Posts Tagged ‘sales’

How to track your sales in MS Excel

October 28, 2009 Leave a comment

Click here to watch the web cast:

How to track your sales in MS Excel

Some of us have small businesses and cannot yet afford to go to the expense of purchasing and learning a program like QuickBooks. Especially if our background is in something non-financial (like the products or services we offer). In these cases we can use a spreadsheet to track our business’. As with everything in life we have to consider what information we need and in general we want to keep these things as simple as possi/ble. So in this week’s web cast we are going to look at tracking sales. In the next few weeks we will be building on this theme in short 10 minute web casts (so they can fit on youtube J. for all of our tutorials on both QuickBooks and Excel.

The simple answer on sales is setting up a template that provides a foundation that fosters consistency and simplicity. All too often we get caught up in the details and wind up creating something too complicated to maintain. The phrase keep it simple REALLY applies here. Then you can expand on it as you go – that’s the beauty of doing things in excel – you are the developer so you create the things you need as you need them and you don’t need to wait for the next release!

Figure 1 – Simple column layout

Notice in the example above I kept it simple. Sales tax is calculated separately. You will see in the web cast I was about to make it more complicated by combining the Sales Tax calc with the total. Then I realized I had actually laid it out better than that. It might seem more efficient to do it the other way, but how will I be able to see my total sales tax for a given period? I will have to write complicated formulas to back it out of my total. Then if I have multiple sales tax rates that computation will start to get really complicated. The way it is laid out here, later on I will be able to create a simple pivot table that shows me Sales Taxes by rate for a specified time period. Simple – then I can write my check to the State Board of Equalization based on a pivot table which can be created once and updated when I need to. For non-taxable “Labor” I simply set the sales tax rate as ‘0.00%”.

Sometimes we like to make things more complicated to impress people and then it costs us. That’s right our vanity based on the desire to impress people with our excel skills will cost us dearly in the end. Much more impressive is to show people something that was so well thought out that it was kept simple enough for anyone to use!

In this web cast I go over how to set up a simple template to track sales for your business. Next week we will look at how to track the expenses.

This question came in from my new friend Julio Rios. He has a great product and plans to put more out there. Visit his website at (make sure pop-ups are enabled).

Visit the Ask us Page here and post your questions and we will try and get your answer up quickly and/or record a web cast for you. Got a QuickBooks question? Visit our QuickBooks blog at

Finally!… Click here to watch the web cast:

How to track your sales in MS Excel