Tradebox: Accounting made simple for online sellers

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Tradebox have been providing accounts solutions for online retailers since March 2005. One of the few certified Sage developers in the UK they have created Finance Manager, as a natural bridge between online retail and Sage Accounts.

In the current uncertain economic climate knowing how profitable your business is and keeping control of your finances is more important than ever. We asked Stephen from Tradebox to explains the basics of account keeping and how Tradebox can assist online retailers.

Why is keeping accounts important?

As a registered business you are required to keep a financial record of your transactions. You’ll also need to complete tax and VAT returns. Aside from legal obligations you need to know if your business is profitable and which areas make the most money and highlight products and services which aren’t profitable.

What are the basics of account keeping?

Keeping a ledger of your sales and purchases, bank reconciliation (allocating sales receipts and bank payments to sales and purchases), maintaining a cash flow so you can forecast what is going to be paid and what is going to received and accounting for VAT on sales and purchases.

What are options for small business account keeping?

There are many, from simple manual accounting with a paper ledger to Excel spreadsheets to software solutions such as Sage or QuickBooks.

I’m not an accountant, why use an accounts solution to run my business?

Accounts solutions are not just about ‘accounts’, they are about information on the user’s business. This can be who your customers are, who your suppliers are, what you sell, what you have available in stock to sell, what successfully sells and what doesn’t, as well as profitability and VAT liability.

A common reaction by many businesses when considering an accounts package is one of trepidation; this is some kind of magic only fully understood by accountants. In reality standard accounts packages reflect many features of the online retailers business, customers, suppliers, stock and provides what most businesses are looking for; information and control.

Why not just stick to an Excel spreadsheet, it so much easier.

Accounts solutions aren’t for everyone. I’ve met many sellers with spreadsheets they have spent a long time creating that do everything they need them to do. In some instances they are very well advanced. They may be easier but not necessarily as beneficial to the business. The choice has to be based upon what works for you.

What does Tradebox do?

Tradebox imports your sales from online sales channels (eBay, Amazon, websites etc) and creates all of your financial entries in Sage Instant or Sage 50 Accounts software at the click of a button.

What are the benefits of using a Sage accounts solution?

Sage is the market leader and pretty much the industry standard for accountancy software and can provide; Customer records, Invoicing, VAT control, VAT returns, Inventory (including product assembly), Stock Control, Re-order levels, Purchasing control, Product profitability, Company profitability.

How can Tradebox reports assist me to grow my business?

Tradebox not only removes the data entry burden but also provides a streamlined backend and generates the management information to identify what sells and what is profitable (and just as importantly what isn’t selling and what’s not profitable).

What recent changes are there to Tradebox?

The most recent addition to the Tradebox range is Cash Manager which integrates with PayPal. Cash Manager imports all your your credit and debit transactions from PayPal into a nominated Sage bank account and automatically calculates any VAT liability.

I already use Sage for my business – how easy is it to integrate Tradebox?

This is dependent upon your Sage knowledge and what you wish Tradebox Finance Manager to do in Sage – it can be very quick and easy to set up for simple requirements. Tradebox have a great deal of knowledge and experience that we are more than happy to share with customers to get them up and running.

I don’t currently use Sage – How do I get going with Tradebox?

1. Choose the Sage accounts solution appropriate for your needs. There are 5 SME accounts solutions which range from Instant Accounts to Sage 50 Accounts Professional. All products vary in price from £115 to over £1,000. The Sage accounts range also varies in functionality so there exists a balance between price and needs. If you get a Sage product that isn’t robust enough for your needs you can always upgrade.

2. Sit down with a pen and paper and decide how you wish Sage to report on your online sales. Do you want to know how much you sell by sales channel, what category of products are selling or both. When you have decided, set up your sales nominal codes to reflect your needs.

3. Setting up stock. This can be done quite rapidly via a csv import directly into Sage and allows the users to review and amend large lists of stock items prior to import. Most online retailers will be able to obtain a list of their stock from their sales platform which can then be quickly reconfigured.

How much does it cost?

From £244 + VAT for Finance Manager alone or from £341 + VAT for Finance Manager and Sage. You can also try any TradeBox product for free for 14 days.

Disclosure: Tradebox advertise with TameBay.

4 Responses

  1. I am very interested in this product. I actually picked up your box at Channel Advisor catalyst. 15 days is quite a short time to trial, as there need to be time dedicated when moving financial systems. I would recommend you look at 30 days or even a quarter, so that VAT can be undertaken etc to get buy in. My Dad does all my tax, vat etc, and it takes forever. I am going to talk to him about this, as the write up intrigues me….especially stock control elements. Also my bank ask me for stock and sales data, so again if its all done in one location, it can save time. John

  2. They are bringing out an editon later this year that doesnt require Sage. We will be trying that out when it happens as really didnt like Sage.

  3. Hi John, 14 days is generally the amount of time it takes businesses already using Sage to assess whether this package is for them. We do a lot of pre-sales assistance with prospective customers to gauge what they are looking to acheive and provide assistance to ensure they are maximising the time they have on trial. For example if they want stock control how to set up stock records in Sage with the least pain and then how to map online sales to the products in Sage. No one’s favourite pastime is doing accounts (except accountants) so we endeavour to share our experience to make this process as easy as possible.

  4. Will this work with Sage 50 Professional online 2009? I rang Sage and they said it wouldn’t? They seemed to think your product was for smaller business. (Our client anticipates 1million turnover with about 1/3 from online ebay sales)



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