About The Author
I started Nerd Enterprises, Inc. in 2003 because I couldn’t stand the idea of working for someone else. This was the 3rd job in a row that I got along great with the boss for the first 6 months and then it seemed things would go south. I had to look at the common denominator here, me. Then when I saw what the CPA firm where I worked was billing me out at (3X what I was getting paid) I decided I had to get out on my own.
Most of my business came from Craigslist in the beginning. That and referrals. In addition to placing ads I would browse the part time help wanted ads and send e-mails to the posters offering that with me they can save on the employer taxes by hiring me as their consultant. One of these ads was from someone who had started a company called California Learning Solutions. It no longer exists, but at the time they were teaching classes to apartment associations on how to use QuickBooks for Real Estate and property management. I met with the guy who had written the book upon which the class was based. After teaching his class he would often get requests from people to consult. This is where I would come in. The truth is that up to this point I had no experience with accounting for real estate. During my meeting with him he let it out that the whole key was in setting up the customer database in QuickBooks with the Properties as customers and the units as jobs within each customer. Since I knew QuickBooks, accounting fundamentals, and how to put the two together inside and out, this was all the information I needed in order to figure out the rest. I never read his book.
I started consulting with them and much to my delight I found that I liked the clients and they really seemed to like me. So much so that all of them called me back. I was especially surprised about that because at the time I felt they were charging a fortune for my time and I actually felt it was a rip-off. Funny how things come around, now I charge 3 times what they were charging for me. Of course I also have a lot more experience now.
Through a long series of events whose details I won’t bore you with I eventually parted company with California Learning Solutions. The very short version is that there were a few clients that they handed to me and told me it was ok to work with them outside of their organization and bill them directly. Of course confusion eventually arose when they referred me one client who I believed to be one of these clients. Turns out their intention was for me to go through them so when I quoted them a rate based on me doing the work directly, which was less than they were charging for me I got a termination notice via e-mail from the owner. The moral of the story on this for me was that I never breached an agreement again – even if the other party told me it was ok. I have had this come up a few times since and I explained about this experience and said that even though we may have the best of intentions, it is better to stick to the letter of our agreement so that there is never any confusion.
What happened next was even more shocking that everything leading up to now. Each and every client that I worked with through CA Learning Solutions eventually came back asking for more help. Anxious not to get into any trouble I explained to each of them that I was no longer with CA Learns and that they should contact them to see about having someone else come and help them. In every single case the response was the same – they wanted ME. So I offered that they should get something in writing from CA Learns confirming that it was ok to work with me and each of them e-mailed me back confirming that they had done this.
I was off and running now with a really nice portfolio of real estate clients. I want to share with you the story of how I came to enter my first Hud-1 final settlement statement in QuickBooks. I was still with CA Learns and they sent me to my (I think) second client. I was running about 10 minutes late when the client called to be sure I was coming, so I figured he was a bit of a stickler for promptness which is usually consistent with being a stickler for accuracy etc.. Either way I knew that it was important to be on time and I was kicking myself for not having allowed more time to account for traffic. So when I was there and he handed me a Hud-1 for a property he had recently purchased I was nervous. This was more pronounced by the fact that he explained he was letting the previous bookkeeper go because he apparently did not know how to enter this. Ever confident that I know the fundamentals well enough to figure just about anything out given enough time I figured how hard could it be? Still I was sweating bullets hoping that I wasn’t going to embarrass myself and disappoint him in the process.
I had never seen a Hud-1 before. Turns out it was easy! The title company lays it all out in terms of debits and credits. So I posted a journal entry, asked him where the escrow deposits came from, figured out that I needed to set up and escrow deposits account in the books and then the appropriate equity accounts for the various investors on this property. All of this was easy for me because I understand the fundamentals of accounting. At this point I can honestly say that all one ever has to do is present me with the scenario and even if it isn’t something I have done before, I can figure it out. So I don’t hold with those who say you should focus on one industry and become an expert at that. I believe that if you become an expert at accounting, then you can learn to apply that knowledge in any industry.
I think that this “book in a blog” will serve as evidence that my knowledge in the area of Accounting For Real Estate with QuickBooks has advanced quite nicely over the years. Further to that is that my ability to teach and make things easy to understand will be extremely valuable to you.
As soon as this blog book is complete there will be payment/registration options available. Please feel free to use the form at the top to let me know that you are interested in knowing when this is available.