Airbnb Co-Host: An Accounting Guide for QuickBooks

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Who should read this guide?

This is a guide for Airbnb Co-Host accounting and automation. An Airbnb Co-Host operates one or more Airbnb listings on behalf of an owner without a formal property management arrangement. That is to say, rather than the Airbnb Co-Host receiving funds from Airbnb on behalf of the owner (like a property manager), the owner collects funds directly from Airbnb.

As a result, such an arrangement avoids fiduciary responsibility on the part of the Airbnb Co-Host and is a great accounting solution for those who are not a licensed property manager, yet operate in a jurisdiction that requires them to be such if they collect owner funds. Overall, this business model is preferred for those Airbnb operators who prefer not to manage funds on behalf of owners due to local licensing requirements.

Co-Hosting on Airbnb is rewarding work, but only when the numbers work in your favor. In this venture, it’s important to have an optimized system of accounting to keep track of your earnings for each listing and for each owner. In this guide, we’ll go over how to implement and automate Airbnb Co-Host accounting using QuickBooks Online. Specifically, we’ll focus on the scenario where the property owner receives all funds from Airbnb, the Airbnb Co-Host invoices the owner for commissions & cleaning fees and later the owner pays the invoices.

NOTE: In this guide, we only cover income accounting, not costs. For a guide about Airbnb costs and chart of accounts to consider, check out this guide instead: Airbnb Costs and Chart of Accounts to Consider

What you’ll get from this guide?

  1. A template for QuickBooks with detailed chart of accounts
  2. Learn how to automate Airbnb Co-Host accounting with Bnbtally
  3. Execute common transaction workflows in QuickBooks
  4. Generate monthly owner statements and reports for your clients

Cash Flow Diagram

Who should not read this guide?

There are other business models that may be more suitable in your particular scenario, which are covered better in the following guides:


Airbnb Co-Host: QuickBooks Chart of Accounts

Here we’ll describe our QuickBooks chart of accounts template in great detail for an Airbnb Co-Host:

Account Codes

No. AccountType
43000Co-Host RevenueRevenue
43100Co-Host Revenue: Airbnb Income – Accommodation FareRevenue
43200Co-Host Revenue: Airbnb Income – Cleaning FeeRevenue
43300Co-Host Revenue: Airbnb Income – Resolution AdjustmentRevenue
43400Co-Host Revenue: Airbnb Refund – Accommodation FareRevenue
43500Co-Host Revenue: Airbnb Refund – Cleaning FeeRevenue
43600Co-Host Revenue: Airbnb Refund – Resolution AdjustmentRevenue
52000Co-Host CostsCost of Service
52100Co-Host Costs: Airbnb Service FeeCost of Service

NOTE: In this guide, we only cover income accounting, not costs. For a guide about Airbnb costs and chart of accounts to consider, check out this guide instead: Airbnb Costs and Chart of Accounts to Consider

Detailed Explanation of Accounts

Click any of the sections below to expand and learn more about any particular account.

Co-Host Revenue

43000 – Co-Host Revenue – This is a parent account with child accounts that account for Co-Host revenue.

43100 – Co-Host Revenue: Airbnb Income – Accommodation Fare – This account tracks Co-Host commissions earned from the accommodation fare line item of an Airbnb reservation.

43200 – Co-Host Revenue: Airbnb Income – Cleaning Fee – This account tracks Co-Host cleaning fees earned from the cleaning fee line item of an Airbnb reservation and is separate from the Accommodation Fare.

43300 – Co-Host Revenue: Airbnb Income – Resolution Adjustment – This account tracks Co-Host amounts earned from the Resolution Adjustment claims related to an Airbnb reservation.

43400 – Co-Host Revenue: Airbnb Refund – Accommodation Fare – This account tracks refunds of Co-Host commissions earned from the Accommodation Fare line item of an Airbnb reservation.

43500 – Co-Host Revenue: Airbnb Refund – Cleaning Fee – This account tracks refunds of Co-Host cleaning fees earned from the Cleaning Fee line item of an Airbnb reservation.

43600 – Co-Host Revenue: Airbnb Refund – Resolution Adjustment – This account tracks refunds of Co-Host amounts due to Resolution Adjustment claims against the Co-Host for any particular reservation.

Co-Host Costs

52000 – Co-Host Costs – This is a parent account with child accounts that account for Co-Host costs.

52100 – Rental Costs: Airbnb Service Fee – This account tracks the Co-Host portion of the Airbnb Service Fee (also known as “host fee”) charged by Airbnb for each reservation and a direct cost of obtaining the reservation.

Accounts not included in this template

For the scope of this guide, we’re mainly focused on tallying amounts owed by and invoiced to owners. It is important to point out that our template does not include many general accounts. We also make reference to some accounts not included in this particular template, which we’ll list here:

  • 11000 – Airbnb Payment Clearing Account – This account is created by Bnbtally but is not included in this template in particular. This account is used to apply payments to Airbnb invoices upon the day the Airbnb reservation payout is posted. Payouts can take 3-5 days (or longer) to arrive in the bank account after posted from Airbnb. Monies owed are held in this clearing account until the payouts are received in the bank. This account also helps to automate the reconciliation process in QuickBooks.
  • 1XXXX – Operations Bank Account – This is your business operations bank account set up with your financial institution. It’s a cash asset account to facilitate your Airbnb Co-Host company’s day-to-day business operations.
  • 4XXXX – Billable Expenses Income – This is a general account for capturing income received for the payment of billable expenses by owners, which may include a markup.
  • 7XXXX – Billable Expenses – This is a general account for tracking billable expenses for any owners.

Quick Setup Steps

Here’s how to import the above chart of accounts template. All of the accounts discussed in this article can be imported into QuickBooks automatically using Bnbtally’s setup tools. Here’s how to access this utility…

  1. If you haven’t already, Sign Up to Bnbtally. It includes free use of this template.
  2. Once registered, go to the Connections manager in Bnbtally. Connect your Airbnb account, connect your QuickBooks Online account and then create a connection between the two.
  3. Within the Connection settings, select “Set Up QuickBooks”
  4. This is the QuickBooks setup utility, from here, select the tab “Airbnb Co-Host” to import the template from this article.

How to Automate Airbnb Co-Host Accounting

Every reservation received from Airbnb can be reconciled automatically – in great detail – using Bnbtally. Furthermore, all payouts can be split and allocated on-the-fly. In this section, we’ll discuss Bnbtally and the presets offered for an Airbnb Co-Host, which use the chart of accounts discussed above.

Bnbtally connects Airbnb to QuickBooks and processes accounting data for each reservation. In Bnbtally, you’re able to set specific accounting rules for each listing. When a reservation is received from Airbnb, Bnbtally can create an invoice automatically in QuickBooks Online with all allocations set, including any co-host commissions, cleaning fee allocations and any other split needed.

Bnbtally Listing Presets

In Bnbtally, when you select to edit the rules for a particular listing, we’ll provide presets from our chart of accounts template, which can be loaded to facilitate a quick setup. Here’s an example:

Explanation of Preset Lines

In this example, for each reservation Bnbtally will create an invoice. We recommend that you set the owner as the customer. The first line of the invoice allocates 20% of Accommodation Fare to be received as a co-host fee from the owner. The second line allocates the entire the Cleaning Fee to be received from the owner. Finally, the third line takes 20% of any Resolution Adjustments to be received by the owner.

Airbnb Price Item%Account
Accommodation Fare20%43100 – Co-Host Revenue: Airbnb Income – Accommodation Fare
Cleaning Fee100%43200 – Co-Host Revenue: Airbnb Income – Cleaning Fee
Resolution Adjustment20%43300 – Co-Host Revenue: Airbnb Income – Resolution Adjustment
Example Reservation

Let’s say you have Bnbtally set up for this listing using the preset settings above. Let’s say Airbnb sends a payout for a current reservation with the following itinerary price items:

  • Accommodation Fare: $2000
  • Cleaning Fee: $300

With the above presets, Bnbtally calculates and allocates 20% of the Accommodation fare ($2000 * 20% = $400) and then allocates the entire Cleaning Fee ($300). The invoice is not paid automatically, as the payment will be received from the owner. The total amount to be received from the owner is $700.

AccountDebitCredit
43100 – Co-Host Revenue: Airbnb Income – Accommodation Fare$400
43200 – Co-Host Revenue: Airbnb Income – Cleaning Fee$300
1XXXX – Accounts Receivable (Asset)$700

Set Invoice Customer & Class Categories

Finally, in your Bnbtally listing rules, we recommend to set the owner as the customer of the invoice. We also recommend to set the class category of each line item as “Owner Name: Listing Address” which means you should create two class categories in QuickBooks for this listing, one class category for the owner (set as the parent class) and the other class category for the listing address (set as the sub-class).

Automate Additional Bills & Invoices (Optional)

With Bnbtally, you’re also able to automate the creation of additional bills and invoices for each reservation. Consider the following:

  • Create a bill to set amounts payable to a cleaning service for turnover of each reservation.
  • Create additional invoice to set amounts receivable by any third party for each reservation.

Quick Setup Steps

All of the above settings can be quickly set up using Bnbtally’s presets for your listings. Here’s how to set up these presets…

  1. If you haven’t already, Sign Up to Bnbtally.
  2. After logging into Bnbtally, set up your connections, then go to Listing Rules.
  3. Select any listing you’d like to automate that hasn’t already been set up.
  4. Upon selection, a popup will display, select “Load Presets”.
  5. In the next menu, select “Airbnb Co-Host”.

From here, presets will be loaded as your listing accounting rules and you can edit as needed.


Airbnb Co-Host: Common Transaction Workflows in QuickBooks

In this section, we describe the common transaction workflows as needed for an Airbnb Co-Host:

Receiving Payment from Owners

A common transaction workflow to identify is receiving payments from Owners. An invoice has already been generate from each reservation. The amount that needs to be received from each owner can be found in the balance sheet by filtering for each owner and noting the amount under the Accounts Receivable account and requesting the payment from the owner.

Example Transaction

You, the Airbnb Co-Host, have received a payment in the amount of $2000 from the property Owner, Theresa Reese. You’d like to reconcile the amount properly from your Operations Bank Account using the following entry:

DebitCreditClass Category
1XXXX – Operations Bank Account (Asset)$2,000Theresa Reese
1XXXX – Accounts Receivable (Asset)$2,000Theresa Reese

1. Find the amount to receive

The amount that needs to be received from each owner can be found on the left menu under “Sales -> Customers”, the amount owed is listed for each customer.

2. Select Receive Payment

Select the “Receive Payment” button next to the customer. A list of open invoices will show for the customer. From there select “Save and Close”.

3. Reconcile bank deposit with receive payment

When the bank deposit is received, reconcile it with the payment created in step 2.

Paying Expenses on Behalf of Owners

In some cases you may purchase items for the owner’s properties from your operations bank account, perhaps for smaller maintenance issues that need to be fixed quickly. If this is in your agreement, you can make the purchase directly from your operations bank account and then bill the owner for the amount.

Example

A property owned by Theresa Reese needs a bathroom faucet to be replaced by a professional plumber. The service costs a total of $200 and needs to be rectified quickly as there are guests checking in later in the day. You also charge a 10% markup for allocating funds and handling these kinds of issues for the owner.

First, you’ll need to pay the plumbing company from your Operations Bank Account either via bank transfer, ACH, check, Venmo or other means. Once the transaction is posted and complete, record the outgoing transaction from your Operations Bank Account using the following entry:

DebitCreditClass Category
1XXXX – Operations Bank Account (Asset)$200Theresa Reese
7XXXX – Billable Expenses (Expense)$200Theresa Reese

Next, create an invoice for the amounts owed by the owner. Include a 10% markup for coordinating & funding the service, and allocate it to your billable expenses income account. Use the following entry:

DebitCreditClass Category
4XXXX – Billable Expenses Income (Revenue)$220Theresa Reese
1XXXX – Accounts Receivable (Asset)$220Theresa Reese

1. After paying the service provider, categorize and reconcile the transaction in your operations bank feed

Be sure to mark the Bill line item as billable to the owner.

PayeeCategoryDescriptionAmountClass
Plumber Pro7XXXX – Billable Expenses (Expense) “Billable Expense: Bathroom Faucet Replaced”$200Theresa Reese

2. Receive Payment from Owner

Include a 10% markup ($220 total)


Airbnb Co-Host Reports & Monthly Owner Statements

Now that our data is automatically processed from Airbnb and perfectly synced into QuickBooks, once you’ve reconciled any additional expenses, it’s quite simple to produce beautiful owner statements and reports each month.

Monthly Owner Statement by Listing

This statement can be sent to owners every month. It is grouped by class, which means it is focused on displaying activity details on a per listing, per owner basis. This shows owners exactly what is owed from each reservation. Each line created by Bnbtally includes a reservation code and details of the transaction. Finally, a grand total due from the owner is displayed at the bottom.

In the following example, we’re showing an owner statement for a single owner, Theresa Reese:

Quick Setup Steps

Here’s how to create this Owner Statement by Listing in QuickBooks Online:

  1. In QuickBooks Online, go to Reports, select “Transaction Detail by Account”
  2. Select the report period (perhaps the previous month)
  3. Select “Customize” and select the following
    • Under “Rows/Columns” select to Group by “Class”
    • Select “Change columns” and remove all columns except “Date”, “Memo/Description” and “Amount”
    • Under “Filter” select “Distribution Account” and select only the account “Rental Liability: Airbnb Owner Funds Payable”
    • Under “Filter” select “Class” and select the owner and their respective listings you want to report
  4. Sort by “Date” ascending order
  5. Select “Run Report”

From here this statement can be saved as a custom report and re-used every month for the owner.

Profit & Loss by Customer

This report is meant for internal purposes to view side-by-side, displaying the profitability of each customer for the Airbnb Co-Host firm. This report is found under QuickBooks “Reports” as “Profit and Loss by Customer”:

Receive Payment from Each Customer

QuickBooks provides a simple way to receive payments from customers for an accumulation of invoices. Just go to “Sales” on the left menu and select “Customers”. From there you’ll find a list of total amounts owed from each customer and a way to request a payment from each:


Conclusion

Processing the correct numbers to collect from each owner requires a fair amount of diligence and a streamlined accounting process. Regardless, this accounting method provides a great deal of transparency to owners. But more importantly, it provides you, the Airbnb Co-Host, a great deal of transparency in the success of your business.

We hope that you’ve received great value from this guide as you build your firm. To begin automating your Airbnb accounting, check the link below:

Finally, there are other business models that are not covered in this guide but are covered better in the following guides. Be sure to check these out :

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