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I have a small solo business where I sell services on a website. I probably have about 100 small transactions per month and people pay me with PayPal or Stripe.

I have been doing accounting in an Excel spreadsheet, where each month I export all of the transactions from PayPal and Stripe, add some other expenses, and add some formulas to add up relevant numbers. It works, but I'd like something more automated.

I've been checking out online accounting tools (Wave, Quickbooks, etc.). Some of them have some functionality for automatic import of PayPal/Stripe transactions, but it is complicated and time consuming to set up and then I find out it doesn't do something I need.

Instead of doing automatic import of PayPal/Stripe transactions, I was thinking of doing it manually and just adding 6 monthly entries for total sales, fees, and transfers for each of PayPal and Stripe for the entire month.

For example, with Wave, it syncs with my business bank account so transfers from PayPal/Stripe will show up there. I'll then add just 6 manual entries per month and reconciling seems straightforward.

Is this a good solution or are there pitfalls that I need to be aware of? Thanks for your help.

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Crickets here, so I'll respond with what I ended up doing.

At the end of each month, I download transaction data from each of Stripe and PayPal. For each, I do the following:

  1. Determine my total revenue and manually add this as income in Wave
  2. Determine my total fees and manually add this as an expense in Wave
  3. Add a manual entry to Wave for transfers to my bank account (I do one transfer per month for each of Stripe and PayPal). Wave then has an option to combine this with a deposit in my checking account and mark it as a transfer.

So it is just six entries in Wave per month plus a little spreadsheet manipulation to determine revenues and fees. Takes about 10 minutes to do this.

I really dislike Wave's "automatic" integration with PayPal. It creates a lot of entries, and it also doesn't seem reliable so it is easy for transactions to get lost.

  • Don't you love the crickets? I have seen recommendations from many to suggest just entering your monthly aggregates, as you appear to be doing now. In my case, I don't think I really need to have all of the transactional data broken out in QuickBooks Online. The app provided by Quicken has reviews of 2.0/5, which is just amazing, with comments saying how it completely messed up people's books and created all kinds of horrendous problems. You would think that two businesses, like Intuit and PayPal, would have standard enough formats (I believe they would be) and could easily accomplish it – MarkS Feb 15 '18 at 15:32
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    I also gave up on Wave since I wrote this post. It is easier just to enter info into a spreadsheet with double entry... – gaefan Feb 15 '18 at 16:29

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