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Setting out on your path as a sole trader can be an exciting adventure. More and more people are going it alone to create a business of their own, challenging themselves to make it work.

One thing people tend not to think about too much as they embark on their new career as a sole trader is the task of keeping accounts. You’re likely to be focused completely on landing that first big client or getting a new product out the door. Keeping track of your income doesn’t seem important when you’ve yet to earn your first penny.

However many sole traders are surprised by how quickly they find themselves sending out lots of invoices and trying to keep track of when they’ve been paid, and who’s paying how much for what.

The early days and months of a sole trader’s business can be some of the most hectic as you take on every job that you can and try to juggle lots of different jobs and get used to working under your own steam.

Prevention is better than cure as they say so preparing for the day when the invoices start rolling out and the money starts rolling in is a good idea. If you are already in the habit of keeping track of your accounts when they start taking up a lot of your time you will be in a much better position. If you get to this stage without a system then you have even less free time to get started.

One of the main factors that dissuades sole traders from purchasing accounting software is what seems like a large cost for a programme with many features they are unlikely to use. Another aspect that puts many sole traders off is the learning curve of adapting to the new system.

Big Red Cloud provide online cloud based accounting software that is ideally suited to use by sole traders.

Unlike traditional accounting software platforms cloud accounting software can be provided as a service. This means that instead of a large upfront cost the service can be accessed for a single low monthly fee.

This means you don’t have to come up with a big upfront cost. This is particularly helpful at a time when sole traders are unlikely to have substantial income never mind substantial capital.

The other main barrier for sole traders is the learning curve. Even very small businesses may be able to employ someone with a financial background to help keep track of their accounts but the self employed business owner has to take care of everything.

Big Red Cloud have designed the functionality of their software to be as much like filling out a traditional ledger book as possible, hence the name, Big Red Book. The interface is clear, easy to read and should be instantly familiar to anyone who has used the ledger book format.

Simple to use, Big Red Cloud provides the ideal accounting software solution for sole traders. There are a number of additional benefits for self employed business owners that come with online accounting software and Big Red Cloud in particular.

Being able to automatically compile and send invoices is a feature you will really appreciate once you start bringing in work. As you gain new clients and your arrangements with existing clients change it can be really tough to keep track of invoices.

Forgetting to send an invoice or forgetting to keep track of whether or not they have been paid can result in a real nightmare. The main problem is you don’t get paid. You then have to waste valuable time sorting through your records trying to find out if you were paid or not. Asking a client to pay an invoice they have already paid is not only embarrassing but also reflects badly on your burgeoning business.

Big Red Cloud can compile invoices automatically when you enter the billing details. It can also be set to automatically send invoices and confirm when they have been paid into your account.

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Marc O'Dwyer

After completing a Graduate program in Marketing, Marc’s impressive sales career began at Allied Irish Banks, Pitney Bowes and Panasonic where he received numerous Irish and European sales performance awards and consistently exceeded targets and expectations. In 1992, Marc’s entrepreneurial spirit led him to set up his own business, Irish International Sales (IIS). Initially, this company was a reseller for Take 5 Accounts and Payroll software. Within four years, IIS became the largest reseller of Take 5 in Ireland, acquiring four other Take 5 resellers. He also found time to set up two mobile phone shops under the Cellular World brand and a web design company offering website design services for small businesses. In 2001, he bought the majority share in a small Irish software business, Big Red Book. At that time, the company was losing money. The company became profitable within two months, and Marc then acquired a payroll company to compliment Big Red Books Accounting products. In 2003, IIS were appointed as Channel Partners with SAP for their new SME product, SAP Business One. Marc sold his Take 5 business and concentrated on developing this new market for SAP As a result, by 2007, IIS was recognised as the largest Channel Partner for SAP in EMEA (Europe Middle East and Africa). In 2008, the IIS Sales Manager bought the Company from Marc in an MBO. He launched Big red cloud in June 2012, the online version of big red book, to date the company successfully converts 59% of trials into sales and the number of customers is growing rapidly. Marc continues to run both Big Red Book and Big Red Cloud which now support 75,000 businesses. He is a very keen sportsman, having played rugby for 20 years, represented Leinster at under 16 and under 20 levels, and league squash with Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Club for 10 years. Marc has competed in 11 Marathons, including the London and Boston Marathons, and has completed several Triathlons and Half Ironman races. He has also completed six Ironman Races in Austria(x2), Frankfurt (Germany), Nice (France) , Mallorca (Spain) and Copenhagen (Denmark)

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