This is an update of the practice of using a PayPal Bookkeeping System as your core record keeping system. If you want to read my original idea on the concept, please read my previous article titled “Using PayPal As A Simplified Bookkeeping System”
PayPal Bookkeeping System Experience Update
Okay, I’ve made my first credit card payment from my PayPal Account to my PayPal Extras Credit Card. While that simple payment transaction was fine (although it does take up to 24 hrs to show up), I tried to download the credit card transactions for the accounting system I blogged about earlier. While Paypal captures the payment to the credit card, the actual credit card transaction aren’t downloadable to an excel format (it will do PDF though). This is a huge disappointment for me because I was hoping to export the entire year and merge it with the basic Paypal transactions. This would have been much easier than it sounds, so much for simplicity. I don’t have many outbound expenses though, so the PayPal Bookkeeping System that I wrote about still might be of benefit.
The PayPal VRS (Voice Response System aka voice-mail) Was A Monstrous Disappointment
A huge disappointment for me was the PayPal VRS (Voice Response System or phone-mail) system. I had to punch in the same information into the phone over and over again, what a joke. If you have a question that’s predictable then the system is fine, but if you have a question like I had (downloadable transaction) you fall through the system in bitter disappointment. I have experience with such systems, and I have to say that this system is one of the worst systems that I’ve ever encountered for questions that don’t fit within their canned response. My question somehow lead me to a connections with no feedback. So no elevator music, not reoccurring “An Agent will be with you shortly” message that’s in a repeating loop that occurs every 2 minutes. Nothing! Just a connection the system with no option.
So knowing that somehow I found a bug in PayPal’s VRS system, I did what any sensible person would do… I hung up! But unfortunately, only after waiting on the phone system way too long (what was it 15 or 10 minutes I wait in the PayPal twilight zone?).
Change in PayPal Bookkeeping Strategy
So what a frugal guy to do, that sees the beauty of simplifying his bookkeeping system as much as possible?
- Make my credit card transactions atomic. Atomic means that I’ll pay a credit card transaction as soon as I see it in the credit card transactions listing. Once is that I could PayPal any transaction I use the credit card for each time I use the Credit card. This gives me instance accountability. So for example, if I buy something Jan 13, as soon as it shows up on my PayPal credit card, I could instantly pay it. Then for the next credit card transaction, wait until that previously paid one clears. A pain, but it would work, and work well for me since I don’t have many expense transactions. This would make all my transactions so that they are represented one to one in PayPal, so the transactions would each be record in my PayPal system. Then I would just save and print the PDF credit card statement that my PayPal Extras Credit Card provides.
- Create an Excel Macro that could strip out noise transactions. This would further simplify the manipulation of the spreadsheet after the import is completed. The Macro would categorize reoccurring expenses, and delete statements that have no value for the bookkeeping system. Such macro purges would be PayPal statements that are in a “pending” state. Of course I’d make a copy of the original exportation of the PayPal transaction in a separate sheet in the same excel workbook.
- Create a future project to automate this process. I could code something if I have time. Not sure if I will or not, but if I do, I’ll make it available to everybody. At this point I doubt that I will try this, but maybe…
- Moving income from my Connected Bank To PayPal and then back out again. Much like step 1, this might seem like a pain, but it’s actually quite easy and fast. Mostly by moving money from my bank to my PayPal then back to my bank, will enable me to acknowledge income sources such as Google Adsense. Might look crazy, but it’s actually quite simple to do.
After next year concludes (or even after a few months of solid activity), I should have a better grasp of the strengths and areas that can be improved upon.
I view my PayPal Bookkeeping System as an experiment in how much I can simplify or partially automate this process. If I stick to just PayPal and PayPal Transactions for my business transactions, there is no reason that I shouldn’t be able to dramatically reduce the bookkeeping process.