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5 Must-Have Spreadsheets For Small Business Income and Expenses

Business Finance

5 Must-Have Spreadsheets For Small Business Income and Expenses

Updated: May 24th, 2023

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As a small business owner, you know that staying organized is key to being successful. What you may not know is that there are many helpful examples of a small business budget template to make your job easier.

A business expense tracker template can help you not only with this organizational aspect, but also let you focus on your bottom line. Such a spreadsheet for income and expenses can help you prepare for expected slowdowns in your business, project costs needed to start and/or grow your business, as well as track items such as revenue, cash flow, and monthly expenses.

A small business budget template is something you’ll be referring to quite often. You will want something that’ll be easy to use and understand. Here are five of the must-have spreadsheets for small business income and expenses.

1. General ledger

No matter what type of business you own, you will need a general ledger spreadsheet. This is perhaps the most basic – yet most crucial – business budget template you can use. It will help you track your expenses and income on a monthly basis, and all income your company receives and all expenses it incurs can be broken into categories like labor and materials. 

This simple small business spreadsheet for income and expenses will be a major building block for the accounting side of your business.

2. Departmental budget

It’s great to have a general overview of how your business is doing, but to have a sense of your strengths and weaknesses, it’s essential to have a department-by-department small business budget template. These are a great way to hold each department accountable and compare forecasted expenses and revenue to actual numbers. It’s formatted with columns for the current year and past years so you can track the percentage of change from one year to the next.

There will also be rows that will break out your business’ income at the top, with department-by-department expenses below. Each department will have expenses that will include salaries, wages, and bonuses, but may also include marketing, printing, and other miscellaneous costs.

3. Annual business budget template

Once you have the first two basic small business budget templates created, it’s time to create an annual budget. This will allow you to see a more detailed picture of your business financials over the period of time that most business owners go by a calendar year.

The annual business budget template will break down all of your operating expenses incurred and income by category in rows, with results for each month in a separate column. There’s truly no better way to assess whether you’re hitting your goals and projections than by tracking all your finances line-by-line for each month. This will also help you predict typical ebbs and flows in your business for years ahead.

4. Projections spreadsheet

Most successful businesses don’t just track how they are currently doing and how they did in the past; they make sure to create projections for the future as well. This helps business owners set goals for their departments, keeping all employees on track.

Forecasting also makes it easier for business owners to know if they may have to cut back on expenses to prepare for a down year, for example, or whether it might be a good time to invest in growth. This can be particularly important when you are considering obtaining business funding to help you achieve your goals.

For this example of a small business spreadsheet for income and expenses, you will be able to include all your costs from the time you started the business through each time period following. This will allow you to see how much you spent on employee payroll when your company was in its infancy, for example, and how much you need to spend to, say, open a new store or offer a new service.

5. Specific project budget template for a business

A business budget template isn’t just for tracking and projecting on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis. There are great benefits you can get from creating a small business spreadsheet for income and expenses related to a specific project.

Most companies have multiple projects, jobs and/or goals wrapped into the overarching goals of the company. This project-specific template will help you forecast expenses for – and income from – each of your projects to help you stay on budget throughout the year.

Common Business Expenses

Different business sectors have different expense profiles, and you don’t want to forget about any niche expense. However, there are also costs that practically every business faces. In an expense tracker spreadsheet, you will need a section where you can record every expense, such as the following:

  • Rent or lease payments for your office, storefront, or warehouse
  • Utility bills, such as electricity, gas, water, and internet service
  • Salaries or wages for your employees
  • Office supplies, including paper, pens, and printer ink
  • Telephone and internet bills
  • Marketing and advertising expenses, such as website design, social media advertising, and printed materials like business cards
  • Insurance premiums for liability, property, or workers’ compensation coverage
  • Legal and accounting fees
  • Inventory costs for businesses that sell physical products
  • Equipment expenses, such as computers, printers, and office furniture
  • Travel expenses, including transportation, lodging, and meals
  • Training and development expenses for your employees
  • Taxes, including income taxes, sales taxes, and payroll taxes
  • Loan interest and fees for business loans or credit card debt
  • Miscellaneous expenses, such as memberships to industry organizations, charitable donations, and other business-related costs.

Small Business Expenses Tracking for Financial Health

Small business budget templates built specifically for each project and/or job will allow you to see whether that project is worth undertaking, or whether that job is worth bidding on. In fact, the best way to control spending for your company on a macro level is to control spending on the micro.

Create Small Business Spreadsheet for Income and Expenses

There are plenty of advanced softwares you can use to track business expenses. Many of these systems are costly and include features that small business owners don’t yet need. A free expense tracking template is a useful alternative for tracking business expenses without breaking the budget.

However, many of these expense tracking templates include sections that are useless to you or may be challenging to operate. This could prove especially difficult for non-technologically savvy business owners.

A simple, free template in Microsoft Excel is a great way to develop a business expenses spreadsheet that makes sense and is customized for your exact business needs.

Excel Spreadsheet: Free Business Expense Tracker

First, ensure you’ve downloaded Microsoft Excel. The mobile application is free, but it’s recommended to pay for the complete version. The current pricing is less than $200 for a year’s access. This makes Excel one of the most affordable expense-tracking spreadsheets.

Then, upload your preferred expense report template or start building your own expense spreadsheet from scratch. Start with our must-have spreadsheets detailed above.

Tips for Tracking Expenses in Excel

Here are some general tips to keep in mind. These tips will help you operate Excel efficiently and reach your financial goals.

  1. Share Appropriately: Only allow editing access to vital team members. For example, if your budget template includes team tracking, then individual managers may need access.
  2. Learn Your Formulas: Automatically calculate income and expense columns and more with Excel formulas. You may have these basic or even your intermediate Excel formulas down pat, but there are always new ways to innovate your templates.
  3. Fill in History: You should log your past small businesses expenses to get a complete picture of your financial situation. 

Track Expenses For Small Business Success

These are some examples of small business spreadsheets for income and expenses that every business owner should have. Integrating these business budget templates and methods into your company will help you stay more organized by tracking everything that’s going on today, and better prepare for everything that may be happening in the future.


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