Track your earnings and expenses on a budget
Yeah Quickbooks is great, but free is for me.
Last year I put together a Google Sheet that tracked profits and losses as part of my On a Budget series. I used it heavily for my own business throughout the year. I loved the convenience of being able to access my business history anywhere, and thought the ability to invite financial advisors to view and comment was an added bonus. After the new year, I started identifying parts of the sheet that weren’t working for me:
With so many columns, trying to print on one page became an issue
I didn’t like that the annual overview was squished at the top; it’s location doesn’t lend itself to being helpful beyond a single year
There’s a year end summary, but not a Q4 summary. What? How did I miss this?
Putting earnings and expenses in one sheet started to become confusing when viewing the document at-a-glance
I took these notes and created a new version:
Earnings and expenses are now totally separate sheets and are color coded accordingly
The annual overview is now a separate sheet stacked by fiscal halves. This sheet also dynamically pulls from the earnings and expenses sheets depending on the year in the upper-right corner; therefore, one could always duplicate the sheet for each consecutive year and be able to calculate their annual overview at a moment’s notice!
Try it yourself: view the Google Sheets workbook. Go to File and select “Make a Copy” and copy the workbook onto your Google Drive.
Quickbooks is literally $7.50 a month. Why bother?
Because quite honestly data is the most precious form of currency in the age of the Internet. Think about all of the transactional data Quickbooks has at their fingertips: the time of each transaction, where it occurred, the value, the payment methods employed, and myriad other data points. They could build powerful behavior profiles and purchasing insights. They should be paying small businesses to use their service. And yes, they do offer tax estimates where a Google Sheet might not, but—well—that’s what a CPA is for. Shop local, folks.
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If you liked this document, go ahead and share this with a friend. Low-key let them know that they need help organizing their business. 8-)