Tracking startup expenses?


What are some tools, tips, and strategies for tracking expenses in the least friction way as possible?

We don't have the resources to get an accountant from the get-go so I will be tracking everything myself for now.

Finance Startup Costs Tools Expenses

asked Mar 18 '14 at 11:57
Peter Scott
55 points
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5 Answers


I use (now GoDaddy Bookkeeping) paid plan that's about $10/month, but the free plan is fantastic for automatically tracking all the money that goes in and out of your checking and credit card accounts. The only feature the free plan doesn't have is access to tax forms, so you can just upgrade come tax season. Once you link accounts, it's super simple and 95% automated. BEST PART: when you link accounts your transactions for last 90 days are pulled in, so if you setup now you are in great shape for 2014. Come tax season, just print your P&L statements and bring to accountant.

A couple of tips:

- Avoid cash transactions or you will have to store physical receipts for anything over $20

- Get an AMEX business credit card and use it for all business related expenses except for some reimbursement. Your credit limit will slowly grow with your business needs and you will get rewards as well

- Review transactions once a month and categorize them into appropriate categories. As time goes by it's hard to remember what some of the smaller charges were based on just vendor name. The software will recognize recurring transactions and file them automatically if you check the box the first time you identify a transaction.

Accounting used to be a headache, but online software makes it easy these days.

EDIT: While I mention a specific tool I use and like, I generally recommend setting up with an online accounting software someone recommends as soon as you have either a business checking account or a credit card. Just look for the simplest feature list (or go for a free plan) and you should be Ok for a year or two. I believe switching would only be a pain if you decide to do it in the middle of your fiscal year, otherwise should be as painless as setting up a new account.

answered Mar 18 '14 at 20:04
2,835 points
  • Putting all charges on a credit card like AMEX first is a good tip! Points can be redeemed for discounts or cash back, depending on the card. I use their Platinum Business card and the $450/yr fee pays for itself in the benefits that it comes with. The biggest is a FREE membership to Regus Gold so you can work out of their lounges all over the world at no cost. – Sherlene Conrad 7 years ago
  • @Sherlene Platinum really does have some great benefits. Just looked into it after reading your comment. – Chrissie Gray 7 years ago
  • More accounting & invoicing apps in answers to this question: Gray 7 years ago
  • AMEX is all around the best credit card for business, many accountants recommend. – Webbie 7 years ago


An Excel spreadsheet, (or, if you insist on a cloud solution, Google document), and a shoebox for receipts/papers. i.e. the least possible distraction, with the simplest interface, so that you can concentrate on building/selling.

answered Mar 18 '14 at 16:01
Nick Stevens
4,436 points
  • That's actually too time consuming compared to using an online software and there are many free or inexpensive options available that take away 95% of the effort. – Webbie 7 years ago
  • I disagree Webbie. For startups with little expenses, Excel is a great way to keep track. Sometimes online software is cumbersome and gets in the way. It can be more trouble than it's worth. – Lindsey Wilson 7 years ago
  • It's all in comparison - you need to compare to specific online software to say manual is better. I have used cumbersome (Intuit Online) and had done Excel in the past, but the tool I am suggesting above simply beats Excel spreadsheet. Outside of not having business accounts (checking or credit) there is no good reasons to not use free online software. – Webbie 7 years ago
  • There's plenty of reasons not to use free online software. Any accountant of book keeper can make use of an Excel spreadsheet - exporting data in a useful way isn't always a standard feature of online software. In any case - the point I was trying to make is to keep stuff simple and focus on building the business, not getting distracted by making uneccessary software choices. – Nick Stevens 7 years ago

1 plugged into your bank account enables you to track everything really really well for just $9/month - I think Wave accounting is free actually, and similar but not personally used it.

Both should scale with you in at least the first couple of years (switching can be disruptive & costly)

answered Mar 18 '14 at 15:40
Vincent Turner
11 points


There are several number of tools in bookkeeping like outright, invoicera, Free Agent, Shoe Boxed, Curd Bee, Pulse, Rhino Accounting, Fresh Books, Kashoo, Invoice Journal, Less Accounting, Blinksale, Yendo, Harvest, Zoho Invoice,, Endive, Citrus, Quickbooks online. Among this Quickbooks software makes the work of bookkeeping more easy. Among these tools Rhino accounting and Invoice journal are free tools and other are paid tools.

answered Apr 24 '14 at 12:49
1 point


When it comes to tracking expenses and time or invoicing, I think is better suited for your needs. In addition, with Keepek android app : just snap pictures of your receipts, the app extracts then key information such as merchant name, amount and date. The picture itself is stored and you can view it on your smartphone anytime and anywhere. You can easily manage categories and enter manual expenses as well as mileages. You can also share expenses with others you choose.

The app is free.

answered Mar 27 '14 at 16:31
Zakaria Tassamart
-9 points
  • Hi Zakaria - you appear to have forgotten to declare your interest as CTO in the company you are recommending. – Nick Stevens 7 years ago

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