Archive for the ‘General’ Category

How to keep your finances in order

July 18th, 2012

One of the most important things when running a business is to make sure you stay on top of your finances. Take a look at our top tips for keeping your finances in check…

financesMake sure you have your Unique Tax Code

First things first, you need to make sure you are registered with HMRC. Download the relevant forms for your business to ensure you are sent a Unique Tax Reference number, which you will need when you fill out your annual Tax Return.

Set up a separate business account

A separate bank account for your business payments and deposits will help you to keep on top of your finances. It’s far easier to track business-related payments if they’re not mixed up with your personal transactions. Research online to see which is the best business bank account for you. Remember, the Inland Revenue can ask for bank statements going back six years and failure to produce these can create delays in any investigation, so keep hold of your bank statements.

Hire a professional

Hiring an accountant can save you time and hassle, as they can be on-hand to give you advice during the year, as well as completing your tax return for you at the end of the financial year. Do your research and make sure you accountant is accredited with one of the national accounting bodies.

Keep your receipts in order

Keep all your receipts in a file, and log them in an Excel spreadsheet, or use accounting software to keep track of them. You need a monthly record of all your incomings and outgoings, including things like office rent, wages, business supplies, advertising, etc. This will help make filling out your Tax Return far less painful.

Keep track of your invoices

Create an online diary or email reminder system for tracking invoices so that you always know what amounts are outstanding. Consider using invoicing software to create, raise and track your invoices.

Set aside money for tax

Don’t risk facing a panic when the inevitable tax bill comes – plan ahead and set aside some money each month so that you will be prepared when you need to pay your tax. You might want to set up a standing order that automatically deducts from your bank account into a separate savings account. Many business bank accounts have a linked instant access savings account for this very reason.

  • For more information visit the Government’s Business Link website for small businesses

Do you have any tips for keeping your finances in order? Leave a comment and let us know. For help with invoicing and billing, take a look at our easy invoicing software packages

Windows 8 Overview

July 3rd, 2012

Microsoft’s much anticipated Windows 8 is set to launch later this year. But how will it compare to its predecessor Windows 7, which launched three years ago? Take a look at our lowdown on all you need to know about Windows 8.


Unlike Windows 7, which was brought out as a more focused, rework of Microsoft Vista and an incremental upgrade to the Windows series, Windows 8 has been “re-imagined from the chipset to the user experience”. It features a new user interface based on Microsoft’s Metro design language, designed to better suit touch screen input, alongside traditional mouse and keyboard input. Microsoft developers promise a more “fast and fluid” PC experience and say they have designed Windows 8 “for the billion people who use PCs today, and for the next billion people who will use them in the future.” Our summary of the new user interface is that it is clearly aimed at the tablet PC or iPad user. The riskiest part of Microsoft’s strategy in the way Windows 8 is presented is that they leave themselves open to alienating existing Windows users without winning over tablet PC users.

Here’s our summary of the key Windows 8 features…

Windows 8 will work on tablets and traditional PCs

The operating system’s home screen features big, touchable panels, similar to the live tiles in Windows Phone 7, which you can tap and swipe to other touch-based applications. Underneath the touch screen layer, is a more traditional Windows, with a task bar, file manager, app icons and more.

It will feature a clever touch interface

Users swipe upwards from the start menu to reveal the home screen and its tiles. Swiping from the right-hand side brings up a menu that can take users from an app back to the home screen. Users can multitask between open apps by swiping across from the left-hand side. And when swiping in a new app, users can snap it in place next to the app that’s currently running, allowing the user to view two apps at the same time.

There will be new Windows 8 apps

Microsoft has created a new kind of app for Windows 8 using HTML5 and Javascript, and they’re a lot like the apps you’d expect to find on a tablet. Out of the box, Windows 8 comes with an essential set of applications including Mail, Calendar, People, Maps, Weather, Music and Video players, plus a new release of Internet Explorer – version 10 – which is optimised for touch.

But you will still be able to use existing Windows apps

Although a lot of the early hype and information from Microsoft centres on touch capability and tablet or iPad-like features showing that Microsoft are clearly aiming to win over Apple customers, long time Windows users can be assured that existing Windows apps like Office and Photoshop will still work on Windows 8, although they won’t be optimised for the touch screen.

There will be a host of other improvements

Microsoft claim the software will need rebooting just once a month and that Windows 8 boot times are 70% faster than those of Windows 7. Previous Windows releases suffer from a gradual slowdown unless they are regularly rebooted so a reduced need to reboot coupled with a faster boot time will be very welcome.

Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 will drive sales

The Windows Phone 8 (WP8) OS is more competitive than its Windows Phone 7.5 predecessor and is likely to drive up Windows’ smartphone market share.

Windows 8 will come in three versions

Windows 8 is set to come in three different versions – Windows 8 (self-titled), Windows Professional, and Windows RT.

Are you looking forward to the launch of Windows 8? What are your views on it? Leave a comment and let us know.

Business Start-Up Checklist

June 18th, 2012

business checklist 1

 When it comes to starting up a business, there are various things you should do to make sure you are as prepared as you can be. Take a look at our checklist to find out some of the things you need to consider.

Find a name for your business
As well as thinking of a catchy name for your business, you’ll need to decide whether you are a sole trader, limited company or a partnership. Have a look at HMRC’s advice for registering as self-employed to find out all your need to know about setting up and naming your new business. If you want to use a corporate name, you will also need to check it is not already in use.

Create a business plan
A business plan will help you focus on what you want to achieve with your business and how you plan to do it. It will also be what you’ll use to convince financial backers and initial customers to invest in your business.

Find premises
Ensure you find the right premises for your business, whether that’s at home, at a hot desk or shared office space, in a rented office or a commercial property.

Sales and marketing
Start promoting your business with marketing. This might include social media, sales letters, email marketing, adverts, leaflets, local press, etc. Think about whether you can do these things yourself, or whether you will need the services of a professional to help you out.

Manage your finances
Ensure you keep on top of your cash flow for your business by managing your accounts. Consider employing a bookkeeper and/or accountant, and look at ways of organising your invoices and keeping your accounts in check.

Look into legalities
There are various things you will need to look into from a legal perspective – licenses, business insurance, health and safety, data protection, intellectual property, employment law.

Understand tax
Make sure you know what is expected of you when it comes to filling out a tax return. Consider employing a tax advisor.  Find out about income tax, corporation tax, national insurance and VAT.

Get your business supplies
Identify suppliers for your business and find out how they work – will they need to be paid in advance, for example? Stock up on the essentials for your office, including business cards, stationery, filing systems, etc.

• For more information for starting a business check out Business Link, the Government’s online resource for starting up, improving and growing your business.

What are your top tips for starting up a business? Leave a comment and let us know. For help managing your finances speak to SliQTools for a no-fuss way to raise and track professional invoices, quotes and credit notes.

Picture courtesy of

How to Install Google Analytics on a WordPress Blog

June 8th, 2012

If you are interested in finding out statistics about visitors to your blog, the best free way of adding tracking to your blog is to install Google Analytics. Google provides a free Analytics service – you create a new account with Google and they give you some code to place on your website which lets Google track visitors to your site. You can log into your Analytics account on Google and see stats such as the number of visitors from different countries, the number of times specific pages were viewed and so on.

You can sign up for Google Analytics here. The instructions for signing up and enabling tracking are fairly easy to follow if you are capable of adding a HTML file to your webhost account. Placing the tracking code on a WordPress blog though is not as obvious as it might be with a static website. However, the method is similar – all you need to do is place the tracking code just before the </body> tag in your WordPress theme.

To find the </body> tag in your current theme, follow these steps:-

  • Log into your WordPress blog as an administrator.
  • Under the Appearance menu on the left, click the Editor option.
  • Click on the Theme files options on the right to find one that contains the </body> tag.

The </body> tag may be in the footer.php file on your theme but on mine I found it in a file called end.php.

  • Paste your tracking code into the theme file just before the </body> tag and then save the file.


Your Google Analytics account should now show stats for visitors to your blog. It may take up to 24 hours for the first visitor stats to appear in your account.

Importing CSV data from Excel into phpMyAdmin

March 7th, 2012

When importing CSV data saved from Excel into a MySQL database using phpMyAdmin, I was getting an error indicating that there was an “Invalid field count in csv input on line 1″. The settings in phpMyAdmin asked for fields to be delimited by double quotes (“field”) but even after doing that I was still getting the same error message.

In order to get the input to work, I resaved the Excel file as a CSV (and didn’t place quotes around the columns) then removed the first row containing the field titles. In phpMyAdmin I then chose the following settings:

Format: CSV using LOAD DATA
Columns terminated by ,  (not the default of ; )

All other settings were left at their default.

I was then able to successfully import the CSV file.

New Help Desk Launched

February 25th, 2012

As part of our ongoing efforts to improve customer service, SliQTools has now opened a new support help desk feature at The new help desk software allows customers (or potential customers who are using trial versions of our software) to submit support or sales tickets and track their progress to closure.

The new help desk brings a number of benefits to our customers such as the the ability for customers to see their old tickets and replies. From SliQTools point of view, an added bonus of the help desk is that it provides us with a mechanism to expand our knowledgebase of frequently asked questions. The help desk lets our support staff to write articles to support tickets. These articles then become available for other customers to search through. As the knowledgebase builds up content, customers should increasingly be able to find answers to common support queries so that their problems are solved more quickly.