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First, check out our spreadsheet FAQs and resources page to see if we’ve already answered your question. Don’t forget, I specifically have a Which Spreadsheet is Right for You? guide to help you figure out which P+S product fits your needs.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

If you have a question, please check the FAQs first to see if it’s addressed there. If it’s not, please fill out the contact form with as much info as possible, including the following as applicable:

  • What type of spreadsheet software you are using
  • Which spreadsheet file you are working with (Etsy Seller Spreadsheet, inventory spreadsheet, etc.)
  • Whether you are located out of the US
  • Screenshots if you’re experiencing a problem
  • A saved & attached spreadsheet file if you’d like something fixed or customized on a spreadsheet you’ve been working on.

Whether you’re contacting me about products, collaborations, or something else, I’d love to hear from you. Feel free to fill out the contact form below.

If you’re interested in collaborating for a webinar, guest post, or workshop, or if you’re looking for a speaker for a live event, please check out my press page and let’s connect.

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Pre-Purchase Questions

Is your spreadsheet a good fit for me?

The best thing you can do to determine whether the spreadsheet(s) you’re considering are a good fit is to watch the tutorial videos for them. The videos will show you exactly how the spreadsheet works, and whether or not it can do what you’re hoping it will do for you. You can find playlists for all my spreadsheets on YouTube right here.

All my spreadsheets are designed specifically with creative sellers in mind and are very user-friendly. They come with detailed PDF instructions and video tutorials so you can see how to use them in action. I know a lot of us are visual learners, so utilizing the video tutorials is super helpful for spreadsheet “newbies” to learn how to use their new tools!

I'm overwhelmed by all the options. Which spreadsheet package will work the best for me?

Any of the Seller Spreadsheets will help you with your monthly bookkeeping. This is a tool in which to enter your sales (from ALL sources) and all your business expenses. This spreadsheet will help you calculate whether you’ve made a profit or loss each month, and help you determine the amounts you need for both sales tax and income tax purposes.

All Seller Spreadsheets are set up in a similar manner; they each just import from only one main source. You only need one Seller Spreadsheet. I suggest choosing the one for whichever venue you make the majority of your sales.

We currently offer Seller Spreadsheets for the following selling sources:

If you sell in multiple places, then you may find it handy to buy a Seller Spreadsheet and one or more of our import add ons. The Seller Spreadsheet serves as your main bookkeeping home, and the import add on allows you to quickly total your sales & fees from additional venues.

Our inventory spreadsheets focus on just the inventory & supply side of your biz. This tool will help you log material expenses, determine how much each finished good cost you to create, determine the best retail price for each item you sell, and track finished inventory. Most importantly, this spreadsheet will help you with your ending inventory count and calculations at year end for tax purposes.  This spreadsheet can be used regardless of where you sell online or in person.

Which inventory spreadsheet to purchase depends on what you’re selling. If you sell retail items in bulk, then you want the Inventory for Resellers spreadsheet. If you are selling vintage goods, then you want the Inventory for Vintage Sellers spreadsheet. There are two options for handmade sellers – the Inventory Cost & Pricing spreadsheet for one-of-a-kind makers, or the Inventory Cost & Pricing spreadsheet for batch sellers & multiple quantity handmade sellers. Visit either of those listings to watch a brief video that helps you distinguish between the two.

If you want help with both monthly bookkeeping AND inventory & COGS, then I recommend building your own discounted bundle here. Your bundle starts with both a Seller Spreadsheet (of your sales venue of choice) and an Inventory spreadsheet at a discounted price.

If in doubt, take this quick quiz for guidance:

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What's the return/exchange policy for your digital spreadsheet files?

Due to the nature of our digital downloads, we do not offer returns, refunds, or exchanges on our spreadsheets, ebooks, or other digital listings.

How and when do I receive access to my spreadsheet files?

You should receive an email with download links to your files within a few minutes of completing your purchase. If you don’t receive this email, make sure to first check that your payment was processed. Then, check your spam folder and promo tab for the email. It will be sent from email address hello@paperandspark.com.

If you still don’t see it, please email me at support@paperandspark.com and I will get you access ASAP.

You also create an account at checkout that allows you to log back in and access your download links. You can always log into this account to access your files outside of your inbox.

What software will your spreadsheets work with?

Our spreadsheets will work with Microsoft Excel, Numbers (Mac/Apple), and Google Sheets. Google Sheets is a great free program if you don’t have Numbers or Excel on your computer. Please note that there will be cosmetic differences depending on which program you use.

I have heard of customers using them in Open Office and LibreOffice as well, though I have not personally tested them in this program. Functionality may be different.

I have had some users have issues with the SUMIFS formulas in the spreadsheets in Excel 2003 and older versions of Numbers, but I have alternative versions of the spreadsheet that we have found will work correctly in these older softwares.

Will your spreadsheets work if I'm outside of the US?

Generally, yes. First, some of the spreadsheets use dated formulas, which can act a bit wonky when traveling abroad. If you are located outside of the USA, I recommend you email support@paperandspark.com after purchase to request a version of the spreadsheet that has been formatted for YOUR specific location. We will get adjusted files sent to you ASAP for no extra charge.

I also always suggest working in one consistent currency on your spreadsheet. If you want to convert currencies directly on your spreadsheet, you will need to be well-versed in whatever exchange rate you should be using for tax purposes where you are located.

What do the import add ons do?

I created the import add on spreadsheets in response to user demand to import their sales & fees from more than just one source. An import add on is meant to be used in addition to your existing “main” Seller Spreadsheet.

You do not need an import add-on for the same venue Seller Spreadsheet you already have or plan to purchase. For example, you don’t need the Etsy import add-on if you have or buy the Etsy Seller Spreadsheet.

So, if you sell via more than just one online source, you can now purchase a low-cost import add on to quickly total your sales & fees from another source. You will follow instructions on how to use it, and then manually add in those sales & expenses to your main Seller Spreadsheet.

Will I need to buy a new spreadsheet each year?

No. The Seller Spreadsheet comes with spreadsheet files for2017 and 2018 (currently). The Inventory Cost & Pricing spreadsheet is made to be used year after year, with built in formulas to total sales & COGS from 2017-2019.

If you’d like files for different years or formulas tweaked for other years, simply email me at support@paperandspark.com and I will send you whatever years you request at no extra charge.

Post-Purchase Questions

I don't see my email with my download links yet...

You should receive an email with download links to your files within a few minutes of completing your purchase. If you don’t receive this email, make sure to first check that your payment was processed.

Next, check your spam folder and promo tab for the email. It will be sent from email address hello@paperandspark.com.

If you still don’t see it, please email me at support@paperandspark.com and I will get you access ASAP.

You also create an account at checkout that allows you to log back in and access your download links. You can always log into this account to access your files outside of your inbox.

I bought your spreadsheet last year. How do I get a file for this year?

Email me at support@paperandspark.com with your original purchase date, purchase email, and let me know what specific spreadsheet(s) and year(s) you need. I will forward the file(s) to you ASAP for no extra charge.

I'm having a problem with my spreadsheet.

I’m happy to help you troubleshoot what may be going wrong with your spreadsheet. The easiest way for me to troubleshoot is for you to email me at hello@paperandspark.com with your issue.

If you are working in Excel or Numbers, save your file and email me with your spreadsheet attached. Please be specific and let me know about the problem you are having.

If you are working in Google Sheets, open your file and under the “File” menu, click “Share”, and share with my email address hello@paperandspark.com. Make sure from the Share menu you allow me to edit the file as well.

Please note that it takes me usually around 2 business days to troubleshoot spreadsheets. You can speed up my turnaround time by making sure your file is attached and being as detailed as possible about the issues you are having. I appreciate your patience!

Can you add a tab/column/formula/etc. to my spreadsheet for me?

I’m happy to customize your spreadsheet to better meet your needs. If you’re requesting a simple customization or two (like extra rows, a new tab, etc.) I am glad to make these changes for no extra charge. Generally changes or additions that take less than 10 minutes are free.

If you are working in Excel or Numbers, save your file and email me at hello@paperandspark.com with your spreadsheet attached. In your email, please list out specifically what customizations you would like made.

If you are working in Google Sheets, open your file and under the “File” menu, click “Share”, and share with my email address support@paperandspark.com Make sure from the Share menu you allow me to edit the file as well. Also make sure to email me with a specific list of what you would like added.

My turnaround for (free) customization is generally within 3-4 business days.

If you’re requesting something that takes a significant amount of time, or if you’d like a completely new customized spreadsheet, please fill out the inquiry form for my custom spreadsheet services.

How do I join the VIP Facebook group or the Accounting Accountability Club?

Access to the private Facebook group, now the Accounting Accountability Club, is available for those who purchase the membership here. You will receive a PDF download upon purchase with instructions on how to join the group.

I'm outside of the US and having a problem with your spreadsheet.

You are likely having an issue with the date format and the date-based formulas in your spreadsheet. Email support@paperandspark.com and let us know where you are located. We will get you date-formatted spreadsheets for wherever you are!

Inventory-Related Questions

What unit of measurement am I supposed to be using for entering my materials?

You should be entering your raw materials & supplies into the materials tabs of the inventory spreadsheet in a unit of measurement that makes the most sense for how you use your materials.

Keep in mind that you will need to be able to accurately measure your remaining materials at year end, and enter that unit of measurement into your spreadsheet in order to calculate your cost of ending inventory.

Let’s take fabric for example. If you are buying yards of fabric and creating handmade dolls, you are likely using smaller pieces of fabric and left with a lot of scraps at year end. In this case, entering your fabric in total square inches probably makes the most sense. It’s also easier to get an accurate year-end count of your fabric by measuring in square inches.

For the materials I get the most questions about:

  • Fabric – generally square inches, unless you use up and sell larger quantities, then square feet or square yards could be appropriate
  • Vinyl – generally square inches
  • Paint – easiest to measure by weight
  • Glitter – easiest to measure by weight
How do I deal with paint and/or glitter?

In many cases, hard-to-measure materials like paint or glitter are considered part of your inventory, but it’s hard to track the amount used on a product by product basis. Here’s how you can deal with those sorts of supplies on your Inventory Cost & Pricing spreadsheet.

  • Set up a materials tab for that item, for example, paint.
  • Enter your paint purchases with the cost you paid and the quantity purchased. You might chose a unit of weight (like fluid ounces – whatever is on the can or bottle), or you could use what I like to call the “eyeball” method – you bought 1 unit of paint (i.e., 1 full bottle).
  • When you create a finished good using the paint, do not attempt to assign an amount used on the COGM tab. It’s likely too difficult to trace the amount or cost of paint used in one item. Let the cost of that paint be reflect in your overhead rate for pricing purposes.
  • At year end (or any time you do an inventory count), measure how much paint you have left. You can weigh it if you used weight, or if you used the “eyeball” method, visually divide your bottle in 4 units. How much paint are you left with? 1/4th of a bottle? 2/4ths of a bottle (half), etc. Enter this as the units remaining. The spreadsheet will calculate your cost of ending units.

This is how I suggest keeping track of the cost of your inventory like paint, glitter, and hard to measure supplies.

I'm confused. Do I enter my inventory materials & supplies on BOTH my Seller Spreadsheet AND my Inventory spreadsheet?

You can deal with your inventoriable purchases (whether goods for resell or raw materials & supplies) a few different ways if you have both a seller spreadsheet and an inventory spreadsheet:

1) Enter your inventory purchases on both spreadsheets. You’re entering your materials item by item over on your inventory spreadsheet in the material tabs and dealing with your cost of goods sold and ending inventory over there. Then, you can enter the total receipts for your material/supply purchases on the “material” tab of your Seller Spreadsheet. You’d do this if you want to know how much your business is spending every month. Are you spending more than you’re making? This shows true cash flow in/out. However, you cannot take this total “material/supply expense” from your Seller Spreadsheet and dump it on your tax return. You’ve got inventory in there that is likely not deductible until the year it sells. So, this method tells you your net profit for the month, but not your taxable net profit. Make sense?

Alternatively, you…

2) Don’t enter any inventory purchases on your Seller Spreadsheet, and just deal with inventory once over on your Inventory Cost & Pricing spreadsheet. This takes less work; the only downside is you might be spending a lot more $$ than you realize when you analyze your net profit over on your Seller Spreadsheet, because if you’re spending a lot on supplies it’s not represented over there.

Your net profit calculated on the Seller Spreadsheet is accurate EXCEPT it will be missing your COGS deduction that you’ll calculate at the end of the year on your Schedule C. If this bothers you, you can always enter what the Inventory Cost & Pricing spreadsheet calculates as your COGS amount each month over on your Etsy Seller Spreadsheet. This way you get a really good idea of your true taxable net profit. Just keep in mind that at year end, your total COGS amount will likely need to be adjusted from your year end count.

Basically, it depends if you want to know (for bookkeeping purposes) your monthly spending, or if you are more concerned with your taxable amounts.

What if I buy the same material or supply over and over again?

You should enter each purchase individually, rather than just updating the quantity on an existing line. This is just a best practice incase you purchase the item at a different cost over the course of time.

If you purchase the same material over and over again, you might have difficulty figuring out which purchase of that item you ended up using in a sold good. This is where you might use an inventory method like FIFO or LIFO.

I get asked about this from vinyl users a lot, so I will explain FIFO and LIFO using vinyl as an example.

You enter every purchase of vinyl on a new line. The price of your vinyl may change with every purchase, and you need to know your total purchases for inventory for the year at tax time.

The hard part comes with figuring out which sheets of vinyl you used and which you have left at year end. You might just see, oh, I have 50 sheets of blue vinyl left but I’m not sure if those are the sheets I got for $2 each at Joanns, or if they’re the sheets I got for $3 at Hobby Lobby.

For this sort of problem, I’d recommend using either “FIFO” or “LIFO” for tracking how you “use up” your vinyl inventory.

  • FIFO (first in, first out): You assume the earliest vinyl you bought is the first vinyl you sold. As you make an item, you reduce the quantity of your oldest vinyl row. So at year end, what’s left are the last X number of sheets you purchased this year.
  • LIFO (last in, first out): Same as above, except the assumption is that the last sheets you bought are the first used up and sold, and you’re left with your oldest vinyl sheets.

So if you have a material that you can’t specifically track as you use it up, adopt FIFO or LIFO (and stick with it!) throughout the year on your spreadsheet.

What if I create multiples of the same finished good?

If you’re using the Inventory Cost & Pricing spreadsheet for one-of-a-kind makers, this spreadsheet requires you to enter each finished item on its own line. Even if you remake the same item 10 times or in multiple colors, sizes, etc. If you want to use this tool to accurate tally your costs, purchases, and inventory, then you have to assign a new row to every individual item.

This is because as you mark an item sold, it’s sales price and cost of goods made will automatically “flow” to the correct places. You can only mark one item sold once, so that’s why each item needs its own line.

If this is cumbersome for your business model, I suggest you consider switching over to the Inventory Cost & Pricing spreadsheet for batch sellers and multiple quantity handmade sellers. This version of the spreadsheet allows you to enter a quantity for your finished handmade goods. If you’ve already purchased the ICP and want to switch to this version, just send me an email at support@paperandspark.com and I can give you a coupon code that only requires you pay $5 to make the switch.

What if I don't have a receipt for something I buy?

If you’re using your spreadsheet to help you with your ending inventory count (or basically, for tax purposes), you should enter a cost of $0 for any supplies or materials you don’t have a receipt for. The IRS only allows us to take a deduction, including the cost of goods sold deduction, for expenses that we can back up with documentation.

If you’re using your spreadsheet for pricing purposes and you enter a cost of $0 for a material, note that any item you create with that material will have end up underpriced on the pricing tab since the cost of goods made will be lower than reality.

What do I do with materials or inventory that I use for personal use?

Personal use of inventory, whether it be a finished good or inventoriable supply, should be taken out of your records for tax purposes.

If you are using the ICP for batch makers and multiple quantity handmade sellers, there is an easy-to-use personal use column where you can enter in the any finished goods you withdraw from your business for personal use.

If you are using the ICP for one-of-a-kind makers, you will need to remove the item from your spreadsheet. If it’s a material, I suggest just removing the purchase price and quantity from the spreadsheet. Change both numbers to zero and make a note to yourself in the comments column that this item was taken out for personal use. If it’s a finished good, give your item a retail price and a COGS of zero and mark it as sold on your inventory tab. You may need to override your inventory tab to change the COGS and retail price to zero.

How do I unlock a tab or override a formula?

You may decide you want to override a formula on the spreadsheet, like the retail pricing formula for example. I encourage you to do this at your own discretion. You can do so by unlocking the tab you want to override. No password is required to unlock a tab on the spreadsheet.

Navigate to the “review” menu then click the “sheet” button. This unlocks all the formulas on that tab. Keep in mind that now that your tab is unlocked, it is very easy to intentionally or unintentionally delete any of the formulas on this tab. I always recommend re-locking the tab once you are done making your modifications.

How do I account for waste/scraps/trash that I don't end up using?

For any of your inventoried supplies that end up as waste, trash, tested goods, etc. – keep the “cost of goods sold” equation (for tax purposes) in mind:

Beginning inventory
+ Inventory Purchases
– Ending inventory (done by your year end count)
= Cost of goods sold

So, for waste, trash, etc., that material purchased during the year and added into your inventory, and then it is basically not there at year end to count. That means it gets deducted as part of your COGS. Again – the cost of your waste/scrap/trash is going to end up being deducted as COGS. It simply won’t be there to count and include as part of your ending inventory.

So as far as your Inventory Cost & Pricing spreadsheet goes, you can either update your “units used” column on the appropriate material column as you use up materials as waste/scraps (to keep your units remaining updated throughout the year), or you can just wait till year end when you do your count to update your “units remaining” column to make sure it matches whatever you truly have left on hand at year end. As long as you perform an accurate count at year end, when you update what’s left on hand that will automatically account for waste/scraps/trash/etc.

Do I include sales tax or shipping when I enter materials on my inventory spreadsheet?

You should include the actual total price you paid for all your materials. That includes sales tax paid, shipping paid, and any discounts or refunds applied.

If you have a receipt with multiple supply items on it, you might be wondering how to apply sales tax or shipping to each individual item. I think the most accurate way to “divvy up” those expenses is with a weighted average method.

How to I input multiple materials on the same material tab over on my COGM tab?

You can add together multiple cells from the same materials tab on your COGM tab. To do that, you’d start out linking and typing your formula as usual, by typing = and then clicking on the cost per unit cell of material 1. Without typing any spaces, you’d then simply type a plus sign + and click on the cost per unit cell of material 2 to add the second material on that same tab. You can keep doing that until you’ve got every material used, then hit enter.

If you need to multiply any of those material units by a number, like say you used 4 ounces of material 1, you can do that by entering *4 to multiply it, just make sure you put that portion in parenthesis. So here’s an example of what your formula on the COGM tab might look like:

=OilG5+(OilG10*4)+(OilG11*2)

Can I delete a supply when I run out? Can I delete an inventory item when it sells?

Due to the way the spreadsheet is linked to data within each tab, you should NOT delete any supplies as they are used up or inventory as it is sold. This will make the cost of goods made, retail price, total ending inventory, cost of goods sold, and sales numbers the spreadsheet calculates for you inaccurate. Basically, it will screw everything up.

You can always hide (right click the row) or filter (using the dropdown filter button) through rows you don’t want to see anymore, like sold inventory or used up supplies.

I'm confused about how to use this overhead tab...

The overhead tab is meant to help you set prices that more accurately cover all your costs. It is NOT meant to be an actual log of your indirect supply purchases, or any other type of expenses. You should only be entering estimated annual amounts of these types of expenses on this tab to help you calculate an overhead rate to use for pricing purposes.

If you are looking for a better place to log ALL your business expenses, then I suggest using one of our Seller Spreadsheets.

What do I need to do at the end of the year with this spreadsheet?

First, no matter which inventory spreadsheet you have, you need to be prepared to do a year-end count of your raw materials & your finished goods for taxes.

You should perform a physical inventory count of your items to verify and adjust your ending inventory numbers on your spreadsheet rather than completely relying on them for tax purposes.

For more info on inventory, cost of goods sold, and what to expect on your tax return, check out this video and post.

An end of year inventory count involves going through your inventoriable supply stash and unsold finished goods and determining how much they cost you. This usually means measuring or counting items, then multiplying that unit of measurement by the cost per unit of your original purchase.

If you are using the ICP for one-of-a-kind makers or the vintage inventory spreadsheet, you will continue using this same spreadsheet from year to year, into the next year.

If you are using the ICP for batch makers or the reseller inventory spreadsheet, you will follow the year-end close out and roll over process to prepare your file for using in the new year.

Why are my sales on the Inventory Cost & Pricing spreadsheet for one-of-a-kind makers different than my sales on my Seller Spreadsheet?

The sales calculated on your Inventory Cost & Pricing sales tab are simply a sum of the retail price of everything you marked sold on your inventory tab. This total doesn’t take into account any discounts applied, refunds, sales taxes paid, or shipping paid to you. As such, I would not rely on this sales total for your tax return. This sales total is really included so you can compare to your cost of goods sold and analyze your profit margin and pricing strategy.

If you want to tally an accurate sales total for tax purposes, you should utilize the sales amounts calculated by your Seller Spreadsheet.

Can I use this spreadsheet for next year? Or do I need a new one?

Inventory is an “eternal” concept; it rolls over from year to year. This year’s ending inventory becomes next year’s beginning inventory, and so on.

If you are using the ICP for one-of-a-kind makers or the inventory for vintage sellers spreadsheet, you will want to continue using the same file from year to year. Your spreadsheet should have a sales tab for the years you need. If you need a new year’s tab added to your spreadsheet file, email support@paperandspark.com with your inventory spreadsheet attached and we will add it to your existing spreadsheet.

If you are using the ICP for batch makers or the inventory for resellers spreadsheet, follow the instructions in your PDF/video tutorials for closing out the year and rolling over to a new year.

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