Daily Archives:October 3rd, 2012


Here’s a quick and unsolicited recommendation. When I first set up Telemarq, I was looking for some accounting software that I could use on my Mac, since MYOB, of which I was rather fond, is no longer in existence.

I tried GnuCash, which is free, and now really quite good. I used Ledger for a bit, which is splendid if you’re a geek who likes everything in text files. Both of these gave me a lot of control, but they also swallowed a great deal of my time.

Friends suggested I should look at cloud-based offerings, and after experimenting with a few I came across FreeAgent.

I was, I must admit, rather hesitant about this. As a limited company, albeit a very small one, we needed to pay their top rate of £25/month plus VAT. A total of £360 per year. That’s quite a lot for accounting software in a small company. (If anyone decides to try it as a result of this post, please click this link and you might save me a few pennies!).

In addition, I understood ‘real’ double-entry bookkeeping, and this hid a lot of that behind the scenes, so it couldn’t be a real accounts package, could it?

Well, several months on, I just love it. It saves me a huge amount of time – much more than 30 quid’s worth per month, I suspect – does almost everything I need, and is very UK-oriented (so it tells me when my VAT returns and annual company returns are due). It produces nice invoices and send them to our clients, along with links for electronic payment options if they want to use them. It’s very good at importing my bank statements with minimal manual intervention, it makes submitting VAT returns a breeze, and on the rare occasions when I’ve contacted support, they’ve been very prompt and helpful.

Finally, there’s a good API, and various apps for smartphones which make it really easy to log expenses and timesheets.

There are some things I’d like changed: I wish the pricing was a bit more competitive for small companies, I wish they offered a low-cost ‘personal’ version because I’d like to use it on my own accounts, I’d like a few more options when configuring invoices… but all in all, it comes highly recommended.

Love and marriage, love and marriage…

…go together like a RaspberryPi and Veroboard…

“The thing people don’t understand about weddings”, said a perceptive friend once, “is that they think it’s ‘the bride’s special day’. When in fact, of course, it’s usually the bride’s mother’s special day. It’s when she gets to create the wedding for her daughter that she wishes she’d had herself. And she’ll be able to remember the details of this one.”

The male equivalent is probably buying a model railway set “for the benefit of your children”. Or, at least, it used to be. Now, of course, geeks of my generation are terribly keen to support the RaspberryPi, “because of all its educational benefits”.

I was thinking about that this morning as I soldered transistors onto Veroboard… for the first time in about 30 years. It’s for the educational benefit of my dog…

© Copyright Quentin Stafford-Fraser