Floriana Maylis February 13, 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.
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 need for new and/or different systems to support a company‘s growth is not avoidable. Just plan to address them before the pain at each juncture is so great that your people start leaving for a company that has better, more efficient systems in place. When you do start this planning phase, be sure to use experts that are not tied to a particular solution. You know the old saying... When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. In the past, the easiest way to share a small database was to create a spreadsheet and email it to your collaborators. This time‐tested method has withstood more sophisticated competition for several reasons.
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.
Most investment real estate financial modeling is done in spreadsheets. These can be built for the purpose or, better yet, purchased from a reputable software vendor or consulting firm that specializes in real estate. When building or buying a good real estate investment spreadsheet, there are several critical components you should consider.