Shoebox Accounting

In the past, accounting used to be a black art that was carried out once a year by an accountant in a darkened room. You wouldn’t know the outcomes until long after the time had passed for you to be able to do anything useful with the results. Receipts and invoices were gathered together in a shoebox or carrier bag and carted off for analysis, coffee stains and all. With the advent of modern collaborative software and systems, this has all changed.

Accounting efficiency is now integral for businesses looking to make informed business decisions to grow their business. Gone are the days of shoebox accounting and sending all your receipts off in a shoebox, where after you’d get dozens of questions about things that happened more than a year ago, with no hope of being able to remember anything about them.

Previously, useful ‘in-year’ reporting was difficult and time consuming to manage and required an army of staff to pull together – fine if you were a multinational with a finance department, but not if you were a small business.

Fortunately, there is accounting software available to SMBs which offers a much better opportunity for accounting efficiency with better reporting functionality from real-time data. Invoices can be processed and checked as soon as they are received, sales recorded as they happen, and up-to-date profit and loss figures can be seen at a glance. Stock movements can be processed and accurate cost of sales seen at the click of a button. Along with online banking, now bank reconciliations can be done without having to wait for a bank statement to arrive through the post.

All this information can be gathered and processed in almost real time. Then you can share your data with your accountant who can also see all the data they need at a click of a button. You know you are both looking at the same version of the truth, there is no more worrying about different versions of data, wondering which is correct, or trying to manage changes from multiple people simultaneously.

Up-to-date, accurate information means that you can make better informed decisions about your business – no more guesswork or waiting for a set of accounts to arrive. Decisions are based on far more useful data and you can see how things change on a day-by-day, or even hour-by-hour basis rather than only having occasional snapshots with no idea as to what has happened in between.

The nature of being an accountant is no longer about mathematics, accountants are expected to recommend best practices and suggest ways to reduce costs while improving profits. No longer are they allowed to lock themselves in that darkened room once a year!

“I’ve actually checked Brightpearl at the beach!”

Jim Fritz, Co-founder - Kennedy Blue


Data can easily be diced and sliced to look at things in lots of different ways to gain more insight into what is going on – key for a fast moving retail business. Accounting ‘in the cloud’ means that you can get your business information from anywhere you choose to be – you’re no longer tied to the office.

Not only is having access to your data 24/7, from any location convenient for business owners on the go. Companies who have made the change to cloud accounting, reduced their costs by anywhere between 30% to 70%.

Wave goodbye to shoebox accounting and welcome to the world of cloud accounting.

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About the Author

Julie Stevens is Managing Director at Evenstone Ltd. Evenstone are accountants who specialise in helping people get the most out of their Brightpearl accounting through monthly support packages, ad-hoc services or training.