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Invoices, bills, debts, income, expenses, losses, the list goes on and on. A huge variety of different numbers pass through a retail store and they are continuous. Old stock goes out, new stock goes in. Shelves are restocked, cash is deposited, bills are paid, money comes in and money goes out.

And then there are the taxes, different types of taxes, different rates of tax for different products and different services, different bands of tax, tax deductibles, and different ways of recording tax. It’s another list that goes on and on.

With so many different variables to keep track of it can sometimes be overwhelming to run a retail store. Particularly when it is a small business and most of these responsibilities fall to just one or two people. A disorganised retailer can quickly lose track of their business’s coming and goings. Finding a system for keeping track of everything is vital for a business to succeed.

Most retailers rely on some form of bookkeeping software to keep track of their business’ financial standing. Bookkeeping software allows retailers organise their sales, purchases and invoices conveniently, in one place where they can access the numbers they need and see at a glance how their business is doing.

Accounting software has now moved from the local machine to the cloud. Businesses and sole traders alike can now access accounting software online as a service rather than a separate package. This brings a number of advantages over the traditional forms of accounting software.

The foremost advantage is that it allows you to access your accounts from anywhere. Retailers can simply go online from any desktop or laptop and check their figures, add in data or change numbers as required.

Being able to access your accounts from any machine brings additional advantages. With traditional bookkeeping software you can only access your accounts through the machine on which the program is installed. If that machine cannot be accessed, either because it is faulty or is missing then you cannot access your accounts at all. Even worse they may be impossible to retrieve.

When bookkeeping software is accessed online data is stored on secured servers and backed up appropriately. There is far less risk of data being lost from the cloud than when it is all stored on a single physical machine.

Because cloud software stores data and carries out processing on remote servers the local machine on which accounts are accessed need only be powerful enough to run a web browser and storage is not an issue at all. This means lighter more cost effective machines can be used, saving money.

For those retailers who relish every opportunity to make savings and efficiencies, these types of machines typically use less energy too.

For retailers in particular, maintenance costs for hardware and software can be an unsustainable expense. Traditional software typically requires patching and updates to be applied, additional software capabilities may even come with an additional price. The vendor may charge for patches and updates. Keeping the machine on which the programme is installed in proper working order is likely to require the services of an IT specialist unless the retailer is particularly tech savvy.

With cloud accounting services all of the maintenance issues for the software are dealt with by the vendor. The software runs on the vendor’s machines so they are responsible for the machine’s upkeep.

For smaller retailers in particular the cost of buy-in is a real advantage of online bookkeeping software. Traditional accounting software may cost hundreds or even thousands that needs to be paid upfront. For a smaller retailer with limited resources this may not be an option and even when it is it is likely to be a difficult choice.

Cloud based bookkeeping software is provided as a service, that means you pay one low monthly fee that includes everything you need. Cloud accounting software such as that provided by Big Red Cloud also provides unlimited access to your accounts.

This means that you don’t need to pay additional licensing fees for each member of staff you want to give access to your accounts as you would with some traditional accounting software applications. It also means you can give you accountant direct access to your accounts for free. This can save both of you time and money in exchanging documents and accounts via email.

When it comes to keeping track of sales, purchases and invoices for your retail business, online bookkeeping software makes things much easier which makes your business more successful.

If you are a retailer in the UK and are looking to move your accounts to the cloud why not start your free trial

Related: What can cloud software do for your business?

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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