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Real Estate Accountant: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a real estate accountant. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and licensure to find out if this is the career for you.

Real estate accountants provide financial guidance and assistance during real estate transactions. A bachelor's degree in accounting or a related field is typically required. Some states require licensing and Certified Public Accountant designation.

Essential Information

Real estate accountants provide financial strategies and prepare reports on behalf of property owners and real estate developers. They participate in planning, investment, budget and tax reporting activities. Accounting professionals generally must complete a bachelor's degree program and be licensed in their state.

Required Education Bachelor's degree in accounting or related field
Other Requirements Licensure and Certified Public Accountant designation may be required, depending on state regulations
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 11% for all accountants and auditors
Mean Salary (2015)* $73,520 for accountants and auditors working in the real estate industry

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description for a Real Estate Accountant

Real estate accountants prepare financial material for property management organizations, real estate development firms and community associations. They can be employed by real estate companies or provide services as a public accountant.

They examine accounting records and draft reports to help real estate managers develop and handle their budgets. They also prepare or contribute to documents such as lease and rental agreements, cost estimates and annual reports. Real estate accountants also calculate tax liabilities and prepare tax returns on behalf of real estate organizations.

Real Estate Accountant Duties

To help their clients or employers, real estate accountants prepare financial records and reports for a variety of real estate transactions, which can include property sales, rentals, leases and time-sharing. Reports may include items such as development expenses, operational costs and profits. Additionally, accounting professionals develop revenue and expenditure cycle reports, lease abstracts, cash basis income statements and other budget-related items for real estate companies.

They may also provide investment analysis and planning for organizations seeking to acquire and develop property. Real estate accountants can coordinate appraisal, asset evaluation and capitalization activities.

Requirements to Become a Real Estate Accountant

Most accountants complete a bachelor's degree program in accounting or in business administration with an accounting concentration. Opportunities for advancement may be increased for those who complete a master's degree program or higher.

Most states require licensure from a State Board of Accountancy. Licensing regulations vary, but most states require individuals to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) by passing the Uniform CPA Examination.

In order to be eligible to sit for the Uniform CPA Examination, most states require the completion of 150 course credits, which is 30 credits more than a standard 120-credit bachelor's degree. Additionally, accountants often must accrue 1-2 years of work experience under a currently licensed CPA before earning their own license. CPAs must complete continuing education courses to maintain their license.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

Accountants and auditors earned an average annual salary of $75,280, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in 2015. In comparison, those working in the real estate industry earned an average of $73,520 that same year. The BLS predicted faster than average employment growth for accountants and auditors of 11% from 2014-2024.

Real estate accountants assist clients with making real estate decisions by performing tasks such as analyzing financial data, preparing reports, and developing tax strategies. A bachelor's degree is often required. Obtaining a master's degree and Certified Public Accountant designation can help with career advancement.


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