Profit First: Why Using Spreadsheets is More Difficult


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Hey there, it’s Abby Johnson from Matterhorn Business Development, and I’m excited to dive into a topic that’s been buzzing around the world of Profit First lately. I want to share my insights on why using spreadsheets or accounting software instead of opening multiple bank accounts might seem like a shortcut but could actually end up costing you more time and headaches. So, stick around as we explore this topic and discuss why embracing the Profit First principles with multiple bank accounts is the way to go.

The Spreadsheet vs. Multiple Bank Accounts Dilemma

I’ve seen it myself – people trying to implement Profit First opt for the spreadsheet method, thinking it’s a quicker way to get started. In some cases, like rare circumstances where opening multiple business bank accounts isn’t possible, a spreadsheet might be a temporary solution. But let me tell you, it’s far from being a shortcut.

When you use a spreadsheet, you’ll find yourself downloading countless bank transactions and manually inputting them into the spreadsheet. Sure, it might seem fun at first for spreadsheet enthusiasts (like me!), creating tabs and organizing data. However, it becomes a time-consuming and error-prone task, especially when you have to distribute numerous transactions across different tabs. Trust me when I say, it’s just not worth the effort.

The Pitfalls of Spreadsheet-Based Profit First

Even if you’re a numbers expert, the margin for error when manually handling hundreds of transactions can be significant. A single mistake in categorizing a transaction can throw off your entire Profit First system. Plus, the constant need to reconcile your spreadsheet with your bank account can become a time-consuming and frustrating task.

While I admit that I’ve used this method in exceptional cases, I strongly discourage it for most businesses. It’s essential to understand that Profit First isn’t about taking shortcuts; it’s about creating a sustainable and efficient financial system that helps your business thrive. And the spreadsheet route can indirectly affect your progress.

Addressing Common Concerns

Now, I know why some people might be hesitant to open multiple bank accounts, and I want to address those concerns. One common worry is fees. Nobody wants to accumulate fees just to set up their Profit First system. Well, here’s some good news – you can find banks and credit unions that won’t charge you fees for multiple accounts.

I’m a big advocate for credit unions because they often operate with your best interests in mind. They’re less likely to hit you with fees for having multiple accounts. Smaller regional banks also tend to be more accommodating, and you can even negotiate with them to waive fees if you explain your purpose. My personal favorite bank is Relay, the official banking platform of Profit First.

Another concern is the potential embarrassment or skepticism you might encounter at the bank when you request multiple accounts. Trust me, this is their job. Banks are there to hold your money and offer services that suit your financial needs. Don’t let any raised eyebrows deter you from pursuing the Profit First method. Believe in what you’re doing and don’t be afraid to stand your ground.

Loyalty vs. Profit First

Sometimes, loyalty to your current bank can be a stumbling block. You’ve been with them for years, and the idea of switching feels disloyal. However, it’s essential to prioritize your business’s financial health. If your current bank isn’t supportive of your Profit First approach, it might be time to explore other options. There are banks out there with fantastic customer service that will gladly accommodate your Profit First strategy.

To reiterate, opening multiple bank accounts aligned with Profit First principles is not only feasible but also incredibly beneficial. It’s the most straightforward way to manage your allocations and streamline your finances.

Embracing the Profit First Principles

Now that we’ve discussed the pitfalls of spreadsheets and addressed common concerns, it’s time to emphasize why the Profit First method with multiple bank accounts is the way to go.

When you have dedicated accounts for your profit, owner’s pay, taxes, and operating expenses, you gain clarity and control over your finances. Each account serves a specific purpose, making it easier to allocate funds without the risk of confusion or error. With Profit First, you ensure that profit is a priority, not an afterthought.

Streamlined Allocations with Multiple Bank Accounts

Managing your allocations with multiple bank accounts is simple. All it takes is a few minutes to make transfers during your chosen allocation periods. It’s a simple and straightforward process that minimizes the chances of errors creeping into your financial records. Compared to the spreadsheet method that could eat up hours of your valuable time each week, this approach is a game-changer.

Ready to Take the Plunge?

If you’re convinced that the Profit First method with multiple bank accounts is the right path for your business, the next step is to take the plunge. Don’t let uncertainty or fear hold you back. Reach out to banks or credit unions that align with your financial goals. Explain your intentions, and you might be pleasantly surprised by their willingness to support your Profit First journey.

Remember, Profit First isn’t just a financial strategy; it’s a mindset shift that can transform your business’s profitability. So, go ahead, open those accounts, and start allocating your profits like a pro.


In conclusion, while spreadsheets might seem like a tempting shortcut for implementing Profit First, they often lead to more trouble than they’re worth. The time-consuming nature of manually managing transactions and the increased risk of errors make spreadsheets a less-than-ideal choice.

On the other hand, embracing the Profit First principles with multiple bank accounts offers a streamlined, efficient, and error-free way to manage your allocations. It’s an investment in your business’s financial health and long-term success.

So, don’t hesitate to explore your options, find a bank or credit union that aligns with your Profit First goals, and start maximizing your profitability today.

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About Abby Johnson

Abby Johnson, is Matterhorn Business Development’s Chief Mentor, resident organizational genius and Certified Profit First Professional, helping our clients grow and organize their businesses. With a passion for empowering businesses to thrive and extensive experience in helping clients grow their revenue and manage their finances profitability, she’s committed to making a positive impact on your business.