If you have your own business you know how tedious it can be tallying up all the company in-comings/outgoings, working out your tax return, and other similar accounting tasks. Perhaps you’ve searched online to look for a simple books program and found the cost far to much to validate using it for your small growing business?
I have a solution that I have been using for the last 10 years or more.
Since I was a young teen I’ve always helped My dad with the accounts for his own small business and over the years created booking in systems, that are far from the streamline paid-for apps of today, but do the job for us very well. A simple spreadsheet design means you can do it at home on the software you already have and its completely customisable to your businesses needs,
Of course I’m no expert myself! I still find things on the spreadsheet software that I never knew existed and I’m basically dragging up years of tinkering and a long forgotten GCSE in ICT, but the computing world is ever-changing so you’re never going to know it all.
Just learn the bits you need.
I will highlight a few ideas below to get you started, with a general outline of how to go about building your own spreadsheet. So if you have no idea where to start hopefully this will get you into the swing of things.
First things first.
Do you have spreadsheet software?
The two main ones I have always used are “Microsoft Excel” and “Apache Open Office”.
“Microsoft Office – Excel”: I used to use in school and on my older home computers that have it built in. Of course now computers don’t come with it installed unless you pay a massive premium, so I stick with the freebies.
“Apache OpenOffice – Calc”: Is free downloadable software. It comes as a whole office software just like “Microsoft” (including a word processor, power point etc.) and it does a good job as a replica.
“Google Sheets” Free software again, used online through google. Its handy because everything is store on the cloud so you can access it anywhere you sign in.
TOP TIP: Whatever you choose to use, if you have more than one computer/laptop It’s best to have the same program across all of them – then you dont have to worry about file converting so all the programs know how to open it. Also the following processes are essentially the same whether you have either of the above mentioned programs. I will be working on “Apache Open Office 4”.
|Apache – OpenOffice Software.|
|This software comes with everything you need for typical daily use including a Word Processor and the Spreadsheet – which we will be using now.|
|Once opened its actually called ‘Calc’.|
|I start off by making the basic layout of the spreadsheet. If you hover your mouse between the line of two columns you can drag to enlarge or decrease the width of the column. The same down the left side.|
|To make a large heading I merge cells together. Do this by highlighting the boxes you want to merge then finding the merge button like the one above.|
|I like all the words centred too. Again highlight like before, then select this button.|
|Now we have the basic layout, two large headings and narrow columns for our monthly dates.|
|Type in the numbers 1 to 31. These will be our days of the month, of course not all month have 31 days This can be changed at a later date when you come to save all the months or just left blank.|
|Once you have done the above step you will be able to save yourself time by copy and pasting the dates as a whole column. If you right click the column header (in my case it was ‘A’) you will get the option to ‘copy’.|
|From there you can right click where you want more dates (in my case this is column ‘G’) and select ‘paste’. This will save you lots of time and effort. Paste wherever you need them – I did it twice more. (‘L’ & ‘P’)|
|Showing result of copy & paste of dates.
You do not need this many dates if you find it ‘clunky’ however its nice to be able to easily see what date when you are booking in data so try to have at least one visible on the screen at all times.
|Merge boxes as and when needed – if you do this you will need to merge each box in the column underneath too.|
|You’ll get something like this, with a line cutting across the screen. Now if you scroll up or down (for example scroll down to the date 31(st) and the headings should follow the screen down.|
Thats your super simple layout done. From here we are adding formula which sounds scary but it’s easy. Trust me
|You may notice that you ‘Money’ columns dont have an automatic (£$) money sign. This is a simple fix. Highlight all the columns that need to be currency. Then select the button show above.|
|Do the same for the ‘Income’ Section. On this example it doesn’t need to do any maths so we simply want this cell to equal the one above
That’s the main structure done!
Its almost a fully functional spreadsheet and with a few more tweaks it will be a work of art. For now I hope this helps you even if its just understanding the basics of a spreadsheet so you can move onto bigger and better sheets.
I’ll be back to show you how to finalise the spreadsheet, make it pretty and create a summary of the month down the right hand side. I will link it HERE once its posted.
Also, for those of you who many find this too daunting, HERE is a great list of accounting software!
Send me a message or leave a comment if you have questions.
P.S. In the meantime Wiki – ‘Apache’ have some great information on spreadsheet self teaching. A quick hunt around the internet and I found this site that will help you wil basic understanding of formulae.