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Tracking Profits & Profit Goals

Not only do I firmly believe that putting your goals down on paper is important— I think that it has to become a habit to continually track and monitor those goals throughout the year.

By doing this you can keep a birds-eye-view of what is going on in your business, how you are progressing towards you goals, and what you’ll need to accomplish in order to succeed.

I also hate being stuck in a mountain of administrative work. You know, the kind of work that keeps you busy— too busy to get your actual work done.

It’s because of that I’ve setup some simple tracking methods to help me keep a quick view on my current state of business finances that only takes a couple minutes each month to update— but provides me with insightful data that can keep me tracking towards my goals.


Download your copy of the Google Sheet from this article

Download the Profit & Goals Google Sheet

A link will be sent to you via email. By downloading the Profit & Goals Google Sheet you are signing up for our awesome email list— you lucky dog.


Here’s how it works.

There are lots of cool pieces of software out there that will let you collect and analyze data (I use AirTable mostly). Your financial software may do this too.

In fact, my financial software (Wave) does this—but it doesn’t give me the complete picture I’m looking for… Specifically the ability to track my sales and profit totals towards my monthly and annual goals.

Luckily Google Sheets can handle this easily.

Full Sheet Example with Fictitious Numbers

This simple little Sheet helps me analyze and track the data that’s important to me involving my profits and goals:

  • Monthly Sales Totals
  • Monthly Expenses
  • Monthly Net Profit
  • Monthly Profit Goals
  • Monthly Difference (between profit & goal)
  • Accumulative Profit
  • Accumulative Goal
  • Accumulative Difference (between profit & goal)

And while it may look like a lot of data— there are only a couple of fields you have to fill in, the rest all happens by calculation.

What I’ve found extremely important is tracking each month towards you annual goal. Some months you might do great, and some months not so much— but looking at those numbers alone isn’t completely helpful. Being able to see what your accumulative goal (towards your annual goal) is extremely valuable. Even if you have up and down months, you want to know how that is tracking towards you ultimate goal for the year.

Setting Your Monthly Goals

In prior years I had set my goals using my gross sales. While that’s okay for a small agency like mine— I’ve learned that as I scale my business this number can be very deceiving. Big jobs (or high volume) can make your gross sales data look great… but if you are bringing on help (like outsourcing work, or bringing on employees) your expenses are likely to grow quickly right along with your sales.

Because of this, I’ve switched all my goals to be centered around my net profit (gross sales minus expenses). This data will give me a much more accurate representation of how my business is really doing.

The first thing that needs to be accomplished in this sheet is setting your Monthly Profit Goal.

Monthly Profit Goal Column

In this example you can see the profit goal each month is $12,500. That’s the number I want to walk away with each month after all my expenses are taken care of.

By focusing on my net profit, I don’t have to worry about inflated sales numbers that might come along with a big project that encounters more expenses.

In years past I had based my monthly goals off of previous year’s sales totals (meaning each month had a different goal). After several years of this method I’ve realized it’s not worth the extra effort.  Some January’s were great, and some sucked— but I don’t think the month played that big of a role in it.

Instead, this year, I’ve gone with a consistent goal each month throughout the year.

How did I come up with that goal?

It’s not entirely scientific—but I looked at my previous year’s profit totals, took growth in for account, and come up with an annual total that would push me to grow my business (ie. it’s more than last year!). The numbers in this post are fictitious, but I wanted the number to be slightly “daunting” to help motivate and push me to grow again this year.

Monthly Updates

After your goals are set, you’ll only have to visit this spreadsheet once a month.  I like to do this a few days into the next month (so I can ensure all my sales and expense totals are final for the month).

In column B, you’ll input your total monthly gross sales:

Monthly Sales Total
Monthly Sales Total

In column C, you’ll enter your total expenses for the month:

Monthly Expenses
Monthly Expenses

Everything else— for the entire sheet— happens by magic (okay, not magic, it’s just math).

Understanding and Analyzing the Data

At this point, it’s just a matter of understanding what you are looking at within the sheet.

Let’s take a look at each column and what its purpose is.

Column A: Month

Pretty simple— this is the month of the year.

Column B: Monthly Sales Total

As mentioned above, in column B you’ll enter your total sales for each month. Every dollar you billed that month, all added up.

Column C: Monthly Expenses

Again, this is just all of your expenses for the month. Everything it takes to operate your business (internet, software, licenses, etc.) and any costs you incurred (like cost of goods sold or paying vendors). Total that all up for the month and plop it in there.

Column D: Monthly Net Profit

The monthly net profit is a simple calculation of your gross sales minus your expenses. This calculation will be done for your automatically.

Column E: Monthly Profit Goal

As already discussed, column E is the first bit of data you’ll want to fill in. While it’s great to have this done prior to the year starting, you can really start this at any point in time. If it’s May and you’re wishing you would have done this 5 months ago— just switch the months around in column A to start with May, or go back and fill in historical data.

Column F: Monthly Difference

This is the first important set of data you’ll want to look at. This measures your profit total against the goal you set. The calculation is done for you, and conditional formatting will turn the cell either green (if you met or surpassed your monthly goal) or red (if you did not meet your goal). This gives you the at-a-glance look at if you hit your monthly goal or not (and by how much).

Column G: Accumulative Profit

Your accumulative profit is a simple formula that will add up your profit totals for each month. This gives you a quick look at how much profit you’ve made from the first month to the current month. For example, if you just finished entering March’s numbers the cell at G4 will show you your total profit for the year. What’s also nice is you can look historically at where you were for total profit each previous month.

Column H: Accumulative Goal

Just like column G, column H is calculating the accumulative numbers each month— but this time not your actual profit, just your goal.  You’ll see in the example above each row is just adding another $12,500 to the total. This is the total profit you are striving to be at by the end of each month on the chart.

Column I: Accumulative Difference

The accumulative difference column is setup just like the Monthly Difference column (F), except here we are looking at the accumulative totals each month.  This is my favorite column (and really the reason I created this Sheet in the first place).  Being able to see where each month puts you towards your annual goal is very helpful. You’ll see in the example that while the goal was not met in January, there was enough profit in February to put me back on track to be ahead of my accumulative goal for the year (these have conditional formatting as well).

Additional Bits

At the bottom of the sheet you’ll see 3 more bits of data:

  • Current Profit Goal – Your current profit totals (automatically calculated).
  • Annual Profit Goal – Your goal for the year (this number wont change).
  • Progress Toward Annual Goal – How much profit you need to meet your annual goal.

These are just handy to have quick reference of these numbers.


Download the Profit & Goals Google Sheet

A link will be sent to you via email. By downloading the Profit & Goals Google Sheet you are signing up for our awesome email list— you lucky dog.


Go Forth and Profit

Hopefully you’ll find this little Sheet as useful as I do.

Sure, there are plenty of ways to make this more robust, but for me, it’s the simplicity that I find most useful. I’ve tried some more complex systems but because they required so much more effort to maintain I found myself slacking and not always inputting the data.

By keeping the maintenance of this sheet very low (just inputting your goals at the beginning of the year, then sales and expenses each month going forward) we’re more likely to actually do it.


Kyle's Headshot

Kyle Van Deusen

Kyle is the co-host of The Admin Bar, and the owner of a company of one called OGAL Web Design just outside of Fort Worth, Texas. You’ll likely find him trolling The Admin Bar community.

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