Kari Ela March 25, 2021 Spreadsheet
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.
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.
Accounting software is used by accountants to enter many complex financial transactions into the financial books of account and is almost invariably based upon double entry bookkeeping principles. A major advantage to those companies and the finance staff is the extent to which financial information contained in the database can be queried for financial control purposes. An accountant needs to not only ensure the financial records are accurate but also retrieve any part of the accounting records to answer accounting questions on the accounts, provide a legal basis for the transactions and report the financial statements at regular periodic intervals.
Producing an income and expenditure statement using single entry bookkeeping is little more than making two lists of financial transactions. Those lists being one of sales income received from sales invoices or receipts issued to customers and the other of purchase expenditure being from purchase invoices received from suppliers. To record sales income it would not normally be sufficient to simply add up the total of the invoices as such a summation does not leave an audit trail of the items which have been included. A written list of sales invoices does provide an audit trail.
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.
I love spreadsheets. I use them for everything I can and every kind of organization. I, honestly, don‘t know what I would do without them or what how I used to cope before I first discovered them. I use a spreadsheet to balance my checkbook, to manage my business expenses, and to make ‘To Do‘ lists to plan out my days. I also use spreadsheets to manage my money and set my financial goals.