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20
May

[FREE DOWNLOAD] Best tool for early startups to track their expenses

Andrei Bernovski
by
Andrei Bernovski

20th May 2017

We are giving away our secret weapon – a startup expense tracker – completely FREE! Keep track of your expenses and know who needs to pay what to ensure it’s all fair to other co-founders. Get a freebie that’s actually useful!

Features:

  • Helps balance payments made by multiple people, so contributions are equal
  • Works with up to 3 contributors out of the box
  • Supports split-payments for items as well as payments in full
  • Supports primary and secondary currencies
  • Highlights the data if it needs attention
  • File type: Macro-free Excel file (.xlsx)
  • Size: ∼ 200 KB

Why your startup needs expense tracker?

There are startups, and then there’s a start to every startup. By the time you set up a company and get an accountant involved you’ve already spent quite a substantial amount of money in small chunks here and there. Anything from getting a logo designed to domain name registration for the future website – these are usually small amounts, but add up quickly. To make things more complicated, you often bring your idea to life partnering up with someone else. How do you decide who needs to pay and how much?

Keeping track of your outgoings and capturing who paid for what is a good practice that would help you set up the foundations of an accounting process for any future company.

We are sharing one of the tools we personally use at Price&Cost – an expense tracker that allows you to log business-related outgoings and attribute each one to the person who paid for specific items. Depending on the split you’ve agreed – the tool will show each person’s contribution across all payments and who owes whom, as well as how much if you want to be periodically settling the balance between yourselves.

By the time you set up a company and get an accountant you’ve already spent a substantial amount… Click To Tweet

Just to ensure there’s no confusion, this tool is meant for your startup related outgoings before you’ve actually set up a business as a legal entity. Once you do (and you probably should sooner rather than later), you shouldn’t be paying for anything relating to the business from your personal card or, even worse, with your own cash. One of the main accounting principles when running a business is that you keep a company’s money separate from your own.

TIP: You can use this shared expense tracker for pretty much anything outside your work life – going for a weekend away with your friends? Log who paid for camping gear and that barbecue meat. Once you’re back it’s a breeze to settle between yourselves so everyone contributes equally.

1.) Settings: Enter the names and the share %

payment_split
It’s easy to adjust this to a larger number of future share-holders if needed (some Excel wizardry is required though). If you need to share expenses only between 2 people – just enter “0” as “Share” for a third person.

Start with entering the names of the people who will be making payments. We’ve assumed in this expense tracker that the split is between 3 people and all of them will be equal partners in the future company. Therefore, we are entering 33,33% against each person. This setting will affect the calculation of what each person should have paid and, as a result, the variance.

 2.) Settings: Choose currencies and enter exchange rate

different currencies
This tracker allows you to enter expenses in 2 different currencies. There’s a primary and secondary currency and an exchange rate you can amend. This is quite useful when you operate in USD or GBPs; however, sometimes pay for online services in euros.

You would normally pay your bills in one currency, be it US dollars or British pounds. Occasionally however, you will get an online service that will bill you in something else (e.g. euros).

Enter the abbreviation of your default currency and choose a secondary one. You will also need to enter the exchange rate between your primary and secondary currencies.

Once done you will be able to log payment in both currencies and the tool will convert it to whatever you’ve chosen as a primary currency. Sweet!

3.) Start logging the outgoings

main log table
Add items to the expense log table – enter the Item title, the correct currency acronym and the amount paid by every person into respective columns. This will update the totals in both currencies.

Enter the items name and check the currency is correct (this defaults to your primary currency, so change it if needed). Now, enter the contribution each person made toward that item in the currency you’ve selected. You can have single person paying for the item in full or a number of people contributing toward a single item.

The tool will display the total for each row in both the currency selected as well as your primary currency. You can also add notes if needed.

4.) Check the totals table

Totals table
In the “totals” section – your aim to ensure the variance is as close to 0 as possible across all involved. A positive number means someone overpaid, a negative number means they underpaid.

The concept here is simple – the expense tracker shows the amounts each soon-to-be shareholder actually paid (all in your primary currency) and the amount they should have paid (based on their share). The difference between the two is shown as variance. The aim is to keep this as close to 0 as possible to balance the contributions.

Good to know:

tracker unlock
Feel free to unlock the Excel file and edit whenever needed. There’s no password.
  • This tracker is locked to ensure the consistency of formulas. There’s no password, so feel free to unlock and edit whenever needed.
  • Cells with a pale green background are meant for editing. Calls with a grey background should not be edited.
  • There’s validation throughout the tracker that highlights cells in either green, amber or red to indicate if the values need attention.

Filed under Project management

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Andrei Bernovski

Andrei is a project management professional working with some of the world’s most renowned digital agencies and software development consultancies.

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