Effortless online VAT returns with KashFlow

Once you are registered for VAT, sending in your returns every three months can be a bit of a daunting task, especially if you’re not keeping strict electronic records on a regular basis.

I’ve blogged about various online accounting packages before, but if you want to keep track of your company’s finances, and make your VAT returns effortless, KashFlow is the way to go. Continue reading

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Explained: learning Ruby on Rails (Part 2)

If you followed along in , you will have downloaded and installed Netbeans 6 to get a complete Ruby development environment. You should also have prototyped a web design idea, added some dynamic code to it, and got cosy with Ruby by implementing a small standalone application.

In this article, we’ll learn a few more techniques to help you build the next big thing for the web. Continue reading

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Explained: how the hell do I *really* learn Ruby on Rails?

I own several books on Rails, all of them very well written and pleasant to read. But there’s a big difference between reading a book and knowing & learning a platform. You have to code in that platform, you have to first build something trivial, and then build at least one thing that’s non-trivial. Only then do you start to become intimately familiar with a platform’s conventions, the APIs and its general approach to problem solving.

With that in mind, I present a basic guide to how I learnt Ruby on Rails at a steady pace and without feeling overwhelmed by its enormity. Continue reading

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Warning: iPhone 3G should only be purchased by idiots

The buzz around the iPhone 3G launch caused a lot of excitement, plenty of crashed servers, and some very unusual queuing. Despite that, iPhones were still fairly easy to buy within the first week of the phone’s launch. As a small business owner and avid technologist, I couldn’t resist. Perhaps I should have.

Here are my five killer reasons why the iPhone 3G sucks. Continue reading

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Y Combinator: Startup Ideas We’d Like to Fund

Anyone struggling to come up with “an idea” for a new techie startup could do a lot worse than checking out this latest article by Paul Graham entitled “Y Combinator: Startup Ideas We’d Like to Fund“.

Paul lists thirty different ways of thinking about start-up opportunities. I was relieved (and spurred on by the fact) that my own in-development project fits into at least one of the categories!

I was also pleased to see that most of the focus isn’t on blue-sky wacky concepts. It’s a much better idea to build and sell things that attack existing well-known problems or solutions by doing something subtley different or simply better.

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Stay legal and pay yourself with PAYE in the UK; (Part 2)

[Note:- this article was originally scheduled for appearance in April but unfortunately time constraints delayed it until after the 2008 end-of-year filing deadline. I’ve published it now in the hope that it will show potential company-founders how easy it is to stay on top of such things].

At the end of the tax year, (ie. 5th April), you must file a return that tells HMRC the breakdown of the income tax and NIC payments you have made throughout the previous year. HMRC need this information because tax and NI deductions are paid to them monthly throughout the year without any additional details about the breakdown. (See part 1 of this article for more information). Continue reading

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The best bits from BStartup 2008 (Friday)

Business Startup 2008Apart from my initial earlier thoughts on I encountered at the conference, BStartup 2008 (at the London ExCeL centre) was a good experience. For brevity, I’ve summarized a few of the most relevant and interesting people and services, below. Continue reading

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