As an accountant, and one who has extensive experience as a property accountant and a public accountant, I can easily say that this is beyond a basic clerical position.
Bookkeeping is what some refer to as "counting someone else's money." As a bookkeeper, you perform the daily account activities: receipts, payables, simple journal entries and reports. As an accountant, you take those duties a step farther. You are responsible for making sure that activity is reported correctly, following the generally accepted accounting principles. To be a bookkeeper, one semester of an introduction to accounting principles is enough to give you a good basis to carry out your responsibilities.
Those with at least a bachelor's degree in accounting have taken extensive accounting, finance, tax, law and economics courses. Our responsibilities are greater, so therefore our training has to be a bit more comprehensive. Yes, we are involved with the most basic activities, but we also prepare detailed financial statements that involve budget comparisons and analytical forecasting.
A working knowledge of business and tax law is key to the position, also. For those curious to what a senior accountant does, their position is responsible for not only their work, but also that of others. It's one step below that of a manager. As a property accountant, you perform the same responsibilities as that of accountant, but your focus is on property management.
As the article said, you are involved with tenant activity, leases, assisting property managers by providing them with accurate financial reports for the properties they manage, knowledge of how to handle the depreciation of building and improvements is important because there's a difference between book basis and tax basis, and the list goes on. It's definitely a position that needs training and that can't be done straight out of high school.
Hopefully, my take on the profession has provided a little bit more insight for those who were curious. I can understand how some may not understand the need to have a degree for this position, but unless you've actually looked into what the profession entails, and what type of work is produced, it's difficult to look beyond the stereotypical "pencil pusher" image and playing with software all day. For those looking into a career as a property accountant, I can vouch that it's demanding in time and skill. You are busy all year long. It's an interesting field to get into, because real estate plays a huge part in our economy, whether it be residential or commercial.