Desktop computers, laptops, printers, tablets and the multitude of software they all run are, like it or not, part of everyone's everyday life and in a business they are critical to its smooth running. As technology changes so quickly you will often find your shiny new hardware is very quickly out of date or in need of an upgrade or spring clean. Software (the programs that run on your device) can be simple to use and many are once you have had some use or training. Some more specific software, such as that used for bookkeeping can be a little more technical and require more detailed suport. We have listed below the services we can provide to help with your hardware and software requirements.
The modern office and home are filled with lots of technology all designed to make our lives easier - and it does when it all works as it should. When it doesn't work, or if you are just a technophobe it can be extremely frustrating. Sometimes it just needs upgrading with additional components, e.g. more memory, sometimes it may be beyond its useful life and need replacing, sometimes it just needs some TLC or occasionally just a kick. Whatever the problem we can help, whether that be a diagnosis of the problem, repairs and upgrades if possible or help with sourcing a replacement.
Until a problem is diagnosed (our diagnosis service is free) it is difficult to give an idea of the cost of the service, but as a guide an estimate of our fees for correcting common problems is detailed below:
|Job Type||Description||Price + VAT From||Approx Time|
|Replace Power Supply||Supply and fit an new ATX 500/600W power supply||£70||45 mins|
|Replace Hard Disk||Supply and fit a replacement 1Tb drive. Reinstall software and transfer data from old hard disk.||£150||3 - 4 hrs|
|Replace/Upgrade memory||Supply and fit a new 8Gb memory module. Depends on the age and configuration of your PC.||£80||1 hr|
|General Service||Clean up machine if running slowly. Assume no faults or upgrade required.||£50||2 hrs|
|Screen repair||Supply and replace broken 15.6" screen. Will vary dependent upon age and model.||£180||2 hrs|
|Power socket||Supply and replace broken power socket. Will vary dependent upon age and model.||£100||2 hrs|
|Replace Hard Disk||Supply and fit a replacement 1Tb drive. Reinstall software and transfer data from old hard disk.||£175||3 - 4 hrs|
|Keyboard replacement||Supply and replace broken keyboard. Will vary dependent upon age and model.||£60||1 hr|
|Liquid Damage||Dry out and clean, assuming no replacement components required||£60||24-48 hrs|
|Basic Tuition||Basic computer usage, safe browsing, simple office applications.||£35 per hr||at your agreement|
|Broadband Setup||Set up your broadband and simple network.||£40||1 hr|
If you are looking to purchase new equipment in the form of desktop PC's, Laptops or Tablets we can advise on your requirements, help you identify suitable suppliers if required and in certain circumstances, for limited companies, help to arrange lease finance.
We haven't mentioned printers above and they are generally the bane of most businesses. We are happy to look at simple printer fixes and resets but in general the cheaper ones are part of our throwaway society and the more expensive ones should be under a maintenance contract.
Microsoft Office is the de facto standard for businesses and in many homes too. It comes in a number of 'flavours' and can be purchased outright or on a monthly subscription plan. The two major variants are Office 2019 which can be bought by a one off payment or Office 365 which is the monthly subscription model. We favour the Office 365 monthly or annual subscription model, not least because you will always have upto date software, there are no missing applications and it can be shared across more than one device. If you are considering purchasing MS Office, you can see a full list of the features and benefits here. If you are still unsure then plase call us and we can run through the pros and cons. If your budget really is tight, there are a number of free alternatives, none of which match the power of MS Office but would certainly be worth considering and a comparison can be found on Techradar.
The real problem with any of these types of software is that we only ever scratch the surface of their features. Most of us could probably type a letter in Word or add up a column of numbers in Excel, send an email in Outlook but there is much more that can be done. Dependent upon the type and amount of tuition required we can give one to one tuition on using Word, Excel, Outlook or any of the other Office products at a competitive hourly rate of £25 + VAT. We first assess your current user knowledge and requirements and will provide an estimate of how long any tuition might take.
If you are looking for ready made templates or solutions that you can just 'plug in the numbers' we can create bespoke solutions for you in Excel, Word or Access. We will discuss your requirements in detail and then provide a detailed plan, timescale and cost for your solution.
Xero Accounting software is an online bookkeeping system. It is a comprehensive system which includes the ability to create sales invoices, record purchases and expenses, record and reconcile bank transactions, create and submit VAT returns, take card and direct debit payments using free third party connections, basic stock control, payroll and employee expense management. Ir is a monthly subscription model, starting at (for the very smallest business) £10 per month although a typical cost would be closer to £30 per month.
We like Xero, it is pretty user friendly, includes a comprehensive set of reports, includes mobile support and a clean user interface. On the downside some of its processes are not always obvious (although when you know how they are great) and some of the features are paid add-ons. Click the image above to visit their site and find out more. (opens in a new browser tab)
Sage Business Cloud and Sage 50cloud Accounts software are online bookkeeping systems. There seem to be so many different permutations of Sage that you are best placed visiting their website to get an idea of what you need and at what cost per month. Click the image to visit now (opens in a new browser tab).
Sage is a market leader, so it must be pretty good, however our experience has tended to be that whilst it does what it says it does (and matches Xero in that regard), it can lead you down a blind alley if you make a mistake and trying to fix it leads you further down that alley. Its also a bit expensive for our liking, especially if you need the bells and whistles of stock/inventory control. Our other gripe was that as an online application, at certain busy times, the response time of the software did seem to slow down quite considerably.
VT Transaction+ is a desktop application (for Windows operating system only). For many years this was our favourite package for basic bookkeeping. It can handle sales invoices including generating invoices for your customers (although not with level of detail or finesse of Xero or Sage), Purchase invoice posting, bank transactions and reconciliations and VAT returns. In terms of looks and visual user interface it is not great but its learning curve, with a little coaching is very gentle. You could be up and running and fairly proficient with VT in under an hour. It integrates with Microsoft Excel and this is sometimes a better bet for producing meaningful reports. It doesn't include stock control or the ability to integrate card or direct debit providers.
If you don't need bells and whistles and are not too bothered about a 'pretty' interface then we would certainly recommend VT Transaction+ as a bookkeeping package. It can only be used by one person at a time but that should be adequate for smaller businesses. It costs £75 + VAT per year, which also makes it considerably cheaper than Xero and Sage. Click the image above to find out more (opens in a new browser tab).
FreeAgent is another online accounting package. Like the others it includes sales invoicing, bank transactions and reconciliations, card payments via Stripe, payroll and VAT returns. It also includes the ability to track projects and time. As with the other online packages it also has a mobile application. It doesn't include stock control. Pricing ranges from £19 + VAT per month for a sole trader upto £29 + VAT per month for a limited company.
We like FreeAgent, like the others it has quirks but if you don't need stock control it works well for small businesses. If you have an RBS or Nat West business bank account, what really sets it apart is that you can obtain a licence for free. Click on the image above to visit their website (opens in a new broswer tab).
If you are looking to complete your own bookkeeping using any of the above software we are happy to have an informal discussion with you to help make your choice. After you have chosen we can provide tuition to get you up and running with your chosen package and if necessary provide ongoing support and tuition. If applicable any fees would be agreed in advance.