Microsoft Excel Template: Business Financial Planner for an SME

Hi Everyone! Starting a few years ago, building excel templates became somewhat of a hobby for me.

Last year I built this excel model. It is useful for financial planning of a small business or individual. This app is currently in beta, so you may notice some bugs. Nonetheless, this is a proof of concept of excel’s power for financial planning. I hope you find it an insightful tool. The sheet is pre-filled with sample data of a small circulation newspaper, to give you a sense of how it works.

Excel Financial Planner SME.png

Features & Notes

Cash Flow: the sheet is structured as a cash flow forecast, with revenue and expense accounts on the top, debt servicing in the middle, and balance sheet (Assets and Liabilities) accounts summarized at the bottom.

Note: the starting date is the excel function =today(), representing today’s date. this can be adjusted the first day of the period, if preferable.

Note: You can toggle the Yearly period between Daily, Monthly, Weekly, and Quarterly.

Revenue & Expenses: Define your period (Date Range), schedule (Monthly, Daily, Weekly, Quarterly, or One Time), and specify the account you’d like to use.

Note: the account on the planner should match the account on the cash flow schedule. You can customize these to suit your needs. For one time expenses, or revenue, leave the ending date blank.

Debt: Since most types of debt generally work the same way, you can safely put them here. This feature offers insight into the cost of your debt over time, it’s amortization, when it will be paid off, and how it effects your net worth (liabilities and equity). Use this to plan the elimination or future utilization of debt  

Note: If you are adding a mortgage, be sure to add an asset for it as well, with the same purchase/finance data. If you dont, the net worth calculation will be incorrect.

Note: Revolving debt: If this is marked “Yes”, the account type can be used to plan leverage (borrowing) to cover expenses.

Assets: Plan the purchase, down payment (financing), sale/resale, and appreciation/depreciation of your assets, and see how it will influence your future capitalization. You may change these account types (included in the sample company) to suit your needs, but be sure that you update the accounts on the Cash Flow to match as well. Bank Data: This data is used to import actuals, and measure budget variance. Export data from your banks and paste categorize it here. (Budget variance only appear for prior periods in the cash flow schedule.

Note: you can export your bank data into a csv file from your online account. Paste it in here and remove any unnecessary columns.  

Note: to pupulate the actuals, the categories must match the categories on the cash flow.

BUGS: There is currently a bug: where the schedule assumes that any recurring transaction will continue continue through the entire period. (Ex: If a $100 recurring expense is only planned for 2 weeks, and the cash flow schedule is set to monthly, it will assume the expense repeated for every week of that month, and result in $400 instead of $200. I am currently looking for a fix!)

You are likely paying too much for your CRM, here's why, and what to do about it

All commercial CRMs are designed with core functionality to keep track of leads, manage customer relationships, and provide reporting on sales performance. At the basic level, CRMs are directories with friendly user interfaces for management of an address book, with custom categories and filters for different kinds of contacts, and custom fields for recording more detailed data.

Affordable CRM systems

Here are some comparable examples:

Salesforce - $75+ per user/month (Excluding add ons)
SugarCRM - $40+ per user/month
Microsoft Dynamics - $40+ per user/month
Netsuite CRM - $50+ per user/month
Hubspot CRM - $800+ per month + 3,000 setup cost

If you're a small business owner, you may feel it is too much. If you are a department head or a C level executive with a midsize business or large enterprise, you should be as well. This is the cost of what is essentially an enhanced address book.

Here is why you are almost definitely paying too much for your CRM:

1. They charge per user/month. Regardless of the server bandwidth, or data storage they provide to your users, it is the same rate. For a sales team with 20 users, CRMs can cost between $800 to $1,500 per month, depending on what features you use.

2. They require upgrades for certain functions, and often tack it on to the per user charges. For example, Salesforce requires an upgrade from it's starter plan ($25/user/month) to it's professional plan ($75/user/month) to enable the task tracking functionality, among other functions, whether they are wanted or not.

3. In addition to monthly per user costs, to get the configuration you need to hit the ground running, many companies find it necessary to hire experienced consultants to execute the implementation. These consultants can cost anywhere between $75 to $200 per hour of work.

4. Add on costs can add to the monthly bill as a separate cost, paid to a 3rd party for new functionality or services. Examples of addons are sales forecast trackers, dashboards, gantt charts, and sychronization with other web services.  

How to save money:

1. Seek out emerging companies whose prices are substantially lower. The benefits of software shopping, in particular with cloud applications, is that it is extremely competitive. Cloud platforms are constantly evolving and becoming cheaper. Newer competitors are often willing to offer the same, or better, functionality than their competitors, for a premium price.

2.  Negotiate with your CRM vendor before making a purchase. Often, in cases where you are bring a large amount of users to their product, ie 30+ users,  the  vendors may offer enterprise level pricing for a 10% to 20% discount per user.

3. There are also products that better service niche customers, like Follow Up Boss for Realtors or ScreenDragon for marketing agencies; these generally require less implementation costs and can suit your industry specific needs right out of the box.

4. Build your own CRM on a codeless app builder such as Podio or Google AppMaker. These solutions may carry a per user cost, but the type and scale of the applications you create are unlimited, for a fixed price.

5.  Hire a professional business generalist to custom build your CRM application for you.  BEC can deliver a custom system tailored to your exact needs. Learn more

Example of what we can build in 1 week: Resource Onboarding Tracker

Custom HRIS Software

This is an example of a fully custom resource management application for an enterprise or mid size organization. This would be an on-boarding module as part of a larger HRIS system.

This example tracks new employee information from  the initial request to department level approvals. It demonstrates how an application can be designed to enable seamless communication between multiple departments (ie Finance, HR, hiring managers, and the new employees themselves).

Development time: 5 days


Auto memorized searches for each user.
Item level and field permissions. Ex: only department head users for a specific department can approve as department head.
Approval notification emails, welcome emails for new users.
Dynamic search box in header.
Dynamic login in header.
User management for admins.
Company branding.
Auto-save on all fields.
Comment system for each item with tagging, where tagged users receive an email with a link to the item and the comment text they were tagged in.
Tabbed layout.
Users can attach multiple files.
Users can export their own data.
Dynamic lookup of contact and project records from a database.

Custom HR System

Who's building your software? How bubble could address the disconnect between business needs and the SDLC process

Software is hard. Designing software to meet rigorous and constantly changing business needs is even harder. SDLC was introduced decades ago in an attempt to add some structure and order to the chaos. But it is often a slow process, and if it isn't implemented well, well lead to frustrating delays to the delivery of a product.

What is SDLC? It's an acronym for Software/Systems Development Lifecycle. It is core part of any project management methodology, and the process can be applied to processes beyond just developing software and systems. There are many ways of approaching SDLC, like Agile, Waterfall, or Scrum, but a typical process will include the following:

1. Gather Requirements - what do the users expect the product to do?

2. Designing/Wireframing - with given requirements, decide what the product will look like.

3. Implementation - develop the product.

4. Testing - run tests to verify that the product meets requirements and the design specifications.

5. Deploy, Train, and Support - the product is released for the users to begin use.

6. Feedback - document how is the product being received by the users. Does is meet their needs? What should be added or adjusted?

7. Repeat steps 3-6 - begin improving the product based on feedback.

SDLC Software Development Lifecycle in Software and Systems Development

How could bubble help with this process, specifically for systems development?

1. Bubble is a visual programming framework that combines all of the components of full stack web development into one straightforward development system. The database, front end, and workflows can be managed in one place. Business applications and databases can be built on bubble at a far more rapid rate.

2.  Bubble makes the developer more accessible. The person developing a bubble application can be a business savvy generalist who understands the business case better than a traditional developer. They potentially could sit down with users and stakeholders and speak to them in their language, then implement quick changes or bug fixes in days (not months), or even in real time. This is revolutionary.

3. A  system for managing SDLC could actually be built on bubble itself to collect requirements from stakeholders and feedback from end users. This could come in the form of a tooltip that appears next to certain modules of an application, periodically requesting feedback or allowing the user to quickly report bugs in real time. The developer could be notified; they would also know where exactly to look.

4. Bubble developers can collaborate in real time.

5. Every new release is stored and fully re-deployable in seconds.