First 5 Steps to Set Up

  1. Adding your company in BRB
  • Click into BRB. Click ‘File’ – ‘Select Company’ (if the ‘Company Selection’ screen does not show). If you have already created the company highlight it & click ‘Open’. If you have not created it yet highlight anywhere it says ‘Company Not in Use’ & click ‘Open’. You will get a confirmation ‘Create new company’, click ‘Yes’.


  • If you have the ‘Clients’ module it will prompt you to select ‘Office’ or ‘Client’. ‘Office’ is most widely used. If you do not have the ‘Clients’ module it will not prompt selection (it will automatically be ‘Office’).
  • A ‘New Company Setup’ screen shows if you just added the company. If you previously added it, these settings are in: ‘Setup’ – ‘Options’ – ‘Yes’ (For entering company name & other important settings) & in ‘Setup’ – Company Details’ – ‘Financial Year’. Select the ‘Start Month’ (beginning of financial year), ‘Start Year’ & ‘First Month’ (of transaction entry). ‘First Month’ can be later than ‘Start Month’ e.g. If the financial year starts in January ‘Start Month’, but you only want to input transactions from June ‘First Month’ onwards, In that case you couldn’t enter any transactions prior to June & any opening balances you set would be dated the last day of May.


  • Receipts/Payments Allocations: This is as ‘No’ as default (automatic allocation of customer/supplier receipts/payments). If you want to manually allocate customer/supplier receipts/payments to particular sales/purchases you should switch it to ‘Yes’. If you set it to ‘Yes’ you must manually allocate all customer/supplier transactions. Those that you do not (Or that you partially allocate) will be seen in BRB as unallocated/unpaid (or partially unallocated/unpaid).  
  • VAT on Cash Receipts: If you use standard VAT (Vat on sales & purchases) leave it at ‘No’. If you are using VAT on cash receipts (VOCR), you can switch to ‘Yes’. You may need permission from Revenue to use VOCR. If you have Receipts/Payments Manual Allocations at ‘Yes’ it won’t allow you to set ‘Vat on Cash Receipts’ to ‘Yes’ also. But in that case you can get access the Vat on Cash Receipts report (Click ‘Alt’ & ‘F12’ later on the main screen).
  • Nominal Ledger: Switch it to ‘Yes’ if you wish to use the nominal ledger & to have access to nominal reports such as the Trial Balance, Balance Sheet and Profit and Loss report.
  • Once you are happy with the settings on ‘New Company Setup’ click ‘OK’ (or if it’s the ’Financial Year’/’Options’ screens, click ‘Save’).

2. Adding VAT Rates

  • Click ‘Setup’ – ‘Vat Rates’. Tick ‘Active’ beside Rate 1 & enter your first vat rate. Repeat this for any of the relevant columns ‘Purchases Not For Resale’ etc. If you have a second vat rate, tick active beside Rate 2 and so on. Click ‘Save’. You can tick ‘Default’ beside your most used Vat rate if you wish. It is important that you do not change or reorder VAT rates as this will affect any transactions you have already entered. 

(when prompted, click YES to making the change)


In a new area/unused field, tick it as active, and entered the desired VAT rate. Do this for Sales, and Purchases for resale, and not for resale if desired.

When you have your new rates entered, simply click on Save.

3. Adding Bank Accounts

  • Click ‘Lookup’ or ‘Setup’ – ‘Bank Accounts’ – ‘Add’. Enter a unique code of your choosing e.g. CURR for your current account. Fill in any other relevant fields e.g. reconciled opening balance and click ‘Save’. You can add additional bank accounts here if you wish. You will see a ‘Ledger’ button which will show the opening balance, debits & credits for the highlighted bank (once these transactions are added).


4. Adding Analysis Categories

  • Analysis Categories allow you when adding transactions (to books/banks accounts) to categorise them for reports. An example for the cash book for a shop would be (1) Food (2) Milk (3) Newspapers etc. For the cash book & cheques journal you only add categories for non-customer/non-supplier transactions. For the sales book you add categories for customer & non-customer transactions. For the purchases book you add categories for supplier & non-supplier transactions.


Click ‘Setup’ – ‘Analysis Categories’. Click ‘Yes’ (if that message shows). Choose the book/bank that you want to add the category(s) for & type the first category into the top most blank field under ‘Categories’. If you are using the nominal ledger, a column ‘Nom A/Cs’ will also show to the right of the category, in that case you must assign a nominal account to the category (Click ‘F7’ OR ‘Alt’ &‘F7’). This shows the list of current nominal accounts. You can choose the relevant one for that category or you can add a new nominal account & then select it for the category. You can assign the same nominal account to more than one category if you wish.

  • You can access the nominal accounts from ‘Setup’ – ‘Nominal Accounts’ where you can add, change & delete nominal accounts & view their ledgers. You can add nominal opening balances in ‘Books’ – ‘Journal Adjustments’ – ‘Nominal Journals’ – ‘O/Balances’.


5. Add Customers and Suppliers

  • You can add these in ‘Lookup’ or ‘Setup’ – ‘Customer’/’Suppliers’ – ‘Add’ – fill in a unique code for each & other relevant information e.g. address, mobile etc. The ‘O/Balance’ button allows you to enter their opening balance. Click ‘Save’ once you are happy with it all on the ‘Add a New Supplier’/’Add a New Customer’ screen. You can add another customer/supplier on the next blank screen that then shows OR click ‘Cancel’. The ‘Ledger’ button shows the debits, credits & balance (once there are there for them). You do not need to add all customer/suppliers at this point, you can add them as you go.


Additional setup/features you can use if and when you wish:


  • Products: Add default products to speed up sales invoice entry.  
  • Electronic Funds Transfer: SEPA direct debit (customers) & direct credit (suppliers) files can be created.
  • Email Setup: Customer invoices and statements can be emailed.
  • Opening Balances: Also for bank accounts, cash book & petty cash.
  • Regular Payments: To speed up data entry.
  • Passwords: For various areas.  
  • Multiuser Preferences: Entering your own transaction references.
  • Form Design: Designing invoices, credit notes & statements.
  • Period Control: preventing changes to certain months/books.
  • Recurring Invoicing: To speed up data entry.
  • Reports: For the books, nominal accounts & VAT.


It is vital that you backup your BRB company(s) regularly to external devices i.e. CD, USB, External Hard drive. The backup button is on the ‘Company Selection’ screen. Highlight the relevant company, click ‘Backup’ & follow the onscreen prompts.

1: What are analysis categories?

  • These are categories or areas that you can divide your books/bank accounts in Big Red Book into. For example: for Purchases you might set up one called ‘Machinery’ and another called ‘Stock’. You must set up a minimum of 1 analysis category for each book and bank account, with a maximum of 14 for each book and each bank account.
  • Note: With the cash book it is 1-14 for cash receipts, and 1-14 for cash payments.  
  • In the sales book and purchases book, you should setup analysis categories for ledger (customer/supplier) transactions and non-ledger (non-customer/non-supplier transactions). For the cash book and payments book you only need to setup analysis categories for non-ledger transactions.  


2: How do I add analysis categories?

  • Click ‘Setup’.
  • Click ‘Analysis Categories’.
  • Click ‘Yes’.
  • Highlight the book/bank that you want to add analysis categories to.
  • Click into the topmost blank ‘Category’ and type the category you want.
  • If it shows a ‘Nom A/C’s’ column to the right, press F7 to bring up the nominal list to select a nominal code. Note: You can add a nominal from that screen also, and then select it if you wish. Once the nominal account is selected, tab into the next blank category.
  • If there is no ‘Nom A/Cs’ column on the screen, just tab from the category you added into the next category.
  • If you want to add another category to that book/bank, locate the next topmost blank category repeat the steps.
  • If you want to add a category to another book/bank, select the relevant book/bank and repeat the steps.
  • Once you are happy with the category(s) added, click ‘Save’.


3: How do I delete an analysis category?

  • Note: If the analysis category has never been used (in the current year and any previous years in Big Red Book), then it can be deleted. Otherwise it cannot be deleted.
  • Click ‘Setup’.
  • Click ‘Analysis Categories’.
  • Click ‘Yes’.
  • Highlight the relevant book/bank.
  • To the right of the analysis category that you want to delete the is a grey circle button, click that button.
  • Click ‘Yes’.
  • Click ‘Save’.


4: How do I access the Nominal Ledger?

As default the nominal ledger is switched off when a company is setup in Big Red Book to turn on go to setup and options click yes to warning message change “Nominal ledger” to YES.

  • If you click ‘Reports’ – ‘Nominal Ledger’ it will show the available nominal reports. Note: This is only available if nominal ledger is switched on.
  • If nominal ledger is switched on you can click into ‘Lookup’ or ‘Setup’ – ‘Nominal Accounts’ and you can add/change and delete nominal accounts. If you are using this setting, you can also assign specific nominal accounts to your various books and banks.
  • If making changes to the nominal accounts, please do so with care and keep in mind the affect going forward and whether you need to now amend entries already made.


5: Which nominal accounts should I use?

We cannot advise on this as they are your accounts, if you check with your accountant they may be able to advise.

6: How do I add or change nominal opening balances?

  • Click ‘Books’.
  • Click ‘Journal Adjustments’.
  • Click ‘Nominal Journals’.
  • Click ‘O/Balances’.
  • Highlight the relevant nominal account whose balance you want to add or change.
  • Click ‘Change’.
  • Enter it as a debit or credit as appropriate.
  • Click ‘Save’.
  • Do the same for any other balances you want to add or change.
  • Ensure to also click ‘Save’ on the ‘Opening Balances’ dialog box.


7: How do I start using receipts payments manual allocation?

  • Note: If you start using receipts payments manual allocations, you will need to manually allocate customer/supplier transactions (when they are paid/allocated), or they will be seen as unpaid/unallocated within Big Red Book. This includes transactions already added in the current year in Big Red Book, transactions from previous years if you had previous years in Big Red Book, and transactions that you add going forward.
  • To start using this, go to ‘Setup’ – ‘Options’ and switch ‘Receipts/Payments Manual Allocations’ to ‘Yes’.


  • You will now get the option to allocate customer/supplier receipts/payments when you are adding them. You will also be able to allocate them from within the cash book/payments book and within the customer/supplier ledger.
  • Note: If you are using receipts payments manual allocations and Vat on cash receipts, where the vat is based on the allocation of the receipt, you will need to ‘Submit’ the vat return within Big Red Book. This is not the actual VAT Submission, but it marks the allocated transactions in the period selected (and previous period’s transactions not ‘submitted’) to that period for the Vat on Cash Receipts return in Big Red Book, that way those transactions aren’t ‘submitted’ again in a later Big Red Book Vat on Cash Receipts report.


8: How do I set up my VAT on a 'Cash Receipts' basis?

  • Click ‘Setup’.
  • Click ‘Options’.
  • Click ‘Yes’.
  • Change the option “VAT on Cash Receipts?” from no to YES.


Click “Save”.

  • You may need to speak to your accountant or Revenue to ensure you are eligible for VAT on cash receipts basis.
  • If changing this setting please do so with care, and ensure to note the affects. i.e. where it is now looking to get the Vat figures from Big Red Book, and be aware that there is a potential cross over in figures that showed up in the standard vat report and in the vat and cash receipts report. For example, if you were using standard vat (and are not using receipts payments manual allocation), and you switch to vat on cash receipts, it will look to the cash receipts for the Vat rather than the sales book. So if you entered a Sales in January, and did your January/February Vat submission, but the receipt was entered in March, then when doing your March/April Vat submission it is counting that amount again.
  • Note if you are using Vat and cash receipts and receipts payments manual allocation, you will get a choice over how the vat is calculated.
  • When using Vat on cash receipts, you should run the Vat on cash receipts report rather than the standard vat report.


9: How do I setup Big Red Book so that I can email invoices/statements?

  • Click on ‘Sales’ and enter the Email Title (e.g. Invoice from ‘your company’…), Email Body (e.g. Please find attached Invoice) and ‘BCC’ (if relevant, i.e. if you wish to track sent emails, you could type your own email address in there). Click ‘Statements’ and do the same for statements.
  • Click ‘Save’.
  • Click ‘Setup’ – ‘Customers’.
  • Highlight the customer that you want to enter their email address.
  • Click ‘Change’.
  • Type their email address into ‘Email’.
  • Click ‘Save’.
  • Do the same for any other customers where you want to add their email address.
  • You are now ready to start emailing customer invoices, credit notes and statements.


Other Accounting Support Topics

Set Up Basics

Cash Book

Cheques Journal

Purchases Book

Sales Invoicing

Year End Routine

Backup & Restore

Other Topics

Back to Accounts Support