Constance Flora February 12, 2021 Spreadsheet
The second wall that hinders a small company‘s growth is similar but another rung up the ladder. The system that supported five people is starting to break down under the strain of 30 people. A new type of thinking must be applied to streamline the company‘s operations and automate them ‐ again. This time, the system will be larger, will take longer to design (or purchase), and cause more of a disruption in company operations when it is implemented. What happens internally when a system no longer meets the needs of the busy employees? They start creating workarounds to get their job done... and often their solutions involve spreadsheets. And so, the spreadsheet culture is reborn and the cycle begins again.
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.
Finally, when applying discount factors, where do you intend to get your discount numbers? For a company with existing debt and equity capital you can calculate WACC and use that. For a startup company you need to figure out a risk‐adjusted cost of capital that makes sense. Usually this is not just a risk‐free rate which only the largest companies in the world have access to. It‘s probably something higher.
The first consideration is how clear and accurate the Excel formulas are. The keys here are easy accessibility and logical flow of the formulas. That means they should be either directly coded in the spreadsheet cells or written in an accessible VBA module, open to the user to view and change. Both of these approaches provide the ability to audit and test the formulas without requiring complex actions on the end user‘s part.
Our first step is to capture non‐quantitative data in the spreadsheet, so we reserve a worksheet for that. This is used for location and condition information such as address, zoning category, residential vs. commercial, neighborhood, occupancy in the building and surrounding area, school district, etc. This will all be useful for financing and insurance purposes, as well as keeping track of a number of properties if you have a large real estate portfolio or a property management company. You might want to put it into a standard database format in case you want to save and analyze the information later.
So every cell has its own unique address, comprising the letter of the column and the number of the row for example (A1, A2 and so on). You can type numbers, text or formulas into these cells. The formulas make it possible to get the program to do all the time consuming arithmetic for you. One last tip for learning how to figure out spreadsheets is when you are dealing with numbers, it pays to give some thought to how to lay out the spreadsheet. When you type in information, be as careful as possible. Also remember, it is the ability to perform complex calculations that makes spreadsheets such powerful tools. It is worth the effort to learn how to use formulas correctly.