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On the face of it picking up a pen and jotting down account figures in a paper ledger can seem like the most convenient means of keeping accounts for a smaller business. Small business owners, independent retailers and sole traders are working with limited resources and time is often the most limited of these. Even though it is relatively minimal, the time required to set up and implement book keeping software might appear on the face of it to be time they cannot afford.

However, limited time and resources are the very reason why small businesses and sole traders who still do pen and paper accounts stand to benefit dramatically from the use of book keeping software.


Generally, software for keeping books improve the efficiency of bookkeeping substantially. With less time spent filing accounts more time can be spent focusing on the business. When every hour is vital to a business any time saving facility is beneficial.

The process is simplified overall. Information is recorded clearly making it easier to find specific figures and where to add new figures.


One of the ways in which accounting software makes the process more efficient is through the various ways it automates normal book keeping practices. Variable factors such as VAT rates can be inputted and applied automatically to sales figures.

Invoices can be set to generate automatically based on figures inputted into the accounting application. These can also be configured to automatically be forwarded to the relevant parties by email.


In addition to automating the generation of invoices, bookkeeping software allows invoices and other relevant documentation to be easily found and tracked as they are processed.

Errors can also be more easily tracked. Where an error is found it can be easily corrected with all subsequent calculations based on that error being automatically tracked. A single error spotted late on in a paper accounting system could take a significant amount of time to follow up and correct all of the errors that resulted from the initial mistake.


Software allows for specific information to be brought up quickly and effortlessly with no more than one or two clicks of the mouse. Compared to rifling through books and stacks of paper this can save an enormous amount of time. Business owners can check instantly if they are owed payments or if they have outstanding payments due to suppliers.

Moving into the Cloud

The development of cloud based applications has resulted enormous potential for many different types of traditional software applications. In this regard bookkeeping software is no different.

Cloud based bookkeeping software provides all the benefits of traditional accounting software packages combined with the significant benefits of the cloud.


Because information is stored to the cloud as it is entered into the application it is instantly available for review by all parties that have access to a particular account from any location. Accountants can show their clients account standings without having to meet in person or transmit large data files via email. It also means that information is always up to date, preventing confusion or miscommunication.


When data is stored on a local machine all it takes is the failure of that machine, either through age, electrical fault or something as simple as a spilled coffee to potentially lose all that information. When data is stored on the cloud information is automatically backed up on secured servers with multiple fail-safes. Data can of course be backed-up locally but cloud storage is typically more secure in the long term.

Cost effectiveness

For smaller businesses, cost saving measures are always welcome. With smaller budgets large expenses can easily put the stability of a business at risk. Because resources are shared amongst many clients in a cloud based operation the savings made as a result can be passed on to customers.

Big Red Cloud’s online book keeping software brings together the benefits of accounting software with cloud functionality. This provides customers with a dynamic, accessible, reliable and cost effective book keeping program.

Related: Sole Trader Accounting Software

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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