Track expenses in your business

Congratz! You made the decision to venture on your own! But did you think about the expenses you can expect each month? And do you know what those costs actually return to your business? And what income will you have? Feeling #stressedout already? No need to!

Photo by Carlos Muza on Unsplash

Costs at start-up

Before you can even get started with your business, there are a few hidden expenses that many people forget or don’t even think about. For example, in the country I live, there are a few mandatory costs:

  • Social security
  • Registration
  • Accountant (in some cases)
  • Insurance
  • Notary (not always required)
  • And so on…

When you explain this to people they often frown upon the fact these are mandatory. Most people think that one just starts a business and that’s that. Prior to this, you even have to have at least some knowledge of certain procedures.

Such as:

  • How to make an invoice
  • Certain certificates (can I even get started in a certain profession)
  • Filling in certain forms (taxes, registration in other countries,…)

If you count these all together, you can find yourself to be in the range of €100-€4500. And you didn’t even get started with monthly or yearly expenses.

After all this you also have the non mandatory expenses. These might include:

  • Website
  • Marketing (Facebook ads, Instagram ads, ads in the local paper, billboards…)
  • Consultant(s)
  • Extra insurances depending on your services

These expenses however are completely up to you. You don’t need €1000 ads on Facebook or billboards. Maybe you can even make your own website. However, it’s important to know what you need, what you can do yourself and what your total budget is.

Monthly expenses

When you start your own business, you have a couple of expenses you can’t get around.

For example, you need a phone and a monthly subscription. Let’s say you have a monthly phone subscription that gives you the possibility to call other numbers for three hours, unlimited texts and three GB of mobile data. In the country I live, that would be about €20. However, if you only just started, do you need this kind of cost each month? Are you going to be calling for three hours each month?

If you compare that to a lower subscription plan with less minutes, data and perhaps even texts, it only costs €6,5 (again, in the country I live). Now that may not seem that big of a deal, but ad these up for the period of a whole year, and it’s a whole other story. With the money you saved, you can easily address other services you might actually need for your business.

Another example are the local networking events. These can be very interesting or could be a complete bust. It strongly depends on the region you live in and how serious these networking events are. Because these can be very costly (per event or payment on yearly basis plus small costs per event in my experience). If these are decent events with professional contacts, go for it. Otherwise you should simply keep that money in your pocket or cover other expenses with it.

If you apply this reasoning to other costs, you might find yourself saving €100 (or more) on a monthly basis. Now multiply that with twelve months.

Yearly expenses

This one is not as easy as the monthly expenses. In the case of the monthly expenses, you can easily get an overview on what you spend your money on. Usually the yearly costs only show themselves on the end of the year, so it’s easy to lose track of them. Therefor, when you start out, be sure to keep an overview of what these expenses are and how much you should set aside when the bills come.

Simple cash-flow

Another thing you need to keep in the back of your mind is cash-flow. This is the actual core of every profitable business. A business could easily make an negative profit whilst having a positive cash-flow. To give you an idea when this might occur, keep the following example in mind: when a company has a positive profit, but it becomes negative due to de deprecation of the assets in that company.

Without going in to much detail, cash-flow is every financial transactions that happens in your business. For example during this month we had the following transactions:

+1000 (payment from client)
 — 100 (payment for billing
 — 250 (payment for car)
+ 100 (another payment from client)
 — — — — — — — — — — — — — 
Total: +750

Here we can see that, during this month, we have a positive cash-flow. Which is very good off course!

Do not worry when you have one or two months with a negative cash-flow. It could be that you made an investment or a couple of bills got sent to you in a row. However, if there is a consistent negative cash-flow in your business, it is time to take a good look on what could be going on.

I hope now you see why it’s important to keep track of everything that comes and goes when you venture on your own (or with other people). If you have a positive cash-flow, you’re well on your way to make it in the long run.


Starting your own business is not easy task. A lot will come at you. However, if you keep an overview of what services you need, how much they cost you, what you get in return and how much you use these particular services, you’ll be just fine. Just keep in mind that it can (and probably will be) a long road with the probability you’ll drive off the road once in a while. Keep your eye on your goals and on the health of your business. You’ll get there.

Photo by Emma Francis on Unsplash

Hello there! My name is Axel. Gamer, film and series enthousiast, dronepilot, traveler and … accountant

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