Madie Lise March 16, 2021 Spreadsheet
To know if a household budget spreadsheet software is user‐friendly, try several programs online and see which ones are easy enough to use by people with basic budgeting and computer skills. The layout of the spreadsheet should not only be easy to understand, but also be able to present all the necessary information in a glance. It should contain just the right number of graphics and details to avoid confusion for its user.
On the expenditure side of the business the bookkeeping can also be a simple list of the purchase invoices and receipts showing the amount spent. The list should also produce an audit trail by showing the date of the purchase invoice, name of the supplier, purchase invoice for identification purposes and the total amount spent. Usually tax returns are the main purpose of producing small business accounts and invariably some analysis is required to show what the expenses have been spent on. That is not difficult to achieve and as with the sales accounting the owner manager can add additional standard columns to the bookkeeping spreadsheet.
Finding your way around and identifying the various elements of your spreadsheet document will help you navigate around it more easily and use it more effectively. Most elements are the same for all spreadsheet programs but they look quite complicated. But once you understand how they work and how to find your way around them, they are easy to use. To understand from the start you have to know it is a grid of cells. The columns are like the columns in a ledger. You can use them to make lists of figures and perform calculations. Each column is identified by a letter of the alphabet and each row by a number.
The second component of a good real estate investment spreadsheet is a long cash flow projection period. Property investments are typically very long term ‐‐ from 10 to 20 years on average. In particular, if you are buying real property for long term portfolio holdings, it makes sense to have at least 10 years of monthly or quarterly data, and even up to 30 years. This ensures you capture the entire future cash flows, and enables a much more accurate determination of net present value, internal rate of return, and capitalization factors.
Since this is a residential rental apartment building it makes sense to include rental income in your real estate spreadsheet. That‘s obvious. What isn‘t so obvious are things like interest on tenant deposits, subsidies, tax refunds, etc. When you‘re building the spreadsheet you need to estimate when those revenues will arrive, and that relates to the number of tenants, the rental rates you charge, how long the lease term is for each tenant, etc. You also need to assume some late payments, evictions, and vacant units. If you haven‘t invested in the area before this can be a challenge. You can gather data on that by speaking with local real estate agents, lenders, and tax agencies, or subscribe to an industry database that covers the local area.
The third important consideration is the availability of different cash flow valuation methods. Depending on the purpose and vehicle used for the real estate investment, you may want to value the investment on a pro forma basis under a variety of different assumptions. You may also want to calculate or use the break even point, IRR, NPV, and cap rate factors for various purposes. Ensuring the necessary calculations and inputs are available makes it easy to use the same model for different investment opportunities, and eliminates the need to enter all the necessary data twice.