How to use the Tiller Money Labs Add-on

Heather - I am using a sheet from 9 months ago which is Feedbot, not Feeds. I added the Tiller Labs add-on but everything is incompatible since Tiller Labs does not work with Feedbot. It appears I already have everything in my sheet that is in Tiller Labs. It seems you have a new Foundation sheet for new users. For me and other users like me that are using older sheets, should we be migrating away from where we are now to something different?

Amendment - OK, I now see this over in the Help Center:

Regarding bullet point #7, do you have an estimated time frame for the “very likely…upgrade” as you call it?

Good question, @Blake! Newly-created spreadsheets— whether started from empty sheets or from the new Foundation template— have a few key differences from legacy sheets:

  1. They are fed by the Tiller Feeds add-on (rather than the feedbot)
  2. The sheets contain metadata to identify templates and track versioning (for dependency & upgrade/restore management)
  3. The Balance History is keyed on Account Id rather than Index

The fact that your legacy spreadsheet runs on the feedbot (1) isn’t a showstopper for integrating with Tiller Labs… but the other two issues (2 & 3) do need to be addressed.

The second issue is easy to resolve by “adopting” your existing core sheets— Transactions, Balance History and Categories. The Tiller Labs adoption process allows the user to identify sheets with these names as approved substitutes for the versioned masters that the add-on typically inserts. When you open the Tiller Labs add-on, if these core sheets haven’t been heavily modified, you will be prompted to adopt them.

The third issue is the clumsy one. Architecturally, we have moved away from using Index as the unique account identifier. Where many older templates used the Index column to uniquely identify accounts, the new templates available within Tiller Labs expect to find the Account Id with unique keys for each account.

The biggest challenge in migrating your feedbot spreadsheet to Tiller Labs will be retroactively creating a viable Account Id column in your Balance History sheet. @heather has provided a help article with the steps here:

As for the timeline, I’m confident we will get to it, but right now we can’t offer a firm commitment.

Before committing to a migration, consider creating a temporary new spreadsheet with Tiller Feeds and Tiller Labs to give the new platform a try. I think you will like it.

Randy

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Well, guess what. Today I took the plunge. I migrated over to the Foundations template. I created one this past weekend to take it for a test drive. I was going to toss it and start with a new one but I invested time into it that I did not want to lose. The process went smooth. Really no glitches. I had already spent time understanding how the Accounts and Balance History tabs work. Once you spend the time to understand them, it is really pretty simple. I even brought over all my Balance History data from the legacy product. I have a perfect Balances tab and the Net Worth tab has been cleaned up too. Now I just need to finish bringing over small stuff I had in the legacy product which will take a bit more time. Then, when mine is done, I will move over the sheet I have for each of my two kids. I have learned so much in the last four days. Many thanks to the Tiller team. Blake

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Wow, @Blake. So great to hear that the process went smoothly and you are happy in your new sheet.

I went through this process myself about 3 weeks ago. It was kind of daunting, but went smoothly and now I’m very pleased.

If you haven’t given the Tiller Labs add-on a try yet, it is compatible with the Foundations template and a great way to discover new tools and maintain your sheets to the latest, most-robust builds.

Randy

I have already added all the Tiller Labs solutions (as you call them). I believe most of them I am familiar with from the legacy product. Yes, I agree it was daunting but I was well prepared so it ended up going smoothly. Thanks.

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You’re right that the solutions are refreshed versions from the legacy product. What is new is the integration through the Tiller Labs add-on to discover, insert, restore and update.

For example, we fixed a number of formula hiccups in some esoteric scenarios in the Yearly Budget yesterday. With a few clicks, Foundations template users can update to the latest and greatest.

We hadn’t really considered the scenario of a user adding “all of the Tiller Labs solutions”. There might be some Sheets performance issues in that use case. Let us know how it goes…

Randy

Yes, I saw the yearly and monthly budget updates in Tiller Labs this morning and updated them. Real quick and smooth. When I did the update a message popped up that said I would lose changes made to the sheet/tab/solution when I updated. Is that right? I was wondering about data being lost. But, now that I am thinking about it, I don’t think any data gets input onto those tabs, right?

Regarding possible performance issues, do you mean inherent in the sheet itself, or do you mean computer horsepower?

Thanks,

Blake

The data loss warning is informing you that the solution is being replaced; the script is not (currently) designed to do anything to preserve any user-input cells or user modifications to the sheet. You are correct that, other than period settings, there is really no user-input data in the Yearly or Monthly Budget. This minimal impact to user-data is true for most solutions excepting the Accounts and Debts sheets (which can be updated).

As for performance issues, if you install all of the solutions, you have a lot of formulas always running against all of your transactions and balance history. If those two sheets contain a lot of rows, I imagine you might see some unresponsiveness in Google Sheets.

Best,
Randy

Hi folks - am trying to get the “add a txn manually” feature of the add-on to work. I added the Metadata column as prompted, but now when I click “add a txn” – it doesn’t do anything. Any ideas on how to troubleshoot?

Hey @epeter,

You’ve found a very new feature that we haven’t announced yet. My guess is that the scripts are encountering unexpected compatibility issues with your sheet when rendering the add-transaction sidebar pane. I’ll check out the crash logs and see if I can figure out what is going on.

More soon…
Randy

I tracked down the bug in the Add Transaction workflow. I’ve published a fix which should be live in an hour or two.

Be sure to reload the spreadsheet tab in order to get the newest version of the add-on.

Thanks for reporting this issue, @epeter.
Randy

@randy @epeter OK, I just refreshed my memory as to how to get to “add a transaction manually”. I have been adding transactions forever and have never used this before. I just go to the transactions tab and add/insert a row(s). It appears the only difference in using the sidebar tool is an option to flag for reconciliation…whatever that means. Am I right? And, how does flag for reconciliation work? Thanks, Blake

@Blake,

Good questions… The add-transaction workflow is designed to simplify pulling in a number of fields (e.g. all the account fields) during transaction creation… but also to prime the transaction for reconciliation when a Tiller-feeds transaction arrives later.

This workflow is great for a situation like paying by check… You want to record a liability that won’t show up in your transaction log until the recipient cashes it. The Add Transaction workflow lets you record the check as you write it. When the recipient later cashes it, the Reconcile Wizard is built to find matches for outstanding manual transactions and then merge the records.

We had a simpler version of this functionality built into the Simple Business tools, but this new version is refreshed and more capable.

I’m hoping to put up some documentation next week.

Cheers,
Randy

OK, I just found this explanation. I am never posting a transaction early that will auto-post later based on the way I operate. As explained in the article, it does serve a purpose in the right situations. Blake

@randy,

I understand. However, regarding your paying by check example, I do not believe the system is recording a liability as you say. Rather, the system is decreasing an asset (the user selects the account at the bottom of the sidebar workflow). In essence, the user is recording the expense and reduction of the asset earlier than the system would eventually do automatically. Once the automatic entry comes in, the wizard matches things up and reverses the manual entry and lets the automatic entry stand. There is no liability involved based on the way I understand the system works. Sorry, but this is the accountant inside of me that is speaking and I usually cannot get him to shut up. Thanks, Blake

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Update - At this point, I have migrated all four of my legacy sheets over to the foundation template. I did the biggest sheet first, the two smaller ones later, and the fourth sheet was a new sheet for me that I started as a foundation template from day one. I did it all manually which I think is easier for me, no migration helper tools or anything like that. Blake

I appreciate the accountant-speak correction, @blake. I will try to use your terminology when I write the new features up in the next week or so. Thanks!
Randy

Sounds like you’re on a solid footing. Hoping it all performs well for you, @blake.

Is there any way to get to these sample templates without granting the Tiller add-on blanket access to all of my Drive spreadsheets? Full read/write access to all of my personal Google spreadsheets (which is what that first scope sure sounds like…) feels way too broad. Thank you. @randy