I formulate in a colour-friendly way the FKS method for the computation of QCD cross sections at the next-to-leading order accuracy. This is achieved through the definition of subtraction terms for squared matrix elements, constructed with single colour-dressed or pairs of colour-ordered amplitudes. The latter approach relies on the use of colour flows, is exact to all orders in N, and is thus particularly suited to being organized as a systematic expansion in 1/N.