How to make customized spreadsheets for business


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Running your own business presents unique opportunities for you to be your own boss, bring your entrepreneurial vision to life, and direct your financial future. But to avoid being among the 20% of small businesses that fail within their first year, you’ll want to take every precaution behind the scenes.

Creating a business budget is an excellent first step for any new business owner. By taking a closer look at your assets, expenses, and financial goals, you can craft a better plan for the future of your booming business. And ideally, you can reap some of the monetary benefits.

Let’s take a closer look at how to create a business budget and discuss the benefits of budgeting. You will even find some helpful resources and a business budget template we hope you can leverage moving forward. With the right tools and processes, you can use business budgeting to your advantage.

What is a business budget?

A business budget is an outline of an organization’s revenue, expenses, and profit over a period of time—generally monthly, quarterly, or annually. A good business budget assigns a purpose to every dollar your business earns. For instance, some money might go toward bills or business growth. Others will help fund daily operational expenses and take-home pay for yourself and your staff.

Solid business budget planning will provide a road map for spending and earning. It’ll create a lens into your organization’s financial future and facilitate better decisions all around. Ready to get your business idea off the ground? You’ll need to consider startup costs. Wondering if you can or should purchase new equipment this year? Refer to your business budget plan.

Maybe you’re looking for ways to cut down on expenses. Your business budget can present a view of your financial health, including where you’re spending money and where you might benefit from cutting back. With better foresight, you can cultivate stronger business performance and improve earnings from the last quarter or the last year.

Benefits of a budget for your business

The benefits of budgeting may be obvious to some. But a chilling statistic suggests that not all business owners are completely convinced. 

63% of small business owners contribute personal funds to their business at least once per year. This is a clear indication that business owners are not budgeting accurately or at all.

“A business budget is a financial road map to success, a vision of where you want to take your business for the upcoming 12 months,” the FDIC says. What’s more, research has suggested that business budgets offer the following benefits:

  • They give business owners more freedom to run their organizations with confidence.
  • They allow business owners to identify cash flow and spending problems.
  • They empower business owners to have a greater sense of control and insight when dealing with financial challenges.
  • They help business owners and decision-makers predict cash flow and identify trends.
  • They demonstrate positive money management to lenders and investors.
  • They give you the chance to identify and rectify problem areas quickly.

Bottom line: Consider a detailed budget one of your key business needs.

What’s included in a business budget?

A business budget takes into account an organization’s total revenue and expenses to reveal net profit (or loss). The FDIC says the best business budgets comprise the “nuts and bolts” of everyday revenue and expenses like:

  • Average order amount
  • Number of product orders per month
  • Billable hours
  • Average payroll costs
  • Material expenses
  • Rent, mortgage, and utilities

When building a business budget, business owners should bear in mind that output depends on input. Make sure you’re collecting accurate data points whenever you’re dealing with your business’s finances. A simple mathematical error or typo can lead to confusion or, worse, uninformed financial decisions.

How to create a budget for a business

Now you know what a business budget is, why it’s important, and the essential components. Let’s now take a look at the steps you need to take to create one.

1. Calculate all forms of income

Whether you’re optimizing your personal spending or building a business budget, your first step should be aggregating all of your forms of income. Your net income determines how much you can afford to spend. It also indicates your take-home pay and whether your business performance is growing or stagnating.

To find out how much money your business is bringing in, refer to your profit and loss statements. Depending on your business model, you may have several income sources, so be sure to include any and all revenue streams in this section.

2. Subtract your fixed expenses

Once you’ve added all of your business’s income together, you can subtract your fixed costs. Fixed costs are expenses that remain consistent throughout the year. Whether you pay bills monthly, weekly, or annually, you can expect to spend a set amount of dollars on each expense. These costs are easy to predict, so they’re easy to work into your budget. The one-off expenses, or variable costs? Not so much—more on that in a minute.

Examples of fixed expenses include:

  • Commercial rent or mortgage
  • Operational utilities
  • Loan payments
  • Insurance bills
  • Employee salaries

Once you’ve tallied up your fixed expenses, you can subtract that number from the total income you calculated in step 1.

3. Subtract your variable expenses

In addition to your fixed costs, you might anticipate monthly operating expenses that may not always be the same amount. These variable expenses may be harder to predict, but you can refer to old receipts and invoices to estimate them.

Examples of variable expenses include:

  • Material costs
  • Commissions
  • Billable staff wages (freelancers, outsourced work, etc.)

After identifying your variable expenses and estimating how much they cost each month, subtract the amount from your income.

4. Prepare for emergency and one-time expenses

Life is full of unexpected circumstances. As a business owner, you’re likely familiar with unexpected expenses. New equipment, hiring expenses, and unplanned events can add up, so it’s wise to plan ahead as much as you can.

You can’t predict when you’ll need to pay for an emergency expense or how much it might cost, but you can set aside a cash reserve to lessen the burden.

5. Create a profit and loss statement

You’ve accounted for your income and fixed, variable, and emergency expenses. Now you can better understand your business finances by creating a profit and loss (P&L) statement. A P&L statement is a high-level overview that shows whether your organization is profitable or in the red.

When you add up all of your income then subtract your total expenses, you should have a positive or negative number. A positive number indicates that you’re in the black and, therefore, making money. A negative number indicates that you’re in the red and, therefore, burning a hole in your pocket.

Your P&L statement serves as a baseline for creating your business budget. You can access your profit and loss statement, track trends, monitor invoices, and more from your QuickBooks account.

Keep in mind that your profit and loss statement may not always show you the results you want. But with better business budgeting and forward thinking, you can set yourself up for a brighter and more profitable future.

6. Draft your business budget

After reviewing your P&L statement, you’ll have a better idea of where you’re spending your money—and if you’re spending responsibly. With this data in mind, you’re ready to draft your business budget for the next year, quarter, or month. Most businesses opt for quarterly budgets.

A basic budget outlines your expenditures and designates limits for each over a given period. This outline can help you determine whether you’re earning and spending within your abilities. With QuickBooks, you can glean insight into spending patterns and assess where your business stands financially.

Small business budget customization

Every small business has a niche, workflow, and financial goals. So it’s important to remember that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to business budgeting. As you learn how to build a business budget and experiment with the strategies you’ve learned, consider the following:

  • Seasonality may affect customer buying behaviors, depending on your business type. Consider these fluctuations in profit and expenses as you plan your budget.
  • If you run an e-commerce business, beware of hidden costs like shipping fees, website upgrades, and point-of-sale expenses.
  • Budgeting for a startup can be especially challenging because they’re typically much more limited on data and performance history. But accurate accounting software and conservative estimates can help you improve your business budget year after year.
  • If you run a service-based business, you’re working with more estimates than a product-focused business. Keep an eye on trends to make sure your budget has plenty of wiggle room.

Budgeting best practices for business 

A great business budget creates a clear connection between your day-to-day operations and financial resources. It can help you navigate tough business decisions and even help you identify areas for growth. But an effective budget doesn’t happen overnight. As you create and reflect on your business budget, keep these small business budget best practices in mind:

  • Consider how every change in expenses or income will trickle down to your budget. Hiring a new employee doesn’t just mean you’re adding another salary but can also translate to changes in payroll taxes, benefits, and other expenses. Any time you adjust your business budget, consider the consequences.
  • Make sure that you’re budgeting for all expense categories, including fixed, variable, and emergency expenses. Anticipating these costs can help you balance your business budget and plan ahead. You can track your business expenses effortlessly and accurately using QuickBooks.
  • View your business budget as a living document. Financial circumstances change, and the unexpected happens. Your business should always be prepared to weather the storm. Review your financial statements regularly, reconsider your costs and spending, and refine your business budget as necessary.
  • Set goals but avoid wishful thinking. Use your bookkeeping records to determine what might transpire over the next month, quarter, or year. But ultimately, it’s a better idea to be conservative with your budget than to expect the best-case scenario.
  • Look out for ways to cut costs and create growth. As a business owner, it’s up to you to position your business for greatness. Break down your finances into areas of success and room for improvement. Spotting opportunities to improve your business finances can make your organization more profitable and sustainable in the long run.

This article originally appeared on QuickBooks and was syndicated by

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Help! Inflation is killing my budget. How can I fight back?

Help! Inflation is killing my budget. How can I fight back?

Saving money during a time of high inflation may seem like a contradiction in terms. If you’re like most people, you feel like you’re spending every dollar to meet the higher costs of groceries, gas, utilities, and just about every other expense. Savings, not surprisingly, can seem to take a back seat.

But continuing to save during times of inflation — and saving your money in places that can help protect you from inflation’s damaging effects — is more important than ever. You don’t want this culprit upending your current lifestyle or long-term goals.

The following guide can offer ways to help you with how to save money during inflation. We have come up with four strategies to help combat inflation, followed by three places to consider putting your money during this stressful period.

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Inflation is a rise in prices across the economy. It is also defined as a decline in purchasing power over time. That’s because the rise in prices, often expressed as a percentage, means your dollars buy a lot less than they did earlier. Currently, you need only look at the price of bread, milk, or a gallon of gas to see what the economists mean when they’re talking about rising prices.

In the U.S., the government and economic forecasters measure inflation by a rise in the Consumer Price Index (CPI), Producer Price Index (PPI), and the Personal Consumption Expenditures Price Index (PCE). All of these measures basically track rising prices across the economy. Prices may rise because of an increase in the cost of raw goods, supply chain problems, energy price rises, shifts in consumer spending, rapid wage growth, and a host of other reasons.

A little bit of inflation is good. Indeed, the Federal Reserve sets a 2% annual inflation rate as its goal. This is because a small amount of inflation encourages consumers to spend and invest rather than keep their money under the mattress. That said, when inflation rises too much or too quickly, consumers and the economy suffer.

For the past 25 years or so, the U.S. has had low inflation, rarely rising above 3%. That’s why when the Consumer Price Index hit 8.6%  in May 2022, consumers and economists were shocked.  

In November, price rises slowed a bit. As of January 2023, the inflation rate was at 6.5%. However, inflation is expected to remain a concern with consumers for 2023.

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The impacts of high inflation are felt most immediately in our pocketbooks in the form of higher prices for just about everything, including daily essentials. But high inflation has several other consequences. Here’s a look:

Consumer Confidence Erodes 

As mentioned above, purchasing power gets cut short when prices rise. Because much of the U.S. economy is based on consumer confidence and buying power, the economy can shrink in the face of high inflation and, depending on other factors, even hit a recession. A retrenching economy can lead to investors to lose confidence as well, causing volatility in the markets.

Interest Rates Rise 

The Federal Reserve is committed to keeping a low inflation rate. The main tool it uses to battle inflation is to raise interest rates. 

Rising rates mean the cost of borrowing increases, often cooling spending and the economy, bringing prices down. At the same time, rates on short-term savings such as savings accounts and certificates of deposit (CDs) often increase as financial institutions increase their interest rates in the aftermath of Fed increases. We’ll talk more about that below.

More Expensive Borrowing Costs 

Rising rates mean consumers pay more in interest for mortgages, car loans, credit card bills, and other lending. This has a chilling effect on consumer spending, thus slowing the economy. Businesses hit with higher borrowing rates may be less likely to invest for the future, dampening employment and earnings growth and, in turn, consumer spending. This cooling effect on the economy is meant to help lower inflation.

With lower consumer demand for goods and services, prices usually fall.  It may already be working. The Fed’s aggressive interest rate increases could be part of the reason inflation declined in December. 

Erosion of Your Long-term Savings 

Inflation is often talked about as the enemy of retirees. The thinking is retirees may be on a fixed income, and a higher percentage of their principal may be safely socked away in low-return but reliable investments such as bonds and cash. That works fine in the low inflation environment we’ve been experiencing for decades. But investors of all ages, including retirees, need to outpace inflation’s erosion of purchasing power now and in the future. That means they need returns on their savings and investments that beat inflation rates.

With the current 6.5% inflation rate, that’s hard to do and may entail investing in more volatile investments such as high growth stocks.


How to save money during inflation? These four strategies can help you combat inflation and protect against its damaging effects on your budget, spending power, and overall finances.

The adage “pay yourself first” is even more apt during times of high inflation. It’s tempting to stop saving to help pay for rising costs, but don’t. Even if you have to lower your savings goals, make sure you continue to budget yourself for some kind of savings every paycheck. Then be sure to automatically deposit that amount in a separate account, so it doesn’t get sucked up by ever-increasing expenses.

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Higher prices for all sorts of everyday expenses can upend even the most rigorous budgets and take away from your savings. Reviewing your budget regularly during high inflation can help you understand exactly where price increases are hitting you hardest and where you can cut back.

Two areas of consumer spending that are facing the highest price increases are food and energy. These are both good places to revisit your spending patterns and see where you can find some savings.

For food, can you buy generic brands, or start using store loyalty programs that can save you money? Or maybe now’s the time to join one of the warehouse member stores so you can buy in bulk and save.  

Some of those retailers also help you save on gas with price discounts for members. Along the same lines, try to use a credit card that offers high cash back rates on gas.  

And now’s the time to revisit utility bills. Simple moves like dialing the thermostat down just a few degrees or making sure lights, appliances, and electronics are off when you aren’t home can help cut your energy use. And, take a look at your cable, internet provider, and cell phone bills. Have incremental services added up that could be cut back?  Sometimes it’s worth a call to your providers to ask if there are better deals out there for consumers feeling strapped.

When you review your budget, take a look at discretionary spending. Can you find just 5% in cuts? Are there streaming services on your credit card bill that you never use anymore? We’ve all been excited to get back to restaurants and live entertainment in the wake of COVID, but can some of that exuberance be curbed a bit now? Entertainment and travel prices have had dramatic increases too, so it might be wise to postpone that theater subscription or European vacation until the frothiness subsides.


Credit card debt has risen dramatically in recent months partly because consumers are using credit to fill the gap in their budgets caused by higher prices. This is happening just as interest rates on many credit cards are rising.

Try your best to avoid credit card debt, perhaps using some of the cost-cutting tips mentioned above. The higher balances, especially at higher interest rates may get in the way of your future savings goals once this inflationary environment calms down.

When it comes to other debt, be sure to take a close look at how much a mortgage, auto loan, or other type of loan will cost you over the long run. Payments are bound to be higher than you might expect because of today’s higher interest rates. And be sure to check your credit score and credit reports carefully. By building your credit rating, you increase your chances of getting the lowest possible rates on all types of lending.

Where to put money during inflation? When prices, and in turn, interest rates, are rising, some investments are better suited to fighting inflation than others. Let’s take a look.


Many financial institutions, especially online banks, have raised the rates on their savings accounts in the aftermath of the Fed’s increases — but many have not. It may be worth it to compare rates, especially at online banks that tend to offer the highest rates with what you’re earning now. Higher returns can help your savings grow and help offset inflation.

Savings bonds aren’t necessarily known for high interest rates, but a Series I bond earns both a fixed rate of interest and a rate that changes with inflation. Twice a year the Treasury Department sets the inflation adjusted rate for the next 6 months. I bonds mature in 30 years, but you don’t have to hang onto them for that long. You must hold them for at least a year and if you redeem them after less than five years, you forfeit the previous three month’s interest.

You can buy I bonds through for a minimum investment of $25 and an annual maximum of $10,000.

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When wondering where to put money during inflation, the stock market can be scary. The markets often react negatively to rising inflation, and any subsequent interest rate jumps. Long-term bond prices often decline when interest rates rise. And while stocks can often be an excellent long-term hedge against inflation, in the short term, you often see plenty of volatility.

As a result, you may want to revisit your asset allocation for long-term savings and investments to make sure your portfolio is protected against short-term volatility and the negative long-term effects of long periods of inflation. The good news: You may be able to take advantage of buying opportunities during the volatile periods, making your portfolio better positioned for any future upturns.

Learning how to budget during inflation, saving money during inflation, and knowing where to put your money during inflation are all challenges consumers are facing right now. Doing your best to keep at least a little bit of savings going, figuring out where you can cut spending to keep your budget intact, and understanding the best savings accounts and investments to help ward off inflation’s impacts are the key things consumers need to do to deal with high inflation.

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This article originally appeared on and was syndicated by

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