Palo Alto's Business Plan Pro 11.0 software is designed with one thing in mind - to make writing a business plan easier.

Business Plan Pro 11.0 does provide some guidance in relation to business tax, PAYE, NI, VAT, company registration. This comes in the form of a number of fact sheets. These can be useful to read by yourself to become more familiar with the general structure and terms used when dealing with these matters. It also provides contact details for HMRC, Companies House and so on, which again can be useful.

However, the best piece of advice Business Plan Pro 11.0 provides on the subject of legal financial responsibilities is contained in the waivers at the bottom of the fact sheets which loosely translate as: 'Get yourself a lawyer and an accountant'.

Business Plan is reasonably priced at £79. It runs only on Windows PCs - there's no Mac or Linux support. We've reviewed the Standard version: there is a Premier version that adds functions such as import from Excel, visual cash planning, business valuation analysis and plan vs actual financial tools.

OUR VERDICT

A good introduction to the world of creating a business plan, Palo Alto's Business Plan Pro 11.0 is a useful addition to any budding businessperson's arsenal. But it's not a panacea: make sure you get plenty of good, third-party advice, and try to tone down the Yankee-language.