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I have been asked to put together a document that contains all of our yearly purchases for IT.

How do people organize this. I right now have a simple spreadsheet with items on the left and months at the top. Looks terrible and just does not nicely display all of the information I would like to include. Does anyone have any experience with a program (preferably free) that tracks and possibly reminds about recurring purchases.

For example we have to buy printer ink, blank cds, compressed air and other usable supplies. As well we replace computers yearly and have licenses that need renewing. Domain names as well.

Even a excel template that I could modify with our data would be a big help.

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do you need to just track dates, or cost over time as well? –  Malnizzle Jul 12 '10 at 18:11
    
Just so that they know when I need to buy things so its not a surprise. We understand costs change year to year and thats ok. Its to give them a good idea of what things will cost and when we need them. –  Campo Jul 12 '10 at 18:22
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up vote 6 down vote accepted

I often design a spreadsheet based on the expectations of accounting and the demands of my department. Typically, I find the most value from this by enabling alignment between IT and accounting as well as tracking historical and recurring spending.

I typically break out recurring costs to a separate spreadsheet. For example, recurring support, licensing, and service contracts would be tracked separately. The key details would include the length of the contract, the monthly cost, the annualized cost, the billing terms, description, and service provider.

For the historical spending over an annual term, it would be a fairly simple spreadsheet. Date purchased, vendor, any notes, cost, payment method, purchaser, and any applicable reference numbers. (Purchase order number, accounting categories, et cetera.)

For reminders, I would recommend using a shared calendar solution. We have recurring tasks and standardized procedures within my department, which is often where renewals are caught. My preferred solution is a reminder on both the shared IT calendar and the personal calendar for the staff member responsible. Some things can be monitored, such as a SSL certificate expiring. With a support contract, often vendors are happy to remind as well.

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This gives me some good ideas if a program can't do it for me. But really still want an easy program. Something similar to an invoice program but for purchases. Maybe I am just being lazy and should just punch it out with your above info. +1 for now if no one comes up with something simpler you pretty much outlined the missing info I need for a good spreadsheet. Thanks! –  Campo Jul 12 '10 at 18:23
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You're welcome. Honestly, unless you (and accounting) are seeking an accounting or more robust purchasing solution, I'd discourage a program. There's plenty of occasions where spreadsheets are the best tool for the job. –  Warner Jul 12 '10 at 18:25
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+1 Agree with warner here, we have a xls for cost, broken into two major sections, being recurring and then one-time expected for this FY. Once we actually make the purchase, we edit the xls accordingly with date and such. We have fields that auto generate what we have left for our budget from a yearly view. As far as reminders we also use a department shared cal for this reason and one of the minions check it on a schedule. –  Malnizzle Jul 12 '10 at 18:46
    
Excellent everyone! I am going with @Warner's suggestions. I will update my post with how it went. –  Campo Jul 12 '10 at 19:27
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