Once upon a time, I was a search engine marketing manager. At the tender age of 20, I was responsible for over a million bucks in marketing spend. The numbers were intimidating for the first few months. Then they just became numbers and ceased to frighten me. It was a cool first job and a great opportunity, but I’m glad my days of search engine obsession are behind me.
The most stupefyingly boring part of my job was the incessant need to generate reports in Excel. As anyone who knows these things will attest, nerds will do anything to avoid boredom. For me, I’d spend four hours building a reusable reporting tool in Excel instead of two miserable hours plugging static values into a one-time use spreadsheet. Funny enough, Excel was my first foray into programming and product development. I did everything I could to make honest-to-god tools within the narrow confines of its formulas. By the end I had attractive spreadsheet layouts that could be updated in a handful of minutes with none of the error-prone tedium of one-off reports. My Excel-Fu is strong.
Recently, I asked a friend with deep financial savvy for some broad strokes advice on basic stuff to worry about as I went into business for myself. Among other good advice, he suggested I keep track of every single expense I incur, with categories.
This is good and obvious advice, but I hadn’t really bothered to do it. Newly encouraged, I found a bunch of overpriced, overcomplicated tools on the web and on the desktop. I’m sure there are businesses that need this kind of overkill, but I’m not there yet. More galling still, even the simpler tools on the web demanded a monthly fee.
Keeping track of my expenses by adding a new monthly expense seemed counterproductive.
Excel is dogshit, so I fired up Numbers and built a Cashflow reporting tool. You enter your expenses and income and it generates a report showing your monthly cashflow, with a chart and everything. Gives you a quick handle on your simple business’s finances and at tax time you’ll have a tidy list of your expenses. You can sort the input lists if you want but all you have to include is a date for the report sheet to work.
I share it now with you, my friendly reader, with no implied or express warranty. Enjoy!
Every man who has ever been in public while in the company of other trusted men has played some variant of the “Accept or Decline” game. This goes for women, too. The game is dead-simple. The first man points out a woman across the room and then asks the second man, “Accept or Decline?”