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When you work on a client's behalf, you will often incur incidental expenses that you can bill back to the client. Tracking those expenses in an Excel table is a straightforward process. The first thing you should do is create the table and ensure you have all of the columns you need. I prefer to use these. First, I have the Expense ID number and that is simply at the row in the table. I have the date the expense was incurred. That should usually be the date on the receipt. The client identification number, the project, if any, the total and any notes that you might want to add.
You should always be sure to add notes about each expense to help you remember what it is so if the client asks any questions, you can tell them. Attempting to explain a $500 charge two months after you made it can be embarrassing if you didn't take proper notes. Now one technique I would like to show you is how to add an incremented number to each new row in the table. I'll show you here in the Expense ID field. So let's say that I wanted to have my first expense be expense #1. I can create a formula that will put the #1 here and then have Excel incremented each time I add a new row to the table.
To do that I type equal row and then the cell ID number. That is cell A4, it's the current cell. So what this will do in its current form is return the number 4, because that is the row in which the cell resides. So if I press Return, I'll get the #4, but because I want to start from the #1, I want to subtract 3 from that value. So -3, Tab and I get the #1. And let's say the date was 12/15/2009.
Client was #1824, Project 101, and the total was $45 and it was for parking. Now I haven't hit Tab yet to create a second row, but when I do, I want you to notice what happens in the Expense ID field. What happened was that when I press Tab and Excel created the new table row, it added the formula that was in cell A4 to cell A5. Also notice that Excel updated the formula to reflect its new location.
In other words, the formula here in cell A4 uses a relative reference. In other words, I don't have any dollar signs in front of the A or in front of the 4. So when Excel copied the formula here to cell A5, it updated the reference to cell A5, but it kept -3 the same. The row for A5 is #5, as you can see over here. Subtracting 3, you get Expense ID #2. Tracking reimbursable expenses is one of those tasks we all know we should do, but we don't always make the time for.
I like to set aside half-an-hour every Friday to enter my expenses and to enter any other business related credit card charges and checks. Taking a little time every week will save you lots of time at the end of the year.
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