Getting your accounts straight in the cloud

Anne Hannan

Anne Hannan

Business owners, self-employed persons, entrepreneurs, however we like to label ourselves, we have three things in common: Most of us love what we do. And we love getting paid for it. It’s the bits in between we don’t care for much.

- Generating that Invoice

- Chasing that money

- Reclaiming the VAT


- The rest of the bookkeeping

- Meeting the Accountant

- Meeting the Revenue!

These activities are time consuming and as our business grows time spent on these, or worse, mismanagement of these tasks, simply erode our hard earned profits. The good news is that a few simple tools from the cloud together with some simple management tweaks can reduce time spent on anything other than doing what we love and getting paid for it to a bare minimum. Here is a selection of Cloud Tools and their key benefits to you:


This is a place to store your bookkeeping documents online. “But what’s wrong with my filing cabinet/Kitchen table/sun visor of my van?”

The main benefits from an accounts point of view, apart from the obvious fire hazard are:

- Electronic documents can be shared easily with those you need to help you. Behind on your VAT? Find a cloud savvy bookkeeper (www.professionalbookkeeping ) to log in to your Dropbox folder and turn your paperwork into a VAT return. You don’t even have to meet them face-to-face. A text kicks the job off.

- Dreaded Revenue audits are piece of cake when your VAT records are easily traced to document images.

- You don’t even need a scanner anymore. Any smart phone can be used to snap and email your purchase invoices and receipts to Dropbox. AS YOU RECEIVE THEM.

- You are already saving time. No big pile of paper to face every 2 months.

“But I thought I had to save all my records for seven years?” Yes you do, but it doesn’t have to be physical paper.

Since Feb 2012 the Irish Revenue Commissioners are ok with you finally killing off that paper:

“It is now no longer a requirement to retain the paper originals of any third party record where an electronic copy of the original record is generated, recorded and stored in accordance with the information technology and procedural requirements as published.” When is bonfire night again?

Docurec & Statement Rec

This gives the same benefits as Dropbox with the magic addition that it can pull the numbers off your docs and enter them into accounting records when teamed up with cloud accounting software. Yes! It magically “types” the relevant information into accounting software so you don’t have to! Each entry links back to the source document for full revenue compliance.

Cloud Accounting

There are countless accounting software packages available to businesses today. However, we’d always recommend investing in one, such as SortMyBooks, that is Irish based and compliant with Irish tax law and can help with:

- Irish VAT

- Email Invoicing

- Credit Card Processing (no merchant account required )

- Quotes and Jobsheets and/or Time-tracking

The key benefits of using cloud accounting software that has the above features are:

- Get paid faster - half the battle is sending the invoice in a timely manner! Eaten cake is soon forgotten and what better time to send an invoice than right there at the jobsite as soon as the work is done. Log onto your tablet or smart phone and email the invoice directly to the client.

- Multi tasking - Following the above process differs from just emailing a Word or Excel invoice or tearing a docket off a duplicate book for that matter. Not only have you issued an invoice, you have simultaneously recorded your VAT details, updated your profit and loss account, and started your customer statement in case collections are required.

- Credit card processing - you can create a Paypal account online for free, and when you invoice your customer a payment link is attached so they can click and pay you by credit card there and then. Instead of a monthly merchant account fee, Paypal only take a fee for each invoice paid by this method.

- Quotes and Timesheets - For longer customer interaction where you have a quote, stage payments and final invoicing, having everything easily accessible in the cloud means that everything is in the same place when you sit down to deal with customer billing, or to review any overruns on a job.

- Easy expansion for growth - As your business grows and you add more advisors and/or employees, cloud accounting allows for smart transparent collaboration. There are horses for courses. While you as the business owner are ultimately responsible for the lot, it doesn’t mean you have to physically perform every task yourself. Harnessing the cloud makes it easy for you to delegate with transparency.

These tools are all available online and are either free, cheap or pay per use. The cloud revolution means that today’s sole trader or small limited company now has the business automation power only available to large corporates a few short years ago.

Anne Hannan is CEO of Sortmybooks, an Irish accounting software developer that makes accounting and book keeping easy and manageable for small and medium businesses across the country. Anne will be speaking at ‘Transform Your Business in The Cloud’ in Galway on Tuesday 12th April, a free breakfast event, run by Skillnets, that seeks to demystify The Cloud and show how it can boost your business.

To book your place contact [email protected] or visit



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