Lucrece Célestine October 30, 2020 Spreadsheet
First, databases are still tricky for some people to understand. While relational databases can be thought of as tables that have several indexes, this is more than many people want to deal with. Second, the collaboration tools are tough to learn and use. Look at how many people still use Lotus Notes for email and not much else. And since most of us are comfortable with email, using it as the transportation system isn‘t all that taxing. Until the day comes when three people are working on the same spreadsheet and make conflicting changes.
Second, remember that whatever can be measured can be managed. Develop a system wherein just a few look at some numbers can tell you the health of your operations. But this also depends on the soundness of the system. If someone can just fill in numbers they can induce you to think in ways that may not be desirable given the fact that you have to manage the operations.
The fourth component to look for in a real estate investment spreadsheet is the ability to input growth rates. Instead of manually keying in different numbers, say for utility costs or rental rates, simply changing a periodic growth rate is much faster and easier. Most good investment models will allow the user to change the important input factors via growth rate variables. This substantially reduces the time to analyze different scenarios and allows the spreadsheet model to be semi‐automated.
Third, building the right kinds of collaborative applications requires some skill and understanding how and what kinds of data are shared. How many people are going to be adding/changing records to your database? How many just want to do queries and reports? And how do you prevent conflicting updates? Finally, when you add the Web and Internet‐based access to the data, you have greatly increased the skill level required to create and manage your database. While there are some really good Internet‐facing database programs (Alpha Software, Filemaker, Quickbase from Intuit, and DabbleDb ‐ just to name a few that I know of), none of these are as easy to setup and manipulate as Trackvia.com, a service that has been out for the past year but recently gotten some much‐needed improvements.
The small business has different accounting needs which are better described as bookkeeping than accounting. For non limited companies that do not need to produce a balance sheet then a simple income and expenditure account can be produced much simpler using single entry bookkeeping principles. Less financial control is often required from small business accounting software as the bookkeeper is often the owner manager who already has an intimate knowledge of each transaction. Books are still required for tax purposes and a solid requirement of preparing a set of financial books for tax purposes is that each entry is supported by third party evidence.
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.