Blue Heron CPAs is a CPA accounting firm that offers tax preparation, bookkeeping, tax consulting services and more!

Frequently Asked Questions

Blue Heron CPAs

How much do you charge?

Blue Heron CPAs is not the most expensive CPA firm and we are not the cheapest. The average individual paid around $300 – $350 with our minimum being $250. We charge $110 an hour.

Our focus on an hourly rate charges those who are organized a fair rate. Those who are unorganized get charged more due to the additional time needed for their tax preparation. We use the Portal as a way to be more efficient and bring our fees down significantly. Many other reputable CPA firms have a minimum price of $800 for an individual return. Our focus is on being a cost effective CPA firm for retirees. We understand there are cheaper alternatives like pop-up shops that don’t operate throughout the year.

What are the most common issues that Blue Heron CPAs see in a tax return?

Improper tax planning can increase long-term liability. Understanding your expected income for the next 20 years helps minimize the tax liability that you would pay over time.

For Partnerships and S Corps, many CPAs and tax preparers improperly track the basis of each partner or shareholder. To identify if you may have an issue, look at Page Schedule L of your 1065 or 1120-S. See if you have a negative number for “Balance at end of year” within the Schedule M-2 section.

Also for S Corps, check whether your deductible mileage and deductible health insurance premiums are included in your W-2. This can be found in Box 12. If they are not, you may not be in compliance with Publication 15-B. This creates a future risk for these expenses being disallowed in all the years which you did not comply.

What is Blue Heron CPAs process for tax preparation?

  1. Client chooses whether they would like consultation prior to tax preparation or if they would prefer to just upload/drop off documents through “Schedule a Meeting” button.
  2. Client utilizes “Signup for Services” and completes normal questionnaires, engagement letter, and uploads/drops off documents.
  3. Blue Heron associate organizes documents and answers provided by client and inquires for any known documents to prepare tax return.
  4. CPA prepares tax return.
  5. Blue Heron CPA firm reviews tax return.
  6. Client chooses whether they would like to sign the return electronically, in person, or sign the return after consultation.
  7. Blue Heron e-files return.


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Real Estate Agent Bookkeeping

Is real estate accounting difficult?

Real estate accounting can be challenging due to the unique characteristics of the industry and complexity of financial transactions involved. Some aspects of real estate accounting may appear straightforward, for example recording rental income and tracking expenses. However, there are several factors that contribute to the overall difficulty of this field. For example, complex tax laws and regulations. Communication between client and accountant are the key to getting them correct.

Real estate transactions often involve multiple parties, complex financing structures, and various legal and regulatory requirements. Accountants must navigate through lease agreements, mortgages, property acquisitions, dispositions, and partnership arrangements, all while ensuring compliance with tax laws.

Professionals must stay updated with evolving regulations, possess strong analytical skills, and understanding the real estate industry dynamics. It often requires collaboration with property managers, real estate agents, attorneys, and other stakeholders. This ensures accurate financial reporting and maximize tax benefits.

Real estate accounting can be challenging. Therefore, working with experienced accountants or specialized firms like Blue Heron CPAs, can help individuals and businesses navigate tax complexities. This helps you maintain compliance, and make informed financial decisions within the dynamic real estate landscape.

Do you need accounting as a real estate agent?

Having accounting knowledge and support is crucial for managing your finances effectively and reducing your tax liability. Accounting helps you track income and expenses, analyze profitability, and make informed business decisions. It allows you to accurately report your income to tax authorities, maximize deductions, and stay compliant with tax laws. Additionally, accounting provides insights into your business’s financial health. This allows you to monitor cash flow, budget for expenses, and plan for growth. Whether handling your accounting tasks or hiring a professional like Blue Heron CPAs, understanding accounting principles is essential for success.

What realtor expenses are tax deductible?

To be deductible, an expense must meet the criteria set by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Here are the general requirements for an expense to be deductible:

Ordinary and Necessary: The expense must be ordinary and necessary for your business or trade. An ordinary expense is common and accepted in your industry. A necessary expense is helpful and appropriate for your business operations.

Business-Related: The expense must be directly related to your business activities. It should have a clear connection to the production of income or the operation of your business.

Substantiation: You must have adequate records and documentation to substantiate the expense. This includes keeping receipts, invoices, cancelled checks, or other proof of payment. They should show the amount, date, and nature of the expense.

Exclusive Business Use: Expenses should be incurred solely for business purposes. If there is a personal component to an expense, only the portion that is attributable to the business is deductible.

Reasonable in Amount: The expense must be reasonable in relation to the value or benefit it provides to your business. Excessive or extravagant expenses may be subject to limitations or disallowance.

Compliance with Tax Laws: Deductible expenses must comply with all relevant tax laws and regulations. It is important to follow specific guidelines and limitations for certain types of expenses, like entertainment expenses or vehicle deductions. There are also specific rules for gifts and other common items within real estate agent’s normal business operations.

It is essential to keep accurate records and consult with a tax professional or accountant like Blue Heron CPAs. This ensures proper compliance with IRS requirements for deductibility. They can also provide guidance specific to your situation. This helps maximize your eligible deductions while avoiding potential issues with the IRS.

What is the best real estate bookkeeping software?

QuickBooks Online (QBO) is, by far, the best bookkeeping software for real estate agents. QuickBooks Online is a versatile and widely used accounting software that offers specific features for real estate professionals. It allows you to track income and expenses, manage invoices, and generate financial reports. QBO integrates with various banking institutions, making it easy to import transactions and reconcile accounts. It also offers add-ons and integrations with real estate-specific applications for streamlined property management and rental tracking.

When choosing the best software for your real estate bookkeeping needs, there are important factors to consider. These factors could include ease of use, scalability, integration capabilities, specific features for real estate, and pricing. QuickBooks Online makes it easy for real estate agents to communicate with their accountants and bookkeepers.  This gives time back to real estate agents to sell houses and focus on other factors in their business.

Which Quickbooks is best for real estate?

For single member and non-complex entities, QuickBooks Starter is a great program to utilize. It allows you to properly categorize expenses, link bank feeds, and generate reports which are important to your business. We recommend against using QuickBooks Self-Employed due to the constraints it has working with professionals.

For more complex entities, we recommend QuickBooks Online Plus for the following reasons.

Robust Accounting Features: QuickBooks Online Plus provides comprehensive accounting functionality. You can track income and expenses, manage invoices and bills, and generate financial reports. It offers features like bank reconciliation, chart of accounts customization, and the ability to create and send professional invoices.

Project and Job Costing: Real estate transactions often involve multiple projects or properties. QuickBooks Online Plus enables you to set up and track projects. You can allocate income and expenses to specific properties, and generate project-level profitability reports. This feature is valuable for real estate professionals who need to analyze the financial performance of individual properties or projects.

Integration with Banking and Apps: QuickBooks Online Plus integrates with numerous banking institutions, allowing for easy importing of transactions and streamlined bank reconciliation. Additionally, it offers a wide range of integrations with real estate-specific applications and tools. Property management software, rental tracking, and reporting applications are a few of these tools. This integration capability enables real estate professionals to optimize their workflow and streamline their bookkeeping processes.

Multi-User Access: QuickBooks Online Plus supports multiple user access, allowing your team or accountant to collaborate and work on the books simultaneously. This is particularly useful for real estate businesses that involve multiple stakeholders or have dedicated accounting professionals managing their financials.

Either way, adding accounting software is a good choice for the sustainability and growth of your business.

Can a bookkeeper be held liable?

Yes, a bookkeeper can be held liable for errors or misconduct in their professional duties. Bookkeepers have a responsibility to accurately record and report financial transactions, maintain proper documentation, and adhere to applicable laws and regulations. If a bookkeeper is negligent fulfilling these responsibilities and their actions result in financial losses or legal issues for their clients or employers, they may be held liable.

An engagement letter, which most bookkeepers require, hold the contract for responsibilities and expectations of the bookkeeping relationship.

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