuickBooks Online brings multiple payroll options for brokerages, including its own, along with integrations for Gusto, Patriot, Workful, Paychex Flex, and others. All payroll options incur additional costs, including QuickBooks Payroll. It will be important for the brokerage to choose one that allows the level of flexibility required at a cost within budget.

For contract management, QuickBooks has an existing relationship with DocuSign. However, it also integrates with HoneyBook and Xerox DocuShare. In addition, Zapier and Workato integrations are available, too. Contract management does cost extra.

QuickBooks Online reporting is robust. Even at the least expensive tier, there are more than 50 reports available, and over 100 in the advanced tiers. Most of the reports are customizable, as well. QuickBooks Online Simple Start provides the core reports of profit and loss, expenses, and balance sheets, which would be enough for a real estate agent on his or her own—or even for a small team. QuickBooks Online Essentials adds sales, receivables, and payables reports. Online Plus adds comprehensive sales and profitability reports. Online Advanced includes basically all the reports a business would ever need, along with a business analytics and insights feature. Reports are easy to run in QuickBooks. Frequently used and customized reports can be saved as shortcuts for quick and easy access, too.

QuickBooks Online does provide automatic mileage tracking with the mobile app, and advanced plans allow concurrent users with various limits.

QuickBooks Online helps with sales tax tracking. It does not estimate quarterly taxes (the QuickBooks SelfEmployed version does, but it’s only useful to a single real estate agent and doesn’t include other important features), and it does not provide Schedule C support. However, the profit and loss report will suffice for Schedule C prep in most cases, and QuickBooks Online data can be imported into personal and business tax returns, but only by an accountant.

Access & users:
QuickBooks Online is just what it says it is—an online accounting software option. It’s cloud-based, so it’s accessible anywhere with a browser and an Internet connection. (There is still a desktop option from QuickBooks, by the way.) An organization that needs software for multiple or concurrent users will need to subscribe to one of the more advanced plans (see more about tiers below in Cost). Online Essentials allows three concurrent users. The Plus plan allows five concurrent users, which is probably enough for most brokerages. Assigning role-based permissions will require the Advanced plan (top tier), which also allows 25 concurrent users.

QuickBooks Online provides strong mobile functionality through apps for both iOS and Android users. The app allows the user on the go to track and send invoices, track receipts through snapping a photo, take payments and issue receipts, track mileage, and manage cash flow.

Ease of use:
One of the reasons QuickBooks remains eternally popular is its clean design and ease of use. Navigation is user-friendly, yet flexible. QuickBooks Online includes many automations to help save time, such as recurring invoicing, digital receipts, bill payments, and journal entries. It can learn to assign deposit accounts, expense categories, and expense accounts automatically.

QuickBooks provides excellent training materials like video tutorials, webinars, and classes that cover all the tasks users might need to complete, and the active online user community can help to fill in any gaps. In addition, QuickBooks Live, a recently-added program, provides clients with access to a dedicated QuickBooks Online Bookkeeper. Because QuickBooks is so popular and ubiquitous, it’s not difficult to find someone to help when you’re stuck. The website allows potential users to test drive the product with a fictitious company to get a feel for it, as well.

Cost:
The decision to invest in QuickBooks or not is made easier by the 30-day free trial, along with the opportunity available on the website to test drive the product using a fictitious company before committing. Like most products on this list, QuickBooks Online requires a monthly subscription but offers plans at five different price points, depending upon the user’s needs. The Self-Employed plan is the cheapest and most limited. It could work for an individual real estate agent, but it lacks nice-to-have features. The prices and features increase across the Simple Start, Essentials, Plus, and Advanced plans. QuickBooks Payroll costs extra, as noted earlier, and it also comes in tiers ranging from the cheapest option at four employees to the Elite option for 10 employees.

Things we liked:

  • Plans suitable for real estate agents and brokerages
  • Flexible and easy to use
  • Built-in payroll functionality available
  • Automatic mileage tracking via mobile apps
  • Available bookkeeping support

Things we didn’t like:

  • Can be expensive for a small brokerage or single agent
  • Limited tax support
  • May be too robust for real estate agents

3. FreshBooks

Price from $10.00/mo
Free Trial 30 days

Best accounting software for single real estate agents and small brokerages.

Best for:
Real estate agents looking for super simple accounting will want to consider Freshbooks. FreshBooks allows users to apply the core functions to real estate and add custom fields to track information about properties. FreshBooks has been popular for a long time among startups and small businesses, but it’s suitable for a medium-sized entity, too.

Key functionality:
FreshBooks boasts double-entry accounting and strong automations to provide users with strong but time-saving accounting. Invoicing and payment collections are available through the FreshBooks software or through integration with Stripe. Estimates and proposals can be converted easily to invoices, and invoices can be set as recurring. Invoices can be customized, and users can set up billable hours to attach to invoices and add client information automatically, too. The automatic expense tracking facilitates deposits. FreshBooks can also track billable expenses and time. Advanced plans can send out payment reminders and apply late fees automatically, too. If the real estate agent needs it, FreshBooks also includes multi-currency support.

Freshbooks allows bank integration (through Yodlee in the U.S.) and automatic reconciliation, as well, making expense tracking easy with automatic updates daily, which FreshBooks can learn to categorize. The software can automatically add expenses to bank registers each day. Agents can attach pictures of receipts, too.

FreshBooks enables mileage tracking, too, along with project management and multi-project management. FreshBooks doesn’t include a payroll feature, which will be necessary for commission management. Payroll functionality in the U.S. requires integration with Gusto to ensure proper income tax deductions, tracking federal, state, and local tax withholdings, generating W-2s and 1099s, and support in filing monthly, quarterly, and annual payroll. Canadian users will need to integrate PaymentEvolution for payroll.

FreshBooks provides no native integrations for contract management. Instead, FreshBook users will need to integrate with Zapier or Workato.

The Dashboard in FreshBooks enables easy access to important reports such as Profit & Loss, Sales Tax Summary, Accounts Aging, Expenses, Payments Collected, Invoices, while also providing a quick view of the General Ledger, Trial Balance, and Chart of Accounts. FreshBooks allows the user to filter reports by date, client, or team member. Real-time access to data such as spending and other essential business activities makes it easy to keep up with financial data on the fly.

Although mileage tracking is built in to FreshBooks, users also have the option of tracking mileage through integration with MileIQ. FreshBooks users who need to attach mileage tracking to specific projects or clients will probably want to go with the built-in tracker, which will prompt FreshBooks automatically to generate an invoice.

FreshBooks does offer tax-specific reports and categorization of expenses to help with tax prep at the end of the year, but it doesn’t feature tax integration or provide quarterly estimates.

Access & users:
Another cloud-based accounting software, FreshBooks is available anywhere by Internet and browser. It’s mobile apps are popular among Apple and Android users. The app enables mobile time-tracking, invoicing (create and send), expense recording (snap and save), credit card payments, and so on. The app doesn’t have reporting capability, though.

Ease of use:
FreshBooks boasts that its software isn’t just easy to use but is “Ridiculously Easy to Use.” It was designed originally to meet the invoicing needs of business owners with little or no accounting knowledge in an intuitive, user-friendly way. The software is easy to set up, navigate, and use. FreshBooks is also known for its friendly and helpful customer service.

Cost:
FreshBooks isn’t the most or least expensive option. It falls somewhere in the middle. Like the majority of modern accounting software options, FreshBooks is available through monthly subscription plans, and the plans are available in four tiers. It’s important to note that all the plan prices are based on one user; adding users adds to the cost. The least expensive plan limits the number of billable clients to five, but allows unlimited invoices, expense entries, and time tracking. The Plus tier expands the number of billable clients to 50 and adds features, while the Premium plan allows up to 500 billable clients. The Select plan—for entities with more than 500 billable clients—requires custom pricing.

Things we liked:

  • Very simple setup and navigation
  • Built-in mileage tracking
  • Strong app integrations and automations
  • Excellent customer support options
  • Cost-effective for brokerages

Things we didn’t like:

  • Limited tax preparation support
  • Limited reporting in mobile apps
  • No native payables and payroll options

4. Realtyzam

Price from $9.95/mo
Free Trial 30 days

Best accounting software designed specifically for real estate agents.

Best for:
Realtyzam is a bit different from some of the other options on this list in that it was specifically designed as a real estate accounting software. It’s probably a better fit for small real estate groups or self-employed agents. The accounting software can be used for an entire brokerage unless employees are set up as W-2 earners, which would be a problem because there is neither a built-in payroll function nor integrations to allow payroll processing.

Key functionality:
Realtyzam includes basic accounting functionality with the user setting up a fully customizable chart of accounts along the way, starting with basic options and adding accounts and subaccounts over time. Realtyzam requires no data entry because it downloads everything from your bank or credit card account and includes more than 15,000 bank and credit card integrations. If a bank integration isn’t available or the user isn’t interested in that feature, the user can upload an Excel, CSV, or bank file. Realtyzam can also categorize transactions automatically. Although the software has no accounts receivable or payable features, income and expense transactions can be set to recur. The dashboard provides many filters on each tab that allow the user to see the information how they want to—summary, list, or monthly spread for income and expenses, for example.

Realtyzam automatically records commission when a property is sold and marked as sold in the software. When users new leads into Realtyzam, they also enter their commission percentage and identify any additional fees that need to be deducted—such as broker, national, referral, or other fees. All of these fees can be saved as defaults for future leads, too.

Realtyzam technically doesn’t include a contract management feature that allows users to send contracts for signature and store them long term; however, one nice feature is that users can choose to track their work within Realtyzam—either by listing or by buyer name. This flexibility is important to many real estate agents since they want to be able to track financial information down to the specific client or property.

Realtyzam includes only two reports—profit and loss and sales stats. Profit and loss functions as a tax prep tool, primarily, but it’s also a good indicator of the real estate agent or agency’s overall business health.The sales stats reports include comprehensive information about the listings themselves.

Mileage tracking is built into Realtyzam, but it’s not automatic. Mileage has to be entered manually. However, the mileage entries can be cloned easily enough and entered back to back. In other words, a form pops up to prompt the user to enter new mileage tracking immediately rather than going back to the expenses page.

Realtyzam generates a report for quarterly and year-end tax prep that is accountant-ready. The report shows all commissions and other income and expenses on a chart of accounts that is customizable.

Access & users:
Realtyzam is available as a desktop app or mobile app (Android and iOS). The mobile app includes a receipt snap and upload and link function. It is designed to be a single-user platform.

Ease of use:
Realtyzam is a super simple software to use. When a user first signs up, a quick tutorial is automatically displayed and covers basically everything a user needs to know. Whenever the user clicks on a new item in Realtyzam, helpful tips are displayed.

Cost:
Realtyzam offers a 30-day free trial. After that, it’s free to use for the new real estate agent (or one returning to the career) until the user sells two properties or logs $3,000 in income and expenses. Even at the full monthly price, it’s a very cost-effective accounting software solution. The user can obtain a discount by paying annually instead of monthly, and there’s no cancellation penalty. There’s also a code-based referral program that provides a $10 credit for any referral, plus the new account gets a $10 credit, as well.

Things we liked:

  • Super-simple setup
  • Easy navigation
  • Cost effective
  • Tons of bank and credit card integrations
  • Automatic commissions tracking

Things we didn’t like:

  • No double-entry accounting
  • Very limited reports
  • No automated mileage tracking

5. Wave

Price from FREE/mo

Best accounting software for start-up real estate agents.

Best for:
Wave is a good option for start-up real estate agents and small brokerages. Its Form 1099 module makes it a good option for brokerages with contract employees, too. The budget-conscious agent might appreciate that this free accounting software option still comes with robust accounting functionality. Its lack of scalability makes this real estate accounting software less attractive for larger brokerages.

Key functionality:
Wave provides double-entry accounting, and the free version includes a nice feature set: unlimited clients, invoicing, expense tracking, billable expense tracking, automatic payment reminders, and bank/credit card feeds. Wave also enables limited time tracking. Expense tracking is easy with the automatic bank and credit card downloads Wave offers, along with account reconciliation. Wave also includes basic contact management, multi-currency support, multi-entity support, and an online portal that allows clients to access, view, and pay invoices. Wave Money will provide a business bank account with accounting features built-in, debit card, and mobile app.

Payroll functionality is available through Wave but does incur a monthly cost. Wave Payroll allows the business to pay through direct deposit. Employees can access pay stubs and W2 forms by logging into Wave and can set up bank information, as well. Wave can file payroll taxes automatically in some states.

Wave doesn’t include a specific tool for commission management, but it can be set up to track commissions. Wave doesn’t include project management, either, but that probably isn’t an issue for most real estate agents and small brokerages. Wave doesn’t include an actual mileage tracker, so the real estate agent will need to track that for entry into the software.

Wave integrates with a variety of contract management tools via Zapier and Workato. While there isn’t a dedicated in-line contract management functionality, the integrations should take care of most real estate agents’ needs.

Wave’s reporting capability includes both accrual and cash basis reporting with easy toggling between them. Wave’s reporting capability is somewhat limited compared to other products on the list, encompassing cash flow, profit and loss, trial balance, and sales tax. However, those reports may be all a single real estate agent or smaller brokerage needs.

Wave doesn’t provide tax support, but its recent acquisition by H&R Block may herald changes there. Wave does allow the addition of an accounting professional as a limited user for tax prep purposes.

Access & users:
Yet another cloud-based software option, Wave is accessible anywhere. Wave offers two mobile apps, Wave Invoicing and Receipts by Wave, both of which provide decent functionality on the go. Wave doesn’t limit the number of users or accountants per account, either. One beneficial feature that small real estate agent collectives might like is that Wave allows multiple entities to be managed under one login. As such, if several real estate agents use the same administrative support person or bookkeeper, all the information can be centrally located for ease of management.

Ease of use:
Wave is simple to use. The dashboard enables a good overview of the business and its overall health, featuring cash flow, profit and loss, and bank and credit card transactions. The dashboard also allows the user to add customers, vendors, and invoices quickly. Tabs provide quick access to sales, purchases, and more. Wave brings significant automations to make accounting easier. Wave can automate estimates, invoicing, expense tracking, and bank downloads. Wave’s website includes a Help Center where users can find effective tutorials and guides for important functions. The user-based Wave Community is active and can be counted on to help.

Cost:
Wave is free and ad-free. Some functions, such as credit card processing and ACH payments incur a small fee per transaction, but many real estate agents won’t need these features. Payroll incurs monthly fees that aren’t terribly expensive.

Things we liked:

  • Very cost-effective, even with payroll
  • Multiple sets of books in one location
  • Intuitive navigation and setup process
  • Unlimited clients and expense tracking
  • Good workflow automation and integration features

Things we didn’t like:

  • Not designed for larger brokerages
  • Limited features in mobile apps
  • Customer support is lacking

6. Zoho Books

Website www.zoho.com
Price from $9.00/mo

Best for:
Zoho Books works well for start ups, small to medium businesses and even large brokerages. Users already working in the Zoho ecosystem will naturally turn to Zoho Books for accounting needs, but the software can also stand alone. For multi-agent groups and brokerages, Zoho Books is a good choice when integrated CRM and project management functionality is desired, such as with real estate agents who flip properties or have their own rental properties.

Key functionality:
Zoho Books is a strong double-entry accounting software product. Estimates convert to invoices easily in Zoho Books. Invoicing includes many customizable templates and the ability to pre-schedule invoices and set them to recur. The retainer feature provides for easy retainer payment management, too. Zoho’s banking module allows bank syncing and PayPal integration, along with quick and easy reconciliation, but the user can match and categorize transactions if desired. Zoho learns transactions and categories for future time-saving reconciliation.

The Zoho ecosystem offers additional modules to provide additional functions: payroll, inventory management, project management, and fixed asset management. Because payroll and CRM functionality are integrated on the Zoho platform, commission management is easy. Zoho CRM tracks funds that are due to the real estate agent, and the information is transferred quickly into Zoho Books in just a few clicks. Then, on the next payroll cycle (for W-2 employees) or immediately after closing, real estate agents are paid via the integrated payroll module.

The CRM Plus module also includes document management, allowing users to share documents both inside and outside the firm, making contract management a breeze. Mileage tracking is not only available but can be done through the apps, including the Apple Watch. However, there are no quarterly tax estimates or end of year tax prep features in Zoho Books.

Zoho Books boasts strong, customizable, schedulable reporting functions with more than 50 built-in reports. The dashboard highlights important financial data in real-time. Beyond that, users can run in-depth reports on profit and loss, balance sheet, and cash flow. Tax reports and audit trails are available, too.

Access & users:
Yet another cloud-based option, Zoho Books is accessible anywhere. Its mobile apps are popular among users and provide some of the most robust mobile offerings on the market, beyond what the competition offers. Zoho Books even targets the Apple Watch, albeit with somewhat limited functionality. Larger entities will appreciate that Zoho Books allows user-level permissions.

Ease of use:
Existing users of other Zoho modules will find the software easier to learn than new users will. It’s generally considered easy to set up and navigate although some users may find the cluttered interface a bit challenging to get used to. Zoho Books automates many essential tasks, like invoicing, reminders, payment processing, receipts, scheduling reports, and project tracking and billing. The ecosystem provides easy API integration among modules. However, if users want to integrate something outside the Zoho system, that may require additional programming.

Zoho Does provide good step by step guides and support to help users get up to speed. The Resources section on the Zoho Books website is extensive, well-organized, and developed with supporting materials.

Cost:
Like its competitors, Zoho Books offers a range of plans, making it a cost-effective option with choices. As plans progress in price, they also add features. Adding users brings additional cost, as well.

Things we liked:

  • Cost effective
  • Good reporting features
  • Built-in mileage tracking
  • User-level permissions for larger firms
  • All-in-one platform capabilities

Things we didn’t like:

  • Customization is challenging
  • May be too many features for smaller firms
  • Bank sync functionality can be problematic

7. Lone Wolf Back Office

Website www.lwolf.com
Price from contact/mo

Best for:
An agency that needs to manage agents, transactions, and vendors along with accounting will appreciate the real estate focus of this accounting software option. It’s both an ERP and an accounting option. Lone Wolf Back Office is designed for large real estate firms but can also be a software that works well for a smaller brokerage. Lone Wolf software is great for large firms with more than one location because the technology provides a way for the broker or managing partner to track the entire business easily.

Key functionality:
Lone Wolf Back Office is a software that uses a general ledger, accounts payable, payroll, and bank reconciliation to keep your accounts in order with ease—with no need to manage double-entry accounting on your own. When it’s time to get your books in order for the end of the year, Lone Wolf Back Office provides you comfort with making sure your numbers are in order and avoiding audits during tax season.

Lone Wolf Back Office provides flexible commission management and calculates commissions and commission splits accurately. The commission calculator allows agents to know the exact amount they will earn from commissions without having to do anything to come up with the number.

Contract management is offered and made easier with the eSignature tool, which provides the ability to start and finish contracts quicker online. Lone Wolf Back Office not only makes it easier on the agent but also on the client for finding their next home. Real estate agents can send and review contracts quickly, allowing the client, agent and employer to view and sign the contracts rapidly.

Lone Wolf Back Office provides customizable reports, but they can be challenging to customize. Customization availability changes as the software is upgraded. There are a lot of reports available and easy to run with a couple of clicks. The amount of information in the reports can feel clunky or cluttered with unnecessary information. Financial reporting can be done by the company or agents, and the operational reports are included.

Lone Wolf Back Office offers mileage tracking through Hurdlr. This third party software helps agents not only track their mileage but also helps them find ways to cut down on expenses to save money. This is one of the many product features that Lone Wolf has integrated into its software.

Lone Wolf Back Office also has an optional bookkeeping offering called WOLFwatch that tracks the numbers your firm spends and earns and provides a monthly check-up to ensure the books are up to date. WOLFwatch takes over the bookkeeping so the client doesn’t have to spend time worrying about it.

Access & users:
Lone Wolf Back Office provides a robust ability to assign access to users by role. Employers can assign access to individuals on specific contracts and reports and with the single sign-on integration feature for the Lone Wolf Back Office it makes it easier for agents to easily move across the different Lone Wolf technology, such as WOLFwatch, ShowingTime, Hurdlr and every other feature that has been integrated into Lone Wolf. Instead of signing into each feature independently, agents will only need to sign in once relieving them of the headache for signing into multiple Lone Wolf products.

Ease of use:
Lone Wolf Back Office is user friendly once a person learns the system. However, it is extensive, so training will be necessary. It’s so extensive, in fact, that finding the function you need can be difficult. The mix of Canadian and American terminology might confuse some users. On the plus side, Lone Wolf Back Office does update frequently to meet demands of ongoing changes in real estate business. Customer support by phone is responsive but there can be delays. Users can also access email support. The Lone Wolf Technologies website provides a space for Community self-service. There’s also a Product Help section providing articles and discussion across a variety of topics from troubleshooting to integrations. Training options include online, in-person, training packages, and custom training.

Cost:
The pricing model for Lone Wolf is through subscriptions. Contact Lone Wolf for specific pricing information on its subscription packages. Software training varies from two to eight hour packages depending on how many employees the firm has. Training includes options for in-person and virtual and comes with the option to customize the training package that fits the firm best. Software training is highly recommended with this product.

Things we liked:

  • Automatic commission calculations
  • Multi-office support
  • Easy contract management with eSignature
  • Designed specifically for larger brokerages
  • Built-in home tour technology

Things we didn’t like:

  • Steep learning curve
  • Inconsistent terminology (Canadian and US)
  • May be hidden fees, including ongoing training

8. CORE Back Office

Price from contact/mo
Free Trial 14 days

Best for:
CORE Back Office is a cloud-based technology that best suits small firms consisting of two to five agent teams or single independent agents. CORE Back Office gives agents the tools they need to close deals and find clients while marketing and advertising their firm to keep new clients incoming. With fully integrated apps, such as Zillow, social media apps, DropBox, DocuSign, and much more, agents are able to customize their platforms with technology that best serves clients. CORE Back Office has over 30 integrated apps that work with its product, making it easier than ever for small firms to reach out to new customers and sign more deals.

Key functionality:
The accounting functionality in CORE Back Office is plenty for most smaller firms; the software handles commission management, invoicing, and other basic accounting requirements. It’s easy to create custom workflows based on agent preferences, and CORE Back Office allows commission data and agent billing to be synced to one common place on the software. Brokerages with more robust accounting requirements will appreciate CORE Back Office’s QuickBooks Online integration, which also makes tax time at the end of the year a simpler process.

The commission calculator helps agents stay on top of their earnings without having to be slowed down by doing the math themselves. The commission calculator also calculates commission splits when more than one agent is working on the same contract. CORE Back Office users can sync contract data automatically from SkySlope, Dotloop, and DocuSign, further simplifying the contract management process. Plus, CORE Back Office facilitates direct deposit to pay agents in a timely fashion. In addition, the integrated document management functionality allows agents to quickly send contracts back and forth from the firm to clients with easy online signatures to close the deal quicker. The software retains documents and client history in one single database so records are never lost or hard to find.

CORE Back Office Sends a steady stream of reports to brokers for accounts payable and receivable. The reports come automatically and keep the brokerage up to date. CORE Back Office also sends financial reports of agent activity from month to month without the manager having to go around personally asking each individual agent.

Instead of keeping track of mileage through Excel sheets and questioning if your records are accurate, CORE Back Office offers an INTUIT QuickBooks add-on that tracks the mileage for agents. This third party feature is an additional add on cost to the monthly subscription and is not covered in the basic subscription package.

Potentially one of the most useful and productive add ons CORE customers can get for the Back Office software is the integration of INTUIT’s QuickBooks. It not only keeps track of tax records but also provides a place to track expenses such as mileage. Customers can choose this when they start their subscription to make preparing for tax season effortless. It keeps track of the numbers for the brokerage and helps prevent future audits with inaccurate records.

Access & users:
CORE Back Office integrates with the Zoho Reports dashboard, providing real estate agents the ability to customize their dashboard with apps that help them stay on top of clients and marketing. With agent monitoring abilities, CORE Back Office allows the broker to track agents’ productivity. Employers can assign access to users based on office role and depending on which contracts the agent is working on.

The mobile app can function off data when WiFi isn’t available and makes it easy to stay connected to what’s happening with the brokerage when agents are away from the office. The mobile app version also helps real estate agents with tracking expenses and finding ways to save on costs without having to work from a personal computer.

Ease of use:
CORE Back Office is easy and simple to use and includes integration with tons of different apps and third-party software packages. Users transitioning from another platform may experience a bit of a learning curve, but all in all, CORE Back Office provides a platform to manage and market the brokerage all in one place quickly and easily. Perhaps the best time-saving feature is the built-in direct deposit payment process that simplifies the way brokerages pay real estate agents and help them keep track of money earned and spent.

Cost:
For potential customers, CORE Back Office offers a 14-day free trial to try the software. Brokerages can expect to pay a monthly subscription fee that includes a base amount plus a per-agent fee. CORE Back Office can be purchased both as an add-on element for the CORE Platform and as a stand-alone product. For brokerages with more than 500 agents, CORE Back Office requires a custom subscription package with prices that can vary. Basic packages don’t include third-party systems, such as QuickBooks, Zoho Dashboards, Reports Builder, and many more features, so agents and brokerages should be aware of extra costs that may be incurred.

Things we liked:

  • Designed for brokerages specifically
  • Integrated contract management features
  • Many add-on features improve productivity
  • Good customer support
  • QuickBooks Online integration makes tax prep easier

Things we didn’t like:

  • Can be expensive
  • Limited training options available
  • Limited accounting features compared to competitors

9. Realty APX

Price from contact/mo

Best for:
An all-encompassing cloud-based accounting and realty management program that aids in organizing and tracking all aspects of a real estate business, RealtyAPX was created to be simple enough for a single agent and robust enough for large enterprises. RealtyAPX aims to help agents and brokerages simply and effectively manage all aspects of a real estate business. From leads to commission management, this software helps track it all.

Key functionality:
Managing cash flow is a vital part of any business. With a completely automated double-entry, general ledger-based accounting system called AcctFusion, RealtyAPX helps brokers manage incoming and outgoing commissions, write checks, manage bills and expenses, and much more. It’s everything a real estate office needs to manage back office functions.

RealtyAPX is designed to facilitate the commission management process, beginning with creating a listing through accepting an offer. Users have complete control of every step, and once the offer has been accepted, RealtyAPX automatically categorizes commission payments and splits properly. RealtyAPX even helps track customized commission percentages.

Larger brokerages may find the third-party accounting integrations helpful, especially since there isn’t a built-in payroll module for RealtyAPX. However, brokerages that don’t have W-2 employees will appreciate the automated commission payment and check writing process that RealtyAPX provides.

One of RealtyAPX’s best features is its document management platform. Users can completely manage all documents through the cloud-based storage system with integrated scan, drop, sign, email, and create functionality. In addition, RealtyAPX integrates fully with a wide variety of Google tools.

The dashboard view and reporting module helps users stay on top of bookkeeping tasks and produces easy-to-read income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements. Currently, custom reporting is not available; however, RealtyAPX integrates smoothly with QuickBooks Online and other accounting products for more robust reporting requirements.

RealtyAPX does not provide integrated, automated mileage tracking, and it also doesn’t help individual agents with tax preparation. However, the reports produced in AcctFusion can be generated and provided to the brokerage’s accounting firm to help the brokerage with end-of-year tax prep.

Access & users:
User-level permissions mean that data is secure in RealtyAPX because only those users who need to access certain information can see it. Plus, it’s fully cloud-based, so RealtyAPX can be accessed from any device with a web connection.

Ease of use:
RealtyAPX claims to have a five-minute setup process; however, it can take some time for individual users to figure out how to use the software most effectively. Once set up, the automation features will save users lots of time, especially since what happens in one part of the platform is linked to all other platform elements, eliminating multiple data entry points. The RealtyAPX website also includes helpful informational blog posts and videos that decrease the learning curve.

Cost:
Like most accounting software for real estate agents, RealtyAPX offers many different features at varying, yet affordable, bundle prices. Each increase in bundle size also increases the number of users who can access the program—i.e., Small allows up to 10 users, Medium allows up to 25 users, and Large allows up to 50 users. The Large bundle also provides a multi-office management add-on, which is a nice feature that other similarly-priced products don’t have. Brokerages requiring more than 50 users will want to contact RealtyAPX for pricing and to learn more about additional functionality that is available.

Things we liked:

  • All-in-one solution designed for brokerages
  • Strong automation tools
  • Built-in document management platform
  • Affordable
  • Google tools integration

Things we didn’t like:

  • Learning curve
  • No built-in mileage tracking or tax prep tools
  • No payroll functionality without another accounting software

10. Emphasys

Price from contact/mo

Best for:
Designed specifically for brokerages and used by more than 40% of the nation’s public housing authorities, Emphasys aims to educate and organize any professional real estate agent. Emphasys can help you navigate any housing market and will help you keep track of most things you need for your business. While its pure accounting functionality isn’t the most robust, it does integrate with QuickBooks Online to offer additional features for real estate agents and brokerages with more expansive needs.

Key functionality:
Emphasys’s main goal is to track the commissions paid to realtors, but it also offers accounts payable and receivable functionality, as well as bank reconciliations, reporting, and analytics. Emphasys allows users to create ledgers and automate basic accounting processes, including invoices.

With a customizable chart of accounts that allows for accounts, subaccounts, and classes, filtering information is easy in Emphasys. Larger brokerages and multi-office groups will find these customization features very helpful, especially when building comparative reports at period end. The software can also be configured to produce customized disbursement documentation in preparation for closing.

Emphasys also offers financial monitoring, as well as investment guidance and navigation. Its robust reporting will help track all the cash that flows in and out of your business.

Through Emphsys, users can calculate, organize and automate commission payments. The software also features a way to split the commission payments to apply in varying amounts to multiple recipients, if necessary. It’s a fully-customizable commission management platform. The platform also facilitates agent charge tracking.

Emphasys integrates with DotLoop, DocuSign, and SkySlope, among others, as well as local MLS platforms. These integrations facilitate the contract management process, so not having a native contract management platform shouldn’t be an issue.

There is no feature that is specifically designed to track mileage, so users will want to find another platform for that purpose. Through the software’s automated accounts payable interface, users can track all transactions to organize accountant documentation when tax time comes around. Emphasys facilitates the generation of Forms 1099 for agents and vendors, and the QuickBooks Online integration facilitates the creation of electronic Forms 1099.

Access & users:
Emphasys is a web-based software platform, so it is accessible from any device that has an internet connection. Users can be set up with specific permissions to protect sensitive data and give access to only need-to-know information. Currently, there is not a mobile app available, but the integrated Showing Management platform allows office staff to stay in touch with agents by email and text.

Ease of use:
Emphasys is well-known for its strong customer support. The 24/7 chatbot on the company’s website is just the beginning of what is offered. There’s a robust online KnowledgeBase, too, and it provides tutorials for most platform functionality. Prospective users can request a free demonstration prior to purchasing, as well. It is a simple program that can be set up quickly and easily. Users can be up and running in very little time, even if they’re coming from another platform.

Cost:
Emphasys provides three packages for offices of varying sizes, but pricing is only available upon request from the company. However, it is generally considered to be affordable, especially given its robustness. Users do report that the sales process can be lengthy and, in some cases, the handoff from sales to implementation can be clunky.

Things we liked:

  • Good customer support and training options
  • Easy to set up and navigate
  • Customizable general ledger
  • Built-in 1099 generation
  • Excellent commission management features

Things we didn’t like:

  • Long sales process
  • No built-in or integrated mileage tracking
  • May not include higher-level accounting features

Conclusion

Real estate agents and brokers can have a lot going on, managing properties, clients, commissions, taxes, expenses, contracts, financial data, and more. Good accounting software can help to ease these burdens, freeing the agent to focus more energy on success. Finding accounting software to meet the unique needs of a real estate business can be challenging, but our list is a good place to start that search.

FAQs

How can accounting software help real estate agents?

Real estate accounting can get very complex very fast. If you’re an agent, then you know that you have to follow rules established by your state and/or local agencies. You will have to choose an accounting method—cash-basis or accrual— and stick with it unless you request permission from the IRS to change. Accounting software can help you set up a system, stay organized, and remain on the right side of the IRS.

What should I look for in accounting software as a real estate agent?

There are some questions you can ask yourself here to help you determine your needs. Will you need to calculate and track commissions? Will different agents be subject to different pay rates? Do you need tax support or the ability to estimate tax payments? Do you need expense tracking? Mileage tracking? Do you need to track leads? Do you want a contract management feature integrated with the software? Consider your answers to these questions to help you evaluate each accounting software option for real estate agents discussed here.

I’m a self-employed agent working part-time; is it really in my best interest to invest in accounting software?

Accounting software doesn’t have to be a huge investment. Many of the options on our list cater to the smaller entity and provide a range of plans to make it easier for every business or business owner to find a good product at the right price. One option, Wave, even offers a robust free plan. Another option, Realtyzam, allows you to use the software for free until you log a specified amount of sales or expenses. Even as self-employed or a very small agency, you’re still subject to the rules and regulations of all real estate agents, so any investment in accounting software is going to be beneficial.

Why are so few desktop options available?

Cloud-based accounting software is the future. There are significant advantages to cloud-based options, as well. One important consideration is accessibility. It’s accessible anywhere via the internet and a browser. Another major advantage is the ease of upgrading and updating. As regulations change, the software can quickly adapt. For those concerned about security, keep in mind that accounting software companies and vendors have a vested interest in keeping your information secure.

I don’t know a lot about accounting, so will I be able to use the software?

These days, you don’t have to know a lot about accounting to use most accounting software. Many are designed specifically for the general public. However, knowing a little about accounting can be helpful, and we’re here to help with our Accounting Terms Defined and Beginner