A simple accounting spreadsheet for Microsoft Excel

Wage dislikes spreadsheets

Wage dislikes spreadsheets by Dyanna Hyde, on Flickr

Click here to download the spreadsheet

Click here for YouTube video explaining how to use the spreadsheet.

Want to learn more about Excel? My free YouTube course on Excel starts here.

I designed the spreadsheet for a simple business that does 355 transactions a year or less. If you do more transactions, it shouldn’t be difficult to expand it. However, try using a more powerful tool, such as GnuCash, or one of the commercial accounting software packages.

Expense categories mirror those on Form 1040 Schedule C.

You’ll find instructions under the “Help” tab. Also, please keep your data secure.

Good luck!

Also check out my Simple Accounting Spreadsheet in Google Drive

June 2, 2013: Made minor revisions to the spreadsheet. Added YouTube video.

129 thoughts on “A simple accounting spreadsheet for Microsoft Excel

  1. Thank you for the download, It is very good given the limitations of Google Docs. Much better I think to design accounting spreadsheets in Excel where there is considerably more functionality. By using the ‘Cloud’ to share and work on your file Excel is in my mind a ‘neater’ solution.

  2. hello Sir,
    i would like to know how to prepare the speadsheet for a small business unit, How to entere the debit and credit in daytoday entry?
    Please let me know.

    • For a very small business, this spreadsheet doesn’t require knowledge of debits and credits. Here is a YouTube video explaining how to use the Google Docs version of the spreadsheet. (I guess it’s time to get around to preparing a similar video for the Excel version.)

      If you have more than 100 transactions a year, you should upgrade to more standard accounting software, such as the freeware gnucash.

      • Thanks
        I see it will do more than 100 as there are many expenses. but it has a notice that some entries or pages are locked? can I unlock them?
        my web not launched yet.

  3. This is a very dumb question. I love the simplicity of this little gem, but are “Sales,” “Other Income,” and “Interest” the only debit columns? Why aren’t they together? Told you it was a dumb question. Thanks!!!

    • Hi Doc Watson,

      Most small business’ primary concern is reporting income and expenses for taxes. Therefore, I designed the spreadsheet to collect the information that you need to prepare an IRS Schedule C. This is why there are separate columns for Sales and Other Income.


  4. Also, I forgot to ask how can I insert another column for income? I have three sources (and still go from week to week–grin). I also see now that “Interest” are not income categories. Thanks.

  5. I have been running my business for the last year and am new to running a business and accounting. We have done ok so far and were able to get everything together for last year, but I have been struggling to keep my accounting up to date and ready for taxes for 2013. I have learned the basics of accounting and this spreadsheet was fantastic. We are a C-store so have a LOT of transactions. Would there be a way to use this sheet for each month and then combine them for a yearly report?

    • Yes, it should be easy to do this. In short, you would duplicate the first page 11 times. Then you would create a “summary page” to add together the twelve months. However, if you have this many transactions, you should probably use a real accounting program. GnuCash might be suitable, but you might need to pay for a commercial package.

  6. I forgot to say thanks for this spreadsheet, because I have let my accounting go because I was so intimidated and could not find something that made it easy and clear on how to enter everything. Your spreadsheet did that for me and I have a huge jump on my paperwork. My other question would be, if I have entered all my expenses and sales into the accountinator excel sheet can I import it into GnuCash?

    • I believe there is a way to import the data, but it is not user-friendly. It might be easier to hand-submit the data. That’s why I think you should start off with GnuCash or a commercial package.

  7. Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wished to say that I have really loved surfing around your weblog posts.

    In any case I will be subscribing in your rss feed
    and I am hoping you write once more very soon!

  8. Hi

    On the spread sheet its saying all my figure are correct but in column a2 I`m still getting oops I have changed a few names on the headers but thats all can you help


  9. Thank you so much for your video and free excel spreadsheet!

    I’m curious about a little accounting practice regarding “Cost of Goods Sold”

    I’m a painter, and I paint on wood. Obviously the paint and wood I purchase are my “supplies” but since I’m essentially selling painted wood, would the expense for supplies fall under “Supplies” or “Cost of Goods Sold.”

    I’m probably over thinking it…

  10. Hello There. I found your blog using msn. This is a really well written article.
    I will be sure to bookmark it and come back to read more of your useful information.
    Thanks for the post. I will definitely comeback.

  11. Hi I am a therapist who runs a small business in the UK and have had someone doing my books but unfortunately that has come to an end as she is too busy! I found your simple bookkeeping spread sheet when I was Goggling and feel this is just the job, so thank you.
    Because I don’t really have sales of goods I think I can change that to “Therapies” that would be ok would it? Also some of the other columns are not relevant but I take it I can delete or change them? And one last thing is (sorry to be a pain) the columns to the right are partly hidden and I can seem to move them into view?
    Thank you in advance for your help

  12. I have start up costs Purchase price, legal fees, travel costs and personal cask to start. where do I enter these (opening cash or? and how do I pay back the personal money used to buy and start this business.

  13. Greetings! I know this is kinda off topic however , I’d figured I’d ask.

    Would you be interested in trading links or maybe guest authoring a blog post or vice-versa?
    My site discusses a lot of the same topics as yours and I feel we could greatly
    benefit from each other. If you are interested feel free to
    shoot me an email. I look forward to hearing from you! Excellent blog by the way!

  14. Even i also did lot of business excel spreadsheets so you can get back me for my email id so that i can share my excel sheets then you come t know how was my sheets k,

  15. Mr. Holtzman; Thank you very much for sharing your spread sheet. I would like to add two columns for income from two other sources and a column for North Carolina sales tax that I have to report on my sales. How do I add those?

    Additional columns needed:
    Soap Sales
    eBay Sales
    North Carolina Sales tax

  16. if some one want even more simple and flexible spread sheet for maintaining complete books of accounts. You can contact me :)

    My solution can give you reports up to profit and loss accounts and balance sheet along with individual ledgers.

  17. Hi, you may have a separate Help address, but I’ve not founded it.

    Quick question: Is it possible to do a SORT by date without messing up the formulas?

    I’ve used QuickBooks for years and got tired of its complexity. Plus, when I upgraded my MAC OS, I had not been warned – or didn’t see the warning – and lost the use of QuickBooks plus a lot of other expensive ADOBE programs.

    Thanks much,

    Robert Chandler
    Beverly Hills, CA

  18. Hi, I’m a longtime EXCEL user and perhaps should know this, but

    Is it possible to do a date SORT without losing the Accountinator formulas?

    Right now I’m doing all my entries on a SAVED AS version of your program, which I’ll sort and paste in later.

    But, if there’s a smarter way to do this, would appreciate being told how.


    Robert Chandler

  19. Hi Mark! This is great.

    How would I use the Cost of Goods sold expense category? Let’s say I spend $100 to create some t-shirts to sale and sell them for $300. How does that work in your spreadsheet?

    Thanks So much!

  20. Thank you so much for this tool. I am a self-employed trucker who owns a truck and leases it to a motor carrier. I hope to use this download and a few other tools, including a spreadsheet template offered by my carrier, to build a bookkeeping solution that does exactly what I need and nothing I don’t. I’m currently using an “application” built using Excel (but somehow distributed as a .exe file, and protected from modification) called “Money Ledgers” that I paid a modest sum for, that is pretty close, but doesn’t allow me to do everything I would like. For example, it won’t let me break down each expense category in terms of cents per mile – a valuable tool in deciding whether or not to take a given load based on its freight rate.

    Once I have my solution completed, I’ll be glad to send you a copy if you like, in case you have any small business trucker clients or think you might find it useful.

  21. Your spreadsheet doesn’t take into account an inventory balance at year end, which would affect the Cost of Goods Sold on Sched. C. Have you made any adjustments for that?

      • I have used your spread sheet for months and want to thank you it is as you said, for a small business or home business. I find those who want more from it should look to a larger style. My only wish is to insert receipts or payments etc randomly and be able to sort them by date. example – if I find a February receipt in late march I would like to add it in the next blank line and it would move to February area of my ledger?


        • Thanks for the comment. That’s a great idea that I might be able to add to the spreadsheet. I’ve been very careful to avoid adding features that would cause errors or confusion, especially for excel newbies. However, this may be a bug improvement. Thanks!


          • Thanks for reading my praise, In business missing out on credit card or other receipts is my biggest flaw. I travel some and return with many receipts, bills and purchase orders and some just find places to hide. If I go back a month or 2 to insert a line I find it can corrupt the whole formula. If you can find a way to sort by date it will be monumental in preparing for my accountant and lowering my overall tax preparing costs, please let me know if and when you do this.


          • If your using excel you can easily do this. Add your missing receipt at the bottom. Then using the row numbers on the left (so it will select the entire row) highlight from the cell BELOW opening balance, use the sort function, custom sort, chose the column that has the date and viola! It sorts them per date but does not cause any errors. All the info is the same in the right place.

  22. I’m very happy to discover this site. I want to to thank you for ones time due to this fantastic read!!
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  24. This looks like the perfect spreadsheet for a beginning painting therapist. However is there a way to add a column for sales tax (VAT in UK or BTW is Netherlands where I live). I have to send details to the tax man every 3 months!

  25. Absolutely brilliant! I stumbled on this website while looking for an Excel spreadsheet template for a client who would like to be proactive and keep track of revenues and expenses throughout the taxation year, so when he’s ready to file he’ll have all relevant data in one easily accessible place. Not only that, but a place where he can make changes and update his financial information on and on-going basis. I wish I found this website 6 years ago! Keep up the outstanding work! Are you Canadian? It says you have your CPA, which designation would that be? The Certified Public Accountant, the Chartered Professional Accountant, or the Certified Practising Accountant? Have you ever attended CASB? (Chartered Accountant’s School of Business)

  26. Thanks for sharing this excellent tool with us. I’m based in Auckland New Zealand. Your free sharing of this is a good testimony. Thanks again.

  27. Hi there Mark.

    I just found your great little Excel spreadsheet. It does everything I need. But it would be great if I could add a few more income columns I really need 5 and can only see 2. Unless I am missing something?

    I have to admit to being a bit of a newbie to spreadsheets, but I am getting there. With your valuable help.



    • Hi Andy.

      The easiest thing to do is insert an income column between the two income columns. If you’re not sure how to do this, let me know via e-mail at mark@accountinator.com and I’ll do it for you.

      Warning: this spreadsheet is set up for US tax filings. I’m not sure which country you are in, but our expense categories probably will not line up for you. So if you send me a link to your blank tax form, I can probably figure out a new version for your country – I’d be happy to do this because about a quarter of the web traffic here is European.


    • No, I don’t. But if you need something more sophisticated than this spreadsheet, check out gnucash.org.

  28. Dr. Holtzman,

    My sister recently started a small sewing business, and asked me to help her with her bookkeeping because I am an accounting major. However, I am only in my sophomore year, and basic acct. principles is all I have taken at this point. Your spreadsheet is extremely helpful in pushing me on the right track for helping her out! I was definitely over-complicating things.

    I do have a few questions about the spreadsheet: most of her assets is not in cash – it is in fabric. How is inventory marked in your spreadsheet? And, if it is not, how does that correlate with the COGS column? What is the “double-entry partner” to that COGS column on the spreadsheet?

    Thank you so much for time and help!


    • My spreadsheet doesn’t work well with inventory – to keep track of inventory, you’ll need a more sophisticated system. Keep in mind that even software like QuickBooks isn’t great with inventory either.

      That said, I suggest that you put all inventory (fabric, etc.) into cost of goods sold. Then at the end of the year, (1) count up the value of whatever inventory is left, (2) take that amount out of cost of goods sold and (3) put it into the inventory account, an asset on the balance sheet.

  29. Wow. This is just what I was looking for. Thank you.

    My state,WI, requires that a business use the accrual method of accounting unless you get written permission to use another method. Does your spreadsheet use the cash basis method? I’m really new to this.

    In Accountinator how do I keep track of WI sales tax that I collect for my services? I have to pay these taxes to my state.

    • You can use the cash method all year long. Then at the end of the year, count up any receivables that you are owed – add this balance to accounts receivable and to sales. Then count up any payables that you owe. Add this balance to each of the appropriate expenses, and also add the total to accounts payable. On the first day of the next year, reverse this (i.e. subtract the balance from receivables and sales; subtract the respective balances from expenses and payables).

  30. Thank you for posting this spreadsheet, it was exactly what I need to help start accounting practices for my soap business. I would like to know what column balances or reconciles the cost of goods column?

    • As long as the first column says “OK,” you’re always in balance. However, cost of goods sold column requires a manual adjustment – you need to count inventory at the end of the period and subtract that balance from from cost of goods sold.

  31. How do you account for salary paid to the business owner or a draw on the account from the profits on this spreadsheet?


    • If you know how, set up a new column for “owner drawing.” Otherwise, add it salary expense. When you prepare your tax return, you’ll need to adjust this later – to take it back out of salary expense.

  32. Hello,

    My sister and I want to start a jewelry company and be in partnership. She is the crafty partner, and I am more capable of keeping the books. Do you have a sample for partnership accounting? I was using your sample in GoogleDrive and it is very helpful.


    • This should work for the operations side – to keep track of your profits and losses. You will need a separate computation to divvy up the profits and keep track of your individual partner capital accounts. This computation can be done manually, or in Excel.

  33. Hi Mark, My husband is just starting his trucking business as an owner operator. Can I use your spreadsheet to keep all of his income and expenses for income tax purposes or are there different forms he needs to complete due to the fuel?

    • This should be all you need for income tax purposes. You also need to save all the receipts.

      If there are other fuel taxes and licenses charges, the spreadsheet won’t handle that.

  34. Thanks, thaty was perfect for my Personal Training Gym. I only needed a basic spreadsheet as we only sell the one thing so this was perfect

  35. I love spreadsheets and wanted to find something to help organize my husbands new s-corp w/o having to jump into quickbooks. This is a huge help and I’m so glad I don’t have to design a template myself…thank you!

    Quick question, how do you treat business expenses that come out of a personal bank account? Not sure how to categorize them on here…for example, purchase of a business lunch using personal $ instead of $ from the business account?

    • Glad this helps. Are you using a business account and personal account? If so, this is tricky. Maybe retitle one column as “personal account” and then subtract the expenses from there. So for a personal expense, you would increase the actual expense, and subtract the same amount from the retitled “personal account” column. If you only use your personal account, then just subtract the balance from cash – let it go negative as an overdraft.

  36. I just opened a small Notary business and have wasted an extreme amount of time looking for a simple, yet inexpensive accounting software to track a small amount of business transactions. I just stumbled upon your website from Youtube and I must say THANK YOU so very much for creating and sharing such an easy spreadsheet!!! My accountant will love me at the end of the year!

  37. Hey Mark,

    Awesome spreadsheet! Simply and easy to use! One question…if I want to pay myself throughout the year…how do I record that on the spreadsheet? Thanks!

  38. This seems so simple even I understand it – I imported it into OpenOffice with no problems and am (hopefully)about to enter a year’s accounts for my small ebay business – I lost everything on my laptop last week, but after seeing your blog and utube explanation, I’m thinking it may be an opportunity to start afresh with a straightforward accounting process – thank you so much!

  39. This looks great… quick question: how do we record purchase of equipment/ assets like a computer or machine which has depreciation?

    • Thanks! And how do we record depreciation expense. Or should i use something else if i intend to make an LLC and draw up balance sheets etc.?

  40. Hi Mark,

    We love the sheet, and it’s been very helpful, but I do have some questions.

    We’d like to make some changes to the headers, by adding different kinds of sales (or donations as we’re calling them).

    Is there any way to change incoming money headers to outgoing money headers and still make it okay in the balance. When we tried to add money to the Travel header as opposed to taking money out, it wouldn’t stay in balance.


    • Hey Zach. That’s not so easy to do here. Two options: insert a new column between the different kinds of income. Alternatively, stick to the existing columns and break out the individual revenue items on a separate spreadsheet. I’ve gotten a few requests to do this, so perhaps I should come out with a more customize-able version.

  41. hi me again

    also can i use this for pound sterling as i am based in england
    many thanks


    • I would change two things, if I were you.

      Of course, change the currency. But also change the column headers to fit the categories you would need to report. Our column headers are for US tax authorities. You should change them depending on the information that you are required to report on your tax return. Good luck.

  42. Thanks, Mark! I am just starting a home business and I really appreciate your generosity in sharing this. I’ve shared it with my husband, who is also starting a business. As we approach retirement, we hope to have a little cottage industry here at our farm.

  43. THANK YOU!! This is amazing and I will find it extremely helpful, I’ve just started up so looking forward to this making things easier for me :o)

  44. Thank you very much Mark.
    I’m just getting started with a small English language Course/School in Indonesia and this is exactly what I was looking for to get me started with the book keeping side of the business.
    Once again thank you!

  45. Hi Mark – we are a small construction business but incorporated. Will this work for us? If not, can we make it work for us? Thank you!

    • You would have to be very small. If you are large enough to have more than 30 transactions a year, and no employees, then this will work. Otherwise, you would be better off using a more sophisticated program.

  46. Hey Mark,

    Great spreadsheet!! Going to be using this spreadsheet for a small electricals supply company. But I need to account for Petty Cash…how can this be done?


    • A few options: Include it with the rest of cash. Or keep petty transactions together, and record them as a single line in the spreadsheet every once in a while.

  47. That’s the problem, I don’t see a tab that says reports. I will try to figure it out. Maybe it’s my computer. Thank you.

  48. 1) Where to enter my investment into my company? as per your sheet it has to record as income. all deposits are not income.

    2) if i pay to credit card 1000 dollars. (that has multiple expenses such as food, entertainment, licenses, telecom, utilities etc..how to differentiate that it one check?

    • Investment should be entered as a negative item in “other expense.”

      If you pay more than one kind of expense at once, enter the total cash amount, and then the individual expenses all in the same row. Make sure they balance.

  49. I just started a LLC and your spreadsheet is fantastic for keeping me organized. One question, I infused cash at startup and may need to again – and hopefully, will draw my investment out as I grow. Do I set up a separate capital account to keep track of that and is the draw considered taxable by the feds?


    • No, don’t set up another column. Instead, use the “other expenses column” to counterbalance the income in the cash column.

  50. Hi Mark:
    Tried using your spreadsheet & liked it; however, wanted to send a copy of my figures to my partner thru email & it wouldn’t work. Please advise how I can send it thru email? Also kept getting Oops & REF# in the A column; Please advise what corrections I need to make. Thanks!

    • You should be able to mail the file just like any other Excel file. Regarding the “oops” problem, I can’t diagnose the problem without seeing your spreadsheet. Sorry.

  51. How do I contact you. I have developed an Excel based accounting file and it is 100% automated.
    It is just like Quickbooks, data once recorded is saved in database and file size with entire code is just 200kb.
    I want to have your opinion on it, I have not seen this kind of file anywhere else. File is hosted on my site Tikshare.

  52. wondering where to enter start up costs (some tools, legal fees & licenses, liability insurance, office supplies and personal cash to start)- initial personal money “invested”. Where would you suggest I enter these?
    and how do I pay myself back the personal money used to start the business?
    Thank you SO much for the wonderful spreadsheet! QuickBooks overwhelmed us, this looks like what we need.

    • Use the “other expenses” column for all of these. If necessary, enter income or investment as negative. In the “specify” column, explain the nature of your item.

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