OVER 2 YOU, 100 (01/10/02)
work for a charity, which helps young disadvantaged people to set up and run their own small businesses. Many of our clients - mostly sole traders would like to use their computers to help them with their accounts and bookkeeping. However, usually we find that the well-known commercial packages are not only more complex than they need but also often difficult to set up and learn to use. At the other end of the scale, clients need something a little more structured than a basic spreadsheet.Can anyone recommend any alternative packages - perhaps designed specifically with very small businesses in mind - which combine business functionality
with simplicity and ease of use?
Vivian Dunn, via email
can thoroughly recommend Quicken Basic. We used it to run our small
business, and found it did everything we needed and more. It is easy to
use, inexpensive to buy, and is often bundled with a new computer.
The only thing that accountants don't like is the ability to go back and change
things retrospectively, but this may not be important to a small business that
doesn't have to be audited, in fact it can be a positive advantage!
I can recommend "Dosh", originally
supplied free by TSB Bank. It really is simple, and can be used for
multiple accounts. For further details look at www.dosh.co.uk
I suggest you try ABC Direct Sales on 0161-282-1270
and speak to the programmer, Chris Hicks. He is really helpful, the system is
very easy and simple to use with enough
(but not too many facilities) to run
and operate small business accounts etc. Their e-mail address is email@example.com
personal favourite, by far, is MYOB (Mind Your Own Business) from: http://www.myob.co.uk/. It’s simpler
than most of the others and for non-accounts to use.
have such a system, written with the benefit of many years' practical
experience in accounting for small and medium-sized businesses. If any of
Vivian's businesses are located in my area of operation, I might be able to
provide a few copies free of charge and support them free for several months.
searched, with Google, for a program, which gave me single entry bookkeeping, and I found
"OWL Basic Bookkeeping" (http://www.owlsoftware.com/bbk.htm)
I downloaded that and ran a trial, which impressed my accountant and me. The
download is free for thirty days and then the cost is about $39. If I was
starting again I would use this, but I took the trouble to modify the Sage
which I already have, so I may continue to use that. The only
potential snag with OWL is that the program is geared to USA Internal
Revenue regulations and if anything goes wrong with the system, the contact is
in USA. My accountant reckons that there is no substantial difference between
British and USA tax legislation at this level, and he could cope well with the
John Crossley, Principal of the College of Technical Authorship,
have been using Money Manager from Moneysoft (www.moneysoft.co.uk) for about 15 years
(since my first Amstrad PCW), and I cannot recommend it too highly. No
accountancy knowledge is necessary, as entering transactions is just like
writing them in a simple cash book, bank reconciliation is easy, and there are
innumerable reports available, which can all be tailored to individual
requirements. The Business Edition (£93.94 inc VAT) can cope with
bank accounts and multiple VAT rates.
is also a Personal Edition (£39.95 inc. VAT), which is ideal for the home user
to keep track of their personal finances, and can be updated to the Business
Edition as circumstances change.
heavyweight commercial accounting software is simply too complicated for use by
people without training in both accounting principles and using the software in
John Hunt, Langport, Somerset
I am a sole trader with no prior experience of
accounting. I can recommend Quicken Deluxe, which I have used successfully for
the last six years. One can make a quick start and can learn as one goes along,
making more use of the software, with tips and 'help' menus and
I would suggest the package, which can be downloaded
free from NatWest at: http://www.natwest.com/scripts/
framenav.asp?BUSINESS/ACCOUNTING/BOOK. It may also be available by
enquiring at your local branch.
on from the recent fascinating discussion in Over 2 You about valve radios and
amplifiers, some years ago I recall seeing mention of building a ‘mechanical’
Baird type television, and camera from readily obtainable bits and pieces. Can
anyone point me in the right direction?
Michael, via email
Have a look at the Narrow Band Television
Association web site at: www.nbtv.org.
M. Yates, via email
I have come across a US web site with plans and
parts for building a mechanical TV system. You can get more details from: http://pyanczer.home.mindspring.com/Tour/
If Lesley Michael can find copies of 'Television
To-day and To-morrow' and 'Television for You' building a Baird-type television
should be possible. The first book is by Moseley and Chapple and the Second
Edition published in 1931 carries a foreword by John Logie Baird. These books
were used by my late husband to build a television set.
(Mrs.) Lucie Seaward, via email
I believe these sites linked from http://www.eskimo.com/~billb/amateur/elehob.html
should be of some use:
Greg M. S., via email
Your correspondent will find an excellent article on
mechanical televisions at the following web site: http://www.mztv.com/mech1.html
F. Gillard, Southport
There are some amazing photographs of early
mechanical TVs, on display in the in the Henry Ford Museum at:
mechanical%20tv.htm#thumbs%20anchor. Maybe these will give you a few
Richard Bentley, via email
We are aiming to move house fairly soon and
are finding it difficult to research the boundaries of catchment areas for
different schools. Is there a website that outlines specific catchment
areas? The info would have to include roads and even which side of the
street can be important. Failing that, actual maps of parish boundaries would
be a help.
Michael Gregson, via email
Have a look at a website www.upmystreet.co.uk. You enter the Post
Code for the Road or Street and it come up with information of schools, crime
statistics, shops etc., along with numerous other useful items of information.
John Lamb, Nottingham
have been bequeathed thousands of family photographic slides to be catalogued,
which I would like to transfer to an electronic medium. The majority of the slides are mounted in
the traditional Kodak card mounts. What
would be the best mechanism or hardware/software/storage medium to catalogue
and access these images?
Barrett, via email
owned an 1800u scanner for a couple of years I have found it a very useful
tool for accessing my 30 year old Kodachrome slides (still with excellent
colour rendering!) and recent negatives (after the family have dispersed the
prints among their friends before I can flatbed them). I purchased mine from Jessops for about £140 with 'Cyberview'
I think they bundle a different one now.
I find it advisable to use the 1800dpi setting; higher (digitally enhanced)
resolutions gain nothing in quality, down to 600dpi gets quite grainy.
On a 35mm neg or slide the 1800dpi setting gives a file of about 24Mb and a
very small image! However I am fortunate enough to have PhotoShop
Elements on my iMac and can hone it down to less than 2Mb, still
good definition on an 8 x 6" printout.
had a similar situation with my family's photos. I found the answer was a
Maplin Microtek Film Scan 35. It is priced £150 in their catalogue and they
will order for you. You can also buy it on the Internet. It only scans one
image at a time but it does an excellent job.
have a document in Excel in which all rows are numbered consecutively (automatically). I sometimes need to cross through one of the records and remove the number of the row. How can I remove the numbering in that particular row but keep the rows numbered consecutively in the other
Ann MacDonald, via email
I have several problems. I am geriatric, disabled
and my manual dexterity is deserting me. I am finding it increasingly difficult
to write legible cheques. I only need to write about eight cheques a month and
a certain accounting software company, beginning with a ‘Q’ charges a lot for
printer compatible cheques. I only I hadn’t donated my old horse-drawn
typewriter to the tip it would all have been so easy! Ideally I would like to
use my regular bank cheques
but I am open to all suggestions. Can anyone help?
D. A. Coppock, via email
would like to build a model railway and use my laptop to control the switching
of the points. What sort of hardware/software would I need?
Rhoades, via email
am due to retire shortly and hope to fulfil a lifetime’s ambition to build a
small sailing boat, nothing too ambitious, something I can learn to sail in and
around local waterways and the nearby Suffolk coast. I want to make as much use
of my new toy (a very expensive PC) as possible so I’m wondering if there are
there any software packages or web sites that can help me with the basics, or
even provide a complete design solution?
Dan Keys, via email