Property Accountant Job Duties and Education Requirements

Sep 09, 2019

Property accountants require significant formal education. Learn about the education, job duties and certification requirements to see if this is the right career for you.

Property accountants work on the financial side of real estate. They need a bachelor's degree in accounting for entry-level positions. Certification is also available and is recommended for those seeking work as property accountants.

Essential Information

Property accountants specialize in addressing the many financial requirements needed to buy and sell real estate. Job responsibilities include maintaining records of assets and funds, preparing portfolios, drawing up budgets, setting up escrow accounts, and preparing statements.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), most employers prefer to hire accountants who hold at least a bachelor's degree. Property accountants can specialize in commercial, industrial or private real estate. Becoming a certified public accountant (CPA) is not required for all professionals in this field, per the BLS, although it may help accountants gain more clients. Individuals should check the qualifications needed to take CPA exams, since requirements vary from state to state.

Required Education Bachelor's degree
Other Requirements Certified Public Accountant (CPA) certification recommended
 Median Salary (2018)   $70,500 (for all accountants and auditors)*
 Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)   6% growth (for all accountants and auditors)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Educational Requirements

A career as a property accountant requires a bachelor's degree in accounting, at minimum. An accredited accounting program at a college or university provides prospective property accountants with a comprehensive overview of accounting theory and analysis. These programs focus on procedures for property accountancy such as asset management, cost analysis, financial statement reporting and analysis, auditing techniques, federal regulation adherence and managerial accounting.

Students are also taught the ethical and performance standards of the accounting profession. Many schools also give students the opportunity to earn co-op credits while working in the field. After graduation, individuals may choose to study and take the CPA exam. While not a necessity for general property accounting work, becoming a CPA is necessary if a property accountant decides to start his or her own business and file with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Although eligibility requirements vary per state, the BLS notes that most states require applicants to have at least 150-credit hours of accounting-related coursework, even though most bachelor's degree programs are only 120-credit hours. Therefore, to qualify for CPA exams, individuals may need to take additional undergraduate or graduate level accounting courses, depending on state guidelines.

Salary Statistics and Job Outlook

Although the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does not track data for property accountants specifically, it reported that the median annual salary for accountants and auditors in general was $70,500 in 2018. The hiring of new accountants and auditors was expected to rise 6% between 2018 and 2028, per the BLS, which is as fast as average compared to all occupations.

Becoming a property accountant requires a bachelor's degree in accounting. Certification is not required unless one will be filing documents with the Securities and Exchange Commission, but it can help to improve one's job outlook. Qualifications for the CPA exam vary per state, though they usually entail some coursework beyond a bachelor's program.

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