A young accountant’s simple way of managing a large portfolio
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A young accountant’s simple way of managing a large portfolio

By Bianca Dabu
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Michael Johnson has been “doing the heavy lifting” for the management of Momentum Media’s Alex Whitlock and Phil Tarrant’s 17-property portfolio, and while it may appear as a daunting task, he has developed a seamless system with the rest of the financial team to ensure its continuous growth.

From the very beginning, Alex and Phil have made it a point to establish transparency among all members of their team—every single transaction and every single element that comprises their portfolio.

According to Alex: “It is a complex process but it's also something that has grown organically because we set the infrastructure up … from the first property. I remember [Phil] working on an Excel spreadsheet, which still exists now … It's become very scalable.”

This streamlined process has given them more opportunities to track the progress of every single property as well as their portfolio as a whole.

“It gives you visibility … on whether interest rates are out of sync [and other factors that might affect the portfolio’s growth],” the property investor added.

 ‘Keep an eye on cash flow’

One of the key things that helps Michael and the whole financial team in driving the portfolio towards success is cash flow. The young accountant believes that keeping track of this particular piece of data can help property investors avoid any unexpected costs that could ruin their budget and ultimately derail their journey.

According to him: “There's a lot of hidden costs that people don't realise you have to pay for, so one of these things that Phil and I have built into our way of processing things is keeping an eye on cash flow.”

“Say, ‘Okay, well, how much does it cost us to hold these properties?’ It might be a cost per week, it might be a cost per month, however you want to look at it—[just make] sure you have every single cost allocated to something so ... you know how much it's costing you.

“I can say … ‘Hey guys, it's going to cost us x amount of dollars per month to hold this, so we need to make sure we have this amount of money in our bank account so it doesn't get overdrawn,’ ” he explained further.

Right now, the 17-property portfolio is valued at around $7 million, with $3 million to $4 million in equity.

Michael’s advice for budding property professionals: Establish an open communication with the property investors you are working with—from their transactions to their goals, capabilities, and limitations—in order to provide just the right service that they need.

He said: “[It’s] really not too difficult once you have the systems in place, and the systems I walked into that Phil setup [is] pretty seamless.”

“Every single one of the properties that we've purchased, we've purchased it for a reason … There's a lot of potential there and I think that's what [it] comes back to … There [should be a] reason behind every single one of these purchases,” he concluded.

Tune in to Michael Johnson and Alex Whitlock’s episode on The Smart Property Investment Show to know more about the day-to-day operations of an 17-property portfolio, as well as the impact property managers have had in steering property investment journeys into success.

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A young accountant’s simple way of managing a large portfolio
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