Amazon Workflows for Tiller
2 months ago

Amazon Workflows for Tiller

A workflow for Amazon purchases that breaks bulk credit-card charges into discrete purchase line items for easy & granular categorization

Spending a lot of money with Amazon? Having trouble figuring out where it all went? 

If you like to track or budget your personal finances, but you struggle to discretely categorize all of your Amazon purchases, Tiller Amazon Workflows is the tool for you. 

This add-on imports your Amazon purchases into Tiller financial spreadsheets, so you can categorize what you buy on a line-item basis. Gone are the days of manually splitting a $500 multi-item Amazon order. With this tool, you will see discrete, familiar descriptions for each purchase for ready categorization. 

For example, if placed an order with Amazon for three items, your Transactions sheet would look like this before using the tool:

6/1/2019Amzn Mktp Us*m68n167z1$50.00Tiller feeds

Once the order is imported, your Transactions sheet would look like this:

6/1/2019Amzn Mktp Us*m68n167z1$50.00AmazonTiller feeds
6/1/2019[Amazon Order] #118-6130598-5743452 (Tiller offset for 3 items)$50.00AmazonAdd-on
6/1/2019[Amazon Item] Molly Hashimoto Trees Boxed Notecards-$5.00Add-on
6/1/2019[Amazon Item] 30 Meter 10Gb OM3 Multimode Duplex Fiber Optic Cable-$25.00Add-on
6/1/2019[Amazon Item] Dry Dog Food, Chicken & Barley Recipe, 35 lb Bag-$20.00Add-on

Who Is This For?

This add-on will save time and improve accuracy in tracking how money was spent for personal-finance & small-business users who regularly buy from Amazon.

Tiller Amazon Workflows is designed to integrate with Tiller financial spreadsheets.

What Does It Do?

Amazon provides line-item purchase history via it’s Items Order History Report, a CSV file. The challenge is how to efficiently & accurately integrate this data into personal finance spreadsheet.

How Tiller Amazon Workflows helps:

  • Itemizes Amazon orders into discrete line-items for each item purchased to facilitate accurate budget categorization
  • Imports & maps Amazon’s purchase fields into Tiller financial spreadsheets
  • Tracks Amazon purchases, preventing the import of duplicates
  • Stores searchable order metadata in the Transactions sheet
  • Provides one-click filtering of uncategorized Amazon line items

How Does It Work?

If you use Tiller, your Transactions sheet already has (negative) charges from your credit card for your Amazon orders.

Tiller Amazon Workflows adds the ability to peer into the bulk Amazon charges and discretely categorize line items.

Your cashflow already accurately reflects your Amazon purchases due to the credit card charges from Tiller feeds. So, Tiller Amazon Workflows will import your transaction line items so they are cashflow-neutral. (If you add up the amounts of all the new rows inserted into your sheet by the add-on, they will sum to $0.)

But the magic of the add-on is that you will see discrete purchases that can be categorized without clumsy splits or time spent cross-referencing the Amazon site.

To add cash-flow neutral rows, the add-on creates two types of line items:

  • Purchase items, which begin with an “[Amazon Item]” prefix, are negative charges against your balance for individual purchases. They should be categorized manually for discrete tracking.
  • Orders, which begin with an “[Amazon Order]” prefix, are positive credits to your Transactions sheet that comprise one or more purchases. Order rows will be categorized as “Amazon” by the add-on and should approximately* offset the credit card charges pulled into your sheet by Tiller’s feeds. (The negative credit card charges should also be categorized as “Amazon” and will offset/balance with the order rows.)

What Are the Steps?

Prepare Your Sheet

The first time you open the add-on, it will check:

  • If the active Google Sheets spreadsheet is compatible with the add-on
  • If the spreadsheet’s Categories sheet contains a category named “Amazon”
  • If the spreadsheet’s Transactions sheet contains a column named “Amazon”

If the spreadsheet is compatible and either the required column or the category are missing, the add-on will ask permission to add them.

Next, categorize the existing Amazon charges in your Transactions sheet (i.e. the credit card charges inserted by Tiller Feeds) with the new “Amazon” category. This step is important to ensuring any new [Amazon Order] rows added by the add-on will offset properly.

Import Your Transactions

To import transactions from Amazon into your spreadsheet:

  1. Log into your Amazon account
  2. Navigate to the Order History Reports page
  3. Choose the Items Report Type & select a date range, then click Request Report
  4. Switch to a new tab and open your Tiller compatible spreadsheet
  5. Open the add-on by going to the Add-on menu and navigating to “Tiller Amazon Workflows/Open sidebar”
  6. Click “Import Purchases” on the main menu
  7. Click the “Upload Purchase History” button
  8. Navigate to the CSV file you downloaded from Amazon
  9. After the add-on scans the CSV file for new purchases not already in your Transactions sheet, click “Add to Transactions”

Complete the Categorization Process

  • Check that all Amazon order charges to your credit card— i.e. those added by Tiller’s feeds, not the Amazon Workflows add-on— are categorized as “Amazon”
  • Categorize all Amazon purchase line items with the “[Amazon Item]” prefix to their corresponding budget categories (e.g. Household, Kids, Pets, etc.)

You may find the “Uncategorized Purchases” option in the main menu helpful for filtering on only uncategorized Amazon purchase line items.

What Else Should I Know?

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is Tiller Labs?
Tiller Labs is Tiller’s experimental laboratory for new templates, add-ons, scripts and workflows. We sometimes release quick-and-dirty concepts as Tiller Labs to help users solve common problems, to seed new ideas in to the Tiller community, and to get feedback on prototypes. Tiller Labs solutions are not warrantied, supported, or commercial-grade product. Proceed with caution and protect your data when using Tiller Labs solutions.

Are Tiller Labs solutions— including Tiller Amazon Workflows— supported by Tiller?
Tiller Labs solutions are not officially supported by Tiller. They are supported by the Tiller community. Tiller may provide limited informal support in the community.

What if I import some of the same purchases twice?
The add-on stores enough data in the Amazon column to uniquely identify your Amazon purchases. If you import the same CSV twice or import two CSVs that have some overlap, the add-on will ignore purchases that have already been imported.

Can I delete the rows marked [Amazon Order]?
Deleting the (positive) [Amazon Order] rows will affect your cashflow. As documented above, without the order rows your Transactions sheet will double count purchases— once in the credit card charge (from Tiller Feeds) and a second time in the purchase line items from the add-on. The orders rows compensate for the double counting issue.

Why doesn’t my Amazon category sum to zero?
The orders amounts will only approximately balance with the credit card charges because Amazon does not publish precise tax and shipping values in the Items report. (Amazon’s Orders report does include precise tax and shipping values, but lacks the line-item purchase information.) Most users will end up with a slightly negative balance in the Amazon category representing the cost— tax and shipping— of purchasing from Amazon.

What is the Amazon column for in the Transactions sheet? Can I delete it?
No. The add-on uses the metadata in the Amazon column to uniquely identify purchases. The column is required to avoid inserting duplicate purchases.

How do I navigate to my Order History on the Amazon site?
Log into your Amazon account. Click on”Accounts & Lists” in the upper right. Look for the”Download order reports” link on the left side. And you’re in!

How should I handle a returned item using this workflow?
First, you will not see returned purchases in the Items report used by Tiller Amazon Workflows. Amazon’s Order History Reports page provides a separate Returns report type, but it is not currently compatible with the add-on.

By way of example, if you bought a lawnmower from Amazon then imported your purchases with the add-on, your Transactions sheet would look like this:

6/1/2019Amzn Mktp Us*m68n167z1$200.00AmazonTiller feeds
6/1/2019[Amazon Order] #118-6130598-5743452 (Tiller offset for 1 item)$200.00AmazonAdd-on
6/1/2019[Amazon Item] Craftsman 140cc 3-in-1 Gas Powered Lawn Mower-$200.00LandscapingAdd-on

You can see in the transactions above, the Amazon category nets to zero and the Landscaping category shows $200 of spend. So far so good.

Now, Let’s show the Transactions sheet after Amazon processes the return.

6/1/2019Amzn Mktp Us*m68n167z1$200.00AmazonTiller feeds
6/1/2019[Amazon Order] #118-6130598-5743452 (Tiller offset for 1 item)$200.00AmazonAdd-on
6/1/2019[Amazon Item] Craftsman 140cc 3-in-1 Gas Powered Lawn Mower-$200.00LandscapingAdd-on
6/10/2019Amzn Mktp Us*m70n182z6$200.00AmazonTiller feeds

After the return, the good news is that our net cashflow is back to zero (as if we never made the purchase). The bad news is that the new spend is inaccurate at a category level since Amazon shows a +$200 favorability and Landscaping shows -$200 of spending.

To correct for this category inaccuracy for single-line-item, we recommend you search on the Amazon Order ID in your Transactions sheet, then delete all rows added by the add-on (i.e. the [Amazon Item] and [Amazon Order] rows). You can see that this would leave just the two Tiller-feeds credit card charges which correctly offset to $0 in the Amazon category.

Things are slightly more complicated when a single item is returned from a multi-item order. In this case, you would delete the Landscaping line item and reduce— not delete— the [Amazon Order] by the Landscaping [Amazon Item] amount.

Will Tiller Amazon Workflows help with my Amazon digital orders?
No. Amazon does not include digital orders in its Items report.

How can I try Tiller Amazon Workflows?
A sneak peek of an early-developer builds is available in the Chrome Store. Go ahead and try it, but be aware that it is an early build. Remember that Tiller offers no direct support or warranties for Tiller Labs projects, like Tiller Amazon Workflows.


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